Plywood shower walls are possible with exterior-grade plywood. Thanks to its naturally water-repellent nature, this wood serves well in areas prone to dampness. However, it should be treated to enhance its durability and water resistance, minimizing the risk of rot and warping.
This guide explains how you can implement plywood shower walls, explores some alternatives to plywood, and wraps up with an easy-to-digest FAQ highlighting the key points.
Why Plywood Is Good for Shower Walls
Plywood can be used in bathroom projects—if it’s exterior grade. It is often used in subfloors and as an underlay for tiles in bathrooms. This composite wood is great for showers and other damp areas because it’s water-resistant.
Plywood is also generally durable and won’t quickly swell, stain, or warp when exposed to extreme temperatures or dampness. However, plywood is still wood and can be affected by these external factors.
It’s thus advisable to treat plywood before installing it in a shower to enhance its waterproof nature and durability. A sheet membrane-like Schluter’s Kerdi is one option. Other possibilities include treating the wood with epoxy, oil, paint, or liquid latex.
Alternatives to Plywood Shower Walls
Typically, drywall and acrylic are recommended for shower walls. Acrylic works well because it’s safe, low-maintenance, and easy to install. It’s also very durable, ensuring a long-lasting project that won’t require prompt renovations.
If you opt to use drywall, a blue board is ideal. It’s often used to back shower tiles. Blue board is cost-efficient, easily accessible, and water-resistant. Other possibilities include fiber-cement, glass mat gypsum, or cementitious backer panels reinforced by fiber mat.
Frequently Asked Questions
The above guide covers the details of how to make the most of plywood shower walls. Here’s a quick summary in the form of an FAQ.
Can You Waterproof Plywood for Showers?
Plywood is a naturally water-resistant material. However, it still could use some extra waterproofing if it’s going to be used in a highly damp setting like a shower. You can try a sheet membrane-like Schluter’s Kerdi.
How Do You Waterproof Plywood on a Shower Wall?
You can apply a sheet membrane to enhance the plywood’s naturally water-resistant nature. Other options include applying liquid latex to the plywood while it’s wet or using epoxy, oil, or paint.
What Type of Wood Is Used for Shower Walls?
Plywood is often used as a substrate material for shower walls, thanks to its naturally water-resistant nature. However, the wood will need to be treated to boost its water-resistant ability. Cedar is another popular option for wooden bathroom walls.
What Is CDX Plywood?
CDX plywood is used primarily for exterior projects, such as roofing. It’s characterized by its duality, with one side having a veneer with a C grade and the other side having a veneer with a D grade. Its sturdiness makes it great for more robust projects, like shower walls.
The Final Word: Can You Use Plywood for Shower Walls?
Plywood is naturally water-resistant and can be used in plywood shower walls. Ideally, You should treat it first to enhance its waterproof nature. Further, plywood is best used as an underlay for tile—it shouldn’t come into contact with water directly.