My sister and I are doing our bathrooms in our condos. I am seeing her job and am concerned they aren't doing right.

They used the concrete sheetrock for her shower but it didn't go to the top. So they did some patchwork with sheetrock and put some sort of netting that was placed over it. I thought they would then mud/sand this so then the tile can be put over it. They did not and the tile person is putting the thinset over this netting and attaching the tile.

My worry is the patchwork of about 4 inches wide of sheetrock that is at top of the shower is not flush to the walls or the existing sheetrock. Picture a 5x9 shower with no tub. The three walls all have sheet rock up until about 4 inches from the ceiling. apparently they ran out so they got more, cut it to fit the 4 inch cap and screwed it in.

The netting I'm talking about was patched over this probably to make it one surface and smooth but they didn't mud.

Sorry if I'm not explaining right but need to know if they aren't doing the right thing here. We've already been burned by a contractor and this one has had issues as well.

  • 5
    A picture would help.
    – gregmac
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 5:19
  • 1
    When hiring people to do work in your home, never forget You are the boss. If you're not sure if what they're doing is right, don't hesitate to ask. Don't let work continue, until you are comfortable with what they are doing.
    – Tester101
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 12:39
  • Pic, but from what you've described I wouldn't worry about it. If a tile surface is slightly uneven you can certainly skim it with brick mortar or something... but most people would skip a step and just put the thinset on a bit thick. Even on a floor this isn't likely to be a problem (e.g. for around 1/8" or so), and at the top of a wall I can't imagine anything ever happening. Thinset is basically mortar, you don't gain much by putting down mortar and then more mortar over it.
    – jamietre
    Commented Dec 4, 2012 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


I'm a little concerned by the fact that "this one has had issues," but it sounds like this part of the job is being done correctly.

Just a couple of definitions, quickly:

  • Drywall (aka sheetrock, plasterboard, wallboard, gypsum board) is gypsum plaster covered in paper, and is used on most walls and ceilings in dry areas.
  • Cement board (aka CBU) is used in wet areas like showers; drywall - even the green or blue stuff - will eventually disintegrate in wet areas.

I'm assuming that the 4" patch at the top of the shower walls is cement board, same as the lower part.

It's standard to use fiberglass tape over joints between cement board to minimize movement between the boards, and apply thinset and tile over that area as usual. You might fill the gap with a little extra thinset while tiling, but you don't use drywall mud in there since moisture will just weaken it.

The fact that the cement boards aren't flush to each other shouldn't be a problem unless the gap is more than 1/8". Even a little more than that isn't going to cause problems, depending on the size of the tile used.

The most important thing to be aware of when a new shower is being installed is preventing water from getting into the walls. For this reason, a vapor barrier (plastic sheet) should go between cement board and the wall studs, and extend down over the lip of the shower base (or pan). This allows any water that gets into any joints between cement boards to run down into the shower base and down the drain.

The cement board should extend down to about 1/8" above the lip of the shower base - there's no need to overlap it, since the plastic is doing so. The bottom row of tile should extend over the bottom edge of the cement board, mostly covering the lip of the shower base, then silicone caulk should be applied to seal that gap.

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