How to Install Durock in a Shower

Written by samantha volz
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How to Install Durock in a Shower
(Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Durock brand wall and floor application is designed to support tile surfaces, making it an ideal choice in a shower, where moisture-resistant tile applications can make all the difference between a lifetime of beautiful walls and floors or a lifetime or scrubbing away mould and mildew. Durock protects the wall below from water damage and allows some moisture to pass through rather than absorbing it, meaning that it will not cause cracks in tiles.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rag
  • White spirit
  • Filler putty or grinder
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Durock adhesive
  • Paint tray
  • 3/8 inch nap paint roller
  • Trowel or hand roller
  • Silicone caulk and caulk gun

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  1. 1

    Clean the surface on which you will install the Durock with a rag dampened in white spirit to remove all dust, dirt, grease, wax and oil. Inspect the surface to ensure it is completely flat and stable; if necessary, fill cracks or gaps with filler putty or grind down bumps in the surface.

  2. 2

    Measure the area on which you will install the Durock membrane. Cut the membrane to fit with sharp scissors or a utility knife. Make sure you cut out areas for fixtures like drainpipes or light switches as well. When you have made all appropriate cuts, dry fit the membrane in place over the wall or floor to ensure that it fits properly. Make any adjustments as necessary.

  3. 3

    Roll the Durock out of the way. Pour Durock adhesive into a paint roller tray. Roll a roller with a 3/8-inch nap into the adhesive and spread it over a section of your installation area on which you can easily install the Durock within 15 minutes. Otherwise, the adhesive will dry too quickly and will not bond properly. Work in parallel rows so that you do not create air bubbles by crossing over adhesive you already spread.

  4. 4

    Lay the Durock darker side out over the adhesive. Press down on the membrane with a clean flat trowel or non-segmented hand roller to provide smooth, even pressure over the entire surface. This will help to ensure a firm bond between the membrane and adhesive. Press out any air bubbles you may find.

  5. 5

    Overlap any multiple sheets of Durock by two inches. Spread adhesive onto the overlapping section as well.

  6. 6

    Seal any areas around fixtures (light switches, toilet) with a bead of silicone caulk to prevent moisture from leaking through the small gap. Allow the Durock adhesive to cure for at least two hours before installing tile.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use thinset or a similar adhesive to attach Durock in your shower, but other adhesives dry slower and are not specifically designed to work with the membrane. If possible, use Durock-provided adhesive. For organic adhesive, wait four hours before installing tile. For thinset, allow the adhesive to set overnight.
  • Durock can be installed over nearly any substrate, including wood, drywall, gypsum and existing tile. If installing over non-porous substrates like vinyl or pre-existing tile, allow the adhesive to dry for about 15 minutes, until it becomes transparent, for proper bonding.
  • You can also use a 1/16-inch V-notched trowel to spread adhesive. When installing on a wall, work from the lowest point to the highest point.
  • If you have to install Durock in a corner, cut a 4-inch strip and crease it in half so that it folds with half on the floor and half on the wall. Spread the adhesive and cut halfway through the membrane where it meets the corner so it bends easily. Seal all corner joints with a bead of silicone caulk to ensure a watertight hold.

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