Greenboard drywall consists of gypsum
material sandwiched between water resistant paper. The paper is not waterproof.
Consequently if greenboard drywall is used in a tiled shower stall, water will
eventually wick its way through the tile grout and water resistant paper and
begin to breakdown the gypsum material. When the gypsum material becomes wet the
structural integrity of the greenboard will crumble and mold growth will occur.
In addition, the ceramic tiles will eventually begin to separate from the
greenboard drywall and create a disaster of a mess.
Cement backerboard, on the other
hand, can literally be placed in water indefinitely and it will not break down.
It is also more rigid and porous and thus does a better job of supporting
versus Greenboard Drywall Installation
Cement backerboard is more difficult to install than greenboard, however with a
sharp utility knife and a straight edge it can be cut effectively the same way
as greenboard drywall. Just make sure to wear a rugged pair of work gloves when
handling backerboard as it can do a number on your hands.
To make straight cuts on backerboard
material, simply score it with a utility knife on both sides and then snap it
along the scored line.
With greenboard drywall score it on
the front side. Then snap it along the line by tapping it on the back side along
the cut line. Next, with the board slightly folded along the cut, use your
utility knife to cut the back paper with the utility knife to complete the cut.
For small punch hole cuts use a drill and drill bit to create pilot holes and a
jigsaw with a diamond tip blade to cut out the punch hole.
Cement backerboard should be fastened
to walls and floors rough side facing the tiles when using thinset mortar and
smooth side facing the tiles when using an adhesive. Fasten the cement
backerboard to the walls or floors using corrosion resistant screws such as
Rock-On screws or hot dipped ringed shank nails. Screws or nails should be
installed every 6 to 8 inches along wall studs or floor joists.
|Make sure to leave about a 1/8 inch space between
backerboard panels. Use thinset mortar and 2 inch wide alkaline resistant
fiberglass tape to tape and mud all the seams.
With greenboard drywall installation the process is basically the same, but
instead screws / nails can be placed every 12 to 16 inches and you can use
all purpose joint compound for taping and mudding seams.
Photo by Mark Donovan
Cement Backerboard versus
Greenboard Drywall Size Dimensions
Greenboard drywall is available in ½ inch and 5/8 inch thicknesses and 4 feet
widths. Greenboard drywall lengths include 8, 10 and 12 feet panels. Cement
backerboard is available in ¼ and ½ inch thicknesses and is commonly found in
3’x 5’ panels.
My Shower Pan Installation Ebook to Learn How to Install a Mortar Shower Pan: For a detailed set of
instructions on building a shower pan, including pictures and a detailed
cross-sectional view of the make-up of a shower pan, see my “Shower Pan Membrane
information on tiling a custom ceramic tile shower, see the
How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook
from HomeAdditionPlus.com. It provides detailed instructions for every
step in the process of tiling a custom ceramic tile shower and is loaded with
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