Shower Waterproofing Membrane Made To Last

The important detail that must be spotted in this video is the sticking-up piece of rubber mat at the outer edge of the shower base. A waterproof membrane in the shower base must be able to withstand the weight of a person. This would be quite a strain for a regular liquid waterproofing membrane. For a rubber mat, however, this is not an issue. You can rest easy knowing your waterproofing will never fail unless Auckland gets hit by an earthquake.

I apologize for the poor quality of this video. It was done in the jurasic period, with a “flip flop” mobile…

Let me show you how a bullet-proof waterproofing membrane looks like.

1/ The rubber mat goes on top the shower base and overlap the shower walls at least some 500 mm high (BEFORE the installation of gib-board)

2/ The shower waste unit is put into place. The white plastic part is screwed on top of the rubber mat

3/ The whole interior of the shower is painted with 2 coats of liquid waterproofing membrane (the walls up to 300mm above the shower head)

Ignore the fact that I’m showing a plastic shower tray here. It’s just to visualize things. I didn’t have any photo of a pre-tiling stage of a shower base. As for my drawing skills… It wouldn’t look great…

waterproofing shower base

waterproofing membrane

The choice of a liquid waterproofing membrane is just as important as all previous steps. All waterproofing membranes have a decent guarantee period, but I like to be on a safe side. I guarantee tiling or re-tiling showers for 5 years. During those years I really don’t want to have any sleepless nights. When you receive a guarantee from me you have to realize that it is ME who feels safe and comfy. I use products that don’t give me any headaches. 

My number one choice here would be the Hydro Ban from Global Tiles.

Having said that, I issue guarantees for waterproofing ONLY if PROPER TANKING of a shower has been done by ME. I’d never trust a job done by others as repairing leaking showers is a request I hear at least on monthly basis. Just because someone smeared on your shower walls some fancy paint doesn’t mean it’s waterproof. The main cause of leaks is NOT a failure of waterproofing membrane as such. It’s rather hard not to know how to paint…

In general, there are two main causes: sloppiness and ignorance. The term “sloppy” refers to not using silicone when installing aluminum frames (a leak between the frames and tiles). Another good example is failing to connect the waterproofing membrane to the waste pipe properly (this is usually major and clearly visible; e.g. flooded ceiling in a room below). 

Finally, we have physics… The grout is a sponge. It absorbs water. A glass wall does not separate the grout lines inside a shower from the rest of the grout in your bathroom. Whenever the grout inside of the shower gets wet, the water travels through the grout lines as if your glass “barrier” doesn’t exist. The only thing that can help is a sealer.

I can quite easily repair most leaky showers by proper sealing of grout and tiles. It is NOT the same thing as replacing waterproofing membranes. Only then could waterproofing be guaranteed as such.