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  • Writer's pictureZack Jurkowski

Wet and Wild Showers: A Guide to Waterproofing & Having A Shower That Doesn't Leak in Montreal

Example of a Schluter Shower base assembly to prevent leaks
Schluter Waterproof Shower Base

The Soaked Saga of an Old Shower Leak

Ah, the beloved shower – the daily rendezvous with your inner diva or rockstar (depending on your playlist). But did you know that behind those lovely tiles and steamy sessions lies a wet secret? Yes, the lurking menace of leaks and water damage! In this informative yet humorous journey, we'll uncover the wet and wild world of showers, discuss the outdated mortar beds and vinyl liners (and why they leak), and introduce you to the glorious Schluter shower base. Buckle up; it's going to be a splash!

The Leaky Legacy of Mortar Beds and Vinyl Liners

The Titanic of Shower Construction

Cut-away illustration of an old shower pan with mortar bed and vinyl liner system.
Old Technology Mortar Bed Shower

Picture this: You're enjoying a steamy hot shower when suddenly, you feel a cold droplet on your head. No, it's not a supernatural visitation; it's a leak! Traditional showers used to be built with mortar beds and vinyl liners. They may have seemed solid, but they were about as waterproof as a sieve. Over time, the mortar would crack, and the vinyl liner would degrade, turning your bathroom (or your neighbor's bathroom) into a DIY waterpark.

Why Mortar Beds and Vinyl Liners Are No Longer The Norm

A Troubled History With Health and Safety

A Look at how old showers with vinyl liners can leak
Old Mortar Bed Shower Illustration

While these systems are still in use in much of the US, especially in the south, they require an enormous amount of expertise to install properly. In New York City, they are installed with a hand-formed lead pan underneath, In the south, they are installed with a "hot mop" system. "Hot mop" is when the shower base is coated with hot liquid tar prior to installing the mortar bed and vinyl liner. When they are installed using these systems, they can indeed be very durable. Because this system has fallen out of favour in Montreal (and Canada in general), there is little expertise in this domain.

A few issues are common to older methods of shower waterproofing. One is the use of hazardous products. Both lead and bitumen or tar contain known carcinogens which are hazardous to the installers. They also have the potential to leach into the water systems and leave trace level contaminants.

Another issue is the amount of mortar required to create the slope. Not only does this leave room for error which can cause pooling in low areas, but it also leads to a perpetually humid shower base assembly. Because tiles are not waterproof, but only water-shedding (more on that here), the entire base assembly soaks up water and stays damp which can lead to a moldy or mildew odor and eventually propagate mold spores in the worst of installs.

Rescue Mission – Saving the Shower Walls

"No Need for a Bathroom Reno Apocalypse"

So, your shower base is a leaky mess, but you don't want to wave goodbye to those beautiful tiles and your shower faucet is just PERFECT. Fear not! You may be able to save your shower walls. Removing the tiled shower base without tearing down the whole shebang is like performing bathroom surgery. It takes skill and precision. But with a careful approach and a dash of courage, you can do it. After all, you've got a shower to save! We believe in you!

Don't have the specialised tools or the expertise to know the difference between mortar, grout and cement? It may be time to call in a professional. If you're in Montreal and looking for a shower waterproofing expert who will give you a shower that is guaranteed not to leak, contact MTL Contractors!

How To Avoid A Shower Leak With Waterproofing In Montreal!

"The Schluter Shower Base – A Waterproof Wonder"

An example of how Schluter Kerdi membrane allows water to go directly to the drain, which avoids leaks
Schluter Intergrated Waterproof Membrane

Now, let's introduce the star of our show – the Schluter shower base! It's like the superhero of bathroom renovations. With its foolproof design and waterproofing prowess, Schluter is here to save your day. The installation process is as smooth as a shower gel commercial, and the results? A leak-free, beautiful shower that can withstand the waterworks of a rock concert.

The beauty of the Schluter waterproofing membrane is that it is directly beneath the tiles, whereas the old vinyl liners were under the thick mortar bed. This prevents waterlogging and directs water directly to the drain which is bonded to the membrane. This minimizes the risk of leaks and mitigates the issues related to mold and moisture retention.

Singing the Praises of Schluter Waterproofing

"Why Schluter is the Hero Your Shower Deserves"

Cut-away of a tiled shower base with a curb
Typical Schluter Shower Base Assembly

So, what's the buzz about Schluter? Well, it's not just waterproofing; it's a whole waterproofing orchestra! Schluter's integrated system ensures that every nook and cranny is watertight. No more worrying about water damage lurking behind your walls. Plus, it's durable, low-maintenance, and will make your shower the envy of the neighborhood.

If you follow the Schluter installation handbook, using their proprietary All Set mortar, and have it installed by a Schluter certified installer, you'll also benefit from a limited lifetime warranty. If you've ever dealt with a leaky shower base, you'll know: that's peace of mind you can't put a price tag on.

The Shower Revolution in Montreal

In the grand, soggy saga of showers, the times are changing. Say goodbye to leaky nightmares and waterlogged woes. With Schluter's waterproofing solutions, your Montreal bathroom can be a haven of relaxation and style. So, next time you step into your shower, you can sing your heart out without worrying about surprise leaks. And if you need a hand in this waterproofing adventure, don't hesitate to call your friendly neighborhood contractor in Montreal. Together, we'll keep the water where it belongs – in your shower and out of your nightmares!


Montreal Contractors is a qualified company, holding an active bonded license as a General Contractor and Specialized Contractor with the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ License: 5767-5480-01), ASP Health & Safety Certification and a $2M liability policy. Our employees have all passed background checks, are registered with CNESST and have their ASP Health and Safety certification.

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