Understanding the Performance of the Building Regulations – Waterproofing
The measure of performance of a waterproofing system is associated with assessing the key functions of waterproofing itself. By definition, a “waterproofing system” is a combination of elements that are required to achieve a waterproof barrier. The term “Waterproof” is defined as the property of a material that does not allow moisture to penetrate through it.
Given that the existing provisions require the area outside of a shower to be complete with a Type 5 Perimeter flashing, the room itself, in conjunction with the completion of waterproofing in a shower and bath etc, provides a wet area with a barrier that does not allow water or moisture to penetrate into adjacent rooms and building elements. This level of performance is key in the success of preventative damage due to moisture movement in wet areas.
Moisture escaping a shower enclosure is the number one cause of moisture related issues in wet areas within the building industry. The volume of water used when showering, the frequency with which a shower enclosure is used and the inability for shower enclosure screeded beds to subsequently “dry out”, all contributes to moisture escaping the enclosure itself.
The most common causes of moisture escaping shower enclosures is not due to the failure of waterproofing, but rather issues relating to shower screen positioning, shower screen maintenance, failure of sealants and tiling related issues. More specifically, common causes include:
- Shower screen not adequately sealed after installation.
- Shower screen sealing worn away due to regular cleaning, and sealant not maintained.
- Shower screen incorrect positioned on shower hobs.
- Water escaping between top of waterproofing membrane and bottom of tile on top of hobs.
- Water escaping below a shower screen frame, and over the top of water stop angles due to minimum 5mm protrusion not compliant (AS3740-2010 Figure 3.6).
- Water easily escaping from frameless shower doorway opening due to lack of water deflection devices directing water back in towards centre of shower (water stop flush with top of tiles at shower door opening location).
- Water migration behind wall tiles and over shower water stop.
It is not uncommon for moisture to escape a shower enclosure, particularly given that there are multiple trades involved in the construction phase that all work together to ensure that the shower enclosure itself is built as waterproof as can possibly be achieved. Unfortunately, however due factors outside of the control of building regulations, the escape of moisture and water from a shower enclosure is a common occurrence.
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