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Can You Use Redgard Instead of Liner? Finally Answered!

Waterproofing your shower is a massive task. If the shower isn’t waterproof, it remains wet for too long and becomes slippery. Also, it causes mold to grow faster.

Shower pan liners are commonly used to make your shower waterproof. It acts as an additional layer between the tiles and mortar. Thus preventing water from seeping in. But recently, RedGard has become a popular alternative.

Can you use RedGard instead of liner? 

No! While RedGard is known as a good waterproofing material, it’s not enough. You can have RedGard as an additional protective measure. But most plumbing guides don’t recommend using liner beforehand.

In this article, we’re going to answer the question once and for all. Let’s compare RedGard with liners to see which one stands out! Let’s begin! 

How Do The RedGard Membranes Work? 

RedGard is a thick, liquid waterproofing material. This is a versatile material that can be used both indoors and outdoors. Made of a mix of adhesive chemicals, RedGard can be used both indoors and outdoors. 

Manufactured by Custom Building Products, RedGard has become a popular name across the country. Once the membrane is applied, it binds with the material around it. It bonds with clean metal drains, PVC, stainless steel, etc. You have to make sure it has some bonding material around it. 

You need to apply the material on top of the mortar and let it dry. You don’t need a lot of tools or technical expertise to get it done. However, you need to get it done and dried before tiling. So, knowing the time taken to retile a shower is very useful.

How Do Shower Pan Liners Work? 

Before we discuss using RedGard as an alternative. We need to know about shower liners. They’re the most common way of waterproofing showers. 

Shower pan liners are made of PVC. It’s a simple plastic sheet that is placed between the two-layer of mortar. The PVC prevents any water in the shower tray from trickling down the bottom layers.

Setting a pan liner is actually very easy. You need to measure your shower area first. Then, make sure you get a liner that is 5-6 inches bigger on all sides. Afterward, place the liner and screw it with the wall. 

Once it’s placed, put on the next layer of mortar and you’re set!

Can You Use RedGard Instead Of Liner? 

Let’s ask the all-important question! Is RedGard a viable alternative to Liner? Sadly, the answer is negative.

RedGard is a great option without a doubt. It works in multiple scenarios with great efficiency. However, when it comes to dealing with something as technical as a shower floor, it’s not enough. The water levels of the shower floor are too much for RedGard alone. 

The floor of the shower is wet most of the time. There’s a lot of water that needs to be taken care of. While RedGard holds it off decently, it’s not enough. So, keep that in mind. 

For this reason, The Tile Council of North America doesn’t recommend RedGard or similar products alone.

You can apply RedGard on your shower walls and other tiled parts. Since water mostly trickles down from the walls, it doesn’t damage the putty much. However, it keeps the walls sturdy. 

How to Apply RedGard Membrane? 

We’ve discussed how RedGard works, let’s discuss how to apply RedGard to your shower. The steps for applying the membrane are- 

Step 1: Measure and Gather Materials 

To begin with, you need to know how much RedGard you need. According to the manufacturer, you need 1 gallon per 20-25 square feet. So, measure accordingly!

Afterward, gather the required tools. The list of necessary tools are:

  • Brush or paint sprayer 
  • Bucket 
  • Personal Protective Equipment 

Step 2: Apply RedGard 

Firstly, prepare the surface for RedGard. Clean the shower and let it dry. Make sure there’s no water lying around. And you might have to remove a shower riser rail, just in case.

Then, apply one layer of RedGard with your brush or paint sprayer. We recommend using a brush for uniform application. If you’re wondering which brush to use, check our recommendations-

Product 1
Product 2

These are some of the best brushes out there! Check their recommendations for more. 

Once the membrane is applied, let it dry. Generally, it takes 1-2 hours. Once it’s dry, it’ll shift to a bright red color. 

Step 3: Apply Final Layer 

To make the membrane rigid, apply another layer of RedGard. Apply the layer vertically and let it dry. Make sure this layer is not thicker than the first. If this is too thick, it’ll make the bottom crumble.

Once it’s dry, you’re good to go! You can add a third coat for assurance, but it’s not a must.

With that, we’ve discussed all you have to know about RedGard!


Question: Can you tile over RedGard? 

Answer: Yes! You can tile over RedGard. But you need to make sure it’s completely dry before application. 

Question: Can you tile over PVC shower liner? 

Answer: You can’t tile directly over the liner. You need to add another layer or mortal before you start tiling. Adding tiles directly won’t set properly. 

Question: Can you apply caulk over RedGard? 

Answer: You can apply specific types of caulk over RedGard. 100% silicone caulk won’t work with RedGard. However, other caulks might work perfectly fine.

Final Word 

Waterproofing your shower is very important. Thus, using the right product is very important. For this reason, it’s important to know the details. However, the answer to can you use RedGard instead of liner is negative. So, you need to choose your product carefully!

Good luck!