How Do You Finish Drywall Around a Shower Surround?

Everything is going according to plan, and your bathroom is coming up nicely. However, there is one looming problem; how to do the finishing around the shower surround.

The area around the shower will encounter excessive humidity from below and splashes and leaks from the water supply. Therefore, the material covering that area should resist several hundreds of bathing sessions before finally giving in to the moisture. So, how do you finish drywall around a shower surround?

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn a step-by-step process of installing drywall around a shower surround and other helpful tips to aid the process. Stick to the end.

Tools You Will Need to Complete the Job

  • Knives
  • Tapes
  • Level
  • Chalk line
  • T-square
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • Pry bar
  • Screwdriver set
  • Safety eyewear

Tools You Will Need to Complete the Job

What Is a Drywall?

Drywall is another name for calcium sulfate dihydrate, a compound that construction experts use on ceilings and walls. Its unique formulation gives it resistance against mildew, flammability, and moisture absorption.

Using drywall around your shower head is an excellent way to minimize damage caused by water supply or water splashes.

Other names for drywall include sheetrock, plasterboard, and wallboard. If the storekeeper said they don’t stock drywall, try mentioning the other names.

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There are several types of drywall, including blue board, type X, regular drywall, paperless, soundproof, green board, and purple drywall. But, how do you finish drywall around a shower surround?

How to Finish Drywall Around a Shower Surround Step-by-Step

Follow these steps to finish sheetrock around a shower surround.

1.   Choose a Suitable Drywall

Drywall can perform exceptionally well against moisture, smoke, fire and is also durable and affordable. However, that is as far as it goes. Regular drywall will not perform well in excessively humid areas, for example, the shower surround.

This means you have to choose the specified type for moisture use. Choose waterproof sheetrock, which is logically suited for humid areas because it’s an inch thick and mold resistant.

2.   Take Measurements

Use the tape to measure the distance between the furring strips and the ceiling, stopping to mark a fastening guideline every 16 inches. For the easier fitting, later on, ensure the overall length is less by a quarter inch.

Once you’re done measuring, transfer the measurements to the corner brackets or whatever material you use for flanges and use a knife to draw the scoreline.

Hold the corner bracket firmly to a supporting surface with one hand and use the other to apply force in the opposite direction until you hear a snap sound.

Note that to get tight joints, you must smooth the rough edges of the snapped flanges using a surform plane.

3.   Prepare the Installation Surface

Since you have chosen the perfect quality plasterboard for the shower surround, it is now time for installation. Prepare the installation surface by clearing the area and its surrounding.

This will help create clear joints and enable the drywall to stand appropriately. Despite the type of drywall you are using, you would rather not place it in direct contact with water.

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Fix the flanges to the edges of the shower surround using caulk to ensure that the sheetrock doesn’t come in direct contact with water often.

4.   Prepare the Drywall Materials

Remove the top band of the bucket to access the materials. Using a knife will make your work easier. Put some water in the bucket and blend the material until you get a smooth mixture. Carefully follow manufacturer instructions usually printed on the sides of the package.

Finally, check the mixture for any lumps, dirt, torn pieces of paper, or stains. If everything is alright, you are ready for the next step.

5.   Fill the Edges Along the Flanges

A five-inch knife is essential when conducting this process. Transfer a portion of the well-blended compound into a mud box for easier handling. Carrying around the whole bucket is such a tiresome task!

Use the knife to scoop out some mud. Place your knife at a slanted twenty-five-degree angle and start filling all areas around the flanges with the material. Ensure that you fill every hole, joint, and screw head with substance. Use a soft cloth to wipe clean mud stains on the shower surround.

Leave to dry as per product instruction and apply a second coat if necessary.

6.   Apply Paper Tape

In this step, you will apply the paper tape over the compound you applied in the previous step. Take care when unrolling the tape by using only the required length.

Using your fingers and a soft cloth, gently apply the tape around the compound, ensuring that the surface is smooth and no bends are present. It would help if you severed the tape from the roll only when the application process is complete.

7.   Check for Unfilled Gaps

Countercheck your work to ensure that you didn’t skip filling some areas with the compound and loose tape, especially near the shower area. You can add a bit more compound where necessary and smooth the tape using your palms or fingers.

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8.   Sand Your Drywall

The last step in this process is sanding the drywall surface to ensure a smooth, even surface. Look for raised surfaces such as bumps and sand all the highs until they level up with the rest of the surfaces.

You can sand the area as much as you want as long as you don’t compromise the integrity of the new plasterboard.

Leave the surface to dry for a day before using the shower surround. Clean the surface as you clean the bathroom.

How to Finish Drywall Around a Shower Surround Step-by-Step


Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about the whole process.

Can You Use Regular Drywall Around a Shower Surround?

You can use regular drywall, but you will need to make it waterproof. To do so, you’ll need to apply an oil- or latex-based primer.

Which Type of Drywall Should You Use?

Consider using a green board. This type of drywall is thicker, water-resistant, and suitable for wet areas.

How Do You Prevent Wicking at Joints?

Apply caulk to prevent this problem.

What Are the Safety Considerations for Diyers?

The sanding dust can be an eye and respiratory irritant for people with allergies. Ensure that your eye protection and a dust mask are on while sanding.

What’s the Drying Time of the Joint Compound?

It may take anywhere between 12 to 24 hours for the drywall mud to dry. The exact drying time will depend on room temperature, application thickness, humidity, and reinforcing tape.

Can You Use Regular Drywall Around a Shower Surround?

Final Thoughts

A bathroom is one of the most humid places in your home, and the experts recommend lining the walls behind the shower with drywall. But how do you finish drywall around a shower surround? Here is a recap of the process.

Start with choosing suitable drywall, take measurements of the area, and prepare the surface to be covered with plasterboard. Next, apply the mud-like compound on the wall and cover it with paper tape. Lastly, check that you have done it correctly, leave it to dry, and wash the sheetrock before use.