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Unread 12-13-2005, 03:18 PM   #1
JONATHANPRICE
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Vapor barrier in shower/tub

My brother redid a bathroom for me with all new tile and a new tub. He used hardi-backer on the shower surround but didn't use any kind of water proofing or vapor barier. Is this a problem? If so, what to do.

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Unread 12-13-2005, 03:27 PM   #2
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Can't do anything now, can we.

Keep up on the caulking and seal the grout, you should be fine.
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Unread 12-13-2005, 03:55 PM   #3
JONATHANPRICE
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I could make him tear it out

I just don't want to get any mould.

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Unread 12-13-2005, 04:14 PM   #4
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Hardi isn't waterproof, but it's very water resistant. Much more than typical cement boards. It's the same stuff the make Hardi siding out of. I think it's just fine.
You don't want a true vapor barrier in a standard shower anyway. You normally want a moisture barrier like tar paper that can breathe a little if it's behind the board. I don't think you have anything to worry about. If you still worry you can make sure the grout is sealed, although I don't even think that's completely necessary.
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Unread 12-13-2005, 08:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T Hulse
I think it's just fine.
I'm a little surprised ol' Tom would say that. Prolly because it ain't his shower, eh?

It's gonna last a little while, depending upon frequency of use. Maybe don't tear it out until it fails.

What other steps did Brother omit in the shower construction? Have you looked at the Shower Construction thread in our Liberry to see how it's s'pota be built?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-13-2005, 08:44 PM   #6
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Alright CX, I said it because I don't think it will ever see a drop of water behind the board. I think maybe you're making that mistake of assuming it is the same as other cement boards. Hardi strongly touts it's water & mold resistance. That's not just that it won't rot from water, but that it is nearly water proof (not quite for long term immersion or long term steam pressure). It passes ASTM G21 & ASTM D3273 Mold tests with perfect scores.
Those are the reasons that they can say in their installation instructions that a moisture barrier is optional, it only needs to be installed if required by local codes, & from my experience I agree with 'em.

It ain't gonna fail.
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Unread 12-13-2005, 09:11 PM   #7
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Nope, not confused, Tom. I've used Hardi boards for exterior siding on many structures. Know its differences from CBU. Like it fine. Always install it over a moisture-barrier/drain-plane.

Not concerned with mold much, just think a secondary moisture barrier behind whatever board is used in a shower is important to help keep moisture (liquid or vapor) out of the wall cavity. Shouldn't be optional. Unless a waterproof membrane is used on the inside surface, of course. But we know that's:

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 12-13-2005, 09:24 PM   #8
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Blocking water vapor is not a necessary part of any standard shower, & liquid water will not penetrate a vertical Hardibacker board or the thinset seams. Sure, by all means include it for every shower you do, but is it gonna fail even if the directions are followed correctly? No chance.
Quote:
...moisture barrier behind whatever board is used...
That's the confused part. There you go lumping 'em together again.
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Unread 12-13-2005, 09:35 PM   #9
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You guys are awesome

Ok, seems like moisture/vapor bariers are not settled science. Hum.. my house is 70 years old. The exisiting tub/shower configuration was mud on the floor, mud on the walls, no problem. Is it that mud/concrete is a moisture barier? Could it be that the hardi backer is a moisture barier? TYW (I now have two copies because I liked the first one so much - or I inadvertantly reordered when I bought "The Kerdi Shower Book" talks about the romans and their tile expertise - they were at it for 1000 years. How the concept of "float" preserved the integrety of tile installtions.

I've been to the great Roman cities like Ephesus in Turkey and have seen the incredible marble toilets created 2,500 years ago - still standing - John, great reference. Good stuff. But, I didn't see any "vapor bariers". Maybe they vaporized when the Ottoman Empire slipped in. Or, maybe Greece and Turkey have more aired and moderate climates compared to the US (Eastern) with less issues of condensation. Of course, Bath in the UK seem not to fit that description. But, none the less, I didn't see any evidence of vapor bariers there with tile installations that have been there for ove a thousand years.

Jonathan
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Unread 12-13-2005, 09:36 PM   #10
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Yep, yep, guilty of lumpin', including mud walls. Pewt somethin' behind'em. All of'em.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Didn't see your last post, Johnathan. Let me hazard a guess. I'm guessin' weren't none of them thousand-year-old showers built over wood-framed walls with an insulated cavity and semi-pervious exteriors. Would that be a fair statement?
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Last edited by cx; 12-13-2005 at 10:09 PM.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 12:34 AM   #11
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CX, how 'bout Denshield & Wedi backer boards? No one here recommends a moisture barrier behind them, in fact most say it would be wrong because of the double barrier. Lumping them together is wrong. Hardi is different than regular cement boards.

Jonathan you're right that it's not a settled science. Since that kind of thing comes up often, here in the advice forum we then usually try to stick with what the manufacturer says. You are specifically within their requirements, although it's not ideally how most of us here would install it.
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Unread 12-14-2005, 06:22 PM   #12
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Both DensShield and Wedi have requirements for waterproofing the tiling surface, as I recall, Tom. Those I don't lump.
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Unread 12-15-2005, 09:14 PM   #13
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permeability

The fact is that a moisture barrier is required with a glass mesh board and hardybacker. Densshield is the only backer with a built in moisture barrier which eliminates the cost and labor of installing a 15 lb roof felt or comparable.
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Unread 12-16-2005, 12:30 AM   #14
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A moisture "barrier" is not required, a vapor retarder is recommended.
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Unread 12-16-2005, 08:21 AM   #15
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Havingfun:

I think you've been invited before, but let me extend the invitation again for you to come over to the Professionals' Hangout and introduce yourownself and give us some background. We're pretty lax about who argues what over there, but when it comes to the Advice forum we like to know who's giving advice to our Visitors. Especially when it's product-specific.

If you need to remain anonymous because of a professional affiliation, we'll respect that, of course, but do also give us a first name to use, even if it's fictitious, eh? We're a pretty friendly group here.
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