Wedi Waterproof Shower System
Building a Waterproof Shower
I think we can all agree the single most important thing to consider when building a shower is waterproofing. Building a waterproof barrier is an essential part of preparing these showers and unfortunately, many people do it wrong or cut corners. We all know countless shower pan and waterproofing horror stories.
And yet while clients ask a lot of questions during a bathroom remodel, one that never seems to come up is properly waterproofing the shower. Maybe they don’t understand the process — or maybe they just trust us to build and install our systems according to industry best practices.
But bathrooms are botched more than any other room in the house.
I know there’s a long list of things to think about in a bathroom remodel, but in my experience most consumers spend too much time and money on decorative features and fixtures and not enough on what goes on behind the scenes – the guts of the project that really affect the overall quality and longevity of their remodeling investment.
The Typical Waterproofing Process
The typical process is complex, but it’s not impossible to understand. Most shower installations used to involve copper shower pans, mud floors, cement backer boards, mesh tape, thinset, and liquid waterproofing sealer. Later, remodelers began installing PVC shower pan liners to eliminate the time and cost involved with mud shower pans.
Regardless of the exact details, a typical shower installation requires at least three tradespeople taking part in a 5-step process:
- The remodeler has to frame the walls
- The plumber has to install a drain and the copper pan or PVC liner
- The remodeler then applies the cement board
- The tile setter next installs the mud floor, and tapes and coats the cement board seams
- The remodeler applies the waterproof coating to the cement board and the mud floor
And yet the reality is that cement backer board, thinset mortar, and liquid sealers just aren’t fully waterproof, even after tile and grout are applied.
Albert Einstein was credited with the saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting different results.” I often thought this process was insane, but didn’t have a better alternative until I learned about the Wedi shower system at a trade show.