The type of drywall you choose for a bathroom is extremely important. Conventional drywall is not water-resistant so it will absorb water and become a breeding ground for mold. There are a number of waterproof and water-resistant drywall types that are far better suited to use in the bathroom.
When drywalling a bathroom, the process is the same as drywalling any other room except you use waterproof/water-resistant materials. Cement Board and Greenboard are two of the most popular drywall types for bathrooms as they are waterproof and long-lasting. Other options include Purple Drywall, Blue Board, Paperless Drywall.
How to Drywall A Bathroom
Once you have decided which drywall type you are going to be using, the steps below will help you drywall your bathroom. The process is similar to any drywall installation so if you have done this before, you will likely find it to be a familiar and straightforward process.
Things You Will Need
Installing drywall in a bathroom requires a moisture-resistant drywall type, compound, and tape. If you are installing drywall on the bathroom ceiling, you can use conventional drywall or greenboard for this. A drywall jack will help you install the drywall panels onto the ceiling if you are doing the job on your own.
- Tape measure
- Utility Knife
- Moisture-resistant drywall compound
- Moisture-resistant tape
- Drywall jack (useful if you are going to be installing drywall on the bathroom ceiling by yourself)
Step 1. Measure the Bathroom
Just like any project of this nature, the first thing to do is measure the bathroom. When taking measurements, note down any outlets, switches, fixtures and other protusions that are going to need pre-cut holes in the drywall panel. Standard drywall sheets are usually 4ft x 8ft and these are the recommended size for DIY projects as the size is easy to carry, work with and fit into position. You can also position this panel size horizontally or vertically depending on preference.
Step 2. Mark the Drywall
Using the measurements from the bathroom, measure and mark out the positions of the required cuts. Remember that the colored side of the drywall panel is going to be facing you for the installation so mark the cut outs based on this. When marking the drywall, use a tape measure or a level to ensure the marks are accurate and straight.
Step 3. Cut the Drywall to Size
Using a utility knife, cut out the openings required for the outlets, fixtures etc. For any circular cuts, use a compass to produce perfect circles before cutting. Drywall is easy to cut with a utility knife, just take your time to make sure you keep to the measured area.
Step 4. Install Drywall
With the required holes now pre-cut, it is time to hang the drywall. Start off with the full sheets and then work your way through the made to measure sheets until all the drywall is in position. When installing the drywall, make sure the bottom edge is resting on the floor. Then, screw the drywall into the studs.
Work your way around the room systematically until the drywall panels cover the entire wall. As we mentioned, the drywall panel installation can be vertical or horizontal, it depends on personal preference and the size/shape of the bathroom.
Tip: As you install the drywall, you can stagger the joints to help create a stronger wall.
Step 5. Tape the Joints
Once the drywall is in position, apply a drywall compound over the joints followed by tape. Give the compound time to dry before applying another coat. The process requires a total of three compound layers, with time to dry between each one. You can use a combination of all-purpose drywall compound, tape and topping compound or you can use an all-purpose drywall compound for each layer.
There are two main types of joint compound: setting and premixed. An all-purpose premixed joint compound is suitable for this. A setting compound is better suited to fixing small holes and other repair work.
Step 6. Finishing
As the joints are now complete and dry, the drywall is ready for decoration and finishing touches. This is where you paint the drywall, apply tiles or texture the wall to create the end result you want for the bathroom.
5 Common Types of Drywall Used in Bathroom
There are multiple drywall types to consider when drywalling a bathroom. Below are the top 5 options that are well suited to the warm, damp environment of a bathroom.
1. Cement Board Drywall
One of the most popular drywall types for use in a bathroom is cement board. The cement infusion gives the board waterproof properties meaning it is resistant to mold and mildew. While this is one of the best options, it does take longer to install and it is more expensive than other options. Cement board also takes more skill to install but is ideal for use around showers and bathrooms.
Greenboard is water-resistant and is a common option for use in bathrooms. A green wax paper covers the drywall to provide waterproofing. This wax paper helps the drywall to resistant mold and mildew allowing use of this material in high humidity locations. However, as greenboard is water-resistant rather than waterproof it is not the best choice for high water areas such as the shower.
3. Purple Drywall
Purple drywall is moisture-resistant and mold-resistant. It is a popular bathroom drywall that can be in contact with water without a problem. Purple drywall is a combination of gypsum and fiberglass. It has fiberglass fibers integrated into the sheets. This helps to make the material strong and resistant to scratches. Purple drywall is more expensive than Greenboard but is a popular choice for family homes and rental properties.
4. Paperless Drywall
The main issue with drywall is that it is paper and this attracts mold and gives it a source of food. Paperless drywall uses fiberglass sheets instead of paper to help counter this issue. Paperless drywall protects against mold, mildew, and rot. It is a good choice for use in wet and dry areas.
5. Blue Board Drywall
Although blue board is not as water-resistant as some other options, it is fast drying and offers good mold resistance. Blue board also has noise reduction qualities.
Best Drywall for Bathroom
The best drywall type for use in the bathroom is a mix of cement board and greenboard. We’d recommend the two different types to create the most cost-effective and water-resistant bathroom.
Cementboard is waterproof and is a great choice for tile-covered areas such as the shower. The rest of the bathroom drywall can be greenboard as it is easy to install, lower cost and mold resistant. We don’t recommend using greenboard throughout the entire bathroom as it is not great for high water areas such as the bath and shower.
If you are going to be drywalling the ceiling it is up to you whether you choose a conventional drywall or greenboard. We’d lean more towards greenboard just because the bathroom is a high-moisture area and even though the ceiling should not come into direct contact with water there is still a risk of it developing mold.
Is there a Waterproof Sheetrock for Bathroom Walls?
Yes, there are a couple of waterproof sheetrock options for use in bathrooms. Cement board is a waterproof option but it is expensive and requires more time and skill to install. Cement board is also heavier to work with and while you can use it for the entire bathroom, it is not necessary to do so. Another waterproof option is paperless drywall which uses fiberglass instead of paper. In addition to being waterproof, Fiberglass is fire-safe and mold-resistant.
As well as these two waterproof sheetrock types, there are several water-resistant options that are suitable for bathroom walls. Choosing waterproof or water-resistant options will help avoid water damage and issues with mold.
7 Maintenance Tips For Your Newly Installed Bathroom Sheetrock
Once the installation of your new sheetrock is complete, there are a few simple things you can do to keep it in good condition for longer.
Paint the Drywall
One way you can add extra protection to your newly installed drywall is by painting it with waterproof paint. A layer of waterproof or glossy paint will not only help the bathroom to look great, but also provides a protective layer that stops moisture from getting to the drywall.
Wipe the Walls Regularly
Put some mild detergent onto a damp cloth and wipe the walls down on a regular basis. It is best to do this when the walls have steam on them after a shower or bath. Wiping the walls helps to get rid of the moisture and the detergent helps to kill any bacteria to stop mold from growing.
Dry the Walls
After wiping the walls clean with the detergent, dry them. Using a dry cloth to dry the walls helps to avoid a build up of humidity. Moisture and humidity are the biggest causes of problems with sheetrock so this simple job goes a long way in maintaining the panels.
Ventilate the Bathroom
To help prevent mold and mildew from building up, make sure the bathroom is well ventilated. Open the windows every so often, particularly after showering when there is a lot of moisture and steam in the air.
Tiling around Showers and Baths
Just as adding a layer of paint will help to maintain the sheetrock, adding tiles can too. Laying tiles in the high-water areas of the bathroom is a popular way of finishing the look and design of the bathroom while also helping protect the sheetrock from water exposure.
Look for Signs of Mold
When you wipe the walls, keep an eye out for signs of mold in the tile grouting or through the paint. Bubbling, peeling, or chipping may also occur if there is mold forming under the paint. Any signs of mold or problems with the paint can indicate areas where moisture has penetrated to the drywall or where there is a leaking pipe or similar issue behind the panels. As soon as you see an issue like this, take steps to fix it to reduce the amount of water damage there will be.
Check the Drywall for Cracks
Keep an eye on the drywall and check for cracks or damage. If you notice the wall has damage, repair it as soon as possible to prevent water from seeping in. It is relatively easy to fix small cracks using a setting joint compound. A setting compound will dry quickly so it is a convenient option for a family home where the bathroom is in regular use.
The type of drywall you use will depend on the room and area you are drywalling. If you’re not sure what you need to use, we’ve answered key drywall questions below.
Can you use regular drywall in a bathroom?
No, regular drywall will absorb water leading to mold growth and water damage. It is best to choose a waterproof or water-resistant type of drywall for use in bathrooms and other high-moisture areas in the house.
What kind of drywall can be used for bathroom ceiling?
Moisture-resistant drywall such as greenboard is a good choice for a bathroom ceiling. While conventional drywall is suitable for the ceiling, moisture-resistant options are more durable and will last longer.
Which side of mold-resistant drywall faces out?
The colored side (e.g. green for greenboard) should face out for installation, meaning the brown side of the drywall is facing away from you.
Is greenboard required in bathrooms?
Greenboard is a good drywall type for bathrooms and is sometimes required by local building codes for use in high moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. It is worth checking your local building codes to find out if this is the case in your area.
Installing drywall in the bathroom will often take a couple of days. It is a straightforward job that is similar to the process of drywalling other rooms in the house. The main difference is that drywall in the bathroom needs to be waterproof or water-resistant to prevent water damage and mold. Drywall is cost-effective and easy to install so it makes an excellent DIY project.