How To Waterproof Drywall For Showers? A Complete Guide

You might believe that the bathroom dry walls are impermeable to water. But such is not the case. Dampness and mold can hamper your drywall. That is why waterproofing them is a must for any homeowner. But where do you even begin? Here I will explain everything you might need to know about how to waterproof drywall for showers 

You can use liquid membranes. Spray a layer over your tiles and let them dry. Other things you can use are sheet membranes. Add a layer of the sheet on the tile and the tile backer board. Additionally, wallboards and shower bases made of foam can also be used to protect your bathroom or shower from dampness.  

I know that it can be difficult to DIY these. And that is why I would suggest you read this article thoroughly. Then the daunting task will be a little less daunting for you. Also, I’ll talk about the costs you’ll have to bear. So, hang tight, and let’s get going!

Importance Of Waterproofing Your Drywall 

Before I get to the meat of the matter, you should know why waterproofing is so important. Even though the ceramic of the tile is quite impermeable, the grout is not. Grouts are a mixture of cement, water, and other components to stick the tiles in place. 

Water goes through these grouts and gets absorbed by the subfloor. If the subfloor gets too wet, it loses its rigidity and the floors and walls might feel wobbly. 

The water then goes around the mortar and through the subfloor and gets behind the main drywall, foundation wall, or plywood. This can cause severe damage to the foundation of your building. It also creates dampness, mold, fungi, and an increase in bugs. So you see, you must waterproof your bathroom as this remains drenched the most. 

The Process of WaterProofing Drywall

There are plenty of ways to waterproof your drywall. And most of them are pretty easy to do. Let’s talk about each of the methods so that you can get started. 

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Use Liquid Waterproof Membrane

Liquid waterproof membranes are really good and the quickest way to waterproof your showers. Just apply the liquid using a spray can over the tiles and shower base. See? I told you I’m going to make you feel less daunting! Hence, I’m showing you the easiest method first.

If you want to be a little bit more professional and accurate, you can use a paint roller to apply the liquid. This will guarantee an even and thicker coating. Give it some time to dry (about 2 hours). The liquid will turn into an elastic protective film which will make your tiles and grouts less permeable. 

Use Sheet Membranes

If you want something more concrete and rigid then sheet membranes are great! These membranes are made from an alloy of plastics. They are fitted on the backer board of the tiles and act as a barrier.  The backer board is the bonding agent for your waterproofing membrane and tile and helps protect your foundation and main walls. 

Measure the area of your place and tile. Then apply a thin layer of mortar or adhesive. Finally, apply the sheet membranes over them. And hence, the structural rigidity of your shower room will remain intact!

Use Backer Boards Made Of Foam 

Normally, backer boards give you structural rigidity and act as an agent for your waterproofing membranes and tiles. But these foam backer boards are a delight! These babies work as a base and also a waterproof system! 

The bonding layer is also a mesh of plastic fabric which is a better adhesive. Hence, your tiles are more compact, the grouts are more protected, and permeability is greatly reduced. Combine sheet or liquid membrane with a foam backer board, and make your shower room unstoppable!

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These boards are attached with special attachments which are covered with small adhesives. They also come in different sizes to act as backer boards or building panels. 

Apply the board on the base and then apply the mortar over it. After the thin layer of mortar fits the tiles one by one, the boards will also retain good moisture and keep your drywalls damp-free. 

Use Foam Shower Bases

Normal shower bases come in concrete and with a drainage system. But using a foam shower base can remove that hassle. Foam shower bases are a separate tool kit you can buy to reduce the permeability of water. 

The foam base is loosely attached to a subfloor using thin mortar. These bases are also sealed with a thin waterproof membrane with corner pieces attached along with a thin mortar. Or is applied by strips of fiberglass tape given to all the corners and seams carefully. Finally, the whole thing is covered with a thick waterproof adhesive.

That’s all there is to it! These are the important and popular methods you can use to waterproof your showers right now! Another method worth mentioning is shower self-adhesive sealing, which is a great substitute for liquid waterproofing. 

How Much Does Waterproofing Drywall Cost?

Waterproofing your shower can cost between 600 and 1500 dollars, and it can cost even more. It depends on the size of your shower. It is usually cheaper than the whole bathroom, which is about 600 to $2,500.

I am including this part if you think that DIY is too much for you. You can hire waterproofers, which cost about $50 to $150 per hour. Shower or bathroom specialists can charge you about $50-60 per hour, tilers charge between $50 and $150, and specialists in waterproofing are about $35 per hour.

The cost of liquid membranes can be about 4–6 dollars per square foot. RedGard is a very good choice in that regard. Sheet membranes cost about $5-10 per square foot. I would recommend you opt for Schluter Kerdi sheet membranes. Note that all these are rough estimates and can greatly vary depending on the size and floor of your bathroom and shower.

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DIY Or Hire A Professional?

DIY or professional. That is the question. But the answer is not so simple. Now, I know why you clicked this article. But hear me out okay? This job is not that simple to do. I’m going to be plain honest with you. It requires precision and a lot of time. 

If you can do that then congratulations! More power to you. But do not hesitate to take the other decision. It’s your bathroom and shower after all. Probably the most important part of your entire house.

So, if you want the best work that will sustain you for a long time just spend a few extra bucks (a bit more than that). Professionals have a lot more to offer than just putting a stress on your bank account. You will be saving a lot more in the long run.

So, to sum it all up, use liquid, sheet, foam backer boards, and foam shower bases to waterproof your shower. The drywalls are of huge importance for your foundation. So, you need to keep them dry and rigid. Make sure the bathroom is dry and no unnecessary non-adhesives are present.

Measure your floor and tile. Apply the sheets or liquid after using a thin layer of mortar (for liquids not required). Do the same thing for edges connecting upright walls and you’ll have a sensational shower experience! Hopefully, I was able to help you understand how to waterproof drywall for showers. So, take care of yourself. And I’ll see you very soon. Ciao!