Top 10 Best Waterproofing Membrane For Shower in 2020

You may think that the walls of your shower are waterproof. It may seem so as the tiles pretty much deflect all the water that gets exposed to them right?

Well, it’s not.

You see, water is a substance that can go through the crevices of the walls. So what’s the issue here?

Water or moisture that gets through the joints or crevices has the potential to do a lot of damage. This might cause the tiles to crack, or worse, it may also cause molding.

To prevent this, waterproof membranes are installed in places like showers or steam rooms.

Purchasing the best waterproofing membrane for shower can be challenging since there are so many variations in the market. To make the job easier, we have reviewed 10 incredible membranes that will make your shower completely waterproof.

Let’s get started!

What Are The Benefits Of Using It?

You might be wondering. Is waterproofing really necessary?

Well, you will be surprised by the benefits this small investment comes with. It is a long term solution that has now become an essential part when constructing wet places such as DIY walk in shower, saunas, and steam rooms.

Let's look at some of the benefits of installing a waterproof membrane:

1. Waterproofs Your Shower

Well, this one is obvious. You might think that the water from your shower only goes to the shower pan. That is incorrect. The walls of your shower get exposed to large amounts of water as well.

The problem with water going through the tiny cracks of the wall is that it can weaken the cement board and other substrates. This will eventually damage the shower wall. 

2. Prevents Mold

Waterproof isn’t only about protecting the shower from structural damage. It can also stop molds from forming. The buildup of moisture results in the growth of molds and fungus. This can cause health issues, such as allergies.

3. No More Costly Repairs

Without a waterproof membrane, the insides of your shower will start to get damaged and might even shift a little. This will cause the tiles of your shower to crack.

Repairing damages can get a bit costly. With a waterproof membrane, you can easily avoid this problem as the moisture won't be able to go through the membrane.

4. Keeps Your Shower Waterproof For 5-10 Years

These things are designed to last. It reduces the risk of significant water damage. The thickness of the membrane along with the tear-free features of certain fabric waterproof membranes adds an incredible amount of protection and prevents them from wearing out. 

If you are using a liquid membrane, applying thick coats will also give your shower long-lasting protection from water.

5. Easy To Apply And Install

The product is designed in a way that makes installation a breeze. The membrane can be applied in a short time if done correctly. You require a few tools, and the process to follow is straight forward.

Top 10 Best Waterproofing Membrane For Shower Reviews

1. Schluter Kerdi 108 Sq Ft Waterproofing Membrane

Completely waterproof your shower using the waterproof membrane from Schluter Kerdi.

If you are looking to protect the inside of your shower, this might be the ideal product for you. Fixing a shower leak can be difficult.

In some cases, you might have to tear the entire tile down just to fix the leak. By installing this membrane, you can save that hassle and get waterproof your shower without making a large mess.

The product has a dimension of 3ft 3in x 33ft, which is sufficient for a small to medium-sized shower. The product has excellent adhesion. You don't have to worry about tiles falling off due to water damage.

Installing the polyethylene waterproof membrane is incredibly easy. The product needs to be applied to the drywall.  Before putting up the membrane, you first need to wet the wall using a sponge, and then apply a thin layer of thinset on the wet drywall.

To make the installation easier, you can precut specific areas in the sheet. Cutting holes in the places where the showerhead and the valve go will make the process mess-free.

The membrane has a special fleece webbing texture and a reference grid that will help you set up the product, and also place the tiles.  You can start tiling the wall as soon as you complete putting up the membrane!

Highlighted Features:

  • Has a special fleece webbing.
  • Easy to install and adheres to the drywall very well.
  • It contains a reference grid for tiling and installation.
  • Covers a large area of the shower.
  • Fix shower leaks without breaking the shower.

2. Laticrete Waterproofing Membrane Fabric

Laticrete waterproof membrane for tiling has a wide range of applications aside from showers. Pools, facades, fountains, exterior terraces, and more. The membrane has a great load-bearing rating. It provides crack suppression protection for the installation.

Concrete Substrates develop shrinkage cracks that can cause cracking or delamination of the tile. The laticrete fabric in forced rubber membrane provides a stress relief layer that bridges these small cracks. This prevents the tiles from being damaged.

The product is a fiberglass fabric tape. It is a 6”x75’ roll that prevents your shower from leaking. The roll has sufficient amounts for you to cover your entire shower.  Also, the high 6” width of the roll makes it very easy to cover wallboard joints.

Installing the fabric is quite straightforward.  After applying a liquid membrane to the surface, the fabric is gently placed over the membrane. After that, apply a second coat of liquid membrane over the fabric and let it set.  For ceramic tiles and other similar materials, this fabric is one of the finest in the market!

Highlighted Features:

  • Installation is fast and easy.
  • Sufficient amount to cover a large area.
  • Fiberglass fabric material makes the material durable.
  • It easily covers small cracks.
  • Adheres easily to the liquid membrane.

3. USG DUROCK BRAND LIQUID WATERPROOFING MEMBRANE

If you are someone who is looking to remodel the shower, this liquid-based membrane has all the qualities that will prevent your shower from leaking.

This liquid waterproofing membrane for showers works great for covering cracks. It also works as a vapor retarder.

The product has an incredibly quick drying time. Also, it doesn’t have an annoying overpowering smell when applied. Cleaning off is very simple, but you have to do it before the product dries off completely. To dry the membrane quickly, you can set a fan, which will vent the bathroom.

You may have to apply 3 coats to properly waterproof the walls. You can apply the product by using a paintbrush, or a throw-away roller, which will make the task much easier. Apart from painting the product on the surface, it can also be sprayed.

USG’s waterproofing membrane liquid bonds amazingly well with backer boards. It also covers most of the area. This makes applying the product very easy. Not only can you use this product on your showers, but also other wet areas such as commercial steam showers.

The substrates that work with this product are concrete, gypsum-fiber panel, masonry, and more. Its low permeability prevents water from leaking.

Highlighted Features:

  • Great product for covering cracks.
  • It can be applied using a paintbrush, roller, or sprayed directly.
  • Works great in showers and other wet areas.
  • Dries off quickly and is easy to clean.
  • Bonds very well with the applied surface.

4. SCHLUTER KERDI-BAND - 5" X 33'

If you are a DIYer who is looking to waterproof their shower, then this product is just the right fit for you.

By applying this membrane, you will make the walls of your shower waterproof, and vapor-proof. The membrane will not allow moisture to pass through it.

Installing the product is very simple. It is placed on thinset, and then covered with another coat of thinset. The band adheres very well to the thinset, and doesn’t peel off when applied.

The band has a slightly different application to membranes. It is used in sealing off butt joints. It has a thickness of 4 mm, which helps to prevent the buildup of moisture.

The product is designed to tie one wall to the other to cover the exposed thinset. Since it's thinner than the waterproof membrane sheet, you can easily fold and apply it to the edges and corners. The product is also durable and will keep your shower free from water molds.

The 5”x33’ roll is sufficient to cover a large area. In case you need more, the brand sells a larger version of the roll that can be found in the following link:

Highlighted Features:

  • Great for covering butt joints.
  • Covers a large surface area.
  • Adheres very well to thinset.
  • Works great when covering corners.
  • Simple and easy to install.

5. Laticrete Hydro Ban Mini Unit

Laticrete has been the go-to product for architects for their waterproofing and anti-fracture needs.

This product offers the highest level of performance with exclusive features that allow faster and easier waterproofing installations. It is designed for commercial, residential, interior, or exterior installation.

With laticrete’s Hydro Ban, you can prevent water damage problems. There are several key features that make the hydro ban stand out.  It doesn’t require fabric for gaps that are less than 1/8th of an inch. It also bonds directly to metal and plastic plumbing fixtures.

The low odor and fast curing product clean up very easily with water. 

Installing the product is very simple. To apply it you need either a paintbrush or a roller. Use the paintbrush to cover the corner and the edges, and the roller for the rest of the area. The coat should be applied at least twice. The product works flawlessly, and will seamlessly cover your walls and floors.

The 1-gallon mini-unit will easily cover up to 50 square feet of the surface. Hydro Ban offers the highest level of waterproofing and anti-fracture performance available. These features make Laticrete Hydro Ban the Best Shower Waterproofing Membrane.

Highlighted Features:

  • Low odor and cleans up easily with water.
  • Easily bonds on metal and plastic plumbing fixtures.
  • It offers one of the highest waterproofing and anti-fractural performance.
  • Dries quickly after being applied.
  • Covers the wall and floors of your shower easily.

6. Waterproof Membrane 3.3 ft x 33 ft / 108 Square Feet

When it comes to waterproofing, JJ Care is a brand you can trust.  The premium-grade membrane is a great way to keep your shower or bathroom leakage-free for years to come.

The product is made by using the finest quality fabric that is designed to stop water from leaking. The impermeable polyethylene fabric is easy to install. The fabric meets top standards, so you don't have to worry about the liquid escaping and damaging the substrates and other components that make up the shower.

The fabric is 108 square feet, which will cover a large area of your shower. The tear-proof fabric is 8mm in thickness, which makes it very strong and incredibly durable.

Installing this fabric is a breeze. This is due to the pliable nature of the material which makes it easy to fold and bend. It also covers the corners and the edges very well. It can also be cut to make room for the other elements of the shower such as the shower valve.

The polyethylene fabric adheres smoothly to any thin mix of mortar of your choice. With the amazing waterproofing capabilities, this is one of the products you should definitely consider.

Highlighted Features:

  • Pliable nature of the fabric makes installation easy.
  • Thick material stops water leakage.
  • Tear-proof quality makes the material durable.
  • 108 square feet covers a large area of the shower.
  • It adheres well with the surface.

7. CUSTOM BLDG PRODUCTS LQWAF1-2 Redgard Waterproofing

RedGard crack prevention and waterproofing membrane is a readymade, elastomeric membrane for domestic and commercial stone and tile applications.

It works by creating a seamless waterproof blockade with exceptional adhesion.  It also helps decrease crack transmission in stone and tile floors.

The product is designed for both exterior and interior substrates. It can be used on concrete, cement backer boards, exterior plywood, and exterior decks. The membrane also bonds directly to PVC, metal, stainless steel, and ABS Drain Assemblies.

The product is tough enough to meet a variety of building codes. The membrane easily isolates in-plane cracks by up to ⅛ of an inch. The product has been rated for long-lasting service and has been enhanced for an even faster ability to set tile or conduct flood testing with a new fast drying formula. 

When it comes to application, RedGard can be used pretty easily. It can be applied by a trowel, roller, or airless sprayer making the application efficient and productive. The formula also dries off faster, making it ready for flood testing sooner, and helping your projects move more efficiently.

To many, it is the best waterproofing membrane for shower. Whatever your needs for waterproofing or crack prevention is, this product will satisfy all those needs.

Highlighted Features:

  • Works for both interior and exterior substrates.
  • Easily isolates cracks that are 1/8th of an inch.
  • It creates a waterproof barrier that prevents leakage.
  • The formula bonds incredibly well.
  • Easy to use and apply.

8. Schluter Kerdi - 54 SQ FT

The Schluter Kerdi is a waterproof membrane is a material that will waterproof the tray, curbs, and the wall of your shower. They also make some of the finest shower waterproofing systems.

Kerdi fabric membranes are well known for their crack-bridging capabilities. Once applied, the membrane can cover cracks that are below 1/8th of an inch. They are also excellent when it comes to waterproofing.

The soft polyethylene fabric is incredibly easy to install and can be applied in a variety of different surfaces. The membrane is specially designed to be used on surfaces such as ceramic, and stone tiles. The polyethylene material covers the two sides of the fabric. It has a unique fleece webbing texture that helps to cling on to the thin-set mortar.

The membrane itself is thick and durable. The 54 square ft roll can cover a good amount of surface area. When installing the tiles, you can do it directly by using the thin-bed method. You can cut the membrane before applying to fit in the shower valve and other components. 

Highlighted Features:

  • Known for their crack-bridging abilities.
  • The membrane is incredibly easy to install.
  • Easily cover cracks that are less than 1/8th of an inch.
  • Designed to be used on surfaces such as ceramic and stone tiles.
  • It has a unique fleece webbing texture.

9. USG Durock Shower System- Waterproofing Membrane

The waterproof membrane by USG Durock shower system is great for sealing off seams and connections.

The product works well when it comes to waterproofing your shower floors. It can also be used on your showers, countertops, and steam rooms. If you are looking to install ceramic, natural stone tiles, or similar materials, this membrane will get the job done.

Compared to the membranes, this is slightly thicker.  This product does not have any coatings on them, which is used to bond with tile mortar. The product is very easy to install.  It is also tear-resistant and durable, so it will definitely last a long time.

The membrane can only be used on cement backer boards. It is applied on a waterproofing sealer, and then the sealer is coated on top of the membrane.

The product has great vapor retarder capabilities. It prevents moisture or liquid from damaging the substrate, which may then cause the stone wall or tiles to crack. By installing this membrane, you can prevent that damage and keep your shower leakage-free.

Highlighted Features:

  • Great for waterproofing shower walls and floor.
  • The material is easy to apply.
  • Prevents moisture from damaging the substrates.
  • Great product for installing ceramic and natural stone tiles.
  • Tear-resistant and durable makes the product long-lasting.

10. Waterproofing Membrane Strip 5 in x 80 ft

This membrane is a cheaper alternative to other brand options available on the market.

Even though the product is not as well known when it comes to waterproofing, it does deliver the result you are looking for. The strip is used to seal the seams and connections and completely waterproof it.

As for quality, the product is surprisingly good for the cost. It is impermeable and is very simple to install. It is pliable so it makes it easy to apply on bends or corners. It helps to keep the moisture away and prevents the substrates from being damaged. If required, the material can be cut and then applied.

The membrane is tear-proof and durable. The 33.33 square feet of roll is sufficient to cover a large area. The application of the membrane is quite easy. First, apply a coat of thinset, and then place the membrane over it. After that cover the membrane with another coat of the thinset and let it dry off.

Highlighted Features:

  • Works great when covering edges and corners.
  • Easy to apply and install.
  • Sufficient amount to cover a large surface area.
  • It makes the surface completely waterproof.
  • A cheaper alternative to other brand options.

Things to Consider Before Buying A Shower Waterproofing Membrane

There are certain factors to consider when purchasing a waterproofing membrane. Getting the one that meets your needs will keep your shower waterproof for a long time.

Type

There are various types of waterproofing membranes available on the market. In this article, we have focused on the two best varieties which are the liquid and fabric membranes.

Liquid membranes are very versatile.  That is why they are one of the best waterproofing membrane for showers. They can be applied in a wide range of wet places such as showers, steam rooms, and saunas.

By applying a liquid membrane, you most probably don't need to add a fabric membrane. They are also very easy to apply.

Fabric membranes are also a great choice to make your shower waterproof. Most fabric membranes are applied on a coat of thinset, and then another coat of thinset is applied on the fabric.

They are pliable and are incredibly easy to install. Both the membrane options are great at keeping your shower waterproof.

Application

The membranes have to be easy to apply. Certain products may not stick to the thinset, and peel off after applying. If this happens, the shower may not be fully waterproof.

If you are purchasing a polyethylene membrane, make sure that the material will stick to the thinset properly. Certain fabrics have unique textures to help stick to the thinset.

If you choose a liquid membrane, it has to be easy to apply. Some of the top liquid membrane brands can be applied in multiple ways. The coats should also have a quick dry time so that subsequent coats can be added.

Durability

You want a waterproof membrane that will last years. Membranes that cracks or tears will eventually damage the shower. Look for the membranes that are tear-free and strong. 

Dry times

The time it takes for the membranes varies a lot from product to product. The faster the product dries, the better. This allows you to apply more coats at a small amount of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Is The Drawback Of Using Waterproof Shower Membranes Compared To Other Methods?

Waterproof shower membranes are one of the apt choices when it comes to stopping leaks from showers. But as with other methods, this too has a small drawback.

An issue you might face when installing the membrane is when covering the seams. Waterproofing is achieved by placing the sheets on top of each other. When it comes to the corners or edges, the overlapping of sheets causes them to stick out.

The other common issue most people face is keeping the wrinkles out of the membrane.

These drawbacks are common and can be easily overcome by planning and installing the membrane properly.

2. What Issues May I Face By Not Installing The Waterproofing Membrane For Showers Walls Correctly?

There are a few issues you may face if the waterproofing sheets are incorrectly installed. Cracked tiles are one of them. This might not be caused due to leakage. Water leakage will cause the substrate to expand and contract. This will then cause the tiles to break.

The other problem caused by incorrectly installing the membrane is water stains. Also, the bubbling of the soft wall is a good indication that there is an area that is not covered by the sheet.

3. Can I Install The Membrane Myself?

It's advised to call an experienced plumber and get the job done. If you don't know how to install the sheets, it is possible you might not get it right the first time.

The instruction may seem like an easy task, but if you don't get it right, you may have to remodel the shower again. That might get expensive.

Consulting an experienced remodeler reduces the risk of your shower leaking anytime soon. This gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your shower will be leakage free for years.

4. How Long Will The Membrane Keep The Shower Waterproof?

This depends on several factors. Apart from the quality of the waterproofing membrane material, it also depends on the preparation and application.

A low-quality product has a high risk of not working. Preparing the membrane incorrectly will likely result in leakage as well. The waterproof surface must be cleaned properly and has to be free from dirt and dust particles. If the surface isn't clean, the membrane may eventually come off.

The application will also determine the longevity of the membrane sheets. Every millimeter of the surface has to be covered. This way, the membrane sheets will last for a long time.

5. How Do You Apply A Waterproof Membrane?

When preparing to install a waterproofing for shower membrane, the first step is to make sure that the surface is clean. All surfaces must also be structurally sound, dry, and free from contaminants that would prevent a good bond.

For installations on concrete, newly poured concrete must be troweled smooth and textured to a fine broom finish and then cured for a long time.

To install the membrane, you will need a roller and brush, trowel, and an airless sprayer. Apply the membrane by coating the corners and the intersections where the floors and walls meet. 

If you have any gaps or cracks, place a 6-inch wide fiberglass mesh into the wet membrane and then cover it more coats. You will know that the membrane is dry when you see it changing color. 

Depending on various factors, this will take about 60 to 90 minutes. When this occurs, you are ready to apply RedGard in the other areas.

If you are applying the membrane using a trowel, apply for one pass by using the notched side. Hold it at a 45-degree angle. Use the flat side of the trowel to flatten the ridges.

If you’re using a roller, coat the surface with overlapping motion. Coat the surface again after the first coat has dried off and changed color.

6. How Many Ways Can The Liquid Membrane Be Applied?

Liquid membranes can be applied in three different ways.

Using a roller and a paintbrush, you can coat the intersection where the floors and walls meet. Use a trowel to level the coatings. When you are using a roller, make sure that you apply even coats.

You can also apply the coating by using a trowel. Spread the liquid waterproof membrane with the notched side of the trowel held at a 45-degree angle. After that use the flat side of the trowel to flatten the ridges.

An airless sprayer can also be used for the application. The sprayer must produce between 1900 to 2300 PSI, and have a flow rate of 1 to 1.5 gallons per minute. Apply the shower membrane in a smooth, continuous spray. Overlap the coverage to ensure the proper thickness is achieved.

7. How Do I Test My Waterproof Membrane For Leaks After Installing?

The only way to know that your shower isn’t leaking after you have installed a waterproofing membrane is by doing a flood test. It is a simple and straightforward test.

To do this, simply pour water on your shower pan. After some time, mark the water level. Then leave the water overnight and get inspect if the water level has dropped or not. If the water level has decreased, then you have a leak in your shower.

8. What Is A Cement Backer Board?

Cement backer board is a material that is placed before the tiles. It is an inexpensive material that eases the building process and makes it look nicer at the end. It also makes the walls more durable. The board is porous, which allows the thinset to easily adhere to the surface. 

Final Words

In the old days, water leakage wasn’t as big of an issue.  Older homes had a significant amount of drafts between the exterior and interior. This caused any water leakage to evaporate. 

Nowadays, people use their showers a lot more than they used to. The length of time people spend in the showers is going up, as a result, more water gets exposed to the shower walls. The membrane now has to perform at a higher rate on a more regular basis.

Even with all these challenges, installing the best waterproofing membrane for shower will prevent the wall from getting damaged.

We hope you get the solution that fits all your shower needs. Take care!

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