Waterproofing Shower Walls & Floors

Waterproofing Shower Walls & Floors is about the latest technology improvements to help Architects specify products that will render their residential shower installations watertight.

ArCH: Architects Creating Homes has as its motto: IMPROVING RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTURE.  Sometimes this deals with business or administrative matters, other times this has to do with products, details and design features an Architect might want to consider using in their projects to improve the quality, durability and performance of their projects.  In the end, the Clients of Architects receive a better built home and the Architect’s reputation is enhanced.

Image courtesy Custom Building Products

Image courtesy Custom Building Products

Today, ArCH is reporting on a product that is gaining ground with tile setters and General Contractors: RedGuard® by Custom Building Products.  While ArCH does not exist to endorse products of any particular manufacturer, ArCH does find it important to report on significant improvements in technology that help Architects and Contractors make homes a better place in which to live.

Custom Building Products created an elastomeric liquid fast-curing paint-on coating called RedGuard®.  We’re not sure of the exact date when this product was introduced into the marketplace, however, we have seen online references dating back as far as 2005.  That’s at least 11 years.  So far, all comments we’ve seen are positive, although that’s no guarantee that this or any product reviewed by ArCH is a perfect system.  However, we searched for problems with the materials online through Google purposely and could not find any reported issues to date.  However, that does no mean that there are not issues with this or any other products discussed on the ArCHwebsite and ArCH takes no responsibility for the quality of any products discussed on this website.  See the manufacturer of any products discussed for their warrantees.

ArCHmembers have spoken with Contractors who have been using RedGuard elastomeric paint-on waterproofing membrane for years and so far, all have only good things to report, and no callbacks from happy homeowners.

Note: Contractors have said this should Not take the place of the traditional old-school PVC membrane used over OSB/Plywood and under the thick “mud bed” of grout in a shower tile floor.  However, the RedGuard is used in all cases immediately under the thinset mortar setting bed of the tile, to insure waterproofing between the tile and the substrate under it.

Many Architects and Contractors have for decades, relied on the tile mortar setting bed, the tile itself, and the grout to protect the substrate.  When using concrete backer board as part of this system, this performs well, however, the concrete backer board could theoretically become saturated, particularly at imperfections in the tile work, thereby allowing water to enter the inner wall, where it could promote mold and structural rot.

Therefore, the use of a paint-on liquid elastomeric waterproof coating for shower floor substrates and walls, all the way up to the shower ceilings, makes good sense.  All corners, both vertical and horizontal are reinforced with a fiberglass screen tape that is embedded in the first coat of RedGuard.  At least 2 coats of RedGuard are recommended.  In this manner, any moisture getting behind the tiles (in most cases, which should not be much), will not be able to get over the top of the coating, because it goes up to the ceiling.

Of course, specifying epoxy grout for tile joints should help greatly to keep water from penetrating around the tiles and a quality tile sealer should help to prevent water penetration through the tiles themselves (if using a natural tile like slate).  Glazed ceramic tiles should be inherently waterproof, except around the edges, which is why an epoxy grout there might be something to consider.

However, ArCH in no way is recommending or endorsing any particular products or methods; it is merely commenting on what appears to be a significant proven technical improvement that should help Architects, Contractors and Homeowners to greatly improve the watertightness of their tile installations.   Google RedGuard tile waterproofing for more information.


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About rand soellner

Home Architects design custom residences across the USA: small, medium, large and gigantic, all based on what our clients want. We work hard every day, with people just like you, to merge your desired lifestyle and land. If you want a lakeside cottage, a sprawling mountain castle or a suburban compact home, we can do it.

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