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Question DetailsAsked on 9/2/2017

Is it safe to use cement in the bathroom of an apartment?

The bathroom in my apartment has cement instead of grout on the walls. The walls of said bathroom appear to be more appropriate for an outer hallway. I get a lot of black dust in the bathroom.

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1 Answer


I presume you mean the actual wall finish, not the surface in a tub/shower area. Concrete could be because the apartment building is concrete construction, in which case water-resistant drywall would normally be put over it in the bathroom - plus of course tile or plastic surround for tub/shower area. If concrete were the final surface for a bathroom usually it would be skim-coated with cement grout to provide a smooth surface, then painted with concrete paint - which could give as good appearing (and easily cleaned) as drywall, though might be colder.

If not a concrete construction building, then sounds like stucco - which was a bit of a 90's craze for bathrooms before people wised up that a rough surface in bathrooms hold lint and there promote mold growth. Most of them have been skim-coated smooth or drywalled over by now.

About the black "dust" - if dust you can blow off, I would be looking at it being lint from carpets or towels or such (bathroom lint is usually light gray from carpets, hair, TP lint, towel lint, etc). If you mean black flecks or circles on the walls which can be scrubbed off (usually leaving a black or brown stain) but not blown or just dusted off, then likely mold - meaning either the concrete walls are too cold (outside wall in winter usually but can also happen in humid summer weather on interior concrete walls in air-conditioned buildings) and/or your humidity in the bathroom is too high and you need to keep toilet lid closed and run the fan for roughly 1/2 hour or so after showers or long/hot baths.

Here is a link showing what black mold looks like FYI:

Here is also a previous question about eliminating stucco bathroom finish:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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