The introduction of so many new tile options including large format tiles and new patterns, colours and textures means there has never been a better time to have a tiled shower. And, with more homeowners wanting jet sprays and high volume rain heads in their tiled showers, the need for comprehensive waterproofing is greater than ever.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that tile and grout – even sealed grout – are not waterproof. The moisture and water vapor inside a shower can seep through to the wall and floor structures. If these structures beneath the tile are not sealed with a good waterproofing membrane, moisture will collect in the wall and floor cavities, leading to mold infestation, which can cause health problems and costly damage.
Not all waterproof membranes, however, guarantee a mold-free environment. Membranes that are installed beneath the mortar bed, for example, instead of on top, dramatically increase the risk of efflorescence (crusty deposits), bacteria, and fungus growth. Others, such as trowel-on membranes are very messy and difficult to apply evenly.
Approved materials and methods like a bonded waterproofing membrane system make it easier than ever to build a tile shower that will remain waterproof and mold-free. When homeowners renovate their bathroom they want and expect beautiful results, and they expect the beauty to last a very long time. To discover that mold is breeding beneath the tiles, or to find wet areas caused by leaks, takes all of the joy out of an otherwise successful renovation.
It is far better to install a shower right the first time, than run into problems later and have to re-do the entire project. The cost of cutting corners or missing a step in tiled shower construction can be substantial. Homeowners and installers must choose and closely adhere to the approved installation method that best suits their requirements. The Schluter-Shower System provides an ideal solution. This system allows homeowners and professionals to easily install a waterproof, vapor-tight tile shower assembly. The system includes a sloped, polystyrene shower base (for proper drainage), a shower curb, drain, and KERDI polyethylene membrane to make the entire shower area waterproof before the tiles are installed. The Schluter-KERDI membrane is a pliable sheet of polyethylene that is covered on both sides with fleece webbing. The sheet is applied to the walls, corners and floor of the shower using thin-set adhesive in much the same way wallpaper is installed – without the challenge of matching patterns. Tiles are then adhered directly onto the KERDI with a layer of thin-set adhesive. Overlapping the KERDI membrane by a minimum of 2 inches at all seams creates a totally watertight system that ensures that all moisture is routed directly to the floor drain.
This shower enclosure is completely waterproofed with membrane applied on top of all surfaces. It is ready for tiles to be installed.
Once the waterproofing is complete the tiles can be installed to give the luxurious look and feel the homeowner wanted in the first place. And it will perform as great as it looks.
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