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Shower Walls

I have a shower that has leaks.  I thought the leak was due to the tile floor or the floor lining.  After I removed the floor tile, I started to remove the bottom row of tile on the wall so that I could remove the lining.  Now I see regular dry wall was used on the walls!  Please see photo.  Do I need to replace all the drywall with a water-proof wallboard?  Or is there a way to seal the tiles so that the drywall will eventually dry out?  If I seal it, will I have problems in the future?  Or should I just rebuild the shower properly and be done with it?   Thank you

20121229_PAN_0801 sm.JPG

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Posted 2012-12-29T17:14:58+0000  by HMT HMT

Sorry for the delay Heidi,




Unfortunately we do not have a project guide aka shopping list for the shower base project. I will suggest posting one on our site.


As far as the first layer (pre-sloped) goes minimum thickness of the mortar, at the lowest point (drain), should be 3/4 of an inch.

Total thickness at the highest point is determined by the run (length) and the slope. Recommended slope for the pre -sloped and mortar bed (setting) is 1/4" per foot.


So for example, if the distance from the drain to the wall is 4 feet and thickness at the lowest point is 3/4" of an inch thickness at the highest point should be 1-3/4". Min thickness of 3/4" + 4 x 1/4"


Is the purpose here to make a sloped floor without any dips or bumps'?


Yes, sloped bed should be smooth without any dips and bumps.


Now onto the Reinforced Mortar Bed.  How thick should the Reinforced Mortar Bed be at the drain?


Setting Mortar bed should be uniformly 1-1/4" thick and follow the slope of the pre-sloped bed .Height of the drain should be set so the strainer is at 1 1/4" plus the tile thickness plus about 1/8" for thinset up from the base.


The instructions say regular mortar for the Reinforced Mortar Bed.  I do not know what regular mortar is.  Would you please define regular mortar and/or give me an example of a product?


Here's the link to one of the old threads that covers mortar type and ratio as well as some other details too.


Let me know if you need anything else.



Best Answer

Posted 2013-01-08T19:55:16+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Hey HMT. 


I would definitely recommend taking down the sheetrock and replacing it with the 1/2 in. Backerboard. Green board drywall is ideal around showers if there is no tile but if there is going to be tile you must use the Backerboard, as any type sheetrock will eventually lead to these problems.


Hit me back here and share any other questions or concerns that you might have and we would be happy to help.



Posted 2012-12-30T15:40:03+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL

Okay, the tile is coming down!  I will replace the wall board with backerboard.  Does this board need to be sealed before installing the tile or is it waterproof?


The shower floor lining is flexible.  It appears to a thick plastic, similar to Oatey Shower Pan Liner, which was nailed to the wall.  The floor underneath this liner is flat.  Do I need to slope it toward the drain before I replace the liner?


I have a left side drain.  My shower floor is 60" X 30".  May I use the Goof Proof Shower (7-Pieces) Standard Shower Kit Includes Liner, Model # SSK-501Internet # 202822280?  The description states it has a built in slope so I will not need to slope the floor before installing the pan, am I understanding this correctly?  But then the description says, "permit construction of standard 36 in. x 60 in. shower areas with a centered drain".  Do you have this kit for an offset drain?


I am currently reading through all the how-to's.  I haven't found an article that describes building the shower from the beginning to end.  Would you help me find this and provide the link?


Thank you!!

Posted 2012-12-30T17:44:22+0000  by HMT

I have ripped out everything, down to the studs.  (Demolition is fun!)  Is there a shopping list for everything I will need to buy to completely redo my shower including the Backerboard, mud, drain, lining, everything?  I remember years ago when I was building my deck, HD created a shopping list for me.  Does this feature still exist?

Posted 2012-12-31T01:30:54+0000  by HMT

Hello Heidi,


Let me try to help and answer some of your questions;



Cement board itself is not completely waterproof but it is water resistant to the point where it will not get affected with water; however it will let moisture and water pass through especially around the bottom section of the shower.


Once the shower is fully tiled a very very small amounts of water will wick in between the tile (grout) lines.


If you wish to fully waterproof the shower you can paint (waterproof) the bottom of it, before the tile goes in place, with something called Red Guard.


Red Guard is a waterproofing membrane designed for backer board waterproofing.


Replacing the shower liner is a serious undertaking.


Before the liner goes in place shower floor (base) needs to be slopped using specially mixed concrete towards the drain.


After this first layer of concrete is in place liner is installed over it and topped off with another layer of concrete to keep it in place and to give tile substrate to adhere to.


Here's the link to the thread that explains these steps in detail;



If you decide on to liner replacement (recommended) I would opt for the DIY friendly pre build shower kits.


Goof proof shower kits you were looking at are designed to help you construct the traditional liner and concrete shower base.


You can avoid all those extra steps using one of these KERDI bases.

 kerdi redi tile.jpg

Here's the one for the offset drains, which is what you have?



I personally always go with these. They do end up costing a little bit more than concrete and liner setup but on the other hand they do save on time and from possible errors.


Hope this helps and please do not hesitate to post back with any further questions you may have.



Posted 2012-12-31T17:13:27+0000  by George_HD_CHI

Thank you, George!!  I will use the Red Gard and the instructions you provided.  I would love to use a Kerdi base.  Unfortunately, my shower is 30X60 and the drain center line is 3 inches from the wall, see the photo in the first post.  Kerdi's drain is 8 inches, or there abouts.  I will look at the Kerdi products to see if they make and 30X60 and if they do how much trouble will it be to move my drain.


One more request - a shopping list.  Does HD have that option any more?  That was a really useful tool.  I used it when building my deck.  I entered the size of my deck and HD supplied a shopping list.  It was wonderful.  It took all the guess work out of shopping plus it saved me returning to the store during the build.  (My closest store is 30 minutes away.  The price for living in paradise!)


Happy New Year!


Posted 2013-01-01T01:58:52+0000  by HMT

How thick should the mortar be? 


The first layer of mortar, the sub slope mortar bed, in step 2 of the instructions provided talks about it being sloped.  The instructions do not say how thick the mortar should be.  Is the thickness determined by the unevenness of the subfloor?  Is the purpose here to make a sloped floor without any dips or bumps'?


Now onto the Reinforced Mortar Bed.  How thick should the Reinforced Mortar Bed be at the drain?  Some drains have an adjustable height.  What is a good drain height for a strong Reinforced Mortar Bed?


The instructions say regular mortar for the Reinforced Mortar Bed.  I do not know what regular mortar is.  Would you please define regular mortar and/or give me an example of a product?  May I use the Custom Float for both mortar beds?  I was reading about mortar in the Community, but I cannot find it now.  Would you be able to find it and send me the link?


Thank you for all your help!!


Posted 2013-01-06T15:57:18+0000  by HMT

Thank you for the invaluable information!!



Posted 2013-01-09T03:03:29+0000  by HMT

Hi, I am going through a similar situation in which the gap between my lower shower liner and the upper part of the shower pieces was not caulked.  I now have mold back in between these peices and I don't think I can caulk it until I get the mold out, or it will get worse.  From what I can tell I need to detach all of the peices and clean the mold before I can either put the shower back or place new materials.  Is that correct, or should I caulk it before it continues to get worse??

Posted 2013-01-19T02:53:40+0000  by npozdal



Hi npozdal,


I'm assuming with the “lower shower liner “you’re referring to a shower base and with the “upper” walls of the shower?

Is this one of those pre-made fiberglass shower bases?


It is common for mold to show where these two meet, and typically is just a part of the routine maintenance to re-caulk the gap.

Excessive presence of mold is usually a sign of insufficient ventilation- if you don’t have a bath fan you should consider putting one in.

You don’t necessarily have to remove the shower components to re-caulk the area, unless there’s a significant damage to the walls. Normally all it takes is good cleaning and re-caulking.


Can you post a picture of it here?




Posted 2013-01-21T14:43:01+0000  by George_HD_CHI
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