A Comparison of Tile Backer Boards

Published on NewsOK Published: December 23, 2012
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HardieBoard is in between at 2.6 pounds sq ft or 39 pounds for a 3 x 5 foot sheet.  These numbers can mean a lot when you need to carry a dozen sheets up three flights of stairs (like a project I did a few months ago).  Where the biggest differences lie however, are in the strength departments. The aggregate based products are lower in both flexural strength at about 750 to 900 (psi) and in compressive strength at about 2200 to 2500 (psi).  The “Hardie” type is more than double in both areas 1700 psi flexural and 6500 psi compressive.  To give you an idea of how tough that is, fiberglass skinned “drywall” like DensShield is only 450-600 psi compressive.

What backer board I use and why

For normal shower installs, I prefer the HardieBoard hands down.  The primary reason has to do with the ease of cutting and lack of the “crumbly” aggregate.  HardieBoard’s “grain” is very fine and does not release the fine gravel like particles the other aggregate type products do. You can score this for cuts, but I use a thin diamond dry cutting blade in my grinder. It makes more dust this way, but it is fast and leaves a very clean edge. (Breathing this dust is bad, so cut outdoors and use a dust mask.) The lack of aggregate in the “Hardie” types reduces the chance of gouging a new acrylic or shinny new enameled tub. 

I have used all of these products over the years, and I chose WonderBoard for my cabins floor primarily for its highest mass…in that project I was looking for thermal mass in a passive solar design. The WonderBoard there, in my 200 sq foot cabin, gave me about half of my estimated 1200 to 1400 pound thermal mass floor.

Kevin Stevens writes for Networx.com.

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