Step 6: Bathroom corner profiles

Let’s keep moving along! And sometimes, your bathroom floor and walls like to do the same thing. Those movements are minute, but nevertheless significant.

Vertical and horizontal planes in a building are subject to small movements, between cooling and heating seasons. This is particularly true for old buildings. Cracks in your old plaster wall are often the evidence of such movements.

The greatest stress from those seasonal movements often occurs at the plane change, i.e. from floor to wall, or at a wall corner. This may be evident by cracked grout lines along the corners in the bathroom environment. This in turn can lead to durability issues because water can now infiltrate behind the tiles.

Rather than fighting the cracked grout lines, or the fact that there may be some seasonal movement, we have taken a flexible approach – literally!

We have used the corner profile by the bathroom product company Schluter. These profiles get mortared into the corners, but have some flexibility to them thanks to their concave profile. They basically absorb the small movements that otherwise would lead to cracked grout lines.

Another common and more economic approach is to use silicone caulk along all plane changes. The caulk would perform the same function as the corner profiles, i.e. absorbing small movements. But the caulked corners also have the tendency to get grimy over time. And once mold or mildew sets in, it may become difficult to clean them.

What I like about the corner profiles is that they are super easy to clean. We’ve had them now for a number of years in our 1st floor bathroom, where they have done a splendid job of absorbing movement and keeping the job of cleaning easy.

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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.

One thought on “Step 6: Bathroom corner profiles

  1. I just read through your entire blog and love it – lots to think about! How’s life with floor drains in the bathroom smell-wise? Do you have to keep the traps filled manually to prevent sewer gasses, or have you not noticed a problem? I’m thinking of buying a place in Chicago and adding a second floor laundry room, but definitely want a floor drain there because I’m terrified of the damage a busted pipe or washer could do (I don’t trust the drain pan to do enough in an emergency, plus I might want to hang clothes indoors to dry in winter and might as well have the extra water management). I’m also still waiting to hear if you will be doing one more “open house” before finishing the second floor…could it happen?

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