waterproofing brisbane

Waterproofing And Bathroom Renovations Go Hand In Hand

Many renovators may not be familiar with waterproofing.
Still, it is the most critical aspect of protecting the home from structural damage when water seeps in where it shouldn't. 

Australian standards must be followed when installing the waterproofing. This is not a DIY project for the inexperienced.
Surviving during a bathroom renovation can be challenging. Especially when you only have one bathroom to use.
Plus, it's normal to be concerned about how long it will take before you can use your bathroom again.


Take Care when Hiring a Renovation Builder

The duration and quality of your bathroom renovation work will largely depend on the builder you hire to have this done. 

Therefore, you want to ensure you only deal with a qualified person. For one, they need to have enough experience under their belts.
And for two, it's riskier to work with an amateur. That's why you need to be sure the person can have the job done and in record time. 

Failure to consider this first-hand may lead to renovation delays and issues in the years to come.

waterproofing brisbane

Find an Alternative Backup Plan

Despite hiring a qualified contractor, there's still a chance of experiencing a delay in the process.
Fortunately – many Australian homes have 2 bathrooms, so one can be used while the other is being renovated.

If you have a great relationship with your neighbours – they may let you use their bathroom for a couple of days for your morning shower. Hiring a portaloo can also be an option.

Be Patient And Don't Take Short Cuts

Trust the experts and let them do the work correctly. You do not want to take shortcuts and try and do the work yourself or not allow for the right amount of drying time.

Waterproofing is a critical step in bathroom renovations. We will discuss its role in your bathroom build further in this article.

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Hire The Right Bathroom Renovation Team

Inadequate waterproofing is one of Australia's three most common building defects. 

It can cause as much structural damage to a home as termites. Keep reading to learn more about waterproofing.

The bathroom is the smallest room in a house but by the square metre it is the most expensive to renovate. It is also the room that gives the biggest wow factor!
You cannot afford to get it wrong and the most important part of any bathroom renovation is making sure that it waterproofed correctly and to standards.

What is waterproofing?

Unlike a “waterproof” material, which restricts the movement of moisture, “waterproof” material does not allow moisture to pass through at all.

This will  ensure that moisture cannot escape from the wet areas into other parts of the house.

Wet areas in a home are the rooms containing plumbing fixtures such as a bathroom, laundry or kitchen
The cost depends on the size of the room and the type of waterproofing. Still, you can expect to pay between $35 and $300 per square metre or $500 to $4000 in total to waterproof an average-sized bathroom.

Australian waterproofing regulations

Regulations in Australia vary from state to state, but as a general rule, waterproofing must be carried out per the Australian Building Code (BCA) and Australian Standards (AS 3740-1994), which specify that

  • Shower floors must be fully waterproofed, and shower walls must be waterproofed to a height of 1,800 mm.
  • Bathroom walls must be sealed to a height of 150 mm.
  • The step from the shower to the floor must be sealed to a height of at least 100 mm.
  • If the bathroom is not on the ground floor, the entire bathroom floor must be sealed.
  • If the bathroom floor contains wood, the whole bathroom floor must be sealed.

Different types of waterproofing

Waterproofing membranes come in different types. 

  • Rubber sheets that are rolled out and attached to the surface
  • Liquid form and are applied with a brush or roller. 

The most common type used in bathrooms today is the liquid membrane, which has the advantage of being very flexible and relatively easy to install.

Why is waterproofing necessary?

Water in the wrong areas will cause significant damage in a residential building, especially if it remains undetected for an extended period of time. 

 This can cause the following issues to appear:

  • Rising damp – when the water rises through walls, floors and brickwork by capillary action against gravity.
  • Mould and mildew can release spores into the air, which can be harmful to people with respiratory problems such as asthma.
  • Deformation and rot of structural timbers – if critical structural components such as beams, joists, posts and joists are compromised, the integrity of the whole house can be at risk.
  • Corrosion of pipes can lead to further water leaks, exacerbating the problem.
  • Impaired electrics – water dripping onto light fittings and collecting in ceilings can pose a high risk of fire or electrocution.
  • Concrete cancer – the reinforcing steel in concrete begins to rust, causing it to expand and displace the surrounding concrete, making it brittle and cracked and weakening the building's foundation.

Waterproofing Bathrooms And Other Wet Areas

Stops leaks – provides a watertight seal that prevents water from seeping through cracks/joints in floors and walls, which can later save structural repairs.

  • Prevents dampness and mould – a watertight barrier prevents condensation and moisture from forming under tiles and penetrating wood, plaster and masonry.
  • Insulation – waterproofing walls helps to keep heat in the home and reduce heating bills in winter.
  • Increases the value of your property – a fully sealed bathroom will increase the value of your property. In contrast, a poorly sealed bathroom will decrease the value and put off potential buyers.


Who should wet seal your bathroom?

In some Australian states, waterproofing work can only be carried out by a licensed tradesperson. such as a
Typically these are builders, tilers, or licensed waterproofing professionals.

For NSW and Victoria, the waterproofing contractor must provide certification for the work.

The waterproofing membrane must be compatible with the substrate and adhesive, accurate curing times, and products should comply with the Plumbing Code of Australia and Australian Product Quality Standards.

Before you decide to do this work yourself, consider the impact unauthorised work could have on your home insurance if you need to make a claim later.

What are the leading causes of poor waterproofing?

Poorly executed work is the most common cause of waterproofing failures:

  • Inadequate preparation – if the area to be waterproofed is not free of dust and dirt, the membrane cannot adhere properly and will eventually peel off.
  • Poor workmanship – the waterproofing membrane must extend beyond the wet area.
  • Low-quality waterproofing product – a good quality waterproofing product must be used as an inferior membrane may fail.

How long will the waterproofing last?

Most waterproofing products come with a minimum warranty of 7 years. Still, if used correctly (depending on the waterproofing membrane chosen), a waterproofing membrane should last much longer.

Signs of a leak in your bathroom may include swollen skirting boards, peeling paint, mouldy cupboards, ceilings and walls, and stained wood under the subfloor.

You can fix a bathroom leak with a commercial silicone sealant, but this is only a stopgap solution. These products are usually only suitable for one area of the shower or bath, will mould reasonably quickly and will not withstand further movement around the building.

The only long-term solution is to remove the tiles altogether and replace the waterproofing membrane. 

Even if local regulations allow you to do the work yourself, it can be a messy and costly experience.


Signs that bathroom waterproofing is not up to Australian standards 

A common recurring construction defect reported by property owners in newly purchased or renovated homes is waterproofing. 

Bathrooms with inadequate waterproofing are a problem waiting to happen.
The quality of a bathroom's waterproofing is crucial to its longevity in the home.
Simply put, poor waterproofing can cause several problems, but the most troublesome is the premature renovation of a bathroom.
When you install an new bathroom , you expevt to have it for at least 15 years before it needs an overhaul or makeover.
A leaking bathroom will not give you that time.
If the leaking happens from the start – you will notice the damage withing months.
Or if the bathroom is several years old, the leak mayhave developed due to damage done to the tiling or there mayhave been a foundation movement. If the waterproofing was thinly applied or not applied high enough, this is where the problems cab start.


It costs money and time to repair – and bathrooms are not exactly the cheapest rooms in the house to renovate.

The only way to fix a bathroom with a leaking shower that has impacted the  floors or walls is often a complete new renovation.
This may mean removing the tiles and flooring  and bringing the room back to a bare shell to install Australian standard waterproofing.  Then all the tiling and fixtures can be re installed.

Waterproofing is not a DIY project for the inexperieced  builder or a budding renovation hobbiest.
If you are in Queensland Australia, By law you will require to use a licesensed contractor

Hire the Queensland waterproofing experts at https://qldwaterproofers.com.au/

Call us on (07) 3555 8939


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