How to Install a Hardibacker Wall Tile Shower

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Hardibacker is an underlayment system for walls, counter tops and floors. This is a cement board that is mold-resistant, making it an ideal choice for showers. It is available in a variety of thicknesses, including 1/2-inch for installation up against existing drywall. Installing Hardibacker for a tile shower takes a few days, including drying time. Supplies for this project are available at most home improvement and hardware stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Straightedge
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Dust mask
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver bit
  • 1 1/2-inch, corrosion-resistant screws
  • Fiber mesh drywall tape
  • Thinset
  • Trowel
  • Tiles
  • Tile saw
  • Safety glasses
  • 1/16-inch spacers
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Measure the shower area. Cut Hardibacker boards to size with a utility knife along the straightedge on the front side of each board. Then put on a dust mask before snapping the board along the scored line. Cut out all of the wall panels before beginning the installation process. To make the cutouts for the water supply, draw a square in the appropriate location on the front side of a board. Score it with the utility knife then pop the square out with a hammer.

  • Set the Hardibacker against the wall studs. There needs to be 1/4-inch of space between the bottom of the board and the floor or shower pan. Attach the board to the wall with corrosion-resistant screws. Keep the screws at least 3/8-inch from the board edges and 2 inches away from any corners.

  • Place fiber mesh tape over all of the joints. Spread thinset with the flat edge of a trowel over the tape to keep it in place. Let this dry for at least 24 hours before installing the tile.

  • Set the tiles. First spread thinset onto the backer board with the notched edge of the trowel. The size notch to use depends on the size and type of tile being used. Smaller tiles may require a 1/8-inch notch while stone or larger tiles require a 1/4-inch notch. Use spacers to keep the tiles even. Work in small areas at a time so that the thinset does not dry out before the tiles are installed. Cut the tiles to size with a tile saw. Let the tiles set for 24 hours before grouting over them.

  • Spread grout over the tiles with a grout float, working the grout between the joints. Wipe away any excess grout with a damp sponge. You may need to wipe the same area several times to remove all of the excess grout. Let the grout cure for 24 hours before installing the shower hardware and using the shower.



  • Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

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