How Much Space Should Be Between Shower Pan and Cement Board?

People add cement boards to shower walls because these are moisture-resistant. These are not waterproof, but water cannot damage their high-strength material. People use them because these are cheap than other backer board materials.

How Much Space Should Be Between Shower Pan and Cement Board? It is better to leave 1/4 to 1/8 inches of space between the shower pan and cement boards to create a moisture barrier, maintain structural integrity, protect tiles, make a spot for tiles installation, and protect cement board bowing. You can fill the space with silicone-based caulking material.

Many people waterproof the walls while installing shower pans and bathtubs in the surroundings so water splashes cannot affect their material. It is better to leave a space of a few inches to protect tiles and paint coats.

How much space should you leave between the shower pan and cement board?

Cement boards are the most suitable choice for highly humid areas of the bathrooms, including bathtubs and showers. You can install them on the walls near these fixtures to decrease the risk of damage.

These backing boards are not completely waterproof but are moisture-resistant. Moisture cannot affect their manufacturing material because of cement and fiberglass.

Moisture can easily penetrate inside these boards but cannot cause any damage. People add paints of different colors, tiles, or paneling material on them according to their choice and budget.

This space is necessary to protect the tiles, wall panels, and paint coating from moisture-related damage.

These boards should not overlap the boundaries of the shower pans. At least maintain a gap of about 1/4 to 1/8 inches between these two fixtures.

Measure these baking boards according to the required size and mark the dimensions with a marker.

Why is it necessary to leave space between the shower pan and the cement board?

It is necessary to leave the gap from the cement boards to protect paints and tiles from chipping off and decrease repair costs.

Moisture barrier

This gap creates a moisture barrier. Water splashes from the shower heads come on the surrounding walls during bathing and can damage them.

The walls remain wet longer because exhaust fans and vents take longer to remove these water droplets and have high moisture content.

Many people do not want to waterproof them because it is a costly procedure and takes a lot of time. In addition, waterproofing does not last for longer, and you have to repeat the process after several times.

A backing board is a suitable option because of its lower price and aesthetic appearance. You can protect them by leaving space on their base to avoid water droplets.

Space between this material is the best option to create a moisture barrier and protect the surrounding material from ruining. Bathroom fixture correct installation is necessary to decrease the risk of humidity damage and mold growth because these can destroy the materials.

Maintain structural integrity

The gap protects the walls’ studs. Wall studs are the underlying material of the construction procedure.

The primary function of these framing materials is to hold the structure of your home. These are made of wood and metal material, depending on users’ choice.

I have wood studs in my home because they are sturdier and can withstand more weight than metal pieces. People use wood types over metals because these are available at an affordable price but are less durable.

The wood studs are not resistant to water and heat; exposure to these factors can ruin them. Water from the cement boards seeps inside and damages the wood wall studs.

These become brittle and easily breakable because of moisture exposure and disturb the structural integrity of your home. It can weaken the construction base because these studs cannot hold your home’s frame.

Expansion of shower pan material

Shower pans are made of acrylic and tile material, and you can select them according to your budget and choice. Most people prefer acrylic because it is lightweight, easy to install, and budget-friendly.

I prefer to add them to my bathroom because of their non-porous and smooth surface, which is easy to clean and less vulnerable to chipping.

It is necessary to leave space between the cement board’s base and these fixtures if they are made of acrylic material. Acrylic is sensitive to temperature and humidity.

These expand when exposed to high temperatures because of their soft material. These cannot damage the walls when you leave the gap for their expansion.

Make tile and glue last longer

People use grouting material to install tiles over cement boards because these provide a stronger bond instead of glues. You can also use glue if the walls are made of fiberglass and plastic panels.

Sometimes the low-quality adhesive material loses its strength and cannot hold heavy weight. Water splashes for a long time over the grouting material can damage them.

It can also penetrate inside the backing material because of the porous materials of grout. You can protect the grouting material and glue from water by leaving a slight gap between the boundaries.

The glue and grouting material last longer and maintain their strength when they are under less exposure to water.

Spot for tile installation 

The gap on the base of the cement boards represents the spotting point for the installation of tiles. It represents that you can start installing tiles from the marked base.

You can easily make the bottom and straight point for the correct tiles installation. You do not have to mark the backing board surfaces again for proper alignment of tiles.

You can also consider this spotting point for installing fiberglass and wall paneling. The straight cut cannot disturb the alignment of the tiles and other paneling materials.

Protect cement board wall bowing

Cement boards are vulnerable to bowing when these come in direct exposure to water for a longer time. Water from the shower pans makes their material wet, leading to bowing issues.

These can bend inside mostly from their center and give an unappealing appearance. Bowing can also leads to poor adherence of tiles on the bending surface.

These can come off and fall on the floor because of the bend surfaces of the backing material. In addition, the bowing of concrete material is common because of high water pressure.

Water pressure disturbs their normal structural integrity and pushes them horizontally.

How do you fill the space between the cement board and the shower pan?

It is necessary to fill the gap between the cement board base and the lips of shower pans to create a water barrier. You can use the standard silicone material if these are less than 1/8 inch in size.

Moreover, I prefer to use silicone-based caulking material if the gap is 1/8 or more than that. Caulking material is made of waterproof materials, and water cannot damage them.

It is made of latex, rubber, silicone, and other waterproof polymers. These materials are completely waterproof and do not allow moisture to reach the cement boards.

In addition, it is necessary to change the filling material after 3 to 5 years.

Replace them once in winter because heat can damage them and cause their expansion. You can replace the caulking material after every 3 to 4 years to prevent molds and bacterial growth.

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