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AdamB5000 03-27-2008 09:48 AM

Gluing greenboard to cement wall... tips?
Hey, guys. First post. :)

Quick setup story: I bought my first house. It's 1/2 built into the ground (efficiency place). I stripped the wallpaper in the bathroom. The one wall is a cement wall of some type with a skimcoat. There is a crack in the wall but contractors (multiple) told me it's nothing to worry about. Some wallpaper back has stuck to the wall.

Point being, I want it paintable and it's not at the moment.


My uncle (contractor) felt that another skim coat wouldn't take very well. He said it had something to do with introducing more moisture which would make the previous skim coat lift, etc.

I have a hang up about nailing into this wall, as there is earth on the other side. I want to keep it solid. I'm sure it's plenty thick (house was built in 1991, btw), but I'd like to avoid putting more holes in it if possible, but I've had people tell me to not worry about that.

I also don't want to build out too far because the shower unit, which is in pretty good shape, is already butted up against the wall.

I'm considering 'gluing' greenboard to the wall to make it paintable, etc. I guess my big question is, is this doable? I've had a couple people tell me I'm overthinking the entire thing. My goal is to get a smooth, paintable, durable wall finish without protruding much farther into the bathroom and without messing too much with the wall.

My original plan was to get some greenboard (it's just an 8.5x8.5x8 ceiling bathroom), get some strong, proper adhesive, put up the board, get some wood strips to prop up to keep pressure on it for about 24 hrs. and then tape/mud/sand/prime/paint.

Do you fellas have recommendations? Am I overthinking and should I just stop thinking and do it?

RDS 03-27-2008 05:02 PM

Are you sure it's not currently paintable? You could just use a wet sponge to remove the leftover wallpaper backing, prime it with oil-based primer to prevent any residual glue from activating, and paint it with latex. Yes, you'd still be able to see the rough texture of the concrete but you might be suprised at how clean it ends up looking. (I did this with a basement bathroom.)

Now obviously if you *really* don't like the look of the concrete then you'd need to cover it with something. What kind of shape was the wallpaper in? That'd give you a clue towards how much moisture typically comes through that wall. If a lot, well, then you have more to do I would say.

AdamB5000 03-28-2008 08:40 AM

Thanks for the reply. It appears that no moisture comes through. The wallpaper was in fine shape (but it was wallpaper... and it had flowers... so it had to go). :)

I guess I should have taken a pic of the entire wall. There are a few spots where the skim coat was chipped out (medium size areas.. about the size of a dollar bill). There would have to be patching work done and I still think that crack would show up again within a year. That's not pictured either. The crack is about four feet long.

RDS 03-28-2008 09:06 AM

I see. Sounds like it's in rougher shape than I was picturing. And also, on a re-read, it sounds like it's your main bathroom so I can understand why you'd want to put up greenboard and start fresh. Unfortunately I don't know anything about gluing greenboard to concrete, but good luck.

Foo by Tore 03-28-2008 09:39 PM

I think you'll be ok...
When I was doing commercial framing/drywall, we had to do a school that had concrete walls, and they had us glue 1/4" sheetrock to it with liquid nails. Not sure if greenboard would be any different than regular drywall, but you could try glueing a small piece to the concrete and see how well it holds. I remember the walls being fairly soft, and us being able to use either 5/8" or 3/4" (not sure which) nails to tack it up. I don't think you'd have to worry about cracking with that short of a nail. When I roughed in my basement, I used a hilti gun to fasten the studs to the wall and it didn't crack at all. Of course every other fastener just made a hole instead of fastening the stud, but that's usual when shooting into concrete.
Another idea would be to glue/nail 1" furring strips to the wall, staple plastic barrier for moisture control, and then install greenboard over that. Not sure what width constraints you're running in to, i.e. how far it sticks out from the wall, but it's definately an option if you have moisture concerns.
Hope that helps you some.

AdamB5000 03-31-2008 10:11 AM

Thank you very much for your input, fellas. I appreciate it and it'll help me finish this project.

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