With the popularity of wetrooms continuing to grow, more and more of us are installing them into our homes. But how long can you realistically expect a wetroom to last? We take a look at the life expectancy of a wetroom and how to ensure your wetroom never leaks.
Choosing the right materials
You can expect a properly fitted, high quality wetroom to last for the lifetime of your chosen tiles, but never underestimate the importance of waterproofing. In order that your wetroom remains watertight, you’ll need to make sure that you or your wetroom installer are using high quality materials throughout the installation process.
Water leaks are one of the key causes of a damaged wetroom. In order to ensure your wetroom lasts for as long as possible, you need to make sure that the wetroom area is 100% waterproof. Waterproofing, or tanking as it is known, can be done in a number of ways using a variety of different systems and installation methods. We recommend a “belt and braces” approach, favouring a self adhesive waterproof membrane on the floor and a liquid membrane on the walls.
Our RIW Tilesafe Membrane is a self-adhesive membrane consisting of a 2mm thick rubber modified bitumen waterproof layer, incorporating a woven fabric on one face. This not only guarantees that your wetroom area is waterproof, but once laid, you can tile over it immediately.
The de-coupling properties of RIW Tilesafe ensures that any small movements over time will be accommodated across the floor substrate, safeguarding tiles from cracking. In addition, RIW Tilesafe has acoustic properties, improving the sound impact insulation properties of a wetroom by 11db. This is particularly beneficial in apartments or terraced properties where the RIW Tilesafe sheet membrane acts as an acoustic barrier to reduce sound travelling through into adjacent rooms and floors.
To waterproof the walls of a wetroom, we recommend applying RIW FWM (Flexible Wall Membrane) to the full height of the shower walls, overlapping onto the RIW Tilesafe and providing a waterproof base for wall tiles of any weight to be fixed on to.
Other tanking materials that should be used whilst installing waterproof membranes include primers, tape and jointing compounds for edges and corners. Correct installation of these within the shower/splash area and in vulnerable places such as soap niches, will ensure the shower area is comprehensively waterproofed. In addition, it is important that silicon does not come into contact with the waterproof membrane as it will cause the membrane to fail.
Tiling styles and personal tastes may well change over the years, and it is vital that should you ever look to replace or update your tiles, that you completely replace your wetroom tanking systems at the same time. If you’re fed up with mosaics and fancy a change, by all means replace them, but always replace the waterproofing membranes to ensure the wetroom remains watertight.
If your property is prone to mould, your wetroom grouting may need replacing after 10 or 15 years.
Whilst the size and depth of tiles chosen for your wetroom will have an impact on the gradient and grill installed onto the wet-floor, the method of applying the tiles is always the same. A rapid-set Flexible Adhesive S1 or C2 must be used, with the tiles being laid on a 100% bed of the adhesive. The dot and dab method should not be used as it doesn’t allow for a full adhesive coverage of the tiles, and gaps and voids will be present. These gaps will allow water to track below the tiles, causing irreparable damage and potential leaks.
Most homes have a variety of pipes that make up their plumbing – brass, copper, galvanized steel, cast iron and PVC and these can all play a part in your network of plumbing. In wetrooms, you are most likely to encounter brass or copper pipes. This type of wetroom pipe is likely to last between 50 and 70 years over their natural lifespan.
The wiring regulations in the UK state that: “All fixed electrical installations in dwellings must legally comply with BS 7671:2008 ‘Requirements for Electrical Installations.”
This standard provides guidance on design, installation, testing, verification and certification of electrical installations. As a result of these strict regulations, wetroom lighting and electronics should last at least 50 years. It is important to consult a qualified electrician when undertaking any electrical installations within a wetroom.
Depending on your wetroom or bathroom furniture, the life span of your fittings will vary. The primary challenges are damage as a result of moisture. However, you can reduce the effect through treatments and waterproofing solutions. This will make your wetroom furniture, such as shelving, cupboards and other storage last for around 10 years. The life span will vary depending on your ventilation and usage.
The CCL Wetrooms Guarantee
At CCL Wetrooms, we’re so confident in our products, that we offer a lifetime guarantee. With over 30 years experience in waterproofing, our unrivalled track record allows us to continually lead the way in wetroom design whilst embracing the latest technology. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer support.
Explore our comprehensive range of products. Our specialist range is designed to offer a variety of solutions for Architects and Designers, whilst overcoming the challenges presented by today’s modern floor structures.