Backing for Shower?

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Old 03-07-06, 01:44 PM
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Backing for Shower?

Is it appropriate to use plywood as the backing for a shower? From what I have read on here and elsewhere, a special waterproof backerboard is required. I have just discovered that the entire wall in our shower (some of which is rotted), is made of plywood. Not only that, but they had tiled the walls outside of the shower as well. I just discovered that it was put on top of paneling. Egad, it is a nightmare. I just need confirmation that I am not removing these tiles for nothing.

Thanks.
 
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Old 03-07-06, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ozmee
Egad, it is a nightmare. I just need confirmation that I am not removing these tiles for nothing.

Thanks.
CONFIRMED: Remove them, remove them now!

Yikes! If you intend to use it as a shower in the future, rip all of that out. At the VERY least you should have "greenboard" (moisture resistant sheetrock), I suggest you replace your plywood backer with a cement board (i.e. hardibacker) product.

HD
 

Last edited by HandyDave; 03-07-06 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 03-07-06, 08:14 PM
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At the VERY least you should have "greenboard" (moisture resistant sheetrock),
Greenboard is not an acceptable backer for tile in a shower. It is also unacceptable for any area that is expected to get wet. In short greenboard is basically worthless(in fact the Boxes around here don't carry it anymore).

At the very least you should use a real backerboard like hardi or durrock or wonderboard. Just make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions as to installation and vapor barriers ( manufacturers not advice from a big box employee)


Edit to add:

From USG's website....

Limitations of Use
1. Do not use in tub or shower surrounds, or other areas subject to constant or excessive moisture.
 
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Old 03-07-06, 10:58 PM
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Yup, he's right. I guess I shoulda said you can, but you shouldn't (thought I did, poor choice of words). I forget sometimes that some folks do do the "VERY least" that they can get away with. Thanks for the reminder bigmt.

HD
 
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Old 03-07-06, 11:26 PM
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I forget sometimes that some folks do do the "VERY least" that they can get away with.
Alot of people including contractors do the "very least" they can get away with. Heck I would venture to say most of the new showers built in my area are tiled over greenboard (job security for me), even though it was dismissed long ago as a proper backer for tile in shower tub surrounds.

Recently I replaced a shower surround in an 8 year old house, sad thing is that was the second time it had been replaced. Both times previous the tile had been set on greenboard using mastic. Lots of mold behind the walls, one good thing was it was really easy to demo.
 
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Old 03-07-06, 11:55 PM
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[QUOTE=bigmtk]Alot of people including contractors do the "very least" they can get away with.

Thanks to both of you for answering and confirming that I was doing the right thing. We will not use the greenboard as yes, the shower is just going to be redone. After I wrote the original message I was thinking it was kind of dumb. Obviously the plywood was a poor choice since some of the wood was already rotted out. I don't know how long the shower has been there or if it has ever been redone, but there actually wasn't as much rot as you might expect given that this house is 36 years old. However, every time I step foot into that shower I am scared it's going to give way and toss me to the basement below.

Well, this will be an experience! Although I wrote everyone concerned in the purchase of our home and screamed breech of contract, I don't believe they will pay any attention. So I am going to go on and do as much as I can and hope it will not take forever.

My Daddy was a contractor and built many a home. He once told me that pressboard was being used in the construction of homes and that as soon as water hit it, that it would rot away. I never did understand why it was used since it does not hold up well at all (cost I suppose). He did not use pressboard in his construction. Sometimes I wish he were still here, he could build my shower in no time, or at least give me some guidance.

Did I mention that they had tiled over paneling in the other part of this shower? I was surprised to see that. The more I see in this house, the more disgusted I get with whomever built it, appears that they took the cheapest way possible. I seriously doubt there is even any waterproofing in the basement.

Thanks so much for your help. I will be asking more questions when we start rebuilding it.
 
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Old 03-07-06, 11:58 PM
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[QUOTE=bigmtk]Greenboard is not an acceptable backer for tile in a shower. It is also unacceptable for any area that is expected to get wet. In short greenboard is basically worthless(in fact the Boxes around here don't carry it anymore).

At the very least you should use a real backerboard like hardi or durrock or wonderboard. Just make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions as to installation and vapor barriers ( manufacturers not advice from a big box employee)

So after we remove the old stuff, we only need this hardi backerboard and not a layer underneath? Will there be insulation behind this wall, or should there be? In case there isn't any and there ought to be.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 12:35 AM
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So after we remove the old stuff, we only need this hardi backerboard and not a layer underneath?
Correct 1/2 inch hardi is fine.


Will there be insulation behind this wall, or should there be? In case there isn't any and there ought to be.
Exterior walls would need insulation interior wall don't unless you are trying to soundproof the walls a little bit. you would need to either install a vapor barrier (6 mil plastic sheet or the like)behind the hardi to keep any moisture that penetrates the wall from rotting the studs or waterproof the face of the hardi to keep water from penetrating the wall in the first place.


further instructions....
http://www.jameshardie.com/backerboa...stallation.php
 
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Old 03-08-06, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bigmtk
Correct 1/2 inch hardi is fine.




Exterior walls would need insulation interior wall don't unless you are trying to soundproof the walls a little bit. you would need to either install a vapor barrier (6 mil plastic sheet or the like)behind the hardi to keep any moisture that penetrates the wall from rotting the studs or waterproof the face of the hardi to keep water from penetrating the wall in the first place.


further instructions....
http://www.jameshardie.com/backerboa...stallation.php
Thank you very much for your advice and link to the hardibacker cement board instructions. For someone not used to seeing the 'guts' of a room, this is very reassuring.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 09:09 AM
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Here is a link to a job I did recently... perhaps this will help as well. I believe greenboard is appropriate as it is applied here.

http://home.comcast.net/~res0bbfx/jo...h/bathrem.html

Best of luck to you on your project. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

HD
 
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Old 03-08-06, 11:27 AM
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Hey handydave, great photos of your recent project. Are you concerned about having both a (butyl?) vapor barrier and the kraft faced insulation. Would this cause a double vapor barrier situation? Also, what method did you use to match the texture from the new drywall to the old drywall? It looks like it came out very nice.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 11:46 AM
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Would this cause a double vapor barrier situation?
Yes it would, and should be avoided by slitting the kraft facing of the insulation.
 
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Old 03-08-06, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rjanscha
Are you concerned about having both a (butyl?) vapor barrier and the kraft faced insulation. Would this cause a double vapor barrier situation?
Yes it would, you're very observant. Not mentioned in descriptions, the kraft facing of the insulation was lacerated just prior to installation of the plastic to provide proper ventilation. The customer thought I was insane and wanted to know why I was slicing up perfectly good insulation - lol. Although the mild temperatures in this region were not a concern this practice is a good one and can be done regardless of the area climate.

Thanks, yes it did come out pretty well. There are always a few things I would do differently, but the customer is extremely happy, and that's what matters.

HD

Added note: This should go without saying, but remember when working with durock or hardibacker to where proper eye and lung protection (I bet your dad taught you that as well... mine did.) These cement board products have some nasty stuff in them. Most concerning is the respirable carcinogen called crystalline silica. Associates of mine will use cutting wheels to cut their cement board. This is not a good idea (and I have told them on many occasions) as it creates a lot of dust containing said “nasty stuff”. Snap and score may be slow and more difficult, but is much safer. If at all possible I cut my materials outside so I don’t have any of that dust in habitable areas. Vacuuming it up can be a problem too as they just tend to redistribute what the suck up. Sorry for the long-winded safety lecture, it’s just a concern of mine. HD
 

Last edited by HandyDave; 03-08-06 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 03-08-06, 04:47 PM
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Also, what method did you use to match the texture from the new drywall to the old drywall? It looks like it came out very nice.
Sorry, forgot to put this in the last post.
The size of this the project didn't warrant using my hopper/gun, so I chose to use a consumer grade product called <a href="http://www.spraytex.com/Products.htm" target="_blank">Orangepeel Splatter</a>. It comes in very handy on small jobs. It's made by <a href="http://www.spraytex.com" target="_blank"> SprayTEX</a>. It take a little practice but it fairly easy <a href="http://www.spraytex.com/How.htm" target="_blank">to use</a>. It has what they call a "Dial-A-Texture" nozzle on it that adjusts the size of the splatter. Hope this helps.

Dave
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Old 03-10-06, 02:55 AM
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Interesting thread.

The house I recently bought had a closet turned into a shower. I don't like the idea (of this one) nor do I like the way the work looks. That's beside the fact that there is no additional ventilation installed to accomodate this.

I have no intention of ever using it and plan and returning the space to it's "original form". Meanwhile, after reading this thread, I decided to pull the reveal on the water valve for a look-see. Seems to be large ceramic tiles (like the floor type) on a green colored sheetrock with 1/2" grout seams between them all. I see nothing else between the studs and the sheetrock that would impress me as being a barrier.

Judging by this thread, I imagine I shouldn't think twice about tearing it out (lack of ventilation issues aside)?

Another point is it backs up to a shower stall in the master bedroom that appears to be constructed in the same manner. Tho' I haven't confirmed what's under the tiles, the grout joints seem poorly done with grout on plane changes, etc. I think I should assume the same style workmanship, no? Same tile, same patterns, etc seem to lead to it being done at the same time or by the same people.

Should I consider just ripping it ALL out?
Any recourse to be found with the seller being it seems to be capable of problems (judging by this thread)?

EDIT: Should the paid-for home inspection have found these items to be deficient?
 

Last edited by Cienega32; 03-10-06 at 03:08 AM.
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Old 03-10-06, 12:13 PM
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Unfortunately for you the items really aren't deficient simply because most building codes don't even address such matters and no one is required to follow any rules. Only shower receptors are subject to any kind of an inspection and even that isn't done in most of the country.

Now, the facts are that the shower construction is deficient from a 'standards' point of view. The trouble is that so many installers don't succumb to any of the official disciplines that do exist. The TCA (Tile Council of America) has offered recommendations on such things but not everyone wants to be governed by any of this. In the case of a homeowner doing the work, anything goes.

If it were me, I would remove the closet shower and return the space to a more suitable service. Unless you just can't sleep at night knowing the other shower is also difficient I think I would live with it for a while and see how long it lasts. Just be sure to keep your insurance policy in force in case the shower fails. Insurance won't replace the shower for you but it will usually pay for damage caused by the failing aparatus.

I guess the choice is yours.
 
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Old 03-10-06, 03:25 PM
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Your "standards" vs. code makes sense to me.

The closet shower is a gimmie. When I first saw it, I knew it was going back.

My main concern with the other shower is the mold potential behind the walls. It does show a little spotting on the ceiling. I guess if the mold was bad behind the walls, I would smell it? I'm just a little afraid of finding I'm sitting on a mold factory. More paranoia than anything else...

I just wish there was a quick way to check - perhaps one of those mold test kits? I'm one of those people that when I 'think' I smell something, it won't go away.

At this point, I'm not too jammed over it as there is another full bath that I can use. Of course, that one has the same tile work above and around the tub area
 
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Old 03-11-06, 01:41 PM
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OK now I'll launch a wild theory and you see what you think.

The only way mold would be growing back there is if moisture has found its way into cracks and crevices. I'm not saying it is or it isn't.

I do know however that moisture surely has found its way into the hidden areas but this doesn't mean there is mold.

OK, my theory then is that if moisture has found its way into the walls then you could also introduce your own moisture into the same cavities, cracks, and crevices. I would mix some chlorine bleach about 50/50 with water and put it in a garden sprayer. Then I would delibertly soak all areas. Let this mixture also find its way into wherever it will go. Do this several times over a period of days. Then wait for the chlorine odor to go away and see if you still imagine a mold odor. Not that this is all in your imagination but it could be.

Chlorine will kill mold in a matter of hours, driving the chlorine into hidden pockets will take some time. Try it and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Just an idea.
 
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Old 03-12-06, 02:44 AM
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Sounds like a plan!

And at the least, it'll make me feel a little better about it all as well

Thanks for your knowledge and advice/theory.
 
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Old 03-12-06, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Cienega32
Thanks for your knowledge and advice/theory.

You think that was impressive, he recently posted a history of tile that was of such quality as to be capable of publishing. Read like it came straight out of a text book.
 
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