How to prevent bathroom water damage
Water damage is unique in that it builds up over an extended period of time, eventually leading to outbreaks of mould, softening of walls and ceilings, cracks in sealant and tiles, and distortion of base floors and frames.
Bathroom water damage is incredibly common, as we often don’t realise it’s happening until something major happens to attract out attention, such as a bulge appearing in the ceiling or the sealant connecting your bath to the floor becoming cracked.
We spread a lot of excess water around in our bathrooms, which seeps into tiny pores and cracks in all sorts of surfaces where conditions make drying difficult. Besides actual surface water, the steam which billows from our hot showers and freshly-run baths takes its toll as well over time.
Any leaking fixtures, such as taps, showerheads, or toilets, allow water to seep into cracks on floors, walls, and tiles – where mould can begin to bloom and rot sets in.
If you are a concerned homeowner looking to keep your bathroom in tip-top shape for an upcoming inspection, sale, or simply for your own enjoyment, this article will teach you how to identify and repair risks associated with water damage in your bathroom.
A few preventative measures
There are a few simple things you can integrate into your bathroom routine to minimise excess water damage.
1. Keep your towel close to the shower/bath, and dry yourself off whilst still standing in the shower or bath. If you step out of the bath or shower, have a towel or bathmat on the floor for you to stand on. This stops excess water gathering on the floor and being splashed on walls.
2. Make sure that the extraction fan is switched on. This sucks some of the steam out of your bathroom, preventing condensation build-up on walls, ceilings, and floors. If your fan is faulty or broken, have it replaced as soon as possible.
3. If you think your toilet might be leaking, switch off the shutoff valve when you’re not using it. It can be difficult to spot toilet leaks sometimes, but if you hear a low, steady hiss coming from the tank, excess water is leaving the tank. Though this water is probably just going down the drain, any cracks or fissures in the bowl will cause small, constant leaks that can do significant damage to surrounding surfaces over time.
4. Try and clean your bathroom at least once a week. This includes wiping down surfaces with a cloth and then drying them thoroughly once you’re done. This will prevent mould and rot from setting in and damaging the surfaces in your bathroom.
Incorporating some routine bathroom maintenance into your housework schedule is a great way to keep your bathroom looking great, and it will save you money over the long run. Particularly if you are thinking of selling your house or having tenants move in.
Check that sealant and grout are intact
Grout and sealant are the materials which fix your bathroom fittings in place, such as shower cubicles, bathtubs, and tiles. Regular prolonged exposure to moisture and heat in the bathroom can cause grout to crack and wear out. Check the grout and sealant regularly to make sure it’s free of stains and rot. Use a cleaning solution to clean the grout when you are doing the housework, and dry it thoroughly when you’re finished.
If you notice grout is missing or extensively damaged, you should remove any worn-out gout and clean the area thoroughly. Give it a good dry and let it sit for a bit, and then install new grout. This will prevent rot from spreading and stop your fixtures or tiles from shifting.
Check regularly for leaking pipes or spouts
If you see water dripping from a pipe or other fitting, you should have it repaired as quickly as you can. You can probably do it yourself by tightening the fittings or applying a plumbing putty or sealant.
Even small leaks become progressively worse over time, and the water they leak can accumulate underneath the floor or behind walls. If you are unsure about the extent of a leak, you should contact a professional blocked drain plumber for diagnosis and repair.
Check for leaks around the toilet and bath
When a bath, shower cubicle, or toilet are installed they are caulked into the floor. It’s important that you check this caulking regularly to make sure that it’s in good condition. If the caulk becomes damaged, the fixtures will leak and moisture will accumulate. Eventually this can cause the fixtures to shift and damage the floor, leading to further water damage.
Look for any signs of decay or rot
When you’re using or cleaning your bathroom, keep an eye out for any indication that rot, mould, or other forms of decay might be setting in. If you notice stains on surfaces or sealant, you will need to take action.
Make sure that there aren’t any loose tiles
Tiles in shower cubicles are particularly prone to coming loose. Make sure that all the tiles in your bathroom are fitting tightly and are adequately caulked. If you notice loose or shifting tiles, remove them as soon as you get the chance, clean and dry the area, and replace the tiles. You can use the same tiles you removed, just make sure you clean and dry them thoroughly before you replace them.
Check under the sink
This is an important one. Make sure that you look under your sink occasionally to make sure that the pipes and fittings there are in good condition. If they aren’t, water can accumulate in this space and spread rot to other surfaces. It can also damage the foundations of the sink fitting and damage the floor.
Install drain covers
Drain covers have a very important place in every bathroom. They work by keeping large particles, such as dirt clumps and hair, out of the drains where they could cause blockages. You probably already have drain covers over your drains, so make sure that they are kept clean and clear of debris. This will prevent any blockages from occurring in the drain, which could cause leaks and internal flooding.
Keep it ventilated
Water often accumulates in bathrooms because of the constant heat, moisture, and lack of circulating air. Having a good exhaust fan in proper working order can prevent excess humidity, which can be almost as damaging as surface water. Leave the fan running for a few minutes after you’ve had a shower or bath. When you’re bathroom isn’t in use, leave the door open and keep the window slightly open if you’ve got one.
Keeping these things in mind will help you dramatically decrease any damage which could be caused by the accumulation of moisture in your bathroom. Following these tips can keep surfaces in good condition and ensure that the money spent on your bathroom doesn’t go to waste through damage.
If you need professional help on how to prevent bathroom water damage, contact us on 0412 738 874 or leave a message.
We will take care of your blocked drain problems. If your problem is an emergency plumbing matter or a burst pipe and you need urgent assistance contact us right away!
Helpful details for a Blocked Drain and Emergency Plumber situation:
Triple zero – 000
City of Melbourne – Floods and Storms
Yarra Valley Water
Victoria State Emergency Service