My basement kitchen wall is adjacent to the bathroom and shower. I want to replace the old tile in the kitchen with a straight wall, which I’m planning to paint. I have removed the old tile and found different material behind it. The top appears to be cement board and the bottom appears to be drywall screwed into the cement board. Behind this wall is a standing shower, which is also tiled. Can you please advise on what is the best way to replace this side of the wall with a straight wall that I can paint? Thank you.

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  • Could you explain “straight wall” I would remove the backer and install fresh Sheetrock but the backer may go behind the cabinets , skim coating the backer might be the best option for you.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 7, 2020 at 13:30
  • Thank you for the prompt response. In regards to straight wall, I’m just thinking of a wall like this photo that I can paint over. When you say remove backer, what are you referring to? Also, given that there is a standing shower on the other side, should I be worried about moister build up? Thanks again
    – Nis
    Jul 7, 2020 at 13:40
  • Nis, please take the tour so you're clear on how to respond to answers here.
    – isherwood
    Aug 6, 2020 at 18:06

1 Answer 1


The backer board is usually screwed to the studs , just like the Sheetrock although some used to use nails back in the 70’s. The problem with demolition on this side of the wall is it can cause issues on the other side. The shower should have a vapor barrier moisture would not be my concern, but if any hammering is done on the wall make sure to get a grout & Tile sealer and reseal the shower so it will not have a leak.

I like to work with fresh Sheetrock to have clean straight walls it may be easier to Remove the cabinets they look to be sectional. Remove the backer and install fresh Sheetrock,

another option is to overlay Sheetrock on top but that is hard to hide the edges with cabinets in place but I have done it with 1/4” where I wanted to cover a large mess without all the removal, then extending the receptacle and switch boxes with extenders is simple. The tough part is very precise cuts on the Sheetrock to slip it in place, but this may give you the clean straight wall look you want with the least work.

  • Thank you for the prompt response. If I was to attempt to install fresh Sheetrock over the backer board, what screws/tools would I use to do it?
    – Nis
    Jul 7, 2020 at 14:50
  • @Nis - you can't do that unless it is clean/smooth.
    – DMoore
    Jul 7, 2020 at 17:05
  • Thanks DMoore: I’m planning to remove the old Sheetrock on the bottom of the wall, remove the existing tile on that side of the wall. Should I also remove the yellow (not sure if that’s old skim coat) before installing a Sheetrock over it? I found 1/4 depth Sheetrock in Home Depot, but how do I install it over the backer board? Are there special anchors or screws to use? I also want to clarify that I discovered that the bottom of the wall doesn’t have a backer board, it’s two pieces of Sheetrock fastened together by a dry wall screw. Thanks
    – Nis
    Jul 7, 2020 at 17:13
  • If you overlay with 1/4” you still want a fairly clean surface, repair the hole in the wall 1/4” is not thick enough to be un supported in my opinion. I have screwed it and seen some use liquid nails directly to concrete I usually like furring strips for Sheetrock but have had good luck with a combination of screws and construction adhesive over existing walls in much worse shape than yours.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 7, 2020 at 17:41

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