Tile board, also known as backer board, PermaBase and Durock, is a necessary component to the application of tile. Tile board is not actually a board, nor is it made out of wood. Tile board can be purchased in varying widths, thickness and lengths. Tile board has taken the place of poured concrete beds for the installation of tile.
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Tile board is mostly constructed out of glass fibers and cement. This type of tile board is not totally waterproof, but it is highly resistant to water. For the use of tile, it is formed into sheets. Tile board does not warp or mold, and is used often for tile installation jobs.
The purpose of tile board is to provide a solid level surface for setting tile. It is used as a backer for tub and shower surrounds, and for floor tile in the absence of a concrete sub floor. Tile board is also used as a backer for backsplashes, and on the exterior of your home as a foundation for stucco applications.
Tile board is installed prior to the installation of your tile. You must have nails or screws to secure it to floor joists or studs, and you will also need a circular saw, grinder or jigsaw with the appropriate masonry blade for your saw of choice to cut it. Your tile board must also be secured to studs or floor joists. Some installers will apply a bed of thinset on a wood sub floor prior to the installation of the tile board. This is to help level the sub floor under the tile board. An unleveled surface can allow the tile board to rock causing cracks in your tile or grout lines.
You must seal all joints before you can lay your tile. This means that every seam that is created between sheets of tile board must be covered. There is a mesh fiberglass tape that is specifically designed for tile board. Cover all the seams with the tape and then use thinset to seal the tape. Your thinset must be thin and level to avoid high spots across the seams.
The benefits of concrete board outweigh the extra time that it takes to install it. Tile board is easier to install than pouring concrete beds for floors or plastering walls. It will give you the confidence in knowing that your tile job will last for many years.