Which Waterproofing is Best for Bathrooms?

A bathroom is a wet space in both terms of moisture and maintenance. Whether a powder room or a master bath steam shower, protecting the foundation and finishes from water damage should be your top concern. Selecting the right waterproofing technique and products is key to preventing issues down the road. After installing countless bathroom waterproofing systems over the years, I would argue these are the best options currently available.

Sheet Membranes for Shower Enclosures

Prefabricated sheet membranes, commonly referred to as underlayments or roll goods, provide reliable waterproofing for shower stalls, bathtub surrounds, and bathroom flooring. Made of PVC, TPO, rubberized asphalt, and other waterproof materials, these thin sheets get sealed and integrated into the mortar bed or cement backerboard during installation. This provides full surface protection behind tiles. The versatility of sheet membranes makes them a smart choice for complex layouts in custom showers and tub alcoves.

Fluid-Applied Coatings for Floors

Fluid-applied coatings come in liquids and pastes, using urethanes, acrylics, and other specialty resins. They can get rolled or brushed onto the bare concrete slab before finishing the flooring. These coatings fully adhere and harden to form seamless barriers against moisture penetration through capillary action or vapour transmission. Epoxy and polyurea coatings offer higher stretch and durability for high traffic bathrooms. The ease of full surface application also suits complex floor plans. Just ensure proper surface prep before applying.

Exterior Sealants for Plumbing Fixtures

Silicone and polyurethane caulks provide flexible, water-tight seals around bathroom fixtures like sinks, toilets, tubs, and plumbing penetrations. Regular sealing inspection and maintenance is a must to prevent water sneaking behind walls or vanities. Pay attention to the fixture interface and backsplashes. Despite other precautions, overlooked seals or aging caulk will lead to leaks. Along with quality caulk and skilled application, surface cleanliness is vital for long term adhesion.

Used alone or combined, these methods provide fail-safe bathroom waterproofing. Just be sure to use them properly during construction and remodelling. Your bathroom will then stand the test of time and heavy use for years before any refurbishments are needed. With the thousands spent on dream bathroom projects these days, it’s a worthwhile investment to do the moisture protection right.

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