I have a bathroom where water-resistant drywall was put up around and over the tub. Is it okay to put tile over the drywall around the tub or shower?
If not, what can I do to be able to put tile?
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The best and safest way is to install your drywall high enough where you know the least amount of water will splash. Then install HardieBacker cement board, tape and mud (thinset) the seams, apply two or three coats of RedGard waterproofing, let it all dry, and finally thinset and tile. I've done two showers this way; it works like a charm.
Tile over dry wall even water resistant will not last as long but mat survive for up to 25 years if well sealed and has a gap at the bottom of the tub. This method of tiling was quite popular in the 50’s, 60’s and into the 70’s . On repair work I have done on tiled bath and shower stalls neglect is usually the cause of the failure. What was the neglect? Failure to reseal the grout so water finally degraded the Sheetrock to the point tiles fall off or someone pushes the wall in , the larger the tile the longer the wall will last. So can you do it , yes , we flipped several houses with a quick overlay that made a crappy looking bath look like a mid level home. On my own houses I have always stripped down to the studs, on showers I put up poly vapor barrier, not on tub surrounds, then cement board and then tile. My very first tile shower is over 45years old and the only problem has been the fixtures failed and they were tough to replace as I tiled right up to the valves. (My mom still has this home) last time I was home I did acid etch and reseal the entire thing as my step dad can’t do much any longer but asked if I could make sure it would be ok, Mom has always been worried as it was my first shower back in the 70’s. So if done right they really can last a lifetime and this was 2”x 2”.
I would not be installing tile over drywall in a tub or shower, even if it was the water resistant type. I would remove any existing drywall and vapor barrier and replace it with backer board. Tape the seams with mesh tape and thinset. Then tape the seams with mesh tape and Red Gard or some other waterproof membrane. Then apply the waterproofing material to the entire wall surface according to the manufacturer's instructions. When completely dry you can install the tile. Think about using an epoxy grout, it's waterproof and much more durable than standard grout. Use a quality silicone caulk for any changes in plane. Hope this helps a bit.
Not only is it fine to do this, but some tile companies recommend tiling directly on drywall (plasterboard) because it can hold greater weight than plastered drywall. The only consideration is that when you do want to re-tile in the future removing the old tiles will rip up the surface of the drywall to the point you probably would need to replace it.