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Bathroom Ceiling Drywall: Everything You Need To Know!

Mold in your bathroom is a nightmare! And if you’re worried about high moisture levels, picking a ceiling material may be difficult. Is a drywall ceiling OK for a bathroom? If so, what type of drywall? 

At first, it may seem like drywall isn’t a good option. But standard drywall and green board can make sturdy bathroom ceilings when finished. I don’t recommend purple board or paperless drywall unless you have money to spare. 

Bathroom Ceiling Drywall

Let’s take a look at questions you may have when looking to install bathroom ceiling drywall.

Standard Drywall

Standard drywall or white drywall consists of gypsum plaster and paper . The paper covers a gypsum core; since gypsum is porous, it can absorb water.

What Are the Benefits of Standard Drywall?

Construction workers use drywall across the country. It’s an easy material to work with and is cheaper than any alternative. This makes it an excellent choice for your bathroom ceiling (if you want something a little more complicated, check out our guide on a dropped ceiling).

The cost of standard drywall depends on your preferred thickness. A ½-inch panel costs $12 to $18 each, and a ⅝-inch panel costs around $14 to $20. A ¾-inch panel comes at the steepest price at $20 to $30 each. 

Not to mention, you can repair standard drywall with more ease than other materials. So if your home incurs damage, you can find and replace the drywall in no time.

For these reasons, builders prefer drywall to stone, brick, concrete, or wood.

Is Standard Drywall Ceiling OK for Bathroom?

Some homeowners like to apply standard drywall to their bathroom ceilings. I don’t recommend it for shower or tub areas, but it can be a good option for other areas. 

Standard drywall isn’t moisture or mildew-resistant. So a standard drywall ceiling usually needs reinforcements. Water vapor rises to the ceiling and can seep into the material. This moisture puts space between the drywall and anchoring beams. The ceiling could fall. 

Moisture can also loosen screws or connectors. With enough time, the plaster can change color. Keep an eye out for damp spots on your drywall. These can show that there is a leak. 

With a weakened structure, your house could become a nesting place for mold, termites, or bees.

How Can I Reinforce Standard Drywall?

Several cautionary measures exist to reinforce standard drywall, including:

The Importance of Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation prevents water from sitting on the surface of your drywall. After all, condensation is likely to damage the material. I recommend checking to ensure your vents are in working condition and lead outside.

Moisture-Wicking Paint

Another tip for reinforcing standard drywall is to use paint that wicks moisture. Ceiling paints come in two main groups: flat and semi-sheen. 

Flat paint reduces glare and draws attention away from flaws. But flat paint is not as moisture-resistant as semi-sheen paint. Semi-sheen paint has a less matte color and can expose flaws.


Adding mildewcide can benefit the reinforcement of your standard drywall ceiling too. When mildewcide detects mold, the substance attacks the organism’s cell walls. Then the mold cannot function or reproduce. If you apply this product, your ceiling may become more stable.

Green Drywall

Green board drywall is usually ⅝ to ½ inches thick. It has a waxy paper backing, which makes the green board thicker than standard drywall. The material is generally tinted green but not always.

Green Drywall

Is Green Board Ceiling OK for the Bathroom?

Green board is a safe choice for areas where water doesn’t saturate. You can install it as a bathroom ceiling because the wax in the material repels moisture. Contractors install it in kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, and select areas of bathrooms.

Green board is not waterproof. The material is not suitable for areas that come into frequent contact with water.

Can I Put Green Board in Showers?

Green board is not ideal for shower ceilings or walls. This drywall is not mold-proof. Its paper backing provides organic material for mold spores to root. In damp areas, the wax in the green board limits mold growth. In wet areas, the mold has enough moisture to thrive even with the wax.

But some use green board in shower spaces anyway. Installing green board is faster and cheaper than using other water-resistant materials. But it is generally more expensive than standard drywall. Each panel of green board costs $14 to $18. 

How Can I Reinforce Green Board?

To reinforce green board drywall, put a waterproof membrane on top of the green board in your shower. Waterproof membranes have plastic, fabric, and rubber inside. These materials don’t allow water to rot or break the drywall.

You may also want to double-check that your bathroom has good ventilation.

What Are the Drawbacks of Green Board? 

In some cases, green drywall causes bathroom ceilings to sag (for help deciding what to put on your bathroom ceiling, read here). The ceiling can absorb moisture from water vapor or leaks. Since green board is heavier than normal drywall, it sags more. Thus some building operators warn against green board installation on bathroom ceilings.

But builders take precautions when installing green drywall on bathroom ceilings. They affix fasteners no more than a foot apart across the ceiling. Unfortunately, most ceilings can’t support that many fasteners by themselves. Builders have to add extra wooden boards to keep them in place.

Builders also prime and paint the ceiling afterward. Quality paint can make the ceiling more resistant to water and mold. 

Purple Drywall

Purple drywall repels mildew and mold better than green drywall. The material consists of a gypsum core coated in 100% recycled paper. This helps fight moisture absorption. 

Where Should I Put Purple Drywall?

I recommend using purple drywall only in areas that often get wet. In other areas, standard drywall and green board are more practical options. Purple drywall runs more expensive board by board. The cost of each panel ranges from $15 to $60. 

Thus, purple drywall is a smart choice for shower walls and ceilings. The material also might work well on the walls surrounding a bathtub.

Purple Drywall

What Are the Benefits of Purple Drywall?

Purple drywall does have some perks. Purple drywall is more resistant to scruffs and scratches. For this reason, purple board is ideal for high-traffic areas. 

Depending on the exact product, purple drywall can be sound-proof or fire-resistant. 

Paperless Drywall

Paperless drywall is exactly what it sounds like; it includes a gypsum core but no paper. Fiberglass covers the gypsum core instead. 

What Are the Benefits of Paperless Drywall?

The paper in standard drywall can provide the organic material for mold to grow. So paperless drywall combats that problem. Paperless drywall is not mold-proof but is the best at resisting mildew.

Where Should I Put Paperless Drywall?

You can install paperless drywall anywhere in your home. Builders often install it in kitchens, basements, bathrooms, and garages.

Installing paperless drywall in water-saturated areas, like shower stalls, is riskier. But there are various techniques to make the drywall more resistant to moisture. You can coat the fiberglass with wax or silica. It is also possible to add waterproofing behind the given wall. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Paperless Drywall?

As opposed to other options, paperless drywall is more expensive. It rings in at $25 to $35 per 4-foot by 8-foot panel. 

This drywall is also a new product, which makes it harder to source in the United States. You may have trouble finding enough for your bathroom ceiling project.

Another concern is that paperless drywall takes more time and precision to install. Fiberglass is not a malleable material. Builders have to be careful when measuring and cutting this drywall. 

Problems can arise when mounting paperless drywall too. Standard drywall allows builders to insert screws. 

Paperless drywall is more rigid. Sometimes, builders have trouble putting in screws straight or sinking screws into fiberglass. As a result, installations take more time. In the end, that’s more money out of your pocket.  

Plus, the surface of fiberglass is less smooth than standard drywall. Your walls may need extra finishing.


If you’re looking for an inexpensive material, you may want to choose standard drywall or green board. These drywall types can make sturdy ceilings. But to be safe, I recommend using reinforcements. 

If you use standard drywall, finish with moisture-resistant paint for the best results. You may also want to ensure the bathroom has proper ventilation. 

Green board may need specialized installation, depending on your ceiling. This process could include adding more fasteners. 

If you’re willing to spend more money, purple board can be a good option for shower ceilings. But I don’t suggest using it for your entire bathroom ceiling. This material is only worth the money if the space comes into direct contact with water. 

I would avoid using paperless drywall for bathroom ceilings. The material is hard to source and install. Plus, the process will likely cost too much money for the average person.

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