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We live in Texas. My builder Highland homes just used blue drywall that too just till 12 ft for shower walls. No cement board between tiles and blue drywall.I asked him and he says everything is perfect as is. I checked the contract. It says ‘1/2” Denshield (or equivalent) board on shower/tub walls’. Is blue drywall considered an equivalent board?

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I would not consider blueboard to be equal to DenShield. Have the contractor provide the proof in writing, or demand that the blueboard be replaced with Denshield.

Also do not make any more payments until you are satisfied. If there is a financial institute involved, tell them that you request no draw be released and why.

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Pretty much what RMDman said but maybe a bit more specific. "Blue board" is for plaster veneer application. It is not intended for wet environments like a shower stall or bathtub surround. If you look at the spec sheet or tech guide for a specific blue board product, they should say not to use it for tile application. For example, from the Home Depot site, the spec sheet for USG blue board states the following under limitations.

IMPERIAL Brand Gypsum Bases should not be used in areas exposed to excessive moisture for extended periods or as a base for adhesive application of ceramic tile (SHEETROCK ® Brand Gypsum Panels, Water-Resistant, or DUROCK ® Brand Cement Board are recommended for this use).

That said, there are waterproofing systems like Schluter Kerdi that can be used over regular drywall. That one is expensive so your builder is probably not using that but there could be some lower price alternative.

From the sound of it, they're probably just putting the tile directly onto the plaster veneer base gypsum boards. That is bad. Stopping payments etc as the other answer says is not inappropriate unless you're fine redoing it later. I would personally try to get out of dealing with that builder (if they're doing this, there are other problems as well) but that may not be an option for you.

As an additional note, because you say

No cement board between tiles and blue drywall.

Cement board itself is not waterproof. It is not damaged by water itself but it will still wick it up and transfer it to whatever is behind it. If you were to put some cement board over gypsum or even over bare wall studs, there would still need to be some moisture/vapor barrier like plastic behind the cement board or liquid-applied membrane over the top of it.

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  • Maybe the op meant purple board. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 19:10
  • @ErikFriesen I'm responding to the question he asked, not the question he may have meant to ask, and purple board is not suitable for setting tile in the shower either. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 21:54
  • I agree it's not suitable but is very common. To stop payment when 95% of contractors in a region do it that way isnt always the best route. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 23:07
  • @ErikFriesen Contract says DensShield or equivalent. DensShield is gypsum with a waterproofing layer specifically designed for wet area tile. Purple board is not designed for that application and manufacturer literature will say so explicitly so it is not an equivalent. Something being a common cop out does not make it acceptable. Whether that's a battle the OP wants to fight is a decision for the OP. Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 13:30

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