You should never use regular drywall in a shower. Regular drywall in a shower will be destroyed by moisture and cause an outbreak of mold. This will occur even if you have tiled over your drywall. Additionally, bathrooms are moist rooms. Regular drywall is very prone to forming mold or decaying if it is used anywhere in a bathroom. Use waterproof backer board for your shower walls. For the remaining bathroom walls and ceilings, use moisture-resistant drywall.
What Happens if You Use Regular Drywall for Your Shower?
If regular drywall is used in a shower, it will become soft, crumble, and form mold. This will happen even if you tile over drywall. Water will work its way through grout and tile to destroy your drywall. In a matter of time, your drywall will become sag and bubble. Then, your tiles will begin to come loose from your shower walls.
- Standard drywall will crumble and form mold if used for your shower walls.
- Tile and grout over drywall is not waterproof—moisture will still reach the drywall.
- Decaying drywall in your shower will lead to your tile installation falling apart.
- Mold will form in your walls due to regular drywall.
The paper used for regular drywall is not mold and moisture resistant. If you use regular drywall for any walls and ceilings in your bathroom, it will soak up moisture and form mold. This can lead to dangerous black mold infestations in the walls of your home. The trapped moisture can even cause the wood studs in your walls to begin rotting.
Can You Waterproof Regular Drywall?
Regular drywall cannot be safely waterproofed. If you would like to use a technique for waterproofing drywall in your shower, you should always use moisture-resistant drywall (also known as “green board”). Although green board is not the best choice for shower walls, it can be reasonably well waterproofed. Regular drywall cannot.
- Regular drywall cannot be waterproofed for use in showers or other bathroom walls and ceilings.
- “Green board” moisture-resistant drywall can be waterproofed for use in shower walls, but it is not as effective as using a true waterproof backing board.
- Do not attempt to waterproof regular drywall for use in your bathroom.
Regular drywall should also not be used for your bathroom walls or ceiling. It cannot be transformed into waterproof drywall by using a sealer or primer. The number one rule of thumb is to never use standard drywall anywhere in a bathroom.
What Kind of Drywall Do You Use for Shower Walls?
It’s best to avoid drywall completely when installing shower walls. Waterproof backer board—such as cement boards or polystyrene foam boards—are the best choice. They are easy to install and do not require extra waterproofing, since they’re waterproof by design.
- If possible, do not use any type of drywall for your shower walls.
- Use this shower kit with polystyrene foam board to truly waterproof your shower walls.
- Cement board and polystyrene foam boards are sold in sheets, like drywall, and are waterproof.
- It is less work to install waterproof board than it is to waterproof drywall.
Many companies sell convenient shower-finishing kits that come with everything you need for a watertight shower installation. Once you’re done, you can install tile directly on top of the board. You’ll get much better results this way than you would using any type of drywall. Plus, the job will be done with a lot less hassle.
Can You Use Green Board for Shower Walls?
If you do use drywall for your shower walls, make certain it is moisture-resistant green board drywall. Then, after hanging the drywall, you must install a glue-on waterproof membrane. This is more work than installing a waterproof backer board. So, it’s not recommended.
- Green board can be used for showers, but it must have a waterproof membrane installed on top of it to make it waterproof.
- It’s best to use waterproof board for shower walls instead of drywall.
- Use green board for ceilings and non-shower walls in your bathroom.
Although green board is not the best choice for shower walls, it is the number one choice for your bathroom ceiling and remaining bathroom walls. For the most waterproof, mold-resistant bathroom, use waterproof board for the shower walls. Then, use green board for the ceiling and remaining walls.
How Do You Waterproof Existing Drywall for a Shower?
If your shower has regular drywall for the existing shower walls, it must be removed and replaced with a material that is safe for use in showers, such as cement board. However, if you currently have green board installed for your shower walls, you can waterproof it. To do so, install a glue-on waterproof membrane over the green board.
- Regular drywall should never be left in place in your shower.
- If your shower’s existing walls are regular drywall, tear them out and replace them.
- Waterproof green board shower walls with this glue-on membrane.
- Do not use RedGard or similar waterproof paints—they are not sufficient for waterproofing any type of drywall.
You may be tempted to use a waterproof paint or primer to seal drywall against moisture, but this won’t work. RedGard and similar products are not designed for use on drywall. They are meant to be painted over waterproof backing board. Any type of drywall treated with a paint-on waterproofer will be subject to mold and decay.
Can You Use Regular Drywall in a Bathroom?
Regular drywall should never be used for any walls or ceilings in your bathroom. Here’s a quick fact sheet for installing walls in your shower and bathroom:
- If you use regular drywall in a bathroom, it will form mold and may rot your wall studs.
- If you use normal drywall for your shower walls, it will sag and fall apart over time.
- Use waterproof backing board made of polystyrene foam or concrete for your shower walls.
- Use green board (water-resistant drywall) for the ceiling and non-shower walls in your bathroom.
- If your shower has green board for its walls, they can be waterproofed with a glue-on membrane.
- If you find regular drywall installed as your shower walls, it must be torn out and replaced.
By following these tips and using the right materials for the job, you’ll get the best results with the least headaches. Waterproof board goes on fast in a shower. Even better, you won’t ever have to worry about water damage. This means your beautiful shower will last for years to come.