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I was told that there was no problem installing tiles on drywall hung on steel studs. I had never worked with drywall before and accepted that. Now after the wall is done, if I hit it, I noticed that it vibrates significantly.

Does that affect tiles installed on it? Like cracks in grout, etc?

PS: I'm in Brazil, drywall is kinda new here, and it is only done with steel studs, no wood.

  • If a backer board is used it will be ok just Sheetrock on metal studs not as good depending on the size of tile and the adhesive. – Ed Beal Apr 12 '16 at 1:44
  • No backerboard here. We just have some cement board that is very hard, and awful to work with, used in outside steel frame construction. Anyway the wall is already done, I'm just asking to be warned of potential problems. BTW, do wood studs feel stiffer than steel after the drywall is hung? – Luiz Borges Apr 12 '16 at 1:56
  • You can't always tell if it's metal by bonking on it, but almost no wooden wall would be described as "bouncy" unless it's unusually high. What room is this in and do you expect it to remain impermeable to water? In non-wet areas it's debatable. In a wet area, yes problems, IMO. Also IIRC, all manufacturers require a deflection of less than L/360, which your wall probably exceeds. A wet area or not, I'd use a "water-proofing membrane" for crack isolation. – Mazura Apr 12 '16 at 22:19
  • It is a bathroom that will have a water-proof membrane over the whole wall that is suitable to tile instalation. Also, I will use proper drywall tile mortar and grout (which is supposed to be more flexible than normal). Oh, and my wall isn't bouncy or woobly, but if I lay one hand half meter away and hit on it with the other, and can feel it vibrate. – Luiz Borges Apr 13 '16 at 0:02
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Movement is the enemy of masonry of any type. In this case, it depends on a few factors. How much movement? How often does the movement occur? What products were used to install the tile? What size and type of tile?

If all you're asking is whether some cracking is likely to occur, the answer is yes. However, it may be negligible from an aesthetic standpoint. The severity depends on the things I mentioned.

If you're asking how you might prevent damage, that depends on whether the wall interior is still accessible. If so, consider adding stiffening members to reduce deflection. More studs, engineered wood, heavy steel, or other devices could stiffen the wall and reduce movement.

  • Unfortunetely I'm beyond the point of messing with the interior. I guess i will just tile it and hope for the best. In the worst case I might have to replace it in a few (hopefully dozens) years. – Luiz Borges Apr 12 '16 at 20:48
  • BTW, does wood studs also moves like steel studs when "punched"? – Luiz Borges Apr 12 '16 at 20:50
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    Wood is a bit stiffer initially and tends to stiffen over time as it ages. It still bounces if you bump it, though. – isherwood Apr 12 '16 at 20:52

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