In New Zealand, bathrooms and kitchens sell houses. It’s hardly what you call breaking news.
It’s the way it has been for years. And while you may argue that in the current beyond-hot property market any house will sell, no matter what; what will ultimately end in your pocket still hinges on those two.
Facing the prospect of designing a bathroom, the number of choices available causes a risk of ‘analysis paralysis’. Where do you even start?
Ceramic? Porcelain? Natural Stone? Glass?
Enclosed shower? Or wet area?
How to optimise lighting?
How to design a layout that makes the most of the space you have?
What options do you have for ventilation and heating?
And how do you get the most bang for your buck?
Style, trends, practicality, budget and building code all have their part to play. No kidding, planning a bathroom is seriously tricky. It’s a complex task.
So it’s time we talk you through all the reasons why so-called luxuries like bathroom underfloor heating and a tiled shower should be a serious consideration when you build a new house or embark on an existing house renovation.
In a world that sees people crumbling under the stressful demands of everyday life, our bathroom has evolved into a private sanctuary. It’s where we unwind and allow ourselves a well-deserved moment of solitude and pampering at the end of the day. Imagine the sense of luxury that oozes from a beautiful bathroom, floor heating included and a wonderfully tiled massage shower awaiting you. A bit of candlelight to set the scene, a fluffy and warm towel, some music in the background and a glass of wine on hand.
Or the invigorating shower after a morning run. Surely, a grimy small shower with banging doors (no matter how hard you try to shut them quietly) and no space to leave your shower knick-knacks is nobody’s idea of a great start to the day.
There is no doubt that when it comes to making a statement, a well-laid out bathroom, floor heating and tiled shower far outshines its -dare we say it…’boring’- acrylic prefab counterparts.
Apart from the sense of luxury you get from a tiled shower with bathroom floor heating, there are plenty of other reasons why they are a very popular choice.
All it takes is a simple realisation that you and I are different people.
We like different things, we live different lives, we have different tastes, we may be at different stages in our life. When building or renovating, we want our houses (including bathrooms) to fit our lifestyle and reflect our preferences.
In terms of style, tiles are the easiest way to put your personal stamp on your bathroom. Graphic ceramics are the flavour of the season. But then again, floor to wall seamless tiling makes a room feel larger. Feature walls can play with the room proportions.
To top it off, our houses are different. Maybe you need to work with awkward nooks and crannies. What if the shower size that works for your bathroom doesn’t fit the 900×900, 1000×1000 or 1200×900 mould?
When you start to think about it, the one size fits all solution makes little sense. Luckily, tiled showers with custom-sized shower trays give you the flexibility to be you. It even means you don’t need to put up with a centred drain in the middle of your shower base if that’s one of your pet peeves.
Our wants and needs are just as varied. Do you need a handrail? Have you considered storage space? What room temperature do you prefer?
With bathroom underfloor heating, you have flexibility in setting up your comfort temperature – all you need to do is to set up your thermostat. It can also turn on and off your towel rail so that you always have dry and warm towels when you need them.
As much as bathrooms are areas of indulgence and delight, they also serve a more practical function… and it involves water.
Put ‘water’ and ‘building’ in one sentence in New Zealand and people get nervous. Of course, there is a very good reason for that. The answer is an undetected leaky shower problem and mould as a result. Leaky showers are in particular a huge problem in the second-floor bathrooms, and insurance will not always be able to cover all the costs to fix a leaky shower on the second floor.
Many manufacturers of acrylic showers will tell you their product is absolutely waterproof. Which you would think is correct considering you’re dealing with a ‘piece of plastic’. But I’ll never forget the conversation I had with a professional pre-purchase inspector who religiously checked for leaky showers. Imagine my surprise when he said the following words: ‘After a while, all acrylic showers leak to some extent. It’s the seams.’
So what about tiled showers? Assuming your ceramic or porcelain tiles of choice are appropriate for a wet area, the cement-based grouts on the other hand aren’t waterproof. But even a urethane or epoxy grout requires additional bathroom waterproofing.
Nothing words it better than the heading on the Marmox website: ‘It’s what’s underneath that counts’.
The Marmox Multiboard is a high-quality European solution that is made of a core of extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam, reinforced with a glass fibre mesh and finished on both sides with a polymer-modified cement facing.
This makes the boards strong and lightweight but also waterproof. It’s a unique design that explains its worldwide popularity.
I’m stating the obvious when I say that the need for bathroom waterproofing is a rather important consideration. The NZ Building Code has everything to do with that, but we’ll get back to this later.
One of the misconceptions of a tiled shower is that they are expensive and cumbersome to install. Admittedly, that may be true for the run of the mill tiled shower. But old ideas have a tendency to stick, even if innovation in the meantime has challenged the status quo.
The Marmox ready-to tile over shower tray is fully waterproof, customisable and significantly easier and more economical to install than the traditional shower base. The shower base can be placed directly onto a timber or concrete floor. And thanks to a built-in fall, there’s no need for endless adjusting to create a fall out of sand and cement.
In the world of backer boards for wet areas, Gib Aqualine is the New Zealand default option. But imagine if that waterproof backer board could also double as an acoustic and thermal insulation board?
Marmox has a thing with ongoing innovation and making things as easy as possible on builders (and the client’s wallet as a consequence). Marmox Multiboard, niches, wedge fillets and packers are a testimony to that philosophy. (A new range of curved boards and pipe boxing is going to join the line-up too.)
Literally, all it takes to install a Marmox Multiboard is an instruction manual, a handsaw and tile adhesive.
If you also take into consideration that the lifespan of an acrylic shower is about 10 years at best (Warranty on the parts varies between 5 and 10 years for the more reputable brands; the seals though often have only year warranty)
The Marmox products, on the other hand, have a 15-year warranty on both elements and installation (if installed by an accredited installer). I think that makes it fair to say that realistically you’ll have at least two acrylic showers for a tiled shower.
Factor in the resale value of your home and you may want to do the math on that ‘tiled showers are expensive’ claim.
But luxury is more than just keeping the damp under control.
Luckily, the Warmup Waterproofed Shower System is not only the perfect solution because of how easy it is to instal and its superior waterproof qualities.
There is no luxurious bathroom with some serious consideration for privacy. And that means …soundproofing.
What goes on in the bathroom should stay in the bathroom! When we said earlier that Marmox Multiboard and the Marmox shower base were part of a quality system, we meant it. They are called Multi-boards for good reasons.
Because Multiboards have some acoustic properties, I can decrease noises coming from the bathroom.
Say comfort, health and luxury and ‘cosy-warm’ comes to mind. ‘Heating’ is the answer.
As soon as you throw tiles into the equation, Undertile heating is the perfect choice because of the high thermal conductivity. In layman’s terms, it means that the heat from an underfloor heating wire transfers to the floor surface in no time. Marmox insulation boards increase the effectiveness even further, particularly on concrete floors.
Add one of the Warmup thermostats for heating control and additional cost-effectiveness.
And while we’re on the topic of cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency.
Marmox Multiboards also have excellent thermal insulating properties. When used to insulate floors of new or existing buildings, they can save as much as 50% of the heat lost through conventional underfloor heating. With energy costs cutting on everybody’s mind, that is not something to be ignored.
We mentioned earlier how the NZ Building Code that relates to bathroom waterproofing is a big deal.
It wouldn’t make for very interesting reading to detail the entire outline of standards, documents, guidelines and code of best practices that is available. You can have a look here if you would like to know more:
It’s not rocket science to see it’s designed to make sure wet areas are safe, comfortable and convenient for its users while avoiding structural damage to the building in the longer term.
For a tiled bathroom and shower, these are some of the key points as far as the Building Code for the wet area is concerned:
Do the potential of a leaky bathroom and all the do’s and don’ts that come with the NZ Building Code cause stress? There really is no need!
When you design a new home or sink your teeth in the renovation of an existing house, getting a design signed off is a bit of an ordeal at the best of times. Especially when the market isn’t free from products that do not meet the NZ Code requirements. (There’s no need to explain the cost and frustration that comes with this.)
But the Warmup Tiled Shower System makes it incredibly easy. With luxury, comfort, budget and practicality high on our list of priorities, Warmup designed an integrated Waterproofed Shower System that is BRANZ appraised.
Not only is the system completely waterproof; the components and installation are also 100% guaranteed. Thanks to the latest technology and the superior insulation boards, the system can be installed in one day; ready for tiling after 24 hours. That’s hours shaved off a time-consuming and messy job that many builders loath. For you, the client, the considerable cut in man-hours, makes tiled showers quite a bit more economical than you thought.
The Warmup Waterproofed Shower System is completely customisable with personalised sizes and shapes and is suitable for both concrete and timber flooring.
The System integrates the following quality components to create a durable wet room for your new or existing home.
A Tranquility shower drain completes the quality setup.
It’s important to note that the system must be installed by an accredited Warmup wetroom installer.
So with your bathroom wish list in hand and your stress levels at bay, we hope we’ve made it beyond any doubt that a tiled shower with bathroom underfloor heating is an option that makes a lot of sense. Especially when you make a well-advised choice involving the most up-to-date technology.
For those of you who like a quick overview, here are all the reasons the BRANZ appraised Warmup Waterproofed Shower System is a brilliant choice.
Of course, if you have any further questions about our products or need technical assistance, the Warmup consultants are happy to help.