Sep 07, 2017 - 10:34 PM
The common misconception people have about tiles is that they are waterproof. Well, they are not.
The most expensive tiles today are made from natural stones such as marble, granite, and limestone. All of which actually have a huge moisture problem since they are all porous materials. Once the water reaches the underside of the tile, the tiles will be completely soaked and it will start wicking up until it breaks loose, meaning you are screwed.
Fortunately, it is not that hard to look for good tiles that will last long even when exposed to moisture and water. One kind of tile that is both popular and cost effective is porcelain. Porcelain tiles are the densest and only absorb between 0.001% to 0.005 of moisture.
However, porcelain tiles are still not waterproof. So if you are looking to have a completely waterproof bathroom floor or wall, you shouldn’t rely on getting porcelain tiles alone. The only thing you can do is try one of the many ways to waterproof a tile.
Now do not get fooled into thinking that sealing the grout in your tiles can actually waterproof them. Plenty of people who are redoing their tiles do this and are only left with the same problems they had before.
Sealing the grout only makes your tiles a little more water resistant. At the end of the day, water will be able to seep into the grout, get under your tiles, and leave you with mold, rotting, and mildew that can eventually damage your wall or floor.
Whether you plan to install it in your kitchen, bathroom, or swimming pool, the best thing you can do to waterproof your tiles is to apply a waterproofing agent under it.
To waterproof your tiles effectively, you can try two things. You can either remove the tiles and lay it all over again with a waterproofing agent or you can remove the grout joints and seal your tiles with urethane or full strength silicone sealants instead.
I actually prefer doing the tiles all over again instead of removing and replacing the grout. Re-tiling can make for less fixes in the future. Moreover, replacing the grout joints with silicone or urethane sealants almost require the same amount of work and can only be effective if done with precision.
Unlike applying grout or a waterproof membrane, applying silicone or urethane sealants will require you to caulk every crevice in your tiles. You’d would have to trace every gap in your floors and walls. This can be quite time consuming and may be ineffective if not done with perfect accuracy.
There’s also the fact that silicone and urethane sealants cannot be used for large gaps since they can shrink over time.
If you are looking to waterproof your tiles, I suggest you use a waterproof membrane that will go under your tiles, especially if you are laying bathroom tiles.
Waterproofing membranes come in two forms: liquid and sheets. Both can be very effective at waterproofing tiles, the main difference is that waterproof sheet membranes cost a lot more than liquid water proofers and that liquid ones can take a little longer for you to lay your tiles.
To explain further, a liquid waterproofing membrane can be spread under your tiles by simply spraying, rolling, or trowel it onto the floor or wall. Upon application, you would have to wait a while for the liquid membrane to cure until it turns into this rubbery coating.
The main advantage of liquid waterproofing membranes is that they are quick and easy to apply, are highly affordable, and great for long-term waterproofing. As for its downsides, you may have to practice a little bit on getting an even thickness when spreading it on your floors and walls.
As for sheet membranes, you won’t have to worry about getting an even thickness for your walls and floors since every sheet comes 60-millimeter thick. Being so, sheet membranes require less time to apply. You do not even need to cure it. However, it does cost a lot more both in terms of material and labor costs.