There are many things to think about when you decide to remodel your bathroom. Many people focus on what colors to choose, what brand of products to install or how much the remodel will cost. While these are important things to consider when thinking about any remodel, there is one unique factor that must be considered before remodeling your bathroom: protecting your bathroom from water damage.

The bathroom is the only room in your house where you expect to find excessive moisture. Although most people expect their bathrooms to be wet or humid, we should not overlook the damage that water can do to the bathroom floor and walls. When planning a bathroom remodel, homeowners should consider some ways to keep moisture to a minimum and how to repair water damage that has already occurred.

REMOVE THE WALLS IN THE TUB AND SHOWER AREA

If you are planning to redo your bathtub, shower or just your surround, you should consider completely replacing the walls in that area. Though you may believe that the fiberglass surround or the ceramic tile that you have protects from water getting behind, in most cases, this is not true.

Though ceramic tile itself is waterproof and can prevent water from getting behind the walls, ceramic tile often cracks, allowing water to slowly build up and create an environment perfect for mold. The grout used to set ceramic tiles can also crack and allow water to seep in behind the walls. As grout gets older, it not only gets hard to clean, but also becomes more vulnerable to cracking.

Some remodeling companies and contractors suggest replacing a single cracked tile or regrouting an area. If you catch the problem early enough, you may be able to use a quick fix method before water gets behind the wall. Unfortunately, there is really no way to know if the water has gotten behind the tiles until they are taken down. Also, many homeowners will not know how long a tile or section of grout has been cracked.

If you have a crack in your ceramic tile or the grout, it is best to tear it down and replace the board behind it to prevent mold. Unless the tile is mud set, you should not just cover it up with a new surround.

Fiberglass surrounds and one-piece units are used in many bathrooms because they are inexpensive and supposedly easy to clean. Many homeowners, who have one of these units in their bathrooms, find that after a few years, the fiberglass units become difficult to clean and begin to crack. If you have one of these surrounds and it has cracked, chances are you have water behind the unit.

In this situation, you should not install a new unit over the old one because mold may already be growing behind it. You should take the fiberglass unit out and replace the wall boards before installing a new surround.

PROTECT AND BEAUTIFY YOUR WALLS WITH WAINSCOTING

If you are looking for a way to protect your walls from water that may splash out of the tub or sink, the best way to protect them without ruining your bathroom’s style is to install wainscoting on the walls.

Wainscoting, which is often made from acrylic, is a durable, waterproof product that can easily protect your walls from moisture. When wainscoting is properly sealed and installed, it prevents water from damaging the walls behind it. Since it is a durable material, it can also prevent the walls from regular wear and tear.

Wainscoting comes in many colors and patterns so you should be able to find some that fits your style. Because it can be as decorative as you choose, it can really brighten up your bathroom.

INSTALL AN EXHAUST FAN TO REMOVE EXCESS MOISTURE

Moisture can cause paint and wallpaper to peel, doors to warp, floors to buckle and mold spores to grow. Of course, there is going to be an abundance of moisture in your bathroom, but getting it out of the bathroom quickly can be vital to protecting your bathroom from water damage.

A properly installed exhaust fan can be just the remedy for excessive moisture. The two import things to look for when choosing an exhaust fan are the amount of air the fan can move, which is measured in cubic feet per minute and the amount of noise the fan makes when it is running. A higher quality unit can produce a faster CRM with little to no noise.

When beginning a remodel, you should always think about how you can make the products and materials in your home last as long as possible. By taking the steps listed, you will be able to prevent most of the damage that water can cause in your bathroom.