We are putting in a powder room, toilet and sink. Behind the toilet we plan on having tile up the wall. The tile is 8x8". We were planning on using 5/8ths drywall. Is this appropriate or do we need to use cement board? It is a a small wall, just about 35" across, should there be any consideration about stud spacing to hold the weight or do 16 on center studs work? Thanks for the advice!

1 Answer 1


I am generally apprehensive about fixing tile directly to gypsum wallboard, and recommend using cement board if you have the choice. It is imperative that you do not use wallboard in a wet location.

That being said, I have seen tile attached to wallboard work perfectly well in locations with low moisture and where any rough use (impact) is not likely.

As for the stud arrangement and attaching the wallboard, I would consider it mandatory that all the edges are supported with wood.

  • So moisture will be low since its just a toilet and sink. If cement board makes life easier, we are all for it. We do have metal studs, non structural wall, so studs are 24" apart. This is why I am wondering if I should position/add studs to that short wall to better support. The tile will be behind the toilet, so low impact.
    – junta
    Nov 4, 2020 at 5:42
  • @junta the cement board will do a better job of bridging the 24" stud spacing and maintaining stiffness than drywall will. BTW - steel studs 24"OC would have been useful info to have provided in the original question
    – FreeMan
    Nov 4, 2020 at 12:58
  • Thanks for the feedback. If we opted to not go with tile on that wall, would it be recommended to put up 5/8" drywall to stiffen that 24" span between studs?
    – junta
    Nov 5, 2020 at 16:40
  • That is an interesting question that you will get different answers for. I have used 1/2" drywall many times where the seams across stud bays were unsupported, but not with 24" stud spacing. You will find some people insist that all seams be supported with additional framing below, others who know that it is not always necessary. The Gypsum Association has a "bible" for installation wherein they specify maximum framing spacing for 1/2" at 24" OC. pabcogypsum.com/sites/default/files/GA-216-07.pdf Nov 5, 2020 at 17:23
  • I also not only worry about stud spacing but the weight of the cement boards and the lack of securing strength to the metal vs wood studs. Wondering if it would be worth while adding a stud and putting wood blocking up to help secure. Kind of like if you were hanging cabinets. Or adding wood studs to ends as if I was framing a door in metal framing. Any thoughts about this?
    – junta
    Nov 6, 2020 at 4:38

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