Avoiding water damage to your bathroom tiles and shower

According to the Association of British Insurers, there were nearly 300,000 insurance claims for domestic water damage in 2014 alone. From burst pipes to leaking water tanks, even the smallest amounts of escaping water can do serious harm to your home. Luckily, there's a lot you can do detect and prevent water damage in your bathroom at an early stage. That's why we've partnered with blogger Stephanie from Renovation Bay-Bee to bring you some advice. Here are a few of the most important areas to look at, as well as a few precautions

The bath

One easy first step towards avoiding water damage is to make sure you don't overfill the bath. The lining of the tub itself is usually secure, but the surrounding walls and floors are where water is most likely to escape. So if you have kids who like to splash around, it's best to keep the water levels low. Check the tiles on the walls and floor around the bath every couple of months, and replace or repair any damaged ones or add tile grout as soon as you can. Even a tiny hole or weak area can let a lot of water through over a long enough period of time. In particular, play close attention to the sealant where the bath joins the wall. Any water splashed onto the wall will eventually fall down to this seal. And if the seal isn't watertight, a leak could end up hidden behind the bath itself. If you do need to apply new sealant, remember that many baths will drop down slightly when they're full, and this drop can break your newly applied seal. So before fitting a new seal, run the bath as if you were going to use it, or put some heavy weights in it.

The shower

First of all, make sure that you always close the cubicle door properly, and keep the shower curtain on the inside if it's a shower over a bath. One of the most common causes of water damage from your shower is due to a faulty shower pan. This could be the part you stand on, or it could be a lining underneath the tiles on your shower floor. Test your shower pan regularly by plugging the drain, filling the shower with an inch of water, and marking the water level with a pencil. If you come back after eight hours and the water level has dropped, then it's a sign that there's a leak, and you'll need to call in a professional. If you think your shower is in danger of overflowing because of a blockage, take a look at our detailed guide to unblocking a shower or bath.

The walls and ceiling

Bathrooms can get steamy at times and there's usually a lot of moisture in the air. But if you start to see damp stains or patches of mould in places that are nowhere near your shower, it's unlikely that it's caused by steam alone (unless the ventilation is really poor). There may be a hidden leak behind the walls, and you may need to call a specialist in to investigate. If you're still worried about the build-up of moisture, leave the door and windows open after you use the bathroom. This will let the steam out and help to circulate some fresh air. You could also consider getting an extractor fan fitted to draw the moisture to the outside of the building.

The toilet

Unless it's received a beating, it's rare for cracks to appear in the bowl or tank of the toilet itself. But the supply line to the toilet, which runs from the tank to the wall or the floor, is a much more likely culprit. Look carefully for drips, stains or wet patches around or under the supply line, which is the pipe that runs from your toilet tank to the wall. It's usually a stainless steel flexible pipe, but some older homes might have a rigid pipe instead. Run a dry piece of toilet paper around the piping and connections. If the paper comes back damp, you've probably found a leak. In any case, make a note of the stopcock attached to the supply line, if there is one. If your toilet ever starts to overflow, swiftly turning off the water supply could save you from gallons of water on the floor. Unfortunately, even the best precautions can't always guarantee against water damage. If you're already suffering from a leak, take a look at our guide to fixing a leaking pipe or alternatively you can get in contact with a Dyno engineer.

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