By Eric Glocer 29 April 2019
Bathroom remodels in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Naples can be tricky. There are three main pitfalls we have seen over and over again in our 34 years of serving Lee County. Hopefully if you follow these tips you will be able to enjoy your bathroom for years to come.
- Don’t skimp on waterproofing: Many contractors in Cape Coral and Fort Myers do not include waterproofing in their bids for shower remodels. A properly waterproofed shower can mean the difference between a shower lasting five years and 30 years. More critically, good waterproofing can avoid costly water damage to the rest of the house and may prevent mold issues.
So why doesn’t everyone waterproof their showers? Bottom line is it is expensive and takes more time. Contractors are competing with each other to provide low cost bids, and those who include waterproofing in their bids often come out higher than those who do not. Taking a shortcut on waterproofing may not have negative effects for years and will likely be a critical element in winning the bid. For a few hundred moredollars the homeowner will have a much safer, long lasting re-model. Even some good contractors will leave out waterproofing because they need the work and many customers do not appreciate the benefits unless something goes wrong.
What are your options for waterproofing?
a. C-Cure’s Pro Red: This is the most cost-effective waterproofing as far as materials go. Simply install sheet rock, tape/pack the seams and paint over the whole surface with Pro Red. You’ll need to apply at least two coats. I estimate it takes about a day to put up the sheet rock and a day to apply Pro Red, adding a full day to the shower re-model.
b. Laticrete Hydroban liquid membranes: This is a higher-grade waterproof membrane than Pro Red that is slightly more expensive but a bit faster. It is a thicker membrane so you need fewer coats and has a more robust warranty. The concept of installation is the same as with Pro Red.
c. Laticrete Hydroban Board: This is my favorite waterproofing system because the boards themselves are waterproof. It is based off of lightweight, foam boards that can be cut with a knife; you don’t need sheet rock. To install it you no longer need measure and cut out side with a saw; it can all be done on site with a knife. The result is an installation that can be done in a day that is much easier on the contractor with a more reliable result. While each board is about twice the price of Durock, you save money on labor.
d. DensShield: This board operates on a similar principle to the Hydroban board but is heavier and slower to install. Like Hydroban, it can be cut with a knife and is faster to install than cement board. The skin of Denshield is waterproof so you do not have to paint the surface with a membrane, but the core is not as waterproof, so be careful of perforations in the skin. This is a cost-effective runner up to hydroban, but not as foolproof of a product.
- When you finish your project, keep some extra tile. Think about this: you spent the time and money re-modeling your shower to be perfect. Then three years later you have a plumbing issue and a plumber needs access for a repair. To access the plumbing they need to take out a couple of pieces of tile. Chances are you won’t find the exact tile that you bought in a store in Cape Coral or Fort Myers. Even if you did find it, it will probably be a different shade or caliber, meaning the color or size may be off. As a result, if you don’t have a few extra pieces your $300 plumbing problem could cost you a $3,000 shower remodel.
- Plan for the long term. None of us are getting any younger in Lee County, and if you or your family may have mobility problems in the next twenty years be sure to take it into consideration when designing your shower. One of my favorite ways to plan for this is a curbless linear shower system. People with mobility issues often struggle to get in and out of showers, and a fall in the shower can be catastrophic. A curbless system has no barrier to getting in and out of the shower while providing a very high end look. At PCC Tile we carry Goofproof and Laticrete linear drains but there are countless options available.
Another consideration for the long term is to ensure you get a shower floor with a rough texture. While a smooth shower floor may be slightly easier to mop and will require less effort to keep clean, a rougher one is a better choice for preventing falls. Consider a mosaic with more grout like the ocean stones or a rough porcelain mosaic like CC Porcelain from Roca.