How to Waterproof a Shower without Removing Tiles | A Detailed Guide

This article majorly is meant to educate us on how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles, the meaning of waterproof tiles, steps for installing bathroom waterproof, the recommended tools used on how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles, and other essential topics discussed in the articles.

Understanding the Meaning of Waterproof Shower

A waterproof shower is a shower protected from water infiltration, including water-repellent partitions when they are exposed to runoff. Even the shower in a crawl space must be sealed (beware of rising capillary humidity!). The same applies to the bath’s perimeter, in particular, if it is used for the shower.

On the other hand, outside the shower, if the bathroom partitions are made of water-repellent material, waterproofing under the tiles is not necessary. Only the feet of partitions should benefit from reinforced protection. But it is required to protect any non-water-repellent partition (DTU 52.2: glued installation of ceramic and similar coverings), by a Spec, for example.

Good waterproofing under tiles is necessary for several reasons:

  • It preserves the quality of the tiling because permeable tiling can peel off and be damaged
  • Ensures the longevity of the tiles
  • It prevents water from reaching structures
  • It limits mold problems
waterproofing over tiles

The benefit of shower Waterproofing 

  • It reinforces the durability of the tiles;
  • It protects the coating against UV rays and frost;
  • Makes the tiles less slippery;
  • The operation increases the resistance of the floor to stains;
  • It hinders the formation of foams.

How to Waterproof a Shower without Removing a Tile

Waterproofing your tile increases its lifespan by protecting it from water, oil, and grease stains. This treatment also protects your exterior tiles from freezing and thus prevents it from breaking.

There are all kinds of products suitable for tiling, whether terracotta (porous terracotta coverings), cement slabs, stoneware, marble. These products are specially designed so as not to modify the appearance of your coating.

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Here is step-by-step how to waterproof a shower without removing the tiles.

Step-1: Prepare the floor before waterproofing the tiles

Before applying the waterproofing, your support, whether interior or exterior, must be perfectly clean, degreased, and dry:

  • Clear the room. It is indeed more comfortable and faster to work in space!
  • Dust the room with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Clean your tiles thoroughly with a broom and a Saint-Marc type product.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Let it dry for 2 to 3 days.

Tip: to know if your tiles are completely dry, the day before waterproofing, put a plastic sheet on the floor and fix it on its four edges with tape so that the waterproofing is ensured. The next day, no trace of moisture should have appeared under the sheet.

How to Waterproof a Shower without Removing Tiles

Step-2: Apply the waterproofing to your tiles

Tile water proofers are volatile products. Some precautions are, therefore, necessary when using them:

  • Put on work clothes, gloves, and especially a mask and protective glasses.
  • Ventilate the room by opening as many windows as possible throughout the operation.
  • Pour a little waterproofing product into a paint tray.
  • Apply the pure product to the floor evenly, using a flat, broad brush.

Work on surfaces of 1 m² maximum, taking the tile joints as reference points to limit traces of connection between the different work surfaces.

Proceed to the next surface.

Note: for damp rooms (bathroom, toilet, kitchen), it is preferable to apply a second coat by proceeding in the same way as for the first. This second coat should be passed between 1 to 2 hours after the first. If you wait longer, the water proofer will have dried and will prevent the second coat from penetrating properly into the tile.

  • Leave to dry for at least 8 hours.

The waterproofing of the tiles is effective after 24 hours. From then on, you can replace your furniture and use your room again as you see fit.

waterproofing bathroom floor after tiling

Steps for Installing Bathroom Waterproof

Sealing Solutions (SAM) is a revolutionary new system for sealing bath and shower. This self-adhesive system offers a secure and straightforward seal with a 10-year guarantee on water tightness. Also, almost any surface can be sealed, such as concrete, cement screeds, dry screeds, existing ceramics (tiles), plasterboard, and wood.

The steps are;

  • check surface adhesion
  • clean the work area
  • attach corner pieces
  • apply tape for corners and edges
  • waterproof plumbing fixtures
  • attach the membrane to the walls
  • correction and finish
  • Attach the bottom membrane to seal the bath
  • cut out the shower drain
  • Water seal completed. Now tiles

Read More: How To Install A Shower Drain In A Concrete Slab

Now let’s jump into the step details.

Read More: How To Fix A Slow Bathtub Drain

Step 1: check surface adhesion.

Before installation, it is recommended to check the membrane’s adhesive strength by applying a small test strip (supplied) to the surface. Remove the protective film from the strip and stick it on the wall. Hold the strip against the fleece (grey) that is being pulled down from the wall.

  • Option 1: If the test strip warps down when you peel it off, the surface must be primed with primer for better adhesion before proceeding with the installation.
  • Option 2: If the test strip sticks, you can use the sealing system without primer.

Primer:

  • Carefully spray the primer onto the surface from a distance of approx.—20 cm.
  • Allow about 5 to 15 minutes to breathe, depending on the material.
  • Protect the surface from moisture, dust, etc.
how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles

Step 2: clean the work area

Before starting the assembly, please check that the walls and floors are clean. To achieve optimal adhesion, all surfaces should be clean and free of substances that reduce adhesion (e.g., dust, acid, grease). Make sure that the floor is free of oil and dry.

how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles

Step 3: attach corner pieces.

Start by applying the corner pieces. Make sure that you cover all corners with the inner and outer corner pieces (supplied). It is possible to shorten these corner pieces by cutting them to the desired size. First, the film is removed from the underside, and the corner piece is applied to the floor. Then remove the film from other parts and apply it to the wall. Use pressure and remove any air pockets with the squeegee/spatula. The corner pieces can be used to make shower walls waterproof.

Tip: Use the smoothing tool (squeegee/spatula) to apply constant pressure to the sealing membrane when applying it to the walls/floor and to remove air pockets under the membrane.

how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles

Step 4: apply tape for corners and edges.

Cover all corners with the corner sealing tape. Remove the protective film, apply pressure, and remove air pockets with the spatula/squeegee. It is essential that the corner sealing tape completely covers the corner pieces.

Tip: Always remove the protective film when attaching the sealing membrane, sleeves, and sealing tape. Also, be careful not to damage the membrane when removing the foil.

how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles

Step 5: waterproof plumbing fixtures

how to waterproof a shower without removing tiles

Use the supplied wall sleeves to seal off any plumbing fixtures and pipes coming out of the walls or floor. Ensure that the transitions between the wall and a line are free of plaster/plaster residue before you attach the covers. The sets contain different sleeve sizes such as DN50, DN100, and 1/2 ″. Use the spatula/squeegee to press out all air bubbles and wrinkles firmly.

Step 6: attach the membrane to the walls.

outdoor tile for decks

Applying the waterproof membrane removes about 10 centimeters of protective film on the back and works the film from top to bottom. Always use the film from top to bottom, making sure that it overlaps with the corner sealing tape. A new strip of waterproofing membrane can be applied to the dark-Coloured (5 cm / 2 ″ wide) non-woven layer of another membrane. Use the spatula/squeegee to make sure the membrane is in place and remove any air pockets. Again, make sure that the membrane is not damaged when removing the foil.

Step 7: correction and finish

Correction: To repair or continue a strip of waterproofing tape, place corner tape under the strip and overlap the following membrane on top of the strip.

Read More: How To Install A Shower Base On Concrete Floor

Finishing: Use the end tape to cover the last strip of non-lap material.

shower tile seal

Step 8: Attach the bottom membrane to seal the bath

Finally, seal the shower and bathroom floor with water. When sealing the shower base, ensure that the sealing membrane completely covers the shower drain and that there is sufficient overlap between the sealing membranes.

Necessary: Water tightness is not guaranteed if the seam covers the shower drain. Also, make sure that there is enough space around the linear shower drain (50 mm).

tiling outdoor deck

Step 9: cut out the shower drain.

When the bathroom seal is complete, carefully cut out the sealing membrane covering the shower drain to open the drain.

leak shower

Step 10: water seal completed. Now tiles!

The waterproof membrane can be tiled directly through the use of flexible tile adhesive. Read more about installing the shower drain in the corresponding installation instructions or look at our shower drain installation guide.

leaking showers

How to Prevent Shower Leakage

Step-1: Clean the showerhead 

If the leak is coming from the showerhead, there is a good chance that the latter is blocked by lime.

  • Cut off the water supply,
  • Disassemble the showerhead,
  • Immerse it in a bowl of white vinegar for 8 hours,
  • Remove deposits from the holes with a toothpick.
clear waterproofing membrane over tiles

Step-2: Change the valve seal 

If the leak is coming from the showerhead, the leak is likely from a damaged seal that needs to be replaced:

  • Locate the leak on the tap (cold water tap, hot water, knob, etc.),
  • Disassemble the affected tap,
  • Remove the damaged seal,
  • Replace it with a similar gasket,
  • Reassemble the faucet and test to see if the leak is still present.

Tip: If you have a hot water faucet and a cold water faucet, note that when one is hit, the second will soon leak in turn. It is, therefore, better to replace the seal on both taps.

balcony waterproofing without removing tiles

Step-3: Redo the tile joints

Be careful; if you observe a damp wall or the appearance of mold, likely, the joints of the tiles in the shower are no longer waterproof. In this case, it is urgent to remove the old gaskets to redo them.

Tip: Leave your bathroom window open to ventilate the room and speed up the walls’ drying!

Step-4: Check the pipes

The leak can come from the piping, and this is where it gets complicated! If you do not have access to find the damaged pipe and tackle the problem, work will be necessary to access it. If you don’t have any DIY skills, you’ll need to bring in a plasterer and plumber before the problem escalates.

bathroom tiles leakage solution

Step-5: Clean or replace the mixing valve 

The tartar or seal damaged on the mixer (or reversing) the time may be responsible for the flight of your shower.

  • Turn off the water,
  • Disassemble the reverser,
  • Clean the inverter using a wire brush and white vinegar,
  • Replace the reverse gear if you observe cracks, for example,
  • Put it all back together.

Step-6: Check the shower screen

The leak can also be observed at the shower screen level: cracks, worn seal, etc. To avoid water damage in your home or your neighbor if you live in an apartment, it will be necessary to hire a good plumber. He will tell you if the shower screen needs replacing or if it is repairable.

how to stop water leakage from bathroom tiles

How to Seal Shower Tile

Step-1:

Preparation of the base: clean the surface well from dust and grease so that the corner elements and the sealing tape can adhere well. The most suitable are detergents containing alcohol or ethanol.

Step-2:

Remove the protective strips from the first corner element for the wall, then fix it by pressing firmly on the shower tray’s external surface, taking into account the thickness of the tiles. “To do this, I often use the iron of a whitening roller so that it sticks securely and durably to the enamel surface. Alternatively, a soft, clean cloth can also be used. This has the advantage that heat builds up with abrasion, and the sealing strip sticks better”,

Step-3:

After fixing the sealing corners, cut the sealing tape. The tape and corners must always overlap by approximately two inches.

Step-4:

With the tape cut to size, continue the sealing on all sides and glue it well to the shower. In this way, the mounting frame and the drain can be positioned safely; the shower tray will then be inserted on the frame, and the drain will be mounted.

Step-5:

To seal the joint, first apply a large sealant layer on the screed and walls, under the sealing tape. Press the corner pieces and strips of tape onto the applied sealant. Then the corner elements and the tape are connected by using the adhesive or a sealing mud. 

Step-6:

When all sealing tapes and corners join together, the Kaldewei system safely integrates into the overall bathroom sealing. To this end, the sealant applies to the floor and wall, up to the edge of the enameled shower tray, and, therefore, over the tapes. Thus the shower trays, walls, and floors are reliably seal. After the tiles’ final laying by a tiller, the joint close around the enameled shower tray: that’s it!

Last Words

We believe you have learned a lot from this article on waterproof a shower without removing tiles, how to seal shower tile, the steps for installing bathroom waterproof, and other relevant topics discussed in the article.

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