Best Materials and Substrates for Shower Ceilings

showerhead and shower ceiling

There are a number of materials you can use when renovating a shower ceiling, but some are better than others. Here are some of the best options.

The Best Shower-Ceiling Materials

After installing your shower, you'll want to make sure you install a moisture-resistant shower ceiling.


Although regular drywall can soak up moisture, mold, and mildew, greenboard, or water-resistant gypsum board, is a better choice for your shower ceiling. (Do note, however, that heavier materials like cement backerboard should be used for areas in the shower that will be subject to water more often than a shower ceiling.)

Greenboard has a face paper, often green, that's treated to withstand extra moisture. This water-resistant product is one of the easiest options for installing a shower ceiling, but you should read the manufacturer’s directions on how to install it carefully.


While water-resistant Sheetrock is a popular option, some people prefer to use tiles. These tiles are relatively economical, look nice, and are fairly easy to install. Plus, there are multiple types of tiles you can choose from like ceramic, porcelain, granite, or marble.

WARNING: If you’re inexperienced in installing Sheetrock or tiles, it’s probably best to hire someone. If installed improperly, the tiles can sag, or worse, your next shower might put you in danger.

The Best Shower-Ceiling Substrates

Underneath every good surface is a good base. A polyethylene membrane, such as KERDI, blocks moisture from entering your walls, especially between gaps in tiles and stones. You can trowel thin-set mortar right over it to set tiles, or you can plaster over it.

Or, if you prefer, you can use the less-expensive, aforementioned greenboard as a base beneath your tiles. Other membranes are available in both sheet and liquid forms. Whichever you choose, a membrane is necessary for ensuring your shower ceiling is water-resistant to prevent sagging, mold growth, and more.