Whether DensShield can be used in a shower has been a hot topic of debate for years amongst both expert and DIY builders.
Some believe that because it’s made out of gypsum, it’s not the ideal material to use in a shower because of moisture exposure. Then another group prefers to use DensShield in showers because it is waterproof and easy to install.
If you are interested in installing DensShield in your shower, these conflicting opinions can be confusing. It’s why I took the initiative to dig deeper into this subject.
In the article below, you will learn whether DensShield is ideal for use in showers, the risks involved, and how to avoid them.
Does GP Recommend the Use of DensShield in Showers?
To determine whether DensShield is ideal for use in showers, we must first evaluate what the manufacturer recommends. Georgia-Pacific, the manufacturer of DensShield, specifically recommends the use of this tile backer in shower walls and floors.
This tile backer board features a built-in water barrier that prevents the entry of moisture. Due to this property, DensShield can be used in showers and any high-moisture room, such as kitchens.
Georgia-Pacific, when designing this tile backer board, they coated it with a specialized acrylic on the surface. This is the first line of defense against moisture damage before you get to the one inside.
Compared to other types of tile backer boards, such as cement boards, DensShield has a higher water resistance.
Therefore, if you were wondering whether the manufacturer of DensShield recommends its use in showers, the above should give you the green light to proceed.
What are the Benefits of Using DensShield in Showers?
In the beginning, I mentioned that there are two groups of people when it comes to using DensShield. Here, we will focus on the latter group that loves using this tile backer board in showers.
Checkout the following benefits you get from installing DensShield in showers;
• It is moisture Resistant – The main reason why people use DensShield in showers is that it is moisture resistant. Unlike regular gypsum boards that crumble and disintegrate when exposed to moisture, DensShield can withstand for years thanks to its moisture barriers.
Unlike cement boards, with DensShield on your showers, there is no need for a waterproofing membrane. This significantly lowers the costs of building your shower.
• It’s Easier and Faster to Install – Because it’s made out of gypsum, DensShield cuts pretty easily compared to cement boards and other tile backers. As a result, installing DensShield takes less time than with other tile backer boards.
If you are working on an urgent shower project, the best way to build it quickly is by using DensShield. Don’t forget that the quicker you install DensShield, the sooner you can tile over it.
• It Provides a Suitable Bonding Surface for Various Materials – Another reason why builders love DensShield is that it creates a conducive surface for bonding products such as thinset and tile adhesives.
• It is Fire Resistant – When you use DensShield on your shower walls or floors, you are assured of superior fire resistance. With this material, you will have peace of mind knowing your home is safe.
• It is Durable – Even though it’s made of gypsum, DensShield is quite strong. You can use it on walls and shower floors. It will withstand impact and load.
What’s the Biggest Concern with Using DensShield in Showers?
The major problem people have with installing DensShield in showers is the fact that it is made out of gypsum. If you have ever interacted with gypsum, you can testify that it doesn’t do well in high-moisture areas.
Therefore, a good number of people assume that when you use DensShield in showers, the gypsum will eventually be damaged by moisture.
Understandably, you may have some reservations about placing gypsum in a shower. But you must understand that DensShield is engineered with a built-in moisture barrier. As if that’s not enough, there is an acrylic coating on the surface that prevents moisture entry.
Due to this advanced waterproof technology, DensShield can be used in a shower and won’t be damaged by moisture. Many builders have installed DensShield in showers, and there haven’t been any reports for years.
Therefore, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. On the contrary, using DensShield in a shower has more benefits than using other tile backer boards.
How to Reinforce the Waterproofing Abilities of DensShield?
If you have doubts about DensShield being water-resistance, there are several ways you can keep moisture away. They include;
1. Tape and Waterproof the Seams and Corners
When installing DensShield in a shower, you should tape the seams using fiberglass mesh. This should be followed by a layer of thinset.
On the corners, you can apply waterproof silicone caulk, and it will get the job done. As long as the seams and corners are covered, no moisture will seep past the DensShield.
2. Apply a Waterproof Membrane
Though it’s not usually necessary, if you have doubts about the water resistance of DensShield, you can cover it with a waterproof membrane.
These waterproofing products will reinforce the moisture resistance abilities of DensShield in your shower.
How to Install DensShield in a Shower?
As mentioned earlier, DensShield is very easy to install. Here is a quick guide on how you can go about this process;
Step 1: Cut the DensShield
You can get DensShield in various sizes, but because bathrooms are often small, you may have to cut these boards.
Grab a tape measure and calculate how much DensShield you will need for your shower walls. Make measurements on the DensShield and cut it using a utility knife.
Step 2: Screw the Panels to the Wall or Floor
The small-sized panels can now be attached to the wall using corrosion-resistant screws. The latter is crucial in keeping moisture away from your DensShield.
Step 3: Tape the Seams and Caulk the Corners with Waterproof Silicone
Seams and corners can act as entry points for moisture. Therefore, you need to cover them with thinset and caulk. Go for the waterproof kind so that it doesn’t let moisture through. Do not forget to install a fiberglass wire mesh first.
That’s it. Your shower walls will now have DensShield panels. You can tile or finish with paint.
Is It Advisable to Use DensShield in a Shower By Itself?
DensShield is not regular drywall. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about using it in a shower for fear of being damaged by moisture.
Times are changing, and so should we. It’s true that a few years ago, it would be wrong for you to use gypsum drywall in a shower.
But today, DensShield is an example of a gypsum board that has been waterproofed and can be installed in showers.
A lot of people have and continue to use DensShield in showers without running into any moisture problems. You, too, can do the same.
But, if you have doubts, you can always use a cement board and a waterproof membrane. However, the installation will be more expensive and will take more time.
Do Local Inspectors Approve the Use of DensShield in Showers?
To prove that DensShield is a recommended tile backer board for showers, many local building codes approve the use of this material. If it were unacceptable or risky, local building codes would be against its use in showers.