Stopping a leaky bathroom

When looking for the best product to use on bathroom and interior shower walls, your main consideration will of course be moisture. To ensure that you don’t end up with a leaky bathroom nightmare, we take a look at how to correctly guard wet areas, and the best materials you can use.

Correctly guarding wet areas

While picking the right design and colour for your bathroom is important, unless you pay close attention to the foundations of your bathroom – the walls and floor – it could prove to be a liability to your whole home.

“If the wet areas aren’t correctly guarded, leaking water could rot and weaken timber floors, architraves and door jambs or saturate concrete slabs,” says Mimmi Freebody, a bathroom designer from MMM Bathroom Taps and Tiles.

“This can lead to rotting and erosion throughout parts of the house.”

The bottom line is, if your bathroom isn’t properly protected it can cost up to $25,000 to fix, even for an average sized bathroom. So to avoid drawn-out hassles with leaks and rotting timber floors, you really do need to pick the best material for the job at the start.

What you’re looking for in material

For a bathroom material that stands up against moisture, as well as time, it needs to be waterproof (not just water-resistant) and be lined well.

“We see WR [water-resistant] board fail so many times,” says Master Menders’ Steve Peluso. “Any moisture that gets in capillarates through any little hole that’s there in the waterproofing. This then actually escalates the problems that people have.”

Master Menders uses a solid fibre cement lining when renovating or building bathrooms, like James Hardie’s Villaboard® lining. Villaboard lining is a smooth finished interior wall lining that is resistant to moisture damage, and can be painted, wallpaper or tiled to suit a wide range of design looks. It’s able to resist damage from steam and moisture when installed and maintained correctly, making it ideal for use in bathrooms and laundry areas.


Villaboard lining can also be fixed to timber framing, light gauge domestic type steel framing and masonry, concrete or autoclaved aerated concrete, making it suitable for most bathrooms.

Linings must be super-resistant

The key requirement of linings used in wet areas is superior resistance to moisture damage in the event that the material does get wet. Reduced tile adhesion is one of the main problems moisture penetration causes.

Villaboard lining has a much greater tile adhesion than wet area plasterboard. Its tensile bond strength (the measure of the ability of a bond between two materials to withstand a tensile load) is 75% greater than wet area plasterboard when dry, and 300% greater when wet.


Installing the Villaboard lining is easy, whether you’re applying it in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry or somewhere else. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when installing the Villaboard lining in your bathroom:

Pick the right lining for you: James Hardie’s Villaboard lining comes in three different sizes – 6mm, 9mm and 12mm. The 6mm lining is best for residential applications, the 9mm lining for commercial applications and the 12mm for heavy duty applications.
Fixing: When you’re installing the Villaboard lining, you’ll need to install it across the framing by placing the long edges of the sheet at right angles to the framing members. The lining can be fixed either horizontally or vertically, however horizontal fixing is recommended as the easiest method in residential applications.
Timber: Use only seasoned timber. Unseasoned timber must not be used as it is prone to shrinkage and can cause Villaboard lining and frames to move. Studs must not be less than 38mm wide at joints.

Installing the lining correctly will mean that you won’t have to worry about moisture damage or losing structural integrity. For more information about installing Villaboard lining, check out the Villaboard lining installation manual. And make sure you check out this blog next week to find out what the best flooring material is to use in your bathroom.

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