Properly waterproofing a shower area sharing a living room wall


Tiles and the thinset adhering them are water permeable. This is by design so that water can escape them.

If you have a tile surround in a shower, the backing of that tile should be a suitable vapor-proof membrane such as Kerdi. Drywall is not a suitable backing for tile in a wet area.

If you don't want to use a membrane then the backing of the tile should be a permeable material like concrete board. It can be backed with a waterproof membrane to keep your wall cavity dry.

If this is a tub-shower then the backerboard should extend all the way to the tub lip with the tile extending slightly over the lip... modern tubs have a 1/4" mounting lip for specifically this reason.

If it is a walk-in shower then you should have a suitable membrane continuous (or at least "shingled") to the floor...

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Walls and Floors have teamed up with BAL to bring you an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide on how to waterproof a shower or wetroom, to get the area ready for tiling onto. Our professional tiler takes you through the process, and explains what he's doing in layman's terms.

If it's time your bathroom had a refresh, and you're looking to decorate your shower area, Walls and Floors have a great selection of tiles to choose from. We have thousands of stylish bathroom tiles - perfect for restrooms, water closets and en suites! The bath and shower area is a place where we can relax and underwind after a hard day's work - that's why it's important that our bathrooms look nice. Moroccan Tiles are perfect for bringing a powerful, eye-catching, cultured appearance to your bathroom walls. Metro Tiles are also a winning choice when it comes to tiling a bathroom wall. For a textured, massaging feeling underfoot, try our River Pebble Tiles - sheets of smooth pebbles arranged in a mosaic...

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Screeded or floated walls.

Here you can see another step in a screeded or floated wall, which is also very common in California bathrooms. This is a dying art in other parts of the world; however, there are still many tile masters (like

Tarkus Tile

, who did the work shown) who practice this. The pro uses a screed — a flat strip of wood, metal or plastic — as a straightedge to painstakingly level the mortar coat on a wall.

The screed boards are removed during the process and filled with more mortar, leaving a perfect wall.

Walls like this can be prepared perfectly flat, plumb and square.

For others (including myself), tile backer boards are a safer option to getting shower walls up and ready for waterproofing. As with waterproofing membranes, there are many backer boards to choose from. Concrete board tends to be the...

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Step into a stunning walk-in shower space for the ultimate in everyday luxury. SPONSORED BY BATHSTORE

Enclosed by a glass panel but without a door, these space-enhancing designs have the indulgent look of a wet room while keeping the water contained.


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Many off-the-peg walk-in designs come with a low-level shower tray with a bath-sized footprint, making a bathroom-to-shower room conversion straightforward. But there's also a vast array of tray and glass panels sizes to suit big and small spaces. And bespoke cut panels can fit the slope of a converted loft shower room perfectly.


Installing a walk-in shower involves less upheaval than...

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There's nothing quite as refreshing as a good shower, whether you're after an early morning wakeup, a midday rejuvenation, or a hot blast to relax the muscles after a long tiring day; standing under that strong stream of droplets just takes some beating. So with that in mind, don't our beloved shower rooms deserve an extra special piece of our attention? Of course they do. Forget about the standard meager sized shower heads that dribble out an apologetic and spluttering jet, and the bog-standard off-the-rack cubicles that imprison you in their boring surrounds. We are talking about the world of wonderful waterfall shower heads that drench us in a soothing downpour, open plan settings that are inspired by nature, and just plain gorgeous shower room...

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A tiled tub and shower area is an attractive addition to many homes. This setup allows for customization in the way the tub and shower look, as well as for the addition of shelves, niches or a larger tub deck, which can enhance the use of the shower. To ensure that the tub and shower tiles are properly installed, most professionals must follow several key points when tiling this area.


Prepare the surfaces before beginning any tile installation. Because a tub and shower area is exposed to water, make sure that the studs in the walls are waterproofed and the correct substrate is laid over them. Use waterproof plastic sheeting to cover the frame and studs of the tub and shower area. Then, screw cement backerboard to the studs over the sheeting. Mortar and tape seams in the backerboard with fiberglass tape to make them as watertight as possible. The tile can be laid directly on top of the cement backerboard.


The layout of any wall tile...

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A wet room is essentially a shower area in your bathroom where the floor is contiguous with that of the rest of the room.

A slight incline allows the water to escape through a drain in the floor. The lack of a barrier between the wet room floor and its surroundings allows for a more spacious and comfortable showering experience. While anyone can enjoy the luxurious experience that a wet room gives, wet rooms are also especially convenient for the elderly and those with mobility issues.

Practical Considerations

The first step in creating a wet room is to decide what style of wet room you would find most suitable for your particular needs and design aesthetic. Initially, you must make decisions based on functionality. Your wet room can have a multi-directional incline which allows for a single square or round drain.

However, this requires the use of smaller tiles.

A one-directional incline allows for larger tiles to be used but means you...

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Showers need to be 100% waterproof. Sounds obvious, doesn't it, but it's amazing how many people end up with a leaky shower. Water always finds a way through. Even the tiniest of cracks in a tile can lead to water seeping into the wall beneath and the end result won't be very pretty—especially if you have just spent a fortune decorating the adjacent room or the one below. Thankfully, although tiles are the most common method of waterproofing a shower, there are other alternatives.

Waterproofing Wall Cladding Techniques

A shower will only be waterproof if you use the right materials to clad the walls and seal every join. Ceramic tiles, stone and marble all look attractive, but they are not always efficient at preventing leaks. Tiles crack and some types of stone and marble can be porous, which is disastrous in the long term. Another way to waterproof a shower is to use a special wall cladding material designed specifically for showers and wet rooms.



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High Quality Wetrooms

Wet rooms are waterproofed rooms usually equipped with a walk in shower screen, wall hung basin and wall hung toilet. Tanking is the term used for waterproofing the shower area. The wet room shower tray former will be manufactured from either glass reinforced plastic (GRP) or from a foam base material. Both will have a natural fall built into them to drain the water. They will have a drain either small round or square like a traditional shower tray or if using larger tiles for the floor a long drain can be installed. A waterproof membrane is used to waterproof the walls and floor completely waterproofing the area.

Advantages of a Wetroom

Easier to Clean
More Attractive
Ideal for smaller rooms
Ideal for elderly or infirm
Properly installed less chance than conventional shower of leaking

Disadvantages of a Wetroom

Can be more expensive than traditional shower cubicle

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Hunt, of, says to create the best waterproofed shower that uses either ceramic tiles or a shower insert, the substrate underneath the tiles or insert must be waterproof itself. Select a material upon which you will lay your tile or attach your shower insert that is made from a cement backer-board or a fibreglass backer-board.

Do not assume a material is waterproof. Materials like green board, mortar and grout are not waterproof and require treatment to be water resistant.

In some instances you or your contractor may decide to create a laid concrete substrate. If so, make sure that the concrete is properly cured prior to attaching a shower liner and tile over the substrate. Cement must cure for at least 28 days. If the concrete slab already exists from a previous installation, make sure to fill any cracks in the concrete with a crack-isolation...

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Thanks for the kind words. I am sure your regular advice is appreciated to be all.

The sub-base is cement over the old slag fill from the old days (prior to the days of compressed cement sheeting approved for use in wet areas....). No upstairs - just a single level 1920's do........with a new extension out the back.

Preliminary thought on tackling a temporary repair.

In any case:
1. remove shower screen.
2. Lift tiles from shower area.
3. Remove waste and all goo / waterproofing from floor and allow to dry
4. Provide a grade to waste.
5. Install aluminium waterstop to shower area
6. Install a proper puddle flange and waste grate system
7. Waterproof shower floor
8. Give it a ponding test.
8. Re-install tiles and grout.

Let alone join the wall membrane.

Well the bad news is that you will have to remove the bottom row of tiles, this is critical and a basic requirement for waterproofing, miss this step and...

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Shower grates (also known as linear floor grates, or shower channels, or floor drains) are now so popular they are the norm in most new contemporary bathrooms - but do not get the installation wrong. When installed properly, their simplistic straight lines and minimalist design makes them popular.

Renovator Store customers have sent in numerous photos of their finished bathrooms to show off their shower grate - and they look great! (no pun intended).

What is even better though, is that a linear shower channel can be a much simpler installation than your traditional centre floor waste.

Why is that? Well a centre floor waste requires fall from all four sides and this can be tricky and time consuming for the tiler who has to slope the tiles and do numerous cuts to feed surface water from all directions towards the centre floor waste.

Shower grates, on the other hand, are long and straight - and if positioned smartly, will only require a linear slope...

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We just had our bathroom redone (including built-in tiled shower). The shower tiles are now leaking through the wall into our living area.

Our contractor suggested to just apply a waterproofing solution to the grout lines (especially floor/wall join where we suspect the leak to be), but I am worried this is only a temporary solution.

So, will a waterproofing solution (such as UFIXX No Leak) work permenantly, or do I need to get the tiles re-installed with the waterproofing re-done?

The bathroom is only about a month old.

Click for larger view

The white marks are where the contractor drilled/dug to investigate.

We noticed the water marks above the skirting, and when we removed it, it was soaking wet and the plaster was soft and you could dig it with your fingernail.

The contractor assures me it is not the pipes, as they are higher off the floor so we would see damage higher up. The damage is the worst at floor level, pretty...

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I have stripped my bathroom down to the studs (see my other post for structural work done) and I want to install a new shower/bathtub combo with a fiberglass/acrylic tub enclosure (there was only a small corner shower there before).

The problem is that there is a window on the long side of this shower/bathtub. How do I seal around the window? This must be a common problem. Is there something that can be used around the window that will even remotely look like a continuation of the fiberglass/acrylic enclosure? Of course, it would have to be something that keeps the shower water out. As far as the window itself, I m planning to change the current aluminum frame with dual pane vinyl.

I found something along these lines:

but judging from the fact that it only protects 3 sides (what about the top?) perhaps it does not provide the watertightness I am hoping...

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Causes of leaking chimneys can usually be narrowed down to five reasons. If your problem isn’t solved from addressing the items on this list, your leak probably isn’t from the chimney!

#1 The Simplest Cause of Chimney Leaking: Rain Going Straight In from the Top

Capless Chimney (source:

It’s not hard to picture that. Chimneys without covers get a lot of rain falling straight down into them. A chimney cover makes sense to most people. Not only does it keep the rain out, but keeps birds, animals and debris out. The greatest value of the chimney cover is really keeping these out because when chimneys get blocked at the bottom, people get sick (or even die) from CO poisoning. While it’s true that sometimes an uncovered flue is the source of water problems, most often this reason for a leak is only when the liner is metal. So do get a chimney cover and make sure it’s not just this simple.

#2 Many Chimney Leaks are from...

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That is my problem, also. Because of my history with "Murphy's Law", my conservative side would prefer a shower pan of some sort without the possibility of accompanying grout issues, but my shower is an non-standard size, (similar to yours) and I don't think I have any choice other than to go with the tiled floor. I have heard that there are places that will custom-make pans, but of what material? And then it would be just my luck that it would be off 1/2" in one corner, and wouldn't go in! :)

The Kohler shower pan that acomom describes in her post sounds wonderful. Usually Kohler products are designed with great looks in mind, and the bath acomom describes seems gorgeous and classy looking, as though all of the fixtures are working in concert. I'll bet yours could be, too.

Oh weedy, ... weedy!

That tub and shower are incredible! So spacious. A bunch of questions for you, so I hope you see this post. Incidentally, I enjoyed your...

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Basement insulation installed incorrectly is one of the most common Contractor errors I see on a regular. Often times the results are disastrous with severe mold and mildew problems, not to mention the loss of heating bill savings that mounts up over time.

For years contractors have been treating basements much like regular living space. It’s not uncommon to see fiberglass basement insulation in direct contact with foundation walls. Typically here in the Northeast I see several methods including:

Plastic vapor barrier against concrete wall, fiberglass insulation inside stud wall, then drywall. Fiberglass insulation inside a “bag” hanging from the rim joist down along the foundation wall. Stud wall filled with fiberglass insulation an inch or two away from the concrete wall.

This may seem like an obvious problem but the fact that I see contractors still using fiberglass insulation in basements leads me to believe that the industry needs to do a...

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