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“Fail-safe” wetroom installations with BAL

When installing a wetroom, BAL says, it’s important to ensure that all backgrounds are properly prepared.

According to the company, it’s best to choose substrates that will not be affected by moisture at all. For instance, a water-resistant backer board such as BAL Board, or a solid, concrete screed or sand:cement render.

Lightweight and with low dust from cutting, BAL Board is designed to provide a strong and stable background for wall and floor tiling. Water and mould resistant, the company says, it will not swell or degrade over time. Said to be approved by fixers, BAL Board supports up to 100kg/sqm while being lightweight, easy to carry and install.

Before fixing, all substrates should be suitably even, load-bearing, dry, clean, rigid and prepared as necessary.

In wet areas prior to tiling, the walls and floors should be tanked with a tanking system such as BAL Waterproof 1C. Gone are the days when you can just fix some tiles to plasterboard, grout and then off you go, the company says.

Wate ingress and the damage it causes to backgrounds and tiling installations is well known throughout the industry – which is why British Standards (BS 5385) state that in wet areas or areas of repeated or persistent wetting, backing surfaces should be protected by a suitable tanking system.

BAL Waterproof 1C is a ready-to-use, rapid-setting one-coat waterproofing system for tiling in internal wet areas. Reportedly ready to tile after only 2 hours, the product can be applied with a brush, trowel or roller and no mixing is required.

It can also be used without priming on certain backgrounds and provides crack bridging without tape on static cracks or board joints up to 3mm. The product includes Fibre Strand Technology for improved strength, and applied straight out of the bucket, it provides coverage of up to 6sqm.

When applied to walls, ensure a minimum thickness of 0.8mm. When tiling direct onto floors 1.6mm coverage is needed – in this instance, two coats are recommended to ensure the required thickness is achieved.

For this scenario, the company also recommends the use of an uncoupling mat such as BAL Rapid-Mat. This product can reportedly be used for any tile type or size, including mosaics, and helps protect against lateral movement in the subfloor. BAL Rapid-Mat can be tanked with 2-coats of BAL Waterproof 1C to protect against water ingress.

Once the backgrounds have been tanked, the company says, you can fix tiles with a suitable BAL tile adhesive – such as Rapid-Flex One, Flex One or even SPF S1.

BAL White Star Plus – a polymer-modified ready-mixed adhesive – can also be used for wall tiling in wet areas for small ceramics, small porcelain (100x100mm) and mosaics.

When fixing large format floor tiles, or uncalibrated natural stone on floors, a thick-bed adhesive can be used such as BAL XL Floor One.

All BAL tile adhesives are said to be suitable for use in wet areas – this is because they are highly polymer-modified – meaning they are water resistant. These adhesives will still let water pass through to the background but won’t break down, the company says (another reason to tank).

If you are using light or translucent natural tiles – such as marble – a rapid-setting and drying white cementitious adhesives such as Rapid-Flex One – is recommended to minimise potential risk of staining.

When using porcelain or ceramic tiles and you need a little longer pot life and open time, or need to build out to up 15mm, you could use BAL Flex One enhanced standard-set adhesivIf you like using slow-set adhesives, with even longer pot life, then you could choose BAL SPF S1 – which offers 5 hours in the bucket and can be grouted after 16 hours.

BAL also offers grouting solutions for wet rooms – including cement-based and epoxy systems.
The company recommends BAL Micromax3 ECO – a wall and floor cement-based grout with Microban anti-microbial protection which is available in 37 colour tones with colour-matched BAL Micromax Sealant.

Alternatively, you could choose the company’s Absolute Grout – a three-part epoxy grout which is described as hygienic with excellent chemical resistance. This product is particularly suitable for areas where protection against steam is required.

It’s available in four colourways and is said to be easy to clean off from 15 minutes up to 60 minutes after application.
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