Armchair Builder

Shower Tile Backer

Tile Backer for Shower

Cement Backer Board

Not sure what your shower tile backer should look like?  The most important aspect of any tile job is the substrate material.  Having a stable, solid surface for the tile to adhere to is essential to a long lasting surface.  When it comes to showers and tub shower surrounds, there really is only one choice for shower tile backer…cement board.

Drywall as Shower Tile Backer

I had a tile guy once tell me that we could use green drywall board (you know, the kind that is resistant to moisture) in a shower as long as we seal it up correctly.  Uhg.  I appreciated his professional point of view but I have seen way too many showers fail to test his theory.  Have you ever torn out tile in or around a shower or tub?  It’s not a pretty sight and can get very expensive.  Armchair Builder just published a video showing what happens when green board is used as a shower tile backer.  Check it out if you get a chance.  The drywall came off the wall with very little effort.

Tile Backer in Shower

Installing Shower Tile Backer

Cement Board Shower Tile Backer

The best shower tile backer is cement board.  You’re probably familiar with cement in concrete driveways and slabs.  You know how well this holds up to water.  Water actually helps new concrete get stronger in the hydration process.  So, a cement based product used as a tile backer in your shower is great.

Even after repeatedly getting wet, cement backer board will not warp, delaminate, swell, crumble, or disintegrate.  Even if you plan on using a waterproofing material on top of the backer (which we highly recommend), there is a chance water will make its way through to the backer.  And once the backer starts to deteriorate, the grout and tile will become unstable.

If you want to see why you don’t want to use drywall, check out our new video.  Stay tuned as we have a video coming out next week on proper installation techniques for cement backer boards in your shower.

Have you ever thought about building your own home?  Be sure to stop by the Armchair Builder How to Build Your Own Home resource page.

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