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Water-proofing failure...

Valued Contributor

Water-proofing failure...

I thought this may be of interest...
We are getting down to what are (hopefully) the final stages of our extension & renovation on our 20-year old home that we've been in for around 5-years. I've moved on to demolishing the old main bathroom which shares a common wall with the ensuite bathroom.
I knew we had a leak somewhere from staining I had noticed on the particleboard flooring when under the house and from some mould in the back of a wardrobe so this disaster wasn't unexpected.
This looks extreme but, as I said, wasn't unexpected. The only real issue is it means we'll have to change around the order of work to fix it all.
In some respects we are very lucky as this wall is just a dividing wall, it's not structural or load-bearing.

I thought that this may be of interest for two reasons;

- Waterproofing - this failure of the waterproofing in both shower stalls (it looks like both the ensuite & main bathrooms stalls leaked) highlights the importance of having waterproof done correctly with the appropriate materials.
Despite what the TV renovation shows or some online sources would have you believe waterproofing is something that is a very precise job that should not be approached lightly and there is zero room for mistakes. Anything but a 100% seal will result in failure over time.
If you hire a professional to do your waterproofing ensure they are appropriately experienced & qualified and the work carries a suitable guarantee.
If you plan on doing it yourself do your research through reputable sources, such as manufacturers webpages, for preparation & application information and take your time to do it right. Follow all the steps & don't try to cut corners. There is zero margin for error with waterproofing.

- The ominous clues - if you look at my second photo you'll see the mould and staining evident. This looks a bit messy as I've been banging the wall from behind so prior to this it just showed as mould, minor staining and in one small area swelling of the MDF skirting.
This was evident in the back of a walk-in wardrobe so could have easily been dismissed as nothing more than 'dampness'.
Now look at the image of the extent of the damage.
That is the reality of what is hidden inside the wall behind a little bit of mould and staining. This mould spot could easily have been dismissed as nothing much while your wall & floor were quietly collapsing...

So... the dual-edged moral to this story is... take waterproofing of wet areas very, very seriously and never underestimate what may be going on behind a small patch on your wall or ceiling.

That small mould area may be the tiny symptom of a major issue.


The damage...The damage...The symptoms...The symptoms...


Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Water-proofing failure...

Many thanks for sharing your experience @Adam_W. Water-proofing is the foundation of any bathroom renovation; it needs to be done right for a successful project. Having to redo work can be a costly experience, and not something anyone would want to do.


Your experience reminds me of an elderly couple I was helping in-store. They had a perpetual damp wall issue that they had struggled to have fixed even after several tradespeople had visited the property. I went around during my lunch break to see if I could diagnose what was going on. The adjacent room to the bathroom had a wet wall and carpet which they had been trying to dry with heaters over several weeks. Fortunately, after a bit of a poke around, it wasn't the water-proofing. The gentleman had forgotten to replace the spindle washers when changing taps. After a quick fix, they were all sorted. They were a lovely couple and made it extremely hard to get out of there without me taking money for assisting. Luckily, I managed to escape without payment.




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Trusted Contributor

Re: Water-proofing failure...

Hello @MitchellMc 


They could have paid you with meatballs! Lucky escape. 😂 



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