Ask The Contractors
Ask The Contractors
Question: Tile Installation, which Tile Board is best?
Question from Jon

The contractor doing my bathroom renovation has used gold bond Purple XP (a water-resistant drywall) as a backer for the tile in my shower.

This is the Question:
Is this an accepted practice or should I be concerned?

To help answer this question we’re bringing on ATC contractor, Paul Reeves with Reeves Construction.

[Click to Follow along with the full Transcript]

Paul, you’ve heard the question, was Gold Bond Purple XP the right choice?

This is a hot question. It’s a little misleading because back in the day we called it Green Board. Now it’s called Purple Board. Homeowners think contractors can just put up their tile, but they do not realize what’s behind that tile. In fact, grout does not resist moisture. It actually absorbs it.

What’s behind your Tile is very important

Tile board

I run into this all the time when we do demolition. We tear into homes all the time because we do a lot of dry rot. Just the other day we pulled the siding off the outside of a building and they had put a soap and shampoo niche in the wall, but they clued the tile to the inside of the exterior siding. We tore the siding off the outside and we are looking into a two foot opening inside their bathroom. “Hi, how are you today?”

Jon has a good question because the homeowner doesn’t always know

You see the finished tile work and it looks great to homeowners. They pay the contractor or tile setter, and away they go. The clients don’t realize what’s going to happen 3, 4, and 5 years from now.

We always up use Tile backer in our projects. That is a cement board that’s specifically made to go behind tile. It’s just a forgone conclusion. I make sure there is clearance for my tile guy to put up his cement board when I install the moisture board.

I know there are people putting tile right up on top of purple boards. I’m not a fan of that.

And here’s a saying I’ve used for years. I think you might agree with this…

Your tile is only as strong as what it’s adhered too.

Tile Board

…and if it’s only attached to a piece of sheet-rock, or in this case water resistant drywall, it’s only as strong as the paper that’s glued onto. That’s it.

Here’s what happened to me. We put up Purple board because we were installing a cultured marble shower, which is a solid-hard surface. Then there was a last minute change to tile. The client didn’t understand the cost and expense of having to tear back into that wall and put the cement board back up.

Would you like to be a one of our vetted contractors? Send us your qualifications to We will check you out and make sure you’re the real deal because people on my website are the real deal. They’re there to help you.

That gets into another question that sometimes you and I have to deal with… when people are requesting change orders.

“Change orders cost money, and that’s why  you pick out your product you want to stay with it.”

Host of Ask The Contractors, Todd Bird.

Whatever goes behind that product, in this case your cement board and your water resistant drywall, you want to make sure that product is going to be the right product for your finished product. So homeowners have to understand that. There’s a reason to what goes on, and in which order. I want Jon to understand that. Just having sheet-rock behind your tile does not always mean its a good job.

“It might look good for a couple of years, but then all the sudden the contractor is gone and it’s five years down the road. The warranty is up and all of a sudden I’m redoing a bathroom.”

Host, Todd Bird.

We’ve both received the calls and a picture texted to us of someone’s tile laying on the bottom of the bathtub. What happened? Gold Bond Purple XP tile board is moisture resistant. It’s not moisture-proof.

Exactly, and Jon asks if a water-resistant drywall is an acceptable practice? Should he be concerned? Yeah, I have a concern. It’s not an acceptable practice. “No” and “no”.

You want to make sure it’s done right, and when you want it done right you go to

You’ll find qualified pros like Paul Reeves of Reeves Construction on These are our vetted contractors who can answer your questions.  They will give you the direction you need to make your home remodeling project a success.

Do you have a question regarding your home renovation? Send your question to  We will answer your question right here on this show.

Past Questions, Answered