Bathroom strategies

There are a handful of basic strategies that should apply to any new bathroom installation or remodeling. These should be common practice, yet they are not. Just recall the residential bathrooms you have visited and you’ll see what I’m talking about. With that in mind, it won’t hurt listing the basic strategies again:

  • Use materials that are appropriate for a wet room, i.e water resistant materials.
  • Properly waterproof your bathroom, i.e. the entire floor and any other wet areas.
  • Use tiles in all wet areas.
  • Use an isolation membrane between the tiles and substrate to prevent tiles and/or grout lines from cracking.
  • Use a corner profile or caulk at every change of plane (i.e. wall corners or floor to wall transitions) to allow for movement and prevent grout cracks.
  • All wet rooms should have a floor drain.
  • Pitch your bathroom floor towards the floor drain.

  • If you can’t pitch the floor, make sure your doorway sill is raised and sealed.
  • Use the proper drain flashing for your floor drains.
  • Use an appropriate grout, and keep sealing it. Or better: use an epoxy grout.
  • Properly vent your bathroom.

In short, it comes down to durability, proper moisture management strategies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) management. And even though some of these strategies will cost you a buck or two extra, they certainly will help you to save money and a lot of headaches in the long run!

And now, let’s get to work, step by step.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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