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Tiling showers, bathrooms and wet rooms

Showers, bathrooms and wet rooms are very common applications for ceramic tiling. The tiles themselves are not really affected by the action of water but the overall installation can be. The fixing materials must be chosen to suit the level of exposure to water.

Problem

Adhesives and grouts are porous

Most cement-based products including grouts and adhesives are porous to some extent. They have minute voids left by the evaporation of un-combined water or by gaps between the aggregates. These pores allow water to permeate through the grout into the adhesive and substrate.

Voids in the adhesive layer allow access for water

Voids left in the adhesive layer after bedding the tiles will allow any water that penetrates the grout or sealant to gather. If this water has nowhere to escape to it may encourage mould growth. Alternatively the trapped water may run along channels left in the adhesive bed and leak out at a different point to its entry.

Some substrates are affected by water

Some substrates, particularly gypsum plaster and plasterboard, have very little strength when wet. Continued water ingress will over time cause the substrate to fail.

Paste Adhesives have limited resistance to water

Most ready-mixed adhesives are water-based. They set by allowing the water to dry out and form a strong hard bond. However, when they are exposed to water they tend to weaken. Some are more resistant than others but almost all are affected eventually.

Solution

There are too many possible combinations of products to list so below are three main levels in a hierarchy of water resistance based on the fact that:

  1. Paste tile adhesives are less resistant than cement-based adhesives.
  2. Standard grouts are more porous than modified grouts, which are more porous than epoxy grouts.
  3. Gypsum plaster and plaster board are more affected by water than cement-plastered walls, both of which are even better when tanked.

Low Usage Showers

A domestic shower that is used a few times a day, and does not have a high-pressure pumped water supply.

  • Waterproof the wall with weber.sys Waterproof-It Shower.
  • Fix tiles with weber.set Ceramic S or weber.set Ceramic L for shower ceramic tiles, and for porcelain tiles use weber.set Porcelain S or weber.set Porcelain L plus ensuring that a solid bed of adhesive (no voids) is achieved after bedding the tiles.
  • Grout with weber.grout Tile Grout WB33 mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183 taking particular care to fill the joints completely.
  • Fill the joints around all perimeters and internal corners with a suitable silicone sealant rather than grout to allow for movement.

Medium usage showers / wetrooms

A domestic shower that is used heavily, or has a high-pressure pumped water supply.

  • If the substrate is water sensitive, for example, plaster, plasterboard, or if the room is to be used as a wet room, protect it by waterproofing it with weber.sys Waterproof-It Shower.
  • Fix wall and floor tiles with weber.set Ceramic S or weber.set Ceramic L (ceramic tiles) mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183 or weber.set Porcelain S or weber.set Porcelain L (porcelain tiles). Ensure that a solid bed of adhesive is achieved after bedding the tile.
  • Grout with weber.grout Tile Grout WB33 and weber.ad Bond-it WB183 wall and floor grout.
  • Fill the joints around all perimeters and internal corners with a suitable silicone sealant rather than grout to allow for movement.

High Usage Showers

Showers in commercial and public areas such as sports centres that could be in very frequent or prolonged use.

  • The substrate should be one that is unaffected by water such as render or concrete.
  • Waterproof with weber.sys Waterproof-It Shower.
  • Fix tiles with a cement-based adhesive such as weber.set Ceramic S or weber.set Ceramic L mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183 (Ceramic tiles) or weber.set Porcelain S or weber.set Porcelain L with weber.ad Bond-it WB183. Ensure that a solid bed of adhesive is achieved after bedding the tiles.
  • Grout with weber.grout Acid-resistant Grout WB235 mixed with weber.ad Bond-it WB183
  • Fill the joints around all perimeters and internal corners with a suitable silicone sealant rather than grout to allow for movement. If the area is large, intermediate movement joints may also be necessary.

Solution with the following weber products

Solution 1

weber.sys Waterproof-it Shower

Undertile tanking system for the waterproofing of shower cubicles prior to tiling.

weber.set Ceramic S

A cement-based tile adhesive for small format Ceramic tiles (smaller than or equal to 420 x 420 mm)

Weber. set Multi fix

A cement-based, thick and thin (3-20 mm) bed tile adhesive for the fixing of ceramic and hard body ceramic tiles to walls and floors.

weber.set Porcelain S

A cement-based tile adhesive for all small format Porcelain tiles (less than or equal to 600 x 600 mm)

weber.set Porcelain L

A high strength, cement-based tile adhesive for all large format Porcelain tiles (larger than 600 x 600 mm)

weber.ad Bond-It WB183

A latex-based liquid additive specifically formulated for use with Weber’s cement-based adhesives and grouts.