Claire Lawson is the resident designer and creator of all things T-air. She is driven by a strong sense of responsibility to educate others that bathroom design should not be based purely on aesthetics. Conventional bathroom décor is outdated and unhygienic, and Claire is passionate about builders, renovators and designers considering hygiene as a key criterion in their bathroom design.
Bathroom Renovation - Design Tips that help Prevent Mould
by Claire Lawson
As you think about your bathroom renovation and creating a new stylish space for your daily personal hygiene routines, I encourage you to also consider bathroom hygiene. Let’s face it, we all have experienced mould in showers, which is unsightly, can create health problems, permeate wall structures, and, is a constant battle to manage.
As a bathroom specialist, I constantly look at ways of preventing mould, rather than managing a never-ending problem. Did you know that with some minor changes in bathroom layout and accessories, the risk of mould growth can be significantly reduced? Here are the top two things to consider when designing your new bathroom:
- Bathroom ventilation and light
- Shower design
Before we dive into these, let’s take a quick look at why mould loves to live in our showers! Mould absolutely LOVES warm, damp, humid conditions, which is exactly what we create when showering!
So how can we design showers to eliminate this?
1. Ventilation and Light
Good air flow in the shower dissipates the steam whilst showering, then helps to evaporate any leftover water. Nothing beats fresh air, so ideally a window close to the shower is the best option. Some of the better showers I have seen are those with floor to ceiling louvred windows, where the owners keep them open all the time (not just whilst showering), allowing airflow and light to continuously fill the shower area (see photos below).
If there is no possibility of locating your shower near an external wall and having a window, then an exhaust fan is an absolute MUST to remove the steam and limit condensation. Unfortunately, I continue to see many renovated bathrooms with an enclosed corner shower and no exhaust fan, creating perfect conditions for mould to grow! Don’t assume your builder will think of this, as their core business is quality construction – they aren’t necessarily thinking about ‘liveability’!
Another option for showers where it's impossible to have an external window, is to install a skylight, creating a light filled space which mould shies away from.
Personally, I also believe a small ceiling fan in the bathroom to keep the air circulating would go a long way to preventing mould, but please note I haven’t yet checked out the feasibility of this with any electricians.
2. Shower Design
With or without a window, there are still other shower design aspects that can be incorporated to further prevent mould growth.
Larger, more open showers where the shower screen doesn’t extend all the way to the ceiling, are far better than corner, closed-in showers that trap humidity.
Mould growth is not just limited to the shower floor. We have noticed many Renovators moving away from in-built shower niches and choosing screw-in shower shelves, primarily due to mould problems. Niches rarely dry properly, plus there is nowhere to hang facecloths, body gloves and shower puffs, which scientific studies have proven to be great breeding grounds for mould and bacteria because they don’t dry quickly in-between use.
Photo credit: Zephyr + Stone Blog - The Truth about Mitres Photo credit: Zephyr + Stone Blog - Can I Use Large Tiles in a Shower?
The most hygienic shower shelf is one with drainage, and hooks to store your facecloth, body glove and shower puff hygienically suspended in air. A shelf without hooks typically sees us hanging these items over the tap, which mould loves, as it sits against the wall and continuously gets splashed with water!
Whichever shower shelf you choose, try to install it as far from the shower splash as possible. With larger more spacious showers becoming popular, we are seeing many shelves located on the opposite wall to the shower frame, which is a fantastic idea!
By thinking about the environment in which mould thrives, and a bit of reverse engineering, the build-up of mould in your new shower can definitely be minimised. Let’s start creating new bathrooms for our families that prevent mould, rather than us having to constantly manage mould!
I hope you found this article helpful? Feel free to message me on social media or send me an email for advice on any other bathroom challenges you may have.
Note: As per all my blog posts, the photos are ‘real’ rather than ‘staged’, so please don’t get turned off if they don’t appeal to your aesthetic sensibility. My focus is on solving real bathroom problems.