Drywall, Green Board, Backerboard... What to do?

Brett924June 10, 2012

i didn't see this exact topic anywhere when searching:

My bathroom has old ceramic tile one top of green board which was on top of dry wall. The tile grout deteriorated and the green board got all damaged.


Remove BOTH the green board and drywall? Then start w/ fresh backerboard right on the stud? Or do I leave the drywall on?

I was wanting to take it all down and go straight backerboard. But I obviously am a novice.


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There are several ways to do a shower or tub wall. Essentially, you need to tear it down to the studs. Typically, on the older style shower walls, you staple tarpaper or plastic sheeting, then install a cement board and tile away.

Newer systems allow you to use cement board OR drywall right to the studs and coat the board with something like Schluter's "Kerdi" or Laticrete's "Hydroban."

"Surface Applied" waterproofing is better, as the water NEVER penetrates past the barrier. It is recommended that this be applied over the mud-bed floor. In this way, you only need to set ONE mudbed. With the former, you need to set a "preslope, install a vinyl liner on top and attached over the curb and nail it to the studs, higher than 6" before putting in the cement board. Now, you need to put in a second mudbed upon which to set your tile.

I suggest you go to the Schluter website and look at the "Shower Install" videos. It is far superior, in my opinion. It'll cost you a couple of hundred bucks, but you save the time of a vinyl liner and two mudbeds.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Is this area a wet area (shower) or just the dry portions of the bathroom? As TileTech describes, there are several proper methods/materials for tile in wet areas. (For example, drywall or green board are not appropriate without water proofing over top for wet areas.) Personally, if there was any water damage below the tile, then I would strip everything down to the studs and make certain it's done right from the ground up.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 10:50AM
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"The tile grout deteriorated and the green board got all damaged. "

Grout is only 'water proof' to the extent that water does not damage it.

Like ANY cement product it wicks water very nicely, right through to whatever is behind the tile.

Cement board is the same, thus the need for a barrier.

I do not hold long term faith in filed applied sealing, no matter how 'new' it is.
The listing agencies are going to do a perfect job for testing.

Will every person using the product do as well?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:22AM
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FWIW, we use cement board (Hardibacker) for all three bathrooms; shower surround in one, tub surrounds in two. DH then coated the Hardibacker with Hydroban (three coats). He rolled it on, much like paint. A thick, yucky-green colored paint. It's not cheap stuff, but well-worth the cost.

DH removed everything down to the studs, and then attached the Hardibacker directly to the studs.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Thanks folks! As these things go, your responses uncovered other personal blind spots (i.e. waterproofing the Hardibacker). I was pretty sure I should pull it down to studs, but wanted to make sure I was missing anything.

Yes, the work is being done to tile the tub surround area. I was trying to decide if I'd get a fiberglass bath tub/shower enclosure or just go tile.

We also have to replace some floorboards and maybe even remove the tub to see if there is water damage under there. A small bubbled up area on the ceiling below makes us think we need to dig in.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 1:29PM
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