Find below important factors about showers that you really don’t need to not know. However, in the unlikely event that you want to increase your knowledge base on them, find below important facts about them, straight from the horse’s mouth.
Nowadays, the market is full of many different types of shower bases, including the complete range from vinyl, to tiles to polymarble to fiberglass. All of them work for a particular purpose and have specific visual appeal to suit specific types of bathrooms. Fibreglass and polymarble shower bases apart from being a cost-effective way of installing a shower base were in vogue in old-styled homes. The arrival of boutique apartment buildings and modern homes saw an increase in the popularity of tiled shower bases. Vinyl bases are popular in public areas, like sporting showers and change rooms.
Screeds offer a smooth and streamlined walk-in entrance into a shower, allowing you to continue your tiling impeccably all over the bathroom. Screed tiled showers apart from adding value to your home, add an extremely classy touch to your bathroom when done the right way.
I am sure you must be wondering ‘what exactly is a screed’. In simple terms, it consists of a sculpted shower base built directly into your shower space. Made with a special mix of cement and sand with waterproof membranes above and occasionally below, based on your preferences, it covers the total shower area. These are sculpted and designed in a particular manner to give a subtle “fall” to your shower base, preventing build-up of water and allowing it to drain away.
What special mix is used to make a screed?
A screeded floor is made of a mixture of between three to five parts sand and one part cement, which depends on the intricacy of the shape required. My initial reaction was `why do they not employ concrete directly,’ when I first learned about screeds, as concrete is much stronger than a cement/sand mixture. The answer was easy to understand. It is because a mixture of sand and cement offers unique sculpting qualities. It permits the user to have a level and smooth surface to apply the waterproofing membrane, as well as the selected flooring.
It is possible to build screeds atop existing floors if there is no recess available, which would permit it to sit flush with the rest of the room. The best part is that screeds can be made to any size and shape to suit your preferred shower when combined with a custom-built shower screen. Do you only have space for a typical 900mm x 900mm shower? No worries. Do you desire a dual rain shower head shower with inbuilt recesses and seats for all of your products? Simple!
When sculpting the screed, one needs a fine balance to get the correct fall from the floor level to the drainage outlet. Ideally, the screed should have a delicate fall; one that is not visually obvious, but has sufficient angle that the water drains away without building up.
Waterproofing the screeded shower base
The other wet areas in your house along with the shower have to be properly waterproofed so that they comply with the Building Code of Australia. Make sure that you have waterproofing on the entrance area of the shower, the shower walls, the top of the screed, and the rest of your bathroom. You have to apply waterproofing chemicals beneath the screed in case you build the screed above another floor. We only use Ardex waterproofing membranes, as they provide the best waterproofing for every situation and their quality is the best available in the market.
Tiling the screeded shower base
The shower can be tiled over after the screed is completed as well as the waterproofing membranes have cured. The quality of the membrane used determines the duration of time between waterproofing and tiling. It can vary from a couple of hours to a few days. In case you plan to do the bathroom renovation job yourself, ensure that you read the Product Datasheet for your particular membrane and allow enough time for curing; else, you will damage the waterproofing membrane’s structural integrity, rendering it useless. In case you have hired separate companies to take care of your tiling and waterproofing, make sure that there is clear communication between both of them to prevent the tilers from damaging the membrane. It is an important step, as you might end up paying a hefty sum for fixing bathroom water damage and leaking showers.
As I said before, the ability to continue your floor tiling straight through into the shower itself is among the most popular features of installing a screed based showers. It helps you maintain continuity in the room’s lines and gives a modern, artistic, and clean look to your bathroom. Additionally, it helps draw your attention to tiled feature walls. If you have not continued the spacing of your tiles correctly, your shower tiling will stand apart from the rest of the floor in an improper manner. Plan your shower tiles in such a way that they continue the visual lines from the tiling in the rest of the bathroom. In the majority of cases, it means cutting down the tiles, and planning the tiling before you begin laying them, so you know what exactly needs to be cut before you start. After this, you can mortar the floor evenly with a trowel. It is a good idea to do this in sections. If you cover the entire floor at once, the mortar may dry out before you can set the tiles in position).
Spacing the tiles evenly
Done by a professional, all the tiles form beautiful straight lines of grout and are evenly spaced. It is because the professionals use proper spacers (little plastic crosses with precise widths that permit you to maintain uniform gaps between the tiles) to make sure that all the lines are correct and accurate. Position two spacers per tile edge (one for each side) so that the next tile butts up against the spacers to ensure that you get completely even lines. It would be best if you wait for a few days for the mortar to set once all the tiles are laid. Wait for the recommended amount of time before you start grouting, as applying pressure on the fresh, unset mortar will lift and reposition the tiles as well as damage the mortar, resulting in an uneven surface. Once set, apply the grout with the help of a rubber trowel and clean the excess grout once set, and you are done.
If you’re interested in learning more about bathroom renovations, take a look at our recent article on things to consider before taking on a full bathroom renovation.