Basement Finishing – How to Avoid the Green Stuff

When I’m not involved with basement finishing projects or one of my other various pursuits, I’m usually hanging out with my children. If yours are (or were) anything like mine, you know they just can’t stand the green stuff. Didn’t matter which kind of vegetable it was, if it was green you weren’t getting it in there.

Well, there’s some other green stuff you should watch out for; especially when you’re getting ready to start a basement finishing project! Years ago, when tile was installed in a shower, they would tile right over the plaster or drywall. It eventually became apparent that this was not a durable solution as water invariably got behind the tile caused the backer to mold and deteriorate.

The next generation of shower wall backer-board was essentially drywall, but with a mold and water-resistant paper. This product is still used by many today, but that may be a mistake. The board may be mold-resistant (which is good), but in our basement finishing experience, water-resistant is too strong a statement.   Any shower wall backer board will eventually get wet, and the material behind the green paper may deteriorate.  We recently looked at a Highlands Ranch basement finishing project and the homeowner was having problems related to this issue with an existing basement bathroom.

Using Inferior Products in Your Basement Finishing Project Could Have Disastrous Results!

Failed Shower – Should Have Used Cement Board!

 A good wall substrate has to stand up to water if it gets wet (because eventually it will) and has to shed any water that comes through the grout down to the shower or tub below it. A cement board like Durock performs this function better than the rest. It can be completely saturated in water for extensive periods of time and won’t break down, and it sheds water to the shower or tub below it extremely well.

Not only is this type of product very effective for walls, but often a bathroom in a basement finishing project will have a seat or bench in it. The bench seat is of course not a vertical surface like a wall. While it is angled, it can’t shed water as quickly as a completely vertical wall. Using a cementitious product like Durock for the seat surface will stand up to any potential water that comes through the grout, and is another great step towards quality in your basement finishing project.

Few homeowners want their basement finishing efforts to be wasted. A superior backerboard in your tile areas doesn’t cost much more than an inferior product, but will hold up where others may not. A backer board like Durock is a quality decision you shouldn’t ignore. It will help your basement stand the test of time.

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