The days of waiting for water from your shower or tub to leak behind your walls are far behind us. Bathroom remodeling has seen a surge in proactive materials designed to prevent the previously inevitable rotten wood, mold, and mildew that unknowingly lurks behind your shower walls. Stagnant water left in showers is one of the main causes of mold and mildew growth. The most common molds that grow in a shower or tub area are Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, or Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is the mold more commonly known as black mold. Presence of mold in your shower area typically begins by noticing a greenish to blackish discoloring along the base of a shower or tub. These are the most common places where water can pool in a shower or tub.
For lovers of traditional tile, the Schluter system is becoming one of the south’s more popular protective barriers between your tile and walls. It has been popular up north for many years, but over the last few years its use in showers across the south has seen an increase. The Schluter system is a protective sheet barrier placed between backer board and tile. It also comes in planks that can be used as the backer board itself. It is a waterproof membrane designed to be impenetrable to water. It is commonly applied in strips to walls before applying tile. Schluter has specially designed strips for corners, seams, and edges. Schluter also has specialty coverings to surround any valves, shower heads, or tub spouts before tiling on top.
One of the newer trends in shower remodeling is using solid surfaces for walls. These surfaces typically come in either a natural stone or a synthetic stone. They are single sheets used for each surface of your shower or tub area. The natural stones are treated with a waterproofing layer on their surface. The synthetic stone solutions are 100% waterproof by design. They can be made to mimic the look of tile or left flat to mimic the look of natural stone.
For mold prevention, it is also important to make sure your base is impenetrable to water. If you are going with a tile base you can use a pre-made Schluter base that’s ready to be tiled over after leveling. The bases come in a variety of sizes and drain designs. After installing they are ready to be tiled over. For a synthetic solution, ONYX bases are among the most popular. They come in a wide variety of colors and can be custom made to suit any size shower. They come in various heights and are typically measured and installed to suit your exact space requirements. They are impenetrable to water and come with a lifetime warranty. A premade base, either Schluter or ONYX, is sloped for you when constructed at the facility. This ensures that water will properly drain out of the shower after each use.
Whichever style of shower you decide to go with, make sure it is a solution that maintains a waterproof barrier system for the life of the shower. The last thing you want to do after a shower or tub remodel is deal with mold, mildew, or rotten wood.