tub/shower surround walls - attach directly to studs or install wallboards first?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by johnny-canuck, May 21, 2012.

  1. johnny-canuck

    johnny-canuck New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I'm in the process of helping my son redo his bathroom. (It's been stripped down to the bare studs and we're now in the process of putting it back together).

    It's not going to be a "Taj Mahal" type bathroom, so costs and/or the diy effort that's required, are in the mid range (we expect costs to be moderate, but I don't want to go "cheap"). I think I'm skilled enough as a diy'er to recognize the difference between "cheap" and "good / adequate / functional".

    My question relates to the tub/shower solution we've decided on. It's going to be a Sterling ("Kohler" brand for whatever that means ... at this point "Kohler" just means a solid brand name that I recognize, but I have no idea of how good or bad the Sterling branded products are, but they seem to be at least mid-range and are at the price point we've picked).

    My question. The installation instructions for the Sterling "Ensemble" tub and 3 panel wall surround unit we've purchased says that the tub and wall panels are designed to be attached directly to bare studs.

    I'm trying to decide if instead of just attaching everything directly to the studs, it would be a significant improvement if I first installed wallboard and then the tub and wall surround panels. My thought being that the wallboard would provide significantly better support and rigidity for the wall panels ... but on the flip side, if Sterling says that bare studs are fine, I don't want to do the extra work, unless it seems like there would be a significant benefit).

    PS: In asking this question now, I'm also realizing that I'm asking it too late, because the length of the alcove that I've already built to accomodate the length of the tub, already assumes a direct to stud install. However, if opinions suggest that there might be signifcant benefit to installing wallboard first, I'm prepared to adjust the dummy wall by moving it 1" to accomodate the width of the 2 pieces of wallboard that I'd be installing on the end walls.

    Note: When I say "wallboard" I mean I'd be using Georgia Pacific's DensArmour Plus (their "water resistant" product, which seems to be the newer / better incarnation of the old drywall "greenboard" product).

    Hope you can see the gist of my question buried in all the gibberish I've written above. All thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
    Last edited: May 21, 2012
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,999
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The Sterling unit should be attached to the wood studs.
    After installation, there is a nailing flange that the wall board goes over, and is then taped and textured.

    The installation depends on the 60" plus, dimension on the long side. It's a nice setup for adding a tub with walls.
    Just install the tub and walls right out of the box, to the studs, and then add drywall up to the tub afterwards.
  3. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    I would never try to board over top of that flange, they're way too thick.

    I but up against the flange and fill the void with a fibre-reinforced setting-type compound.
  4. johnny-canuck

    johnny-canuck New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks Terry. Your response makes me much more comfortable with the way I had been planning to install the unit ... but I still had a little nagging doubt in the back of my mind.
  5. johnny-canuck

    johnny-canuck New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks as well for your reply, dlarrivee. I understand your point. The Sterling instructions effectively say that at the top of the wall pieces where you've attached them to the studs, you should add shim pieces to the studs from the nailing flange up to the remaining ceiling (i.e. this takes the thickness of the nailing flange out of the picture). Then (as Terry has said) you'd install the board over the top of the flange almost to the finished edge of the wall panel, and then finish the remaining walls normally, with the exception of the point you've mentioned and I had seen elsewhere, that you should not use normal premixed drywall compound to fill the void at the top edge of the panel, but as you've said, make sure you use a fibre-reinforced setting-type compound.

    Thanks again.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Probably you noticed that if you put drywall up on the wall, those panels are " hollow" and would not sit on the drywall anyway, so no point in doing that. The extra 1/2" thickness on each end would also make the panel stick out further over the tub.
  7. johnny-canuck

    johnny-canuck New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks Jimbo. I hadn't thought that far ahead in terms of putting up the wall boards first, but I can see your point. Another reason to go with the direct to stud installation.
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