Greenboard On Ceilings – Homeowner’s Savior Or Nightmare? An Unbiased Guide

Greenboard is well known for its water-resistant properties. The thick paper coating on the greenboard ensures that moisture doesn’t pass through, as is the case with regular drywall.

Due to this property, greenboard is often used on the walls of high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. But can greenboards be used on ceilings? That’s what we are going to discuss in today’s article.


The Viability of Greenboard on Ceilings

Greenboards can be used on ceilings. However, special care and attention must be taken to ensure it’s installed correctly and lasts longer. Unlike regular drywall, greenboard is slightly weaker and much heavier.

Therefore, there is a higher risk of the greenboard failing when it is used on a ceiling. Later on in this article, I will be taking you through a step-by-step guide on how to correctly install a greenboard on a ceiling.

But the bottom line is that greenboard can be used on ceilings. And it’s mostly used in showers or kitchen ceilings where there are moisture concerns.


Know the Risks Before Installation

Before we go much deeper into this article, I believe that it’s essential for you to know about the risks associated with using a greenboard on a ceiling. Familiarizing yourself with these issues will help you make an informed decision.

• It’s Not Waterproof

The biggest risk with using greenboard on a ceiling is directly related to its main feature, water resistance. Yes, the greenboard is moisture-resistant. But it is not waterproof.

If you use it in a shower or kitchen ceiling where moisture is always present, eventually the greenboard will get damaged or grow mold. This problem is inevitable.

• It’s Heavy

The other issue associated with using greenboard on a ceiling is its heavy weight. This excess weight can exert more strain on the frame of your ceiling. So, before installing a greenboard on a ceiling, improve the structural strength of the framing.

• The Greenboard on the Ceiling is Susceptible to Sagging

Greenboard has a higher risk of sagging than any other ceiling material. This is attributed to factors such as weight, incorrect installation, or not using fasteners at the recommended spacing.

Many homeowners have complained in the past about greenboard sagging when used on ceilings.

• Greenboard on a Ceiling is Super Difficult to Paint

The paper coating on the greenboard makes it difficult to paint or finish such a surface. So, if you do settle for this material, make sure that you thoroughly prepare the surface for painting.

• Greenboard is not fire-resistant

The last drawback of using a greenboard on your ceiling is that it is not fire-resistant. This can be problematic if you are interested in improving the fire safety ratings on your property.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide


Step 1: Prepare the Ceiling

Because greenboard is heavy, you just can’t start screwing it into your ceiling’s framing. Start by inspecting the framing to see if it can hold the excessive weight. During this step, you can also adjust electrical and plumbing fixtures.

Step 2: Strap the Ceiling with Lumber

Some people usually skip this step, but I think it’s very important because it simplifies the installation process. Reinforce the joists with, preferably, 1” x 3” lumber.

This won’t only accommodate the excessive weight. But it’ll enable you to fasten the greenboard at a spacing of 12 inches instead of 16 inches. This practice helps prevent the sagging of the greenboard on your ceiling.

Step 3: Cut the Greenboard into Smaller Panels

It’s now time to install the greenboard on your ceiling. So, start by measuring how much greenboard you’ll need. Then cut it according to those measurements.

Step 4: Fasten the Greenboard with Drywall Screws

Grab the panels and start screwing them into the lumber. Please be careful not to damage the paper coating on the greenboard with the screws, as that will make it ineffective. At the same time, you should ensure that the panels are firmly attached.

Does It Meet Building Codes?

Unfortunately, 8/10 local building inspectors do not recommend using greenboards on ceilings. And the reason behind that is the potential drawbacks I’ve discussed earlier.

Because of the heavyweight and weak structure of the greenboard, it has a higher rate of failure than other ceiling materials.

To prevent you from running into such issues, local building inspectors will recommend other materials.

Before proceeding with such a project, you need to confirm the local building codes. This will save you a lot of time, money, and disappointment.

Better Alternatives for High-Moisture Areas

So far, it’s pretty clear that greenboard is not the best material for ceilings, including those exposed to high moisture.

If you’re wondering what materials thrive best in high-moisture ceilings, I have rounded up a few options worth considering.

• Fibreglass-Reinforced Gypsum Panels: This is a gypsum panel that has been reinforced with fiberglass to the core. As a result, it is more resistant to water and moisture than greenboard.

• PVC Ceilings: They may not be the most attractive material, but they are 100% waterproof. A PVC ceiling can last for years, no matter how much moisture it’s exposed to.

• Cement Board: This is one of the main greenboard alternatives. And the best thing about it is that it is water-resistant and doesn’t deteriorate easily.

• Metal Tiles: This material is water-resistant, durable, and very easy to clean. It’s, therefore, the perfect alternative for commercial kitchens or laundry rooms.

How Durable is Greenboard on Ceilings?

Greenboard isn’t the most durable material you can install on a ceiling. From a rough estimate, a greenboard can last from 2 to 5 years. That will depend on the quality of the installation.

If you follow the guide I have shared above, your greenboard can last for much longer. But I’m not going to lie to you.

Within a few years, the greenboard will start to deteriorate, and you may notice some sagging. Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem that you can easily fix. You’ll be forced to replace the entire ceiling.

Why Homeowners Still Use Greenboard

If you do a bit of research, you’ll realize that this is a very common practice, despite the many drawbacks it’s associated with.

Are you wondering why people use greenboards on ceilings? Here are some of the benefits of using greenboard on a ceiling:

• It is resistant to moisture: Unlike regular drywall, greenboard will prevent moisture from seeping through. That makes it ideal for ceilings in bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchens.

• It prevents mold growth: By preventing moisture from passing through, the greenboard significantly hinders mold growth.

• It’s easy to install: Because it’s made out of a gypsum core, the greenboard cuts easily, and that makes the installation process effortless.

• It’s a versatile material: Greenboard can be used in nearly all parts of your home, and that makes it a versatile material.

Outdoor Use is Not Recommended.

Greenboard is only approved for interior use. You can install it in bathrooms or kitchens. But you can’t install it on outdoor ceilings, such as patios. What you need to keep in mind is that the greenboard is not waterproof.

If it is directly exposed to rain or snow, it will deteriorate much faster. If you’re looking for an outdoor ceiling material, kindly consider options such as vinyl, fiber cement, or exterior-grade plywood.

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