When you’re renovating your bathroom, there are some DIY jobs you can tackle, but waterproofing isn’t one of them. Waterproofing wet areas must be carried out by a professional waterproofer. If a leak develops, it could cause a range of issues, including plasterboard decay, mold, rising damp, peeling paint, and more serious structural damage. Remediating these is all likely to cost you more than waterproofing, so it makes sense to get it done right the first time.
How does bathroom waterproofing work?
Bathroom waterproofing is done before the tiles are laid. In many cases, your bathroom renovator or tiler will include waterproofing in their quote. Otherwise, a dedicated waterproofer will need to come in. Waterproofing products are typically sheets or a water-based, flexible, high-performance polyurethane membrane that is painted onto a surface.
The waterproofing process normally takes 2–3 days and involves:
- The area being cleaned and primed All joints, floor penetrations, and wall-floor junctions are then sealed with silicone. The first coat of the waterproofing membrane can then be applied.
- This is allowed to dry overnight and then inspected to ensure it is complete. The second coat is then applied. This is left to dry overnight.
- The area can then be tested and then left to dry for a further 24 hours.
You’ll need to wait for your waterproofing to dry out completely before continuing with other work, which could be a couple of days depending on the ambient temperature. It is very important that all subsequent work does not damage the waterproofing membrane, or you could risk the structural integrity of your home if you do have a leak.
Hiring a bathroom waterproofer
When it comes time to hiring a waterproofer, make sure they are right for the job. Some questions to ask them include:
- Are you licensed?
- Are you insured to work in my home?
- How long will my job take?
- Can you provide a written quote?
- Do you have references I can follow up on?
- What warranty does your waterproofing product carry?
How much does bathroom waterproofing cost?
Bathroom waterproofing can cost as little as R400 per square meter, but that is at the low end of the scale.
In general, expect to pay between R5000 and R7500 to completely waterproof an average-sized bathroom. If the waterproofing is done in more than one bathroom or as part of a complete bathroom renovation, the cost may be lower. In some cases, such as large bathrooms, wet rooms, or second-story bathrooms, the cost of waterproofing may be higher.
To get the best price and the best service, get quotes from several services and ask each of them to provide you with all the details about the scope of their service in their quotes. Because you want to know that your bathroom will be fully waterproofed, choose the company with the best reputation rather than the one that offers the lowest price.
The best way to find out the cost of your project is to get quotes from local bathroom waterproofers. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.