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tharrison57 11-01-2010 11:46 AM

Replace tub & surround ... HELP
In the process of replacing the tub & surround in our 5x7 bath. Taking the old surround down to the studs. The house was built in the late 40's, so I'm sure there is no insulation. Here's the plan so far :

Insulate outside wall with kraft faced insulation. (leftover from the kitchen rehab)

DensShield up for the walls inside the tub. Caulk the joints with silicone ?

Ceramic tile inside the tub, up to the ceiling, then coming out of the surround & extending down the remaing existing drywall at about a 4' height from the floor.

My concerns are the vapor barrier within the tub. Is the faced insulation not good the the DensSheild, or is there other materials I should be using ?

Thanks in advance for the help !

Jim F 11-01-2010 07:52 PM

I believe the face of the Densshield provides your vapor barrier on the inside wall. You should be able to get away with unfaced insulation there provided all your air gaps are sealed. The thing you don't want is a double vapor barrier that would trap moisture.

retired guy 60 11-01-2010 08:25 PM

Have you considered Hardiboard? It's heavier, more difficult to cut and requires a vapor barrier but in my opinion it is a better product. I expect a difference of opinion here. As far as I can tell for each screw you use to install it you penetrate the vapor barrier and the interior of the board itself seems to be more like drywall than anything else. In my opinion DenseShield will wick moisture to a greater extent than a cementacious product should there be a failure due to installation error. I installed DenseShield one day and ripped it off the next because I decided the benefits it offered did not outweigh it's weaknesses. Again, just one person's opinion.

tharrison57 11-01-2010 10:24 PM

Thanks Jim F

Originally Posted by Jim F (Post 526967)
You should be able to get away with unfaced insulation there provided all your air gaps are sealed. The thing you don't want is a double vapor barrier that would trap moisture.

Appreciate the input ! What I do not want is the mold problem. Had the faced stuff left over, just thought I'd try & use it up. Figure I'll only have about 4 wall cavities to fill in, but would like to do it somewhat correct. :thumbsup:

As far as all the air gaps, I'd almost bet they are not, but I've never noticed any snow on one side of the room or the other ....:)

tharrison57 11-01-2010 10:29 PM

Thanks rg 60 ...

Originally Posted by retired guy 60 (Post 526996)
Have you considered Hardiboard? It's heavier, more difficult to cut and requires a vapor barrier but in my opinion it is a better product.

To be honest, I went with what was recommended at the big box store. I realize that they probably don't use it, but I figured they knew probably more than I. Just another reason that I "lurk" here whenever I have a project getting started. :wink:

Thanks again to all that have offered help !

retired guy 60 11-02-2010 06:31 AM

I was very impressed with the promotion of DenseShield at Lowes. In the retail trade the store associates will often be asked to promote one product over another. I know this from personal experience. Sometimes there is a financial incentive to do this. Sometimes just holding on to one's job is the incentive. I think these boards are a more unbiased source of info.
Not saying that DenseShield is junk, only suggesting that alternatives be considered even if you already purchased the product.
Good luck with your project.

tharrison57 11-02-2010 10:31 PM

Just an update ...
started pulling drywaywall off today. Double thickness of 1/2", first layer ceiling to floor, then ceiling to tub. Was also a bit surprised to uncover a 38" window, which is also covered on the outside by Masonite & vinyl siding. :eek:

Hmmmm ..... time to set down & really put some thought into this one. And to think, it was just going to be an "easy" tub surround. :whistling2:

Thanks again for all the help, gents. It was MUCH appreciated ! !

Bud Cline 11-03-2010 03:44 PM

Denshield WILL NOT wick water OR moisture. It does contain gypsum but this particular recipe is not bothered by moisture. It does not require a vapor barrier behind it. Not opinion - FACTS!:)

The (cut) seams should be caulked and the fastener penetrations should be caulked. A liquid waterproofing can also be used for this.

Hardibacker is heavier, harder to cut, and will wick water and moisture and does require a vapor barrier in most circumstances. You should also sponge moisture into the Hardi as you tile.

WHY anyone would trade Hardibacker for Denshield is way beyond my comprehension, it doesn't make any sense.:)

Jim F 11-03-2010 05:38 PM

I would have tried Densshield but could only find it in 1/4 inch thickness and only at Lowes. Every other place I called didn't carry it at all. At least two told me they used to carry it but did not have enough demand to keep it in stock. No one offered any opinions on why there was not more demand for this product.

tharrison57 11-04-2010 07:27 AM

Thank you Mr. Cline. A friend of mine called last night with basically the same info. He redid his shower a year ago, and one of the largest tile dealers in the area reccommended DensShield & Red ... something waterproofing (but it wasn't RedGard). As a matter of fact, they keep all the material in stock. ps... read your blog & it was very informative ! :thumbsup:

Jim F, I guess I'm fortunate enough to have 2 - Lowes, 2 - Menards, 1- Home Depot & several local lumber yards within a 40 mile radius. Sometimes it just happens to work out. :yes:

Again, thank you all for the help ! :thumbup: :thumbup:

retired guy 60 11-05-2010 01:19 PM

Today I went to one of the big box stores that had previously sold a lightweight tile backer endorsed enthusiastically by some. I noticed that the product was no longer sold there. I asked why and was told that there was a problem the product. Asked if it was wicking. No. Asked if it was the need to weatherproof every screw. No. I was told that it had to do with a weakness in the bond between the vapor barrier and the rest of the board.
I admit that when it comes to home improvement I am no Mike Holmes. But about two years ago, here's what a pro had this to say on a chatroom thread:
"I have personally tested Denshield myself (totally submerged in water) and found it to be acceptable but, I also wouldn't use it."
That pro was Mr. Cline.

retired guy 60 11-05-2010 01:30 PM

Name: Mike
Posted: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm MST
Reply: 12I would personally and professionally not use Denshield on my bathroom reno jobs if that wall is an exterior wall. I am the service manager of a medium sized builder; and have been taken walls down due to a failure in the product. We have not determined if it has anything to due with the fact that a wicking effect or condensation builup between the vapour barrier and the Denshields built in vapour barrier. We are getting high moister between the two which causes the Denshield to fail and the fasters pull through. The product fails from the back side; and contrary to belief, it is not waterproof like Durock.

Posted on

I believe that some pros (no generalizations here) will gravitate to products that allow them to complete jobs more quickly especially where any problems that may arise will do so years after the job has been completed and any warranty they offered has long expired. On the other hand many DIYers will generally chose products that are easier to work with. I am at the stage where I have the luxury of not being on the clock and by having the right tools I can often easily work with materials that would present a problem to the average DIYer.
The goal of any project, in my opinion, is to produce a result that is satisfactory not just today or tomorrow (because most anybody can do that) but over the long haul. And by that I mean 10, 20 years or more down the line.

Bud Cline 11-05-2010 01:53 PM


I admit that when it comes to home improvement I am no Mike Holmes. But about two years ago, Mr. Cline had this to say on a chatroom thread:
"I have personally tested Denshield myself (totally submerged in water) and found it to be acceptable but, I also wouldn't use it."
OK let's clear that up here and now.

If you were to go back ten years on a particular website forum you would find that in that time frame several pros were giving Denshield a good tongue lashing. At that time the product had alleged issues of dissolving (somewhat) when exposed to moisture conditions. The face of the product was clad with a waterproofing and the edges and backside were treated with a moisture deterrent but if an installer didn't address the "cut edges" and "fastener penetrations" that's were the issues began. Water migration into the panels interior would cause the product to disintegrate from the inside out according to claims made by pros that had first-hand experience with the product.

Over the years it has been learned that manufacturers quietly and earnestly monitor these website forums so that they may glean unsolicited information about their products. The more responsible manufacturers act on what they learn in these places. Their employees and staff members are forbidden to participate in these forums so as not to be sucked into pissin' contests, but they are here.

The Denshield manufacturer took note of what was actually being experienced in the field and as a result I have been told the Denshield interior was re-formulated. It is no secret in the industry that gypsum and water/moisture do not get along well at all. The new and improved Denshield was introduced to the marketplace several years ago and without fanfare of any kind. To announce the re-formulation could have been construed as an admission-of-guilt and opened up potential litigation from the failures of their earlier products for the company.

My comments from "about two years ago" (that you have so eagerly taken out of context) were made at a time when my mind was transitioning. I am always willing to peruse and entertain the use of new products. My word is not the final word in any of these matters and I do like to give the marketplace time to prove the value of a product. My opinions are just that: OPINIONS. Nothing more nothing less.

It was during that time frame (about two years ago I think) that I decided to buy a Denshield panel and test it myself after hearing that another tile pro from New Jersey had done the same. The results of my (unscientific testing) were posted at that time as you have so conveniently displayed above.

I can tell you now that after Denshield's resurrection I have begun to use the product myself with good if not excellent results. I would now recommend its use to anyone that asked.

My knowledge of all the products I talk about comes from first-hand knowledge via use of the products. My experience dates back thirty-four years.

If your intention is to somehow dis-credit me or catch me in a contradiction you have failed. For you to make the comments you did about the misgivings of that product without any real knowledge of the product was irresponsible on your part. When I see this happening on these forums I jump in to make the corrections I see fit. DIY'ers that come here deserve the best and most current information they can get in an effort to have them realize a successful project. Bogus-crap from spectators don't get it.

There ya go. You have been officially updated on Bud Cline's opinion of the Denshield product. Film at eleven!:)

PS; If you are getting information from Mike Holmes and swallowing it hook line and sinker, you'll be cooking in some one's frying pan by dinner time.:wink:

Bud Cline 11-05-2010 02:57 PM

OK retired guy, I don't understand what the hell you are trying to prove by all of this but I will say this:

The above post you have now searched out by "Mike" states that "Denshield is not waterproof like Durock."

Durock IS NOT waterproof. No one has ever made the claim that Durock is waterproof. You won't find that information anywhere unless it is coming from some bone-head that doesn't understand the products he is using. Durock has never claimed to be waterproof.

Durock is simply not harmed by water or moisture migration but it is not waterproof.:) Mike is simply wrong in his assumption.

Furthermore: Denshield will not wick water or moisture. It just simply does not allow moisture migration into the panels interior no matter what direction the moisture is coming from. Only the face is waterproof, no one has claimed the backside is waterproof but it still is not violated by moisture and it will not deteriorate from moisture.

I think it's time you gave it a rest. You are once again dispensing erroneous information and now you are getting it second-hand to make matters even more irresponsible.

tharrison57 11-05-2010 10:03 PM

Geez guys ..... I really didn't mean to start WWIII, I just thought as an amatuer DIY'er, I'd seek a little advice. Didn't realize I was going to create such a storm. :(

For what it's worth, a good friend just did a shower. I checked with him, and he consulted probably the area's top tile firm. They are very well respected, do a very nice job, and are not bashful about charging for their services. Their recommendations were DensShield along with red something (not Redgard though) waterproofing. Again, another opinion, but that is how they build 'em.

Again, thanks all for the advice, but I'm really sorry about how this has all turned out.

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