Can You Use Regular Drywall In A Bathroom?

It’s well known that drywall is used for the walls of bathrooms. Bathrooms are subjected to far more moisture than other parts of a home because of the shower. Today, I will explain if regular drywall is OK to use in a bathroom.

As a general rule, do not use regular drywall for a bathroom. Most builders and remodelers use purple drywall for bathrooms because it’s designed to be moisture and mold-resistant. Typically cement board should be used behind the shower walls, which is then waterproofed.

For renovating and building, there are multiple ways to do things, and oftentimes it can depend on who you talk to. So, below I will provide the results of some data I collected about what most people recommend to use as the drywall for a bathroom. 

As well as what parts need to be waterproofed, if you need to use moisture-resistant drywall, and if you can waterproof regular drywall.

What Type of Drywall To Use in a Bathroom

Renovation construction of master bathroom with new under construction bathroom interior drywall ready for tile in new luxury home

There is regular drywall, but there are now a few different types of drywall. There used to only be regular white-colored drywall, but now there is also green, blue, and purple drywall that is good for areas of a home that have more moisture. So, this is what type of drywall to use in a bathroom.

In general, you should use purple drywall for a bathroom. Regular drywall can be sufficient for some bathrooms, provided it’s properly sealed. But purple or green drywall is a better option. For tiled areas, always use cement backer board. Drywall is too weak.

To get an idea about what most people use as drywall for a bathroom, I compiled some data from people’s responses on Reddit. Here’s a table that shows the results.

Type of drywall to useNumber of votesPercent of total votes
Regular drywall620.0%
Mold resistant drywall (green, blue, or purple)723.3%
Same as above but cement board for behind shower walls1756.7%

The overwhelming consensus is that cement board should be used behind shower walls. But, also, any type of drywall is too weak for tiles. If any areas of your walls or shower are going to be tiled, you should use cement backer board.

There isn’t consensus about whether to use regular drywall or water-resistant drywall like green, blue, or purple drywall. 

Some people are of the opinion that regular drywall is fine, provided everything is sealed. It’s also known that using regular dry walls in bathrooms is a common practice that has been used for a long time in the construction industry.

Waterproofing shower walls technically means that whatever is underneath the waterproofing is not important. 

Because water does not penetrate it. However, waterproofing is not perfect. And if it does fail, then having water-resistant drywall will mean the drywall won’t grow mold or mildew as easily. 

Overall, though, green, blue, or purple drywall is a better option because it adds another layer of protection. However, it’s not an absolute must. 

Many Builders Use Cement Backer Board for the Shower Walls

Cement backer board is similar to drywall. However, it’s more water resistant. The bottom of a shower and the shower walls are always waterproofed. This involves using special tape and an adhesive which makes it virtually impossible for water to penetrate provided it’s installed correctly.

There are a few different types of shower walls, such as acrylic, regular tiles, and stone tiles. While cement backer board is mandatory for tiles because drywall is too weak to support them, it’s possible to use regular drywall for the shower walls, provided it’s properly waterproofed. But, green and purple drywall is ideal. 

What Parts of a Bathroom Need To Be Waterproofed

In general, the floors and the walls behind the shower need to be waterproofed. All of the walls and ceiling can also be waterproofed if you want. 

But, in general, virtually no one does this. Provided you use the right type of drywall (purple drywall), you won’t have any mold or mildew problems.

An experience building contractor has stated that he has seen many bathrooms with regular drywall that have mold and mildew growth. And most people are of the opinion that regular drywall can be used for the bathroom walls only if the bathroom is very well ventilated.

A typical bathroom with one window and/or an exhaust fan will not air out a bathroom well enough to stop mold and mildew growth on regular drywall. 

Do You Need Moisture Resistant Drywall in a Bathroom

Under construction new bathtub remodeling a home bathroom, plumbing pipe system for new sinks

There are often mixed opinions about exactly what type of materials to use, and what type of material for some things can be a matter of personal opinion. There is now moisture-resistant drywall available but is it necessary to use moisture-resistant drywall in a bathroom.

Overall, you do need moisture-resistant drywall in a bathroom. The best type of drywall to use is purple drywall, followed by blue and green drywall. Many builders also use cement board instead of drywall for behind the shower walls to offer more water resistance.

However, some builders and contractors are of the opinion that any type of drywall can be used behind shower walls, provided it’s properly waterproofed. For tiles, though, a type of cement board is mandatory instead of drywall. Regular drywall will be OK in the short term, but over time it will fail much sooner.

Can You Waterproof Regular Drywall

It costs a little bit extra to get water-resistant drywall, such as green, blue, or purple drywall, and in some cases, it can be more difficult to source than regular drywall. 

Regular drywall has been used a lot in the past for bathrooms and showers that require waterproofing. So, here’s whether it’s possible to use regular waterproof drywall.

Overall, you can waterproof regular drywall. For areas of a home that have more moisture, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, purple or green drywall is recommended. Both have a more water-resistant layer on top of it that offers more protection from water than regular drywall.

Waterproofing regular drywall and waterproofing water resistant drywall is done in the same way. It involves sealing any joins and screws using tape, Kurdi, or sheet membrane. After that, a waterproof membrane is applied, like a layer of paint, using paint rollers and paint brushes. But, it’s applied a bit thicker than a layer of paint.

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