Do You Need To Do Waterproofing For Showers?
Waterproofing shower walls is one of the most common questions asked by homeowners. There are many opinions regarding whether or not it’s necessary to waterproof shower walls before tiling them with tile.
Some say yes, some say no, but there really isn’t any right answer because they all depend on your situation and what type of tiles you have available to you. If you’re still unsure about the issue then read on!
The first thing to note is that if you don’t want to use tile then you don’t necessarily need to waterproof the wall. Tile is a very durable material and will last forever.
However, if you’re going to be using tiles regularly then it would make sense to at least consider doing something about the shower walls.
Another consideration when considering whether or not you should waterproof your shower walls is the cost involved. A good quality vinyl sheeting will run you anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot depending on where you buy it.
That’s a pretty expensive price tag to pay for just protecting your shower walls. On the other hand, if you were to go with a water resistant membrane like the one mentioned above, then that could easily cost between $2 and $4 per square foot.
So which option is better? While it may seem like a small amount to spend on such a simple task, it could save you money down the road.
If you decide to go ahead with waterproofing your shower walls, here are some things to keep in mind:
1) What Type Of Walls Are Available To You?
There are two main types of shower walls available today; concrete and vinyl siding. Both materials offer their own advantages and disadvantages so which one you choose depends largely upon personal preference.
Frankly, it would be difficult for anyone to tell you which is better for your situation. It really comes down to how much you value your time and money. If you don’t mind spending the money and you have it to spend, then go with vinyl or plastic sheeting. If not, then use a water resistant membrane.
Concrete shower walls are more common in commercial buildings but they are also becoming very popular in residential construction too. They’re durable, waterproof and easy to clean.
The only potential issue with them is large pores which can be filled with grout and tile. If you’re going to tile the wall then you don’t need to waterproof it as your wall tile will take care of that for you.
2) How Are You Going To Apply The Waterproofing?
The next thing to consider is how you’re actually going to apply the waterproofing solution to your wall. Are you going to brush it on, spray it on, or roll it on? Each option has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
For example, spraying the solution onto the wall will provide an even layer of protection but it takes a little more time and patience to do so. If you’re not, then you should seriously consider using a water resistant barrier of some kind.
Vinyl and plastic shower walls are becoming more popular today mainly due to their affordability and ease of installation. They’re also fairly durable and can be very easy to clean.
They do have their downsides though such as a tendency to become warped or dented after many years of use. On the up side, they’re cheap enough that you can easily replace them if that happens. (Which it won’t because of the warranty you’re getting.)
3) Be Careful With The Water You Use
While this kind of goes without saying, it’s still a good idea to limit your shower time if your water tank is pretty far away. In fact, always keep a gallon or two of drinking water in your bathroom in case the water supply runs out.
It’s always a good idea to store extra water anyway. You never know when a disaster like a hurricane, earthquake, flood or riot could strike and cut off your water supply.
(And yes, all of those things have happened in the past!)
4) Don’t Clean Your Toilet With The Same Hose
This may seem like common sense but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t think about this. It only takes one dirty toilet brush touching your clean shower water hose for bacteria and viruses to spread.
Always keep your toilet brushes, buckets and such away from the rest of your water supply.
In fact, it’s a very good idea to have a separate hose for your showers if it’s feasible. Not only does this lower the risk of contamination but it can also help reduce the amount of time your tank has to be refilled.
Who wants to wait an hour for the water to heat up again? Not me, that’s for sure!
5) Don’t Use Too Much Soap
Using too much soap not only wastes water. It can also cloud up your shower and clog your drain.
Excess amounts of soap can even damage your vinyl or plastic wall material. I suggest you use no more than a quarter sized amount of liquid soap and a single drop of solid soap. This should be more than enough for one shower. Just make sure you rinse off all the soap before getting out or you could slip and hurt yourself.
6) Consider An Infrared Water Heater
If you live in a particularly cold climate, you might want to invest in an infrared water heater. These heaters are placed inside your water tank and use a very small amount of electricity to keep the water at a toasty 105 degrees Fahrenheit (Or whatever temperature you choose.
You can even get ones that allow you to set the temperature yourself). Not only will you never have to worry about taking a cold shower again but you’ll also lower your water bill. I’d definitely recommend looking into one of these if you can.
7) Always Check The Filter
Your shower head probably has a filter on it to prevent any impurities from getting into the water stream. These filters need to be cleaned or replaced every once in awhile or they can become clogged and useless.
This is a very simple procedure that requires no tools or expertise and should be done at least once a month. Most shower heads have a cover that unscrews off. Underneath this cover is the filter and a small screw. Simply turn the screw half a turn and remove the filter and clean it with warm water and vinegar. Reverse the process to reinstall.
If your filter doesn’t have a screw on top, check the underside for a clip or tab you can pull to remove it. Be careful not to scratch the finish when doing this.
That’s all there is to it! If you found this guide helpful please let me know by writing a review on Amazon.
I spend a lot of time writing these guides and anything that helps me be successful at what I do means a lot to me. Thank you and stay safe!
WRITER’S NOTE: The above are merely suggestions based on my own personal experience. I am not a plumber or any sort of professional.
Please consult a professional if you feel something is wrong with your shower. Also, the use of vinegar is optional. I usually use it because I have so much of it but it can damage some finishes. Do not use vinegar if you have any doubts about whether or not it will damage your shower.
Like our guides? Get our updates!
Bonus Tip: Shower together with your partner to save water and have fun!
It’s a simple concept. Showering with one other person rather than alone can save a lot of water.
Not to mention it can be fun for you and your partner. There are tons of ways you could take this idea. You could have an entire group shower with multiple shower heads turning them all into a huge waterslide of fun! A My Little Pony shower would be something folks will talk about for years if you go this route. The possibilities are endless folks!
Did you know 2011 was the International Year of Chemistry? If you did, you must be a pretty smart cookie. If not, well thanks for reading our guide and making the world a smarter place.
Happy 2011 Everyone!
Bonus Tip: Always include an off year every 12 years. For example, the years 2011, 2023, 2035, 2047…
and so on. The off year gives the next year a chance to shine by itself. It will make the on years more special and when the big dates do come, they will be truly special.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Shower wall and bathtub mounted back washer (MB Kenner – US Patent 4,696,068, 1987 – Google Patents)
- Waterproof joint for adjacent wall members (TJ Kuehl – US Patent 3,281,172, 1966 – Google Patents)
- Multi-piece shower wall system and method of installation (RC Torres – US Patent 9,833,111, 2017 – Google Patents)