Greenboard vs Cement Board
“I like using Greenboard because it’s waterproof.” I hear statements like this all of the time, but the truth is that Greenboard, also referred to as “Aquabloc” is not actually waterproof at all, it is merely “water resistant”. Contractors and home-owners make similar mistakes regarding the products they’re using on a regular basis. The only real way to know which option is the best for you, is to take a close look at both products.
The composition of greenboard is the same as drywall. Both products are sold in 4’x8’ boards, and the center of both boards is constructed using gypsum, a porous material. The only difference between greenboard and drywall is the green “water resistant” coating. If the paper on that board is cut or damaged, water can easily penetrate the center of the board, leading to mold and mildew. Personally, I find this product to be inadequate for wall tile and flooring applications, yet a lot of home owners and contractors continue to use it for its low cost and ease of use. While demolishing bathrooms, I have regularly encountered wet, moldy and poor quality Greenboard.
Durock and Wonderboard, on the other hand, is water-durable and mold-resistant. After working with this product myself and performing numerous demolitions in many bathrooms, I have yet to discover durock that is damaged or moldy. Although the substance may be harder to cut, heavier, and slightly more expensive, it is far more resistant to water, and durable than greenboard.
The next time you see a contractor using greenboard, don’t be afraid to ask him what the difference is and see what he says. If you have a choice for your home, always go for the better product. It may initially cost a little more, but it will also make a world of difference to the durability of your home. In a bathroom, it is especially important, and it can also be used in damp basements, too. In the past, I’ve cut a piece of Durock 5” high, or higher and fastened it to the bottom of the wall, before starting blueboard on top of that. After it is plastered (using a product called Weldabond), I would add my baseboard as normal. Because of this, if you ever got water or flooding in your basement, the most you would have to do is remove your baseboard.
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