People add cement boards behind shower walls because of their durability and strength relative to drywalls. These are not water resistant but contain additives that prevent mold and fungal growth. These absorb moisture but do not cause any deteriorating effects.
What Size Cement Board For Shower Walls? You can use 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch cement boards for shower walls depending upon their types. The size may vary according to the thickness of shower walls, mounting method, cost, size of showering area, and paint coats. Use 1/4 inch for ceramic and tiles, while 1/2 inch is best for vinyl, acrylic, fiberglass, and laminates.
Cement boards are a suitable backing material for highly humid areas like showers and bathtubs because these do not disintegrate when coming into contact with water.
What is the suitable size of cement boards for shower walls?
Cement boards are sheet-like structures that have dimensions of 3 x 5 feet. The thickness ranges from ½ to ¼ inches.
Vinyl or fiberglass
People use vinyl and fiberglass-based shower walls because of their water-repellent properties. However, vinyl is a moisture-resistant material and cannot allow molds to grow on them.
Moreover, these are easy to clean when soap scum comes on their surfaces. Fiberglass is famous for its smooth finish; water cannot reside on its finished surfaces.
These are lighter-weight materials and easy to install on cement boards. You can use adhesive glue to install the vinyl and fiberglass strips.
1/2 inches backing material is good for the vinyl and fiberglass material because of their lightweight. In addition, the thick backboards increase the strength of the material and make them more durable.
These cannot break when heavy people lean near the shower areas. I added the thicker board while installing lighter vinyl and fiberglass material to create extra support.
Ceramic and tiles
Shower walls made of ceramic and tile materials are heavier and need sturdy materials for their support. Tiles on the cement board backing material are the best choice in your bathroom, especially near the showering area.
These last for years because of their moisture-resistant properties. You can use ½ and ¼ inches of backing material for ceramic and tiling materials.
Many people think these are heavier and need thick and strong support for their installation. I prefer to use the ¼ inch boards for the tiling material because these are already heavier and do not need additional thickness for their durability.
Many people prefer ½ inches thicker ones because they think backing material can crack easily when you add heavy material.
Laminate is also a good option for shower walls because these are made of waterproof material. These are similar to porcelain, stones, PVC, and acrylic materials.
These are waterproof, and you can install them in humid areas of your bathrooms. You need 1/2-inch cement board backing material to install these thin paneling.
The thick support of the lightweight panels makes them more durable and stronger. These cannot crack and come apart when they come under high pressure.
It increases the wall’s overall thickness and makes it sturdy and durable. In addition, the thin ones are suitable for flooring and countertops.
What factors affect the size of cement boards for shower walls?
You can select a suitable size by considering these factors. It is necessary to select the correct dimensions because they can crack and allow mold growth when these are not suitable dimensions.
The thickness of shower walls
The shower walls’ thickness, weight, and material affect the cement board’s dimensions. You need the thinner ones of ceramic and tile-based material because of their heavier structure.
These are already thicker materials and do not require extra support for more strength. However, you can also use ½ inch boards for them, which does not cause any problems.
½ inches are the most suitable choice for laminate, fiberglass, acrylic, and vinyl materials because these are thin and require more support.
People select their sizes according to the mounting method of the shower walls on the cement boards. After that, they use various mounting methods depending on the walls’ material and ease.
You can install adhesive glues and studs over the backing materials. The installation process is relatively easy with adhesive glues because these require little effort and time.
You do not need studs or screws to secure them on the boards. Many people use the studs to adhere to the ceramic tile and laminate planks.
Using studs is the suitable method because it provides adhesiveness for a longer time relative to the gluey materials. Studs-type mounting requires thick cement boards that can bear the pressure of the drill machine to make holes.
Thinner ones can crack when you try to make holes in them for stud installation. ¼ inches are suitable when attaching the shower walls with adhesive glues.
Cement boards are available in three different sizes and have different costs. The cost increases or decreases because of their dimensions and manufacturing material.
¼ inches are thinner, do not require much manufacturing, and are less costly than the half inches.
Half-inch boards are costly because of their thick structure and more installation material. People select the size according to their budget and affordability.
You can also select the 5/8 inch because it is slightly thicker than the ¼ inch and available in a moderate price range.
Size of showering area and painting
These are 3×5 feet sheets, and you can select them according to the showering area. You require more sheets when the shower area is larger and require more backing material.
Covering the complete area with cement boards is necessary to prevent moisture damage and mold growth.
Many people simply want to paint the backing material with waterproof varnishes because it is cost-effective for wall transitions. For example, I used ½ inch boards in my bathroom and coated them with waterproof paints, making my interior appealing and attractive.
Are ¼ inch cement boards suitable for shower walls?
Most people prefer to add 1/2-inch or 5/8-inch cement boards for shower walls. They think that ¼ inches are too thin and cannot bear the weight of the sturdy structures.
These are not thick enough to provide sufficient support to the wall materials. Therefore, it is not suitable for installing walls, and you can use them on the floors and countertops of your bathrooms.
It does not become a solid and sturdy base for heavy tiles and can develop cracks when you add heavy stone and tiles.
Cracking and warping allow moisture to penetrate inside and damage the wall studs. In addition, moisture can damage the grout and caulking within the wooden studs.