Wet Rooms and Bathrooms – Ensuring the perfect seal

Laura Smith / 17 July 2023

Although application technique is an important consideration when sealing wet rooms and bathrooms, the truth is that even if your seals are perfect visually, the performance will be compromised if the correct product is not selected.

Bathroom sealants are formulated to contain special properties that help them to retain their structure as well as remaining intact within this unique environment. Within a bathroom or wet room, sealants are usually applied where two surfaces meet (for example, where the bathtub meets the wall) or to fill cracks to keep out moisture, air, and dirt.

Best practice within a wet environment like a bathroom, would be to apply a sealant containing fungicide such as GS123 Sanitary Silicone from illbruck. This rapid curing, sanitary grade sealant offers excellent resistance to mould and mildew and has been developed for sealing areas with high levels of moisture.

illbruck’s National Sales Manager, Steve Pendegrass, explores the five core elements to consider when ensuring the perfect seal.

1. Protection against mould and mildew

It is widely known that bathrooms and wet rooms are particularly vulnerable to mould and mildew due to the high level of humidity they often contain. That’s why specially formulated sanitary sealants, like GS123 are made with anti-mould properties and fungicides that can help neutralise mould and mildew.

Whilst silicone sealants can provide a level of mould resistance, it is imperative that adequate ventilation is placed within these environments to ensure that the performance of the chosen silicone sealant is not compromised. When maintaining a bathroom or wet room, it is important that adequate cleaning is completed to help remove soap or other debris – even the best fungicides can only do so much.

2. Drying and curing time

When selecting your silicone sealant, specifiers should also pay attention to two times listed within the packaging or product data sheet – drying time and curing time.

The drying time refers to the amount of time it takes for the product to be dry to touch, whilst the curing time is the amount of time required for the product to be ready for use and exposed to water. Acetoxy silicone sealants often have comparable drying and curing times. Generally, they will take around 10-30 minutes to be “touch” dry but could take up to 14 days to be fully cured, depending on the temperature and bead size.

Top tip – if you are using a sanitary silicone within a residential property use a fast-curing sealant so that the bathroom is not out of commission for days.  

3. Movement

Movement is often overlooked when it comes to sanitary sealants within buildings. Whilst bathrooms tend to have a small amount of movement, there will be some. According to the British standard, ISO EN 11600 (Sealants) the highest movement category is 25%, meaning the total movement capability of a 5mm joint could move up to 0.0625 mm in each direction – not much, but something which should be considered.

By utilising a triangular fillet or flush joint, sanitary sealants available from illbruck will be able to accommodate such movement.

4. Application

To avoid water sitting at a right angle between wall and floor junction, a triangular fillet application is best and will encourage water to flow away from the wall towards the shower / bathroom drainage channels.

Silicone sealants should be applied with a minimum fillet size of between 4-5 mm, from both a practical and aesthetical point of view, this will provide the best seal when looking to accommodate movement within the average bathroom.

5. Selecting the right colour

Silicone sealants are often available in a range of colours, including clear, white, cream, grey and black to name all but a few. To ensure an aesthetically pleasing result, make sure you choose a sealant that blends in well with the rest of your bathroom décor.

illbruck’s FA880 Premium Natural Stone Silicone is available in 24 matt colours and is ideal for use within wet areas – this rapid curing formulation skins over within 10-20 minutes, contains fungicide to prevent mould growth and is very low odour. Please refer our website to download the colour cards to find the right colour for your project.

To find out more information on sanitary sealants available from illbruck, explore our website or contact a member of the team at hello@cpg-europe.com