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Using cement board in the shower, Zazzy Home

Using cement board in the shower

Cement board is a popular material for use in shower stalls and tub surrounds because it is both water and moisture-resistant. In addition, the cement board is non-porous, which means that it will not absorb any water or moisture, thus helping to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.

If you are considering using cement board in your shower stall or tub surround, be sure to follow the proper installation instructions. A cement board can be installed over existing tile, drywall, or other surfaces, but it must be adequately sealed before it is covered with grout or tile. Failure to do so may result in water damage and extensive repairs.

Using cement board in the shower, Zazzy Home

Can cement board be used in showers and baths?

Yes, cement board can be used in showers and baths. In fact, it is often the preferred material for use in these areas because of its water and moisture resistance. Just be sure to follow the proper installation instructions so that you can avoid any potential problems down the road. 



The popularity of cement board as a material for use in shower stalls and tub surrounds comes from its water and moisture resistance. When properly installed, it can provide a long-lasting and durable surface that is resistant to both water and moisture. This makes it an ideal material for use in areas where these elements are likely to be present, such as in showers and baths.

There are a few things to keep in mind when installing cement board in a shower or bath

-Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions

-Make sure the surface is clean and dry before installation

-Use a high-quality adhesive to attach the cement board to the substrate

-If using screws, be sure to drill pilot holes first

-Do not install the cement board directly over studs or other structural members

-Be sure to seal the seams with mastic or caulk

-Keep the area well ventilated during installation to avoid moisture build-up.

With proper installation, cement board can provide a long-lasting and water and moisture-resistant surface in showers and baths. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to avoid any potential problems.

Using cement board in the shower, Zazzy Home

What is cement board?

Cement board is a special-purpose plasterboard used for backsplash and shower wall tile applications. Made from a mixture of Portland cement, aggregate, and additives, it is much stronger than standard drywall. In addition, some brands go as far as to include extra calcium or silicone in the little that makes up the composition of the cement board, which allows them to have better resistance against mold and mildew.



In addition to being more resistant against mold/mildew growth, it also has another significant advantage compared to drywall: water resistance. When properly installed, a thick membrane is formed between its surface and any exposed mortar or other tiling materials, making it particularly useful in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms. Cement typically boards are manufactured in standard 4 x 8-foot panels. However, it is also available in the following thicknesses: 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch, 3/8 inch, and 1/2 inch. The most common of the four is the 1/4″ thick variety used as a backer board to which tiled sheets are applied.

Which thickness should be used in a shower?

Cement board thickness for a shower surround will depend on the type of tile that is being used and whether or not the substrate is flat. Most experts recommend using cement boards ranging between 1/4 inch to 3/8-inch thick to act as a backer over plywood, drywall, fiberglass, plaster, or other standard building substrates. However, the thicker it is (up to 1/2-inch), the more difficult it becomes to set tiles into the mortar with soft consistency; this may be a problem in areas such as around the faucet and spout where a harder set mortar is required.

Before buying it, though, you should ask yourself if the extra money spent on this material would be worth it or not? That would depend on how long you plan to live at your current address, what kind of tiles you have chosen to put up there and what performance features they require from the substrate.

If there were no other way to stop wetness from getting behind tiles but by using cement board, then yes, it would be a good idea; however, if the walls are not actually getting wet and it is only a problem with the grout, then you could probably just use a sealant on the grout which would stop it from staining.

Can I use cement board for the shower floor?

Cement board can be used for shower floors, but it is not recommended. The main reason for this is that cement boards can be slippery when wet. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that water can seep through the seams and cause damage to the substrate beneath.



If you decide to use cement board for a shower floor, ensure that the seams are sealed correctly using a good quality siliconized acrylic caulk designed for use with grouts or grout spacers before applying tile or stone. Finally, never use mortar on top of cement board for shower floors; it will get too slippery. For this type of installation, a thin-set mortar that is specifically designed for use with cement board should be used instead. Remember always to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to avoid potentially serious injury.

If you want something that works just as well and looks great but is far safer in wet conditions, a better option for a shower floor would be to use a high-quality waterproof membrane material such as Schluter Kerdi or a third party equivalent. This is not only an extremely practical option but also one that can offer a professional finish to any shower floor with minimal effort on the part of the installer.

Using cement board in the shower, Zazzy Home

How to install cement board?

Installing the cement backer board is not a difficult task, but you must take your time and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. In most cases, you will be using mortar as an adhesive so make sure you have all of your tools and materials ready before starting

– Chisel

– Hammer

– Saw (either miter or handsaw)

– level

– Square

– Tape measure

– Notched trowel

– Bucket

– Sponge

Once you have everything ready, start by marking the center of the backer board panel. This will be your starting point. Then, using a saw, cut the panel to size. If you are using a handsaw, score the panel first and then snap it in two.

Next, using the chisel and hammer, remove the notches from the sides of the panel so that it can fit flush against the substrate.

Now mix some mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the substrate using a notched trowel. Then press the cement board into place and use a level to make sure it is perfectly straight.



Once it is in position, fasten it to the substrate with screws or nails. Again, be sure to drill pilot holes first. If you are using screws, drive them in at a slight angle so that they will grip better. Last but not least, seal all of the seams with mastic or caulk.

However, before you rush in and get banging and cutting, there are a few potential problems that can occur if the cement board is not installed correctly. First, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to ensure that the seams between panels are properly sealed. If not, water can seep behind the boards and cause damage to the underlying surface.

Second, it is important to make sure that the substrate is clean and dry before installation. Failure to do so can result in moisture being trapped between the board and the substrate, which can also lead to damage. Third, be sure to use a high-quality adhesive when attaching the boards to the substrate. Finally, if you are using mortar, use only the type that is made specifically for cement board and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Fourth, be sure to use screws or nails when attaching the boards to the substrate. Screws should be driven in at a slight angle so they will grip better, while nails should also go in slightly off-center. You should use no more than two fasteners per panel to avoid having them protrude above the tile’s surface. Finally, keep in mind that cement board is usually set 18 inches apart vertically, so plan accordingly so tiles won’t need to be cut.



What do you do with a gap between the tub and cement board?

If you have a gap between the tub and cement board, don’t try to do anything with it. If you seal it up, water will eventually get into that area and damage the wood materials behind the wall.

Instead, install trim or molding around the tub to cover the gap and give it a finished look.

Do you need to use RedGard over cement board?

While you don’t have to use RedGard with your cement board, the more protector you can give to both the board and the shower, the better. It’ll bond well to the cement board, and you can always mix it with your adhesive for a stronger hold.

When applied properly, RedGard reduces by 70% your chance of ever having a leak in your shower area. It also offers up an ASTM-tested waterproof membrane that protects you from mold and mildew growth behind the tile. RedGard is the way to go if you want to waterproof your shower project truly.

If you’re not planning on using RedGard, then there are other options you can try. For example, you can choose to use a modified thin-set which will hold up just fine to water exposure once the tile is installed. You can also use an acrylic latex caulk in your cement board installation joints. Don’t forget, when in doubt about your installation, always call a professional. A contractor can always help you cut the right corners and get the job done fast – so you can move on to more fun projects.

Whichever method you do choose, adding a waterproof membrane to your cement board installation is a very smart idea and can save you a lot of hassle and money in the long run.



What happens if the cement board gets wet?

While cement board can be installed in areas like showers and laundry rooms, it is not impervious to water.

If the wall becomes wet enough, the cement board will begin to swell. This will force open the seams between panels and cause damage to the substrate beneath. In addition, always be sure that grout lines are sealed correctly using a good quality siliconized acrylic caulk designed for use with grouts or grout spacers before applying tile or stone. This is an example of a grout line that was not sealed correctly.

If you have water getting behind your backer board, stains are most likely due to poor sealing of the seams between panels with mastic or caulk. These types of stains can be prevented by following the manufacturer’s instructions for installation closely.

However, if you do notice these types of stains and they seem to be uniformly distributed across the seam, then you may have a defect in the board. This is because cement boards are manufactured using a process where small chunks of aggregate eventually get pressed into the cement board by machinery. This can result in microscopic holes or voids that will allow tile set on the seam to be stained.

If this is the case, you should return your backer board to wherever it was purchased for an exchange. If you have already sealed the seams and still notice stains along with them, most likely they are due to grout not being installed correctly, sealing out what would otherwise be staining agents. To correct this issue, consider switching from sanded grout to non-sanded grout or use a grout additive designed for preventing stains.



Is it possible to use cement board on top of drywall?

While it is possible to use cement board on top of drywall, it is not recommended. Doing so will make the wall-less water-resistant and may cause damage to the underlying surface over time. In addition, if you are using cement board in a wet area like a shower, it is important to make sure that the substrate is clean and dry before installation. Failing to do so can result in moisture being trapped between the board and the substrate, which can also lead to damage. Finally, be sure to use a high-quality adhesive when attaching the boards to the substrate. If you are using mortar, use only the type that is made specifically for cement board and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

What’s the difference between green board and cement board?

Green board is a type of gypsum board that is designed for use in moist environments like bathrooms and laundry rooms. Cement board, on the other hand, is made from Portland cement and sand and is not as moisture resistant as green board. As a result, it can be used in areas like showers and around dishwashers where there is likely to be water.

While there are no major differences between green board and cement board when used in areas like countertops, it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific application.

 

Author: Abby Interior designer and home improvement blogger, Abby has over 20 years of experience in the field. After working as a designer in New York City, she moved to the suburbs and began blogging about her design projects and tips. Abby's work has been featured in magazines and online, and she is always looking for new ways to make her home look beautiful and inviting. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, and hiking.

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