Mud and Tape
The natural next step after pouring the shower pan is? You guessed it: Adding shower walls. And you can’t just use regular drywall, you need to really waterproof that new shower of yours. It’s a high-stakes job, but you can do it!
Here’s a glimpse of us mudding and taping (with a little help). It’s in reverse order, so you’ll see the shower walls up first, then the rest of the bathroom. Enjoy!
As I mentioned earlier, you can’t use regular old sheetrock to line your shower. DensShield or DuraRock, that is the question… I’ve done a little reading, and there seem to be differing opinions on the subject, but Joe says to go with DensShield, so that’s what we’re going with.
Once you’ve measured the square footage of your shower walls-to-be, you’ll want to buy the corresponding amount of this stuff. (You can always return the extra, so always get a sheet or two more than you think you’ll need.) DensShield is mold and mildew resistant and provides a moisture barrier between your shower tile and the rest of the world.
How to DIY Shower Walls
There are plenty of tutorials out there with more in-depth information, but we’ll give you the basics for finishing off your shower walls. The good thing is, these don’t have to be perfect. Heck, they don’t even have to look good. You’ll be tiling right over them, so this part is very forgiving. Make sure everything is measured correctly and it’s watertight. Those are your missions, if you choose to accept.
You’ll want to measure the smaller pieces and any irregular pieces and cut them out to size. Find our exactly where your shower valves and knobs go, and cut holes out for them as well.
Give it one or two slices with a utility knife. Simply score and snap.
You’ll screw the DensShield sheets into your 2×4’s, and mud over all the screw holes. Also, mud over the joints with FibaTape to secure it. No sanding required.
This is FibaTape (mesh draywall joint tape). Use it to secure a seam over each joint with mud.
Here’s what it all looked like while doing the final slope pour. After putting in the shower pan liner, we cut smaller pieces and closed off the rest of it.
Once you’ve successfully got your shower walls in place, mudded and taped, you’ll want to get some of this waterproofing goop. When your mud is dry, you can apply it. My job was to brush this sludge over all the potential holes and cracks.
It’s a thick, yellowish goo and it smells really bad.
Here’s my start.
It waterproofs everything beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Be sure to go a couple inches past the edges of all the mud.
Mudding & Taping Regular Drywall
There are plennnty of instructions for taping and mudding your walls, so we’re not going to describe this process in detail here. Not today, at least. You can go here, here or here for more. We’ve had plenty of experience doing this ourselves, but we’re nowhere near perfect. It’s worth having a professional help you out if perfection is what you’re after. But if you’re ok with slightly less-than-flawless walls, you should go ahead and DIY them. At least promise me you’ll practice a little first, ok?
You can use this regular drywall tape if you’re redoing any sheetrock walls in the rest of the room. We mainly used the heavy-duty mesh stuff for the shower walls. Tape, mud, sand, mud, sand, repeat.
We enlisted the help of our friend Andy who is basically a professional at taping and mudding walls. It’s an art form. Thanks again Andy! It definitely helped us out to know we’ll have perfectly butter smooth walls to work with.
Alright, we’re in business! Here’s what the nonexistent walls looked like just a week ago.