What will cost a homeowner more: removing tile, installing a moisture barrier, replacing the shower pan and installing new tile before a leak happens, or waiting to do this after the leak occurs? As you probably guessed, preventative maintenance is always the easiest and most cost-effective solution when it comes to stopping water damage in the bathroom. Like Grandma always said, waiting for a problem to fix itself never helped anyone!
Water + Leaks = Hidden Headaches
Within the bathroom, where the highest water usage occurs, the risk of water damage occurring behind walls and under the floor is higher than anywhere else in a home. When moisture seeps under a tub or shower basin, or between the shower pan and the wall, you have the perfect environment for the formation of mold and mildew. These issues will eventually lead to wood rot in walls and the subfloor. In a worst-case scenario, the floor will collapse.
Faulty shower pans, poorly constructed tub surrounds and cultured marble tile are infamous for creating leaks here and in other wet areas. Showers with new pans, or pans that are 30 years old or more, seem to generate the most problems. Improperly installed new pans or pan liners damaged during construction can leak soon after being put to use, and older pans will wear out.
Broken tile, decaying grout or caulk, and poor waterproofing can similarly lead to moisture leaks. Contrary to popular belief, tiles and grout joints are not inherently waterproof and must be installed in conjunction with a waterproofing system which effectively manages moisture and prevents mold growth.
Without professional inspection, bathroom leaks are seldom discovered before the damage is substantial. The shower and tub areas pictured here cost the owners thousands of dollars in structural repairs, drywall replacement and mold remediation work. Remember: just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
The Solution to Leaky Showers
If you have a natural stone shower, it is critical that you have it professionally evaluated each year for cracks in the grout or corners, and to have your surfaces resealed. These areas should be professionally cleaned regularly and then resealed every two to three years, depending on use, in order to protect your investment.
The good news is properly constructed tiled showers can last a lifetime, especially when constructed using a Schluter® system on the floor, walls and drain assembly. Find out more information on the Schluter® family of products that we recommend in any shower installation to prevent future leaks.
Get Expert Care for Your Home
TLS Home Improvement and our team of fully certified professionals would be happy to provide you with any general maintenance and repairs necessary for your bathrooms, in addition to offering complete bathroom remodeling in O’Fallon, MO. Please call our office at (636) 234-9100 to schedule a consultation.