We often come across bathroom floors that have quite a bit of damaged subfloor. In some cases these floors had almost completely rotted through and were affecting the joist system underneath the floor. The area specifically that we see this the most with are the corners of the floor right next the the tub and shower areas. Each time a person steps out of the shower or tub and gets the floor a little wet in corners where the bathroom floor meets the tub can contribute to a larger problem over time, specifically if there is no system built to protect against this issue. We have torn out many bathrooms in homes that are less than 12 years old that have experienced this problem.
A fair number of the bathroom remodeling projects we have completed would not have had to be remodeled had there been a few extra steps followed in the construction process years earlier. These projects were those that were being remodeled due to spongy floors at the floor just outside the tub area. These projects had started as “well I want to remodel the shower because the floor feeling like it is spongy and rotting…. and oh while we are at it lets also do the rest of the bathroom.”
We like to build bathrooms that potentially will last forever. Part of this is joking because nothing will last forever, but part of this is also just an expression that represents our feeling about how to construct a bathroom, particularly with all of the potential water problems that can emerge if improperly constructed.
Following “standard industry practices” is highly important, but through years of trying to figure out how to build the highest quality bathroom, there are a lot of little things that we do as our standard practices that go well beyond what are “typical practices”, particularly in this age of everything being faster and cheaper (but compromising quality).
The picture here shows a bathroom we are remodeling currently. The floor of the bathroom is ready to receive floor tile. The grey color that you see is a waterproof coating that is also bonded up to the tub and to the walls on the side. Not only does this serve to waterproof the floor completely, it also serves as a “crack isolation system” under the tile. There are a few different methods that we use to do this, using the latest bathroom technologies, that bring a lot of value to the long term investment people make in their bathrooms. The way that we think about a remodeling a bathroom is that if a little more money is invested up front to do it right, then many years from now it will still be holding it’s value instead of being ready to remodel again. We have remodeled bathrooms that had been remodeled as little as 5 years earlier because they were already falling apart due to improper techniques that caused water damage. In each of these cases, we found steps (during the demo process) that had been skipped, things that a homeowner would never know about until things began to fail several years later.
The important point I am attempting to communicate is that making the proper investment up front to BUILD RIGHT will ensure you are—>
1. Maximizing your investment
2. retaining the value of your investment
3. insuring against the degradation of other components of the home (structural)
4. building green: building your bathroom to last is also a more sustainable way to build as it will keep your bathroom well functioning long past one that was poorly built