Making a splash

As one of the most functional rooms in a house – and the most expensive to build or renovate – there’s no doubt that bathrooms need extra care and thought at the planning stage.

Everyone who has had a leaking shower, pipe or tap will know that things can go horribly wrong in wet areas, which is why homeowners should consider wet-area specific products for those zones.

As a natural product, standard plasterboard is particularly vulnerable to water. This is why expert plasterer John Paul Brancato, of M.E. Brancato and Sons, says that he uses Gyprock’s specially formulated product Aquachek in wet areas such as bathrooms, laundries and even kitchen splashbacks, to ensure that moisture is managed correctly.

A second-generation plasterer, John Paul always uses Gyprock products when plastering and says he opts for Aquachek around vanities, toilets and baths all the time because it provides extra protection against water and steam. He also installs it in shower areas occasionally without any problems. Waterproofing is then applied over the top.

Photo: Gavin Hepper
Photo: Harry & Tash

Specifically designed for use as a wall and ceiling lining in wet areas of residential or commercial buildings, the core, face and back of Gyprock Aquachek are treated to make it resistant to moisture and humidity without compromising integrity.

Most modern bathrooms are tiled, usually floor to ceiling. Because Aquachek is not subject to moisture movement and has extremely low water absorption characteristics, it provides an excellent, stable substrate for ceramic tiles. This is also why it is a great choice for kitchen splashbacks, which are often tiled.

“Aquachek is fine in all areas that have water as long as there’s waterproofing,” John Paul explains, adding that while the surface paper of Aquachek is water repellent, thorough waterproofing is vital if the plasterboard is cut in any way.

He adds that he often installs Aquachek on ceilings in high-moisture rooms to manage steam, especially in colder climates where condensation might be an issue. Laundries, where dryers are used frequently, are also a risk zone.

Additionally, the modern trend for additional spa-style areas has increased the need for Aquachek on ceilings, he says.

“I am seeing more people with saunas or steam rooms, or even indoor spas that are heated; all high-moisture areas,” he says. “I would err on the side of precaution and would definitely recommend installing Aquachek in those kind of spaces where you have a hot tub or something similar that’s always full of water.”

Aquachek satisfies the requirements of the Building Code of Australia for wet area wall linings in residential and commercial buildings. It can be easily identified by its blue coloured face paper.

Photo: Gavin Hepper

Prevention of moisture problems starts with the building process. Retrofitting moisture-management strategies can be expensive, but it is critical for the long-term structural health of buildings – as well as its inhabitants. Water and condensation can compromise structural integrity if not managed correctly. Timber frames can rot; steel frames can rust.

Mould is a significant health risk too, especially in bathrooms and wet areas where water is not managed properly. A long-term study conducted by the University of Melbourne found that the overall risk of active asthma was increased by 26% in those people who had visible mould in the home in the last 12 months.

The study also found that the more rooms in the house affected by mould, the greater the risk of active asthma. In other words, there was evidence that the “dose” of mould influenced the risk of active asthma.

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