You can install a glue-on waterproof membrane over drywall to waterproof your shower walls. However, this process is more difficult and time-consuming than using a waterproof backer board instead of drywall. Drywall will never be as waterproof as cement board or polystyrene foam board. Even water-resistant drywall, which is typically green in color, is not waterproof. If you use drywall for your shower walls, you risk mold, rot, and crumbling walls.
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Can You Make Drywall Waterproof in Your Shower?
If you wish to waterproof the drywall in your shower surround, it’s essential to install a waterproof membrane on top of the drywall before tiling. This applies to all types of drywall. Water-resistant drywall (often referred to as green board) is not waterproof enough to withstand use for your shower walls without a sheet of glue-on waterproof membrane.
- It is possible to waterproof drywall in a shower by covering the drywall with a waterproof membrane.
- This waterproof membrane can be bonded to drywall with thinset adhesive to create a waterproof layer.
- Never tile directly over drywall in a shower.
- Drywall that has not been waterproofed will become moldy and break down.
A glue-on membrane will create a waterproof layer between the drywall surface and tile, which is essential. If this protection is not in place, water will work its way through the grout between your ceramic tile and penetrate the drywall. This causes mold and rot. The drywall will also begin to bubble and sag, which will cause tiles to come loose from your shower wall.
Can You Apply RedGard Over Drywall for Shower Walls?
RedGard isn’t designed for use over drywall in showers. It simply won’t provide enough protection to prevent your drywall from being destroyed by water. The RedGard product fact sheet lists suitable substrates, but drywall is not among them. This is because RedGard is designed to be used over cement backer board in your shower, not drywall.
- RedGard is not rated for use over standard drywall or green board drywall.
- Use RedGard over cement backer board for a waterproof shower enclosure.
- If you use drywall for your shower walls and paint it with RedGard, the drywall will still be damaged by water.
We recommend RedGard any time you use concrete board for your shower surround. However, it’s simply not strong enough to make drywall waterproof. Truly waterproofing drywall requires installing a waterproof membrane. A combination of RedGard and water-resistant drywall isn’t enough to properly protect your shower walls from moisture damage.
How Do You Waterproof Your Shower Walls?
The best way to waterproof shower walls before tiling is to construct the walls with waterproof backer board. Cement board is the traditional choice, but newer shower systems use panels made of extruded polystyrene foam. Both of these materials can be used instead of drywall to build truly durable shower walls.
- Use a waterproof wall board instead of drywall.
- Cement board is a great drywall alternative for shower surrounds.
- This shower kit includes waterproof wall board, along with all the other materials needed to construct a waterproof shower.
Installing a waterproof wall material is far more efficient and long-lasting than installing drywall and attempting to waterproof it. Backer board goes on quickly. Plus, most companies sell shower kits that include everything you need for the job. It’s a lot of work to hang green board drywall in your shower and install a waterproof membrane on top of it. The job will go faster if you start by using a waterproof wall material.
Can You Use Regular Drywall in a Shower?
When installing or replacing shower walls, never use standard drywall as the wall material. Not only is standard drywall completely unsuitable for shower surrounds, but it also isn’t rated for use in bathrooms at all. Instead, use a waterproof backing board for your shower walls. Then, use moisture-resistant drywall (green in color) for the ceiling and remaining walls in the bathroom.
- Do not use regular drywall in a shower or bathroom under any circumstances.
- Use waterproof backing board for shower walls.
- Install water-resistant drywall for the ceiling and non-shower walls in your bathroom.
- Regular drywall will form mold if installed in a bathroom.
The ambient moisture in a bathroom is too high for standard drywall to endure. Mold will begin to form on the drywall, which can create a costly mold infestation in your home. Regular drywall exposed to bathroom conditions is likely to bubble, sag, or develop soft spots. Regular drywall works great for the rest of your home, but it has no place in your bathroom.
What Kind of Drywall Do You Use for Shower Walls?
If you absolutely must use drywall for your shower walls, use a water-resistant variety and cover it with a glue-on waterproof membrane. However, it’s much easier and more durable to use a true waterproof backer board instead.
- It is far better to use waterproof backer board for shower walls instead of drywall.
- If you install drywall in your shower, it must be water-resistant drywall.
- Even if you use water-resistant drywall, it’s essential to install a waterproof membrane on top of it to add true waterproofing.
Water-resistant drywall does a better job at resisting moisture than regular drywall, but it’s still not waterproof. It can only be used for shower walls if you install a waterproof membrane on top of it.
Can You Waterproof Drywall for a Shower?
When evaluating a shower to determine if you can waterproof the drywall for a durable tile shower, keep these rules in mind:
- Waterproof backer boards made from cement or polystyrene foam are the best choice for shower walls.
- Standard drywall is NEVER suitable for shower walls.
- Water-resistant drywall is a poor choice for shower walls, but it can be waterproofed.
- Waterproof your water-resistant drywall by gluing a waterproof membrane on top of it.
- Paint-on waterproofing products are not strong enough to waterproof drywall in your shower.
It’s essential to follow these tips so that your shower walls hold up for the long-term. Cutting corners by using improper materials in your shower can cause a mold infestation in your home and destroy the shower tile you install.