What Type of Drywall Board Is Needed to Tile a Shower Wall? What Type of Drywall Board Is Needed to Tile a Shower Wall?

Adding a tile wall to the shower is great way to breathe new life into a bathroom. Not only will a tile wall look great, but it also has durable and long-lasting qualities. However, adding the right kind of drywall board behind the tile can be challenging, especially considering all the moisture the wall will have to withstand over the course of its life. Luckily, there are a few types of drywall that are perfect matches for any shower, including blueboard, greenboard, and cement board.

Regular Drywall

Regular drywall can be used as a base for tiles in a shower, but only as an absolute last resort. Even in the best of scenarios, the tile and grout will eventually wear down, leaving behind a clear route for water to seep through and soak into the drywall. If you have to use regular drywall, then a water barrier must be inserted behind the drywall and the wall frames. This is done to help prevent water from damaging the structure of the wall. Additionally, using regular drywall can compromise the integrity of the tile as water will disintegrate the drywall.

Blueboard

Blueboard is a type of drywall that is frequently used for a tile wall in a shower. Not only is it water-resistant, but blueboard is easy to find and inexpensive, making it an ideal option for those on a budget. Furthermore, blueboard is not difficult to install. The process of installing blueboard is similar to that of regular drywall and can be done with little prior experience. Although it is water-resistant, you will need to make sure all seams are properly covered and place some kind of water barrier between the tile and blueboard. Fortunately, there are plenty of products for this purpose, including RedGard and Kerdi membranes.

Greenboard

A bathroom construction zone with greenboard.

Greenboard shares some of the same qualities as blueboard, with the main difference being how the material is made. Greenboard is created with recycled materials, which makes it ideal for an environmentally-conscience choice. The installation process of greenboard is the same as blueboard, and a water barrier will be needed to keep moisture away from the board. The same types of water membranes can be used with both blueboard and greenboard. The important thing to keep in mind is that without a water barrier the tiles will leak water, making a water barrier behind the tile a critical step in installing any type of drywall.

Cement Backerboard

Cement board is by far the heaviest type of drywall used in tile wall applications and the most resistant to water. While it may be heavy, installing cement board is just like installing drywall, with a few minor differences. For starters, the cement backerboard will need to be cut to the proper dimensions with a jigsaw. Next, properly secure the board to the wall’s structure via concrete screws. Unfortunately, drywall screws will not work. After applying some seam tape to cover joints, a waterproof membrane should be added to prevent any leaks. In addition to the water barrier, it's a good idea to install a vapor barrier behind the cement board. This can be in the form of plastic sheets and will help minimize damage if water does make its way through the board.

Installation

No matter what type of drywall you choose, there are a few things to keep in mind before installation. First, tearing down old tile and drywall can be a messy process. Keep a window open to provide plenty of ventilation and wear the appropriate safety gear for the job. Second, the installation will likely take a few days to complete, which may or may not leave you without a shower for a day or two. Lastly, make sure to turn off any electrical outlets close by and turns off the water to avoid accidents.

Tips

a handyman grouting tile in a bathroom.

While there are a number of different options when it comes to the type of board suitable for a shower wall, the one thing to keep in mind is moisture. Whatever type of board you use, there needs to be a waterproof barrier installed behind the tile. Not only will this keep water from ruining the backboard, but it will also ensure that the structure of the wall is not comprised. Furthermore, it is also a good idea to install another water barrier behind the drywall in order to keep water from damaging the structure of the wall. By following these simple steps, you can save both time and money knowing that your wall is properly sealed.

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