Who is smart enough to know the perfect way of doing this?

For the life of me, the more questions I ask, the more confused I get … there just doesn’t seem to be a concenus of opinion on how to build back our tub/shower surrounds.

Anyway, this is how we are going to finish the surrounds in the two baths of our house that are gutted right now, one at ground level (brick veneer exterior wall) and one in the basement (concrete block exterior wall) …

install encapsulated R-13 batts by Johns Manville in 2x4 framed wall (blackboard/brick veneer is on the oustide of the wall), attach green board (Mold Tough by USG) directly to the studs, attach HardiBacker over the green board, tape and mud HardiBacker, install porcelain tile over the HardiBacker

One other thing … the upstairs bath has a window opening in the surround … the tile that was there before failed and completely rotted out the window seal. What is the best way to protect the window seal this time around (we plan to tile it)?

Anybody bold enough to offer the perfect way of building our surrounds where they will stand the test of time and where moisture will not be an issue?

FYI … we live in Arkansas


When did Razorbacks get indoor plumbing?

No expert but I have installed a shower or two.

Insulation should only be faced towards the living space in your climate, imo

I line walls, sills, curbs, and benches with #30 builder felt and tub liner, then I’d use http://www.usg.com/products/moldandmoisture/mmBestPractices.jsp
(read all material) for underlayment and tile backer, follow instructions to the letter

Window sills in showers are problematic unless sloped 15° from the window toward the tub wall to drain rapidly. I’d seal grout upon tile completion and periodically reapply sealer for the life of the shower

Good luck

I’m sure others may have differing opinions and that’s OK we all can be taught a trick or two

Your actual mileage may vary.

plumbing? we haven’t had it long but we love it! we start wearing shoes next year

tub liner?

Sorry, pan liner, my head knew what I meant to say just didn’t make it to my fingers.


Call me if you’d like to discuss this further, y’all got phones don’t ya?

I really need to spend some time with the family and typing is not my forte.

Greenboard is useless. Just a mositure trap.

With the cinder block, do a moisture block paint on the interior and use rubber membrane on the exterior.

Don’t forget the air space with drainage and weep wicks.

Around the window, rubber membrane first, the cement board (cement doesn’t mold) and fill the joints. Thinset and tile, for the finish.

Water will always find a way. Just try to slow it down.

What about using mastic to attach the HardiBacker and tile around the window, including the sill, instead of a rubber membrane? Water can’t penetrate mastic, right? If not, what is the process for a rubber membrane? Membrane to wood sill and HardiBacker to membrane, or HardiBacker to sill and membrane to HardiBacker? If the latter, what do you use to attach the tile to the membrane? Seems like there is potential for the membrane approach to cause the tile to pop off.

What is the proper way to transition between tub and tile? Caulk?

What about a vapor barrier behind the HardiBacker? Plastic? Felt? With the tile/tub juncture caulked and sealed, would a vapor barrier even be effective?

You seem to have a lot of questions on the basics. Having done a bit of tile work one can get into some real deep sewage pretty fast if they do not know what they are doing and unfortunately you can’t learn on a bulletin board what you need to start a job like this. I know professionals who charge more to come in behind someone to clean up their attempts. Here is just one website where you can fam up what all goes into installing the kind of shower and surround you indicate you are interested in. Hope it helps. It always looks easy on HGTV but it never is that easy.


A very cheap, but effective solution to a window in a surround…is to install a $20. plastic lovered mini blind over the window. Only thing, it must be closed to divert water:shock: . When open, it still allows for light/ventilation.

Always recommend that the blind is at least 4 inches larger than the window.

Cheap…but effective