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Why is Waterproofing So Important in Your Bathroom Renovation

We know bathroom renovations are a fun and exciting project, especially when it comes to the design phase when you get to create your dream layout and pick all your favourite materials. Researching and finding the perfect products like tiles and tapware can be a breeze with the plethora of information available, but what about waterproofing? Not so much?  

We understand that waterproofing isn’t the most glamorous or fun aspect of your bathroom renovation, but it sure is one of the most important you should be familiar with. Unfortunately, because there’s a lot of technical information out there (which, let’s face it, can be confusing), understanding what level of waterproofing is required, and what to expect from a waterproofing contractor can become a tedious chore. 

That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to understanding the waterproofing process and its importance. Because if you want to have a gorgeous looking bathroom to stand the test of time (and the water test) and one you can also feel safe in, nailing your waterproofing is ESSENTIAL, and we are breaking it down for you: 

What is Waterproofing?


Waterproofing is the act of making something impervious to water, and as you can imagine this is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT when it comes to bathrooms. When we talk about waterproofing a bathroom, we’re referring to a system of non-permeable membranes that go beneath the finished wall or floor, which prevents water from seeping through the structure of your house. 


During construction, waterproofing can be achieved through multiple processes such as applying a waterproof membrane, installing a preformed shower base (for level entry showers), water-resistant plasterboard, silicone water stops and epoxy grout. In a way, waterproofing is the raincoat for a bathroom. It stops water from penetrating the walls and floor, which causes issues to the room’s structure. 

Is it really THAT important?

Yes, it definitely is. Bathrooms are constantly wet areas, and if you don’t waterproof them properly, water damage can wreak havoc on the structure of your property. For example, without adequate waterproofing water can seep through to your timber subfloor and deteriorate the structural integrity of your home, making the whole bathroom and surrounding areas unsafe. 

Water damage can even enter adjoining rooms and ceilings below (in the case of a first-floor bathroom), so it’s fair to say that proper waterproofing protects the structure of your home and potentially other people’s homes. On the other hand, uncontrolled water and moisture can cause mould, swelling, and rotting, which have severe consequences. So, if you want to avoid water damage to your newly renovated bathroom, we recommend taking waterproofing very seriously. 

On a happier note, waterproofing can also preserve and prolong a bathroom or laundry’s life, so that’s another reason to add expert waterproofing to your list of priorities. 

What are the Australian Standards for waterproofing? 

Australian Standards of waterproofing dictate a 3-step process. First, the whole floor must be waterproofed, including 150mm off the floor. Second, you must also waterproof to an 1800mm height in a shower and 100mm above a bath hob. 

Also, Australian standards call for products suitable for this waterproofing purpose, including appropriate floor finishes and a tiled shower base. 

How is waterproofing done by smarter BATHROOMS+? 

At smarter BATHROOMS+, we go above and beyond Australian Standards, providing a 6-Step waterproofing system to ensure the best results possible for the entirety of your bathroom long into the future 

Our 6-step system includes applying two coats of Laticrete Hydroban waterproofing membrane, which has been approved for use in Olympic swimming pools. We waterproof the whole bathroom floor not just in the shower area, always giving particular care to seal around floor pipes.  

In addition to the waterproofing membrane our waterproofing steps include:  

  • Installation of preformed shower base (for level entry showers) 
  • Use of water-resistant plasterboard 
  • Use of polyurethane sealer injections around edges and corners 
  • Multi-location water stop barriers  
  • Epoxy grout application on all tiled floors 

We do a 6-step process instead of the standard three-step system to make sure every bathroom that sB+ creates is waterproofed to perfection, so we can give you the peace of mind you deserve. 

How to tell if your waterproof is lacking?

Unfortunately, poor waterproofing jobs aren’t uncommon. Here are some of the most common signs that waterproofing has failed (or never included in the first place) and water is damaging your home: 

  • Swelling or mould on the walls or floor 
  • Soft spots on the floors (feeling the floor sag beneath your weight) 
  • Hearing dripping sounds when the water is not being used  
  • Termite or white ant infestation 
  • Cracked grout or tiles –  we’ve even seen tiles being uplifted with holes in the floor! 
  • Mouldy silicone  
  • Damp spots on walls or floors  
  • A musty smell in the room  

As unpleasant as they are, these are all clear signs of a breach in your waterproofing membrane and should be taken very seriously. 

Where there is water damage, there is a renovation solution

In most cases, once water damage is discovered, the safest solution is to complete a full renovation of the space to get it waterproofed correctly. A complete renovation entails potential repair to the substrate in water affected areas and complete removal of floor coverings to fully waterproof the whole bathroom. 

If you’re about to embark on your bathroom renovation and want to make sure your new bathroom is perfectly waterproof, reach out! With 17 years of experience renovating Melbourne bathrooms, we know how to create gorgeous bathrooms that go above and beyond the Australian Standards of waterproofing.  

Ready to begin your renovation journey? Book a free in-home consultation with smarter BATHROOMS + now, and we will make sure one of our expert designers visit your home as soon as the current restrictions are lifted.  


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