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Old 02-29-2012, 03:46 PM   #1
TileArt1
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USG does not require a barrier behind Durock?

I have recently been having a discussion with someone about having a barrier behind the durock in their shower. She contacted USG and spoke with one of the reps who stated "If installed properly there is no need for plastic sheet vapor barrier behind durock"

After another email from her she got this in reply: "It is still USG’s position that a moisture barrier behind the Durock Panels is not necessary unless required by the local building codes."

So I emailed him to clarify and received essentially the same, with a bit more eye-opening information. It appears that they (at least this particular representative) believe that the only way water migrates behind a tile installation is through hairline cracks in the grout lines due to improper installation of their product.

“It’s these cracks in the grout that allow water to penetrate through the wall and cause problems” That is a direct quote. You can read the emails in the pdf I've attached if you choose. I've removed the names to protect the innocent - mine's still there because I'm not.
usg.pdf

I understand that manufacturers can place whatever limitations or recommendations / requirements they want on their products. It simply bugs me that this advice is given to people concerned enough with their own shower to actually call tech support - and this is the information they're given.

Is this actually USG's belief? Do they simply not understand anything at all about water migration in a shower? And if not - why the hell not. They manufacture durock for cryin' out loud. Is there ANY way at all we can get these companies to take notice of proper procedures and the actual need for a barrier of some sort in the shower?

From the emails it seems like the assumption is that as long as water doesn't get to the substrate it won't be a problem. We all know that's incorrect, but how do we change that perception?
Now I'm starting to sound like Whipple. Seriously, anyone want to weigh in on this? Scott?
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Old 02-29-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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Roger,

That has always been their stance, and no, I don't agree with it. I'll tell you one thing, though. I've been through their lab facility. It is one of the best in the industry. They have it all.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Roger,

Think of all the money you wasted with Kerdi.

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Old 02-29-2012, 04:01 PM   #4
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Why on earth would they say the only way water will reach the board is hairline cracks behind the grout? That is just pure craziness.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:19 PM   #5
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I don't disagree at all with the quality of their product John. But you'd think with a top-notch lab they would know the intricacies of water migration. It is a quality product.

However, a Lamborghini is a quality product as well but I'd be willing to bet that handing the keys to my 18 year-old would turn that quality product into a scrap heap in short order. (He's a great kid, but you know, he's 18 and a male... I have no misconceptions ).

Why would they not recommend procedures that would guarantee a successful installation? Not just that, but actually recommend procedures that have a high rate of failure. Hell, my state-of-the-art lab consists of a workbench in my garage currently scattered with pieces of various wet saws - and I know better.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:36 PM   #6
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Ya know, if a product fails a company may sell more product replacing it... just sayin.

I think you may find many backer board manufactures say about the same, unfortunately, which has been discussed here a few times.
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Old 02-29-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dana
I think you may find many backer board manufactures say about the same, unfortunately, which has been discussed here a few times.
Where? Only thing I could find was this: http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...+behind+backer which briefly touches on it, but not quite the same thing.

If they don't want to outright require (or at least recommend) a barrier that's fine. Their product, their choice. But I take issue when, like I stated above, a homeowner concerned enough to call their tech support is given completely false information.

Guess I'm an ass like that.

Hey! If you're gonna edit my post at least correct the capitalization. Sorry about that.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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I think Matthew from Colorado started a thread last summer/fall, i'll try to find it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger
Hey! If you're gonna edit my post at least correct the capitalization. Sorry about that.
Don't think i edited your post...
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Last edited by dhagin; 02-29-2012 at 05:28 PM. Reason: corrected Matthew's name
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:06 PM   #9
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I could tell you're worked up, Roger. I only removed a couple words that might have offended sensitive tile setters.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:07 PM   #10
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wow, over a year ago. Time flies when yer havin fun.

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...ad.php?t=90779
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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I know John, I try to contain myself.

Thanks Dana, I remember that thread now. Same problem, never a solution. There should at least be a requirement to recommend proper procedures - or at the very least, not recommend improper ones!
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I'm an apocaloptimist. I'm well aware that everything is going to hell - but I'm convinced it's going to be okay.
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:09 PM   #12
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Anytime Roger.

I've dug thru the same issue myself and became exasperated at what i found. I still recommend plastic or tar paper under backer on walls, minimum, over in the shallow end though. Seems like such a small step to make it a recommendation or requirement, but there must be more to it than meets the eye...
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Old 02-29-2012, 06:56 PM   #13
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It's all just a conspiracy to drive Roger crazy.

Well, at least according to the email I received.

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Old 02-29-2012, 07:01 PM   #14
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Barrier behind DUROCK.

I will most likely get a boatload of trouble for this post but here goes. USG, like ALL backer board mfg's recommend following TCNA handbook recommendations. Now they say in "Wet" areas it is recommended to use a waterproof barrier on the face of the backer board not behind it.
Behind CBU won't hurt the board, but it will maybe stay wet and possibly grow mold or other bad stuff. Other types of boards can breakdown with barrier behind them. we don't require it as many would view that as making our board uncompetitive with other boards who also don't require it.
If a USG rep said what was reported below ( not a distributor rep) then contact me offline and let me know who, as that statement below is not right, we all know that moisture migrates in many ways in a wet area even on a "perfect" installation, especially when the homeowner doesn't seal the grout on a regular basis after you leave.
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:03 PM   #15
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Roger:

Some time back James Hardi's published literature usta say no moisture barrier was necessary behind their Hardibacker unless required by code. Now they invite you to review your local code for such requirement, but I see no statement that a moisture barrier is or is not required. They, of course, called it a vapor barrier, which is never needed except for a steam shower.

I look just now at the USG site for Durock installation instructions and I find no mention at all about the use of a moisture barrier one way or the other (coulda missed it, of course)

I mention both of these products as having a manufacturer that just doesn't see the need for the use of a moisture barrier behind their wall board in wet areas. Having fooled with them a bit in sand-lot testing for moisture penetration, I can say there is a difference.

While both those boards are more resistant to moisture penetration than some other CBUs I tested, I've got to admit that if I were to use a CBU without benefit of a moisture barrier I'd want it to be Durock. I still don't think that a good idea, mind you, but the installation is a lot less likely to fail prematurely because of that practice.

I keep promising myownself I'll publish the results of such testing (I know the crowds are standing in their seats screaming wildly in anticipation ), but really need to repeat the test with more products and get better photos. The mockups are made and just waiting for the test to be carried out again.

But just for you, Roger, not to change your opinion about the requirement, upon which we agree, but just to give you a glimpse into why, perhaps, USG doesn't feel the same need for a moisture barrier, I'll show you a couple photos from the initial testing. I'll not describe the test method in any detail, but the white "cups" are filled with water (in both photos).

First photo is after the cup had been filled for one hour.

Name:  Roger Durock.jpg
Views: 1294
Size:  36.5 KB

Second photo is after 18 hours.

Name:  Roger Durock 2.jpg
Views: 1445
Size:  40.4 KB

Had I elected to wait 'till the Durock emptied (through evaporation), I'da been a good bit older at the completion of testing. The water just doesn't go through the CBU, although the board will wick water to some degree from the edges. (see photo in this article).

So, what does that prove you will certainly axe? Nothing at all. Just pointing out that their claim may not be as frivolous as you might think.

My opinion; worth price charged.

[Edit]

And I was just fixin' to contact our friend Steve Rausch of USG for a comment here, but I see I don't be needin' to do that.
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