RedGard Failure (Causes And How To Avoid)

RedGard is a liquid waterproofing membrane that’s becoming popular amongst DIY folk and professional contractors.

The DIY enthusiasts, however, love using RedGard because it’s super easy to install. Also, RedGard is very popular at big box stores like Home Depot.

This wide availability makes it a top choice for many people. Even though RedGard has its perks, it’s also susceptible to failure.

In today’s post, I will unearth some of the leading causes of RedGard failure and how you can prevent this from happening.


How Do I Know RedGard Has Failed?

Before we discuss the causes, let’s share some RedGard failure signs. This will help you diagnose the problem more easily. When RedGard fails, the following signs are evident;

First, you will notice water seeping through the tiles when you step on them. A floor that has been waterproofed by RedGard shouldn’t produce any water because there is a membrane beneath it.

If the RedGard failure is extensive, some tiles may start to fall off or become loose. This is expected when water passes through the failed RedGard, and breaks down the adhesion of the tile adhesive or mortar.

If you notice mold growth beneath the tiles, that can also signify RedGard failure.

When RedGard fails, any wood used nearby will rot and turn into mush.

If you haven’t tiled on the RedGard when it fails, you may notice cracks or peeling after it has dried.

Diagnosing signs of RedGard failure is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t matter your level of experience, but you should be able to tell that RedGard has failed, and you need to act quickly.

What Causes RedGard Failure?

1. When It is Applied Too Thick

When using a waterproofing product such as RedGard, you must be mindful of the installation process. The manufacturer of RedGard recommends that it be applied in a thickness of 60 to 70 mils when wet.

This should turn 30-35 mils thick when dry. They also explain that you should never apply RedGard in wet thicknesses of more than 125 mils.

As a DIY enthusiast interested in waterproofing a floor or shower, you may be tempted to apply RedGard in abnormally thicker amounts. The assumption is that the thicker the RedGard, the more it will waterproof your floor.

On the contrary, the above often leads to failure. When RedGard is applied extremely thick, it cracks as it dries. To prevent crack-related failure, always stick to the coating thickness advised by the manufacturer.

You can always use a wet film thickness gauge to ensure you get the desired thickness. This should make it easier for you not to apply the RedGard too thick.

2. When It is Applied on a Dirty/Contaminated Surface

Like other waterproofing products, RedGard must be applied on a clean, contaminant-free surface. If you happen to lay RedGard over a dirty floor full of contaminants, don’t be surprised when it fails.

To avoid this issue, take your time and clean the area you want to apply it on thoroughly. Sometimes, water is never enough.

Don’t hesitate to use a strong solvent to eliminate contaminants that may negatively interact with the RedGard formula.

3. Forgetting to Tape the Seams

If you have decided to waterproof a wall or floor, the entire surface needs to be sealed with the product you are using. In this case, it’s RedGard.

When an expert is installing RedGard in your shower or floor, you will notice that the seams won’t be left not taped.

Taping of the seams plays a crucial role in preventing the passage of moisture into the substrate. When the seams are left open, there is a good chance that the substrate will be soaked with water.

And as you may have guessed, RedGard will soften and fail. Something else you should know about un-taped seams is that they will transfer cracks to the tiles. Therefore, this can also lead to a double failure.

When installing RedGard, make sure you also buy their RedGard tape and use it to cover the seams.

4. Stepping on the RedGard When It’s Wet

Because it’s a liquid waterproofing product, RedGard is no different from paint. Stepping on it when it’s still wet will lower its effectiveness in that area, and thus may fail. RedGard needs to be treated carefully before, during, and after application.

Do not step on the Redgard when it’s still wet. If you live with kids, close that room and ensure no one gets inside.

Also, do not tile on the RedGard or do anything to it before it fully dries. RedGard dries within 1 to 2 hours, depending on the weather. But it fully cures after three to four days. Give it ample time.

Can I Avoid RedGard Failure by Hiring an Expert?

Well, that depends on the expert you hire. Just because someone refers to themselves as a professional doesn’t mean they are one. That is why you have to be very rigorous during the hiring process.

There are plenty of stories online about RedGard failures, which were done by professional tilers and contractors.

If you doubt your ability to install RedGard as per the provided instructions, you can hire an expert to avoid failure.

However, you need to hire an expert who is knowledgeable and experienced with using RedGard waterproofing products. You need to be very keen during the hiring process.

Also, you should do some more reading about RedGard. That will help you spot any mistakes that the installer may make.

The bottom line is that hiring an expert doesn’t mean you can avoid Redgard failure. You have to find someone good at their job. Feel free to look at recommendations.

Are There Other RedGard Alternatives I Can Explore?

If you have encountered plenty of RedGard failure stories, I understand that you may be reluctant to use it. From a professional point of view, I believe that RedGard is one of the best liquid waterproofing products as long as it’s applied correctly.

However, if you are interested in comparing other alternatives, other liquid waterproofing products have much better features, such as Mapei

AquaDefense and Laticrete Hydro Ban. You can check out this article for an in-depth review of the top RedGard alternatives.

Does RedGard Have a Reputation for Failing Too Early?

Not really! RedGard is a durable liquid waterproofing membrane that has a reputation for lasting for years, provided it’s installed correctly. Due to these features, RedGard is popular among DIY enthusiasts and professional tile installers.

If you want to use RedGard to waterproof a floor or wall within your home or commercial building, don’t let stories of failure prevent you from using this quality product.

Can RedGard Fail When Used with Another Waterproofing Product?

There are specific scenarios when a homeowner may decide to use RedGard alongside other waterproofing products such as Kerdi or Laticrete. I have never been a big fan of mixing two waterproofing products because the results are always catastrophic.

For instance, let’s assume you use a Kerdi drain and RedGard on the walls. The seams between these two may be an entry point of moisture leading to the failure of both products.

You can also be assured that no manufacturer will honor the warranty if either waterproofing product fails.

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