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I'm a little confused on where exactly backer board needs to reside in a bathroom. I know it needs to immediately cover the walls that the shower/bathtub face, but what about the rest of the walls in the bathroom? Is backer board needed everywhere in a bathroom?

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    It's not needed everywhere, but it's far more robust than drywall. It does cost a bit more, but most bathrooms are not that large. But that's entirely up to you. I lean to the "tile the whole bathroom anyway" side of the scale, having torn out too many rotten bits in the other kind of bathroom. – Ecnerwal Sep 6 '14 at 21:14
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Backer board, HardieBacker, or cement board is used on any surface that is to be tiled.

  • So conversely, in areas where I'm NOT tiling, I don't necessarily need to put backer board down... right? – Mike B Sep 6 '14 at 17:47
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    Exactly, what you do want is moisture resistant plasterboard and it wouldn't hurt to use one of the newer mold resistant non-paper faced types. – Fiasco Labs Sep 6 '14 at 18:02
  • Sorry - one more question: does backer board go ON TOP of drywall? Or just over the bare walls with a moisture barrier in between? – Mike B Sep 6 '14 at 18:37
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    @MikeB It can go directly on the wall, you'll just use a thicker board (1/2", 5/8", etc.). Or it can go over existing drywall, just user thinner stuff (1/4"). If the walls are uncovered now, I'd just use backer board. – Tester101 Sep 6 '14 at 19:17

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