How to Use Hardibacker Over Studs


Tile setters will attest to the fact that here is no better way to make a wall more stable than Hardibacker from the James Hardi Company. Hardibacker board is a fiber cement product. Hardibacker is made of mainly Portland cement, ground sand and cellulose fibers. It's original use was as an alternative to drywall for bathrooms or anywhere else that is at risk from water damage. Installing Hardibacker over studs is a bit more complicated than hanging drywall; however any contractor will tell their customers that the end result is more than worth the extra effort.

Things You'll Need

  • Straight edge
  • Carbide tip knife
  • Corrosion resistant screws or 1 1/4-inch roofing nails
  • Power drill or hammer
  • Mortar
  • 2-inch fiberglass cementitious tape
  • Cut the Hardibacker pieces to size for your layout by using a straight edge, and a carbide bit knife to score the cut. Snap the piece back.

  • Prepare the area to be covered by installing a moisture barrier. The moisture barrier can be made of anything waterproof, but 15 pound roofing felt is preferable.

  • Leave a 1/4-inch space between the Hardibacker and the floor, tub, or shower pan. Placing 1/4-inch shims under each bottom piece is the easiest to ensure that the gap is uniform and level.

  • Fasten the Hardibacker to the studs with either corrosion resistant screws or roofing nails that are at least 1 1/4-inches long. Fasteners must be flush with the surface without over-driving. Use fasteners approximately every eight inches. Fasten edges between 3/8-inch and 3/4-inch from the edge and no closer than 2-inches from the corners.

  • Fill the joints with the same mortar or adhesive that will be used to tile the wall and embed 2-inch fiberglass cementitious tape into the mortar completing the install

Tips & Warnings

  • When using Hardibacker in larger areas, leave expansion joints every 12 feet.
  • The product contains crystalline silica. Use a dust mask and safety glasses when grinding or cutting with a power tool.

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