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Bathroom ceramic tile wainscotting backer.

I am remodelling my bathroom and have all the walls covered with greenboard. The shower/tub area is cement board with tile over it. I am planning on running tile half way up the wall on the other walls(not the shower). Do I need to install cement board or can I tile over the greenboard?

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Posted 2013-09-17T23:12:02+0000  by artiewylde artiewylde

For non-wet areas you can tile over the greenboard.

Posted 2013-09-18T00:17:06+0000  by Adam444

Even if it's a wall close to the shower?

Posted 2013-09-18T00:31:29+0000  by artiewylde

As long as it isn't regularly exposed to water, I think you'll be ok.  If you're really concerned use backerboard.


As an FYI, backerboard is water resistant and exposure to water won't hurt it but that's not the same as "waterproof."  In wet areas you should use a vapor barrier behind the backerboard or a waterproof membrane over it.

Posted 2013-09-18T00:41:41+0000  by Adam444

You can install the tile directly to the greenboard.  The tile backer is only needed when your doing a shower or tub.  The greenboard is there for protection from the bathoom moisture; if it wasn't a bathroom you could install the tile to almost anyting.

Posted 2013-09-18T13:14:08+0000  by kdgii

Hey artiewylde,


Thanks for joining us here on the community!


I would actually have to disagree with Adam444 and opt for placing tried and true tile backerboard on the areas where direct water contact will be present (shower). Greenboard over time still has a gypsum core that can decay if water is present in ti.


You don't have to use tile backerboard on all areas; just in the shower where water will constantly touch the tiles.

I did an extensive write up on the benefits on using tile backerboard a while back. Click on the image below and it will take you straight to it.


Step 3: Drive backerboard screws


It's also best practice to install 4 mil or thicker vinyl sheeting over your studs to ensure no moisture will get into them as well at this part of the rough-in installation.


let me know if you have any additional questions,


Posted 2013-09-18T13:32:34+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Thanks for the replies, I might just replace the bottom half with cement board. I also read that 1/4" cement board can be hung right over the greenboard.  Is this ok? I would have already replaced the drywall with hardie board but I have to rent a truck, just a pain in the arse.

Posted 2013-09-18T17:54:42+0000  by artiewylde

I'm not sure where you read that cement/backerboard can be placed over the greenboard...but that is NOT ok. In fact, you'd only be masking the moisture that would be trapped in the greenboard. You'd still use the same backerboard screws, but this time going directly into the studs. 


Personally, it would simply be added work that could be avoided by just replacing JUST the areas that are in the shower (direct contact) with backerboard.


In my post that I linked for you in the image above I stated:


"Backerboard comes in 1/2" sheets as an ENTIRE replacement for the wall, and going directly over sheetrock voids any warranty you would have for your tile and tileboard installation."


With that said, renting a truck isn't as much of a hassle versus having to tear out the tile due to water/mold damage further down the road. Our trucks at your local Home Depot rent out for as little as $19 for the first 75 minutes and $10 after each hour. 


You can click on the image below for more info.

Truck Rental




Let me know if you have any further questions regarding your shower.



Posted 2013-09-18T18:01:24+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Again, I appreciate the info. There is only really one wall in question, not in the shower, its outside of the shower, would not get directly splashed with water, just a towel bar there. I think I'm going to leave it and tile over the greenboard. I did use a vapor barrier under the sheetrock already.

Posted 2013-09-18T18:42:16+0000  by artiewylde

It's no problem. Since that is the case you can leave it as is and tile over it directly via the greenboard.


I'm glad you did do the vapor barrier though first, most homeowners and DIY'ers neglect that step. And THANK YOU for joining us here on the community. 


Be sure to return in case you have any further questions regarding your bathroom.



Posted 2013-09-18T18:44:35+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL



I believe that I said the tile over greenboard would be acceptable for non-wet areas.  


Actually you can use gypsum wallboard in wet area provided it's waterproofed.  Both Schluter's Kerdi system and Laticrete's HydroBan are approved for use over wallboard.  

Posted 2013-09-19T20:49:01+0000  by Adam444
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