Permabase [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


View Full Version : Permabase

John K
01-14-2010, 07:46 AM
I have been seeing alot of Permabase in ads. What is the attraction? More and more people seem to be using it.

I noticed the heavy dip towards the edge. I suppose its to keep the taped seams( speed bumps) from forming. It seems like a good way to eliminate any Kerdi "buildup" at shower floor/wall transition, by keeping that factory edge on the subfloor. Dunno..:shrug:

Sponsored Links

01-14-2010, 07:53 AM
From their FAQ ( "PermaBase products have a tapered edge on one face so that once installed and taped you have a level, uniform surface to adhere to with your finish treatment."

01-14-2010, 08:29 AM
Lightweight-perlite in core. Definitely wear a respirator when cutting.

01-14-2010, 10:48 AM
It's a Northwest product I believe...(wyerhaeuser I think?) I used it when it was first introduced to our market 10 or so yrs ago. No complaints as far as CBU goes,It's a good product.It's just that it's CBU and I hate dust and..well CBU.:D I use Ditra whenever I can.

01-14-2010, 11:05 AM
I love me some PermaBase.:tup2:

01-14-2010, 11:14 AM
If your just cutting the PermaBase with one of those cement board cutters there shouldn't be much dust are need for protection ...only if you're using a powers saw would there be a problem with dust,which should be done outdoors anyway.Just make sure you're cutting in the right direction so the wind doesn't throw the dust back towards your face.

Brad Denny
01-14-2010, 11:44 AM
I usually use key hole saw and carbide scorer for PB. I love me some PB, too. :nod:

01-14-2010, 12:14 PM
I use it over any other cementboard out there. lighter then the solid ones,
and cuts easier too.

Mountain Tile
01-14-2010, 06:12 PM
Nice for floors, don't like using it on walls, has a little flex to it.

01-14-2010, 10:00 PM
Correction. Perma Base is National Gypsum out of Charolette NC. I prefer it to
any other CBU because it has the "edgetech" edges. It tapes with thin set like
drywall. It gives a flush finish. As far as flex. I set it with a full spread thin-set
under it and secure with galvanized nails. Works for me.

01-14-2010, 10:07 PM
Welcome, Phil. Start you an introductory thread and tell us a bit about your professional self if you plan to stay with us for a while. :)

Chuck was talking about wall applications when he mentioned the flex in the CBU. don't like using it on walls, has a little flex to it. Won't nobody notice on floor installations, as you point out.

01-14-2010, 10:45 PM
permabase is lighter, cheaper, and easier to cut. good stuff!

01-15-2010, 06:43 AM
Better then Durock, I needed durock for a shower for a friend all the sheets in hd the edges were all cracked where the bevel was all the sheets had cracks in em. We ended up using wonderboard! I think I'll pay the extra 2 bucks a sheet for permabase from the supply house. Worst thing hd did was take permabase out of their stores. Its so obvious the Durock is seconds.

John K
01-15-2010, 06:46 AM
Hmm. I will have to try it. It just seems to be in the background of several ads, and Gueuze uses it too!:tup2:

Mountain Tile
01-15-2010, 07:02 AM
CX, it seems to flex between the studs on a wall, on the floor you have the full support of the plywood, plus thinset under the sheet. I do like the fact it cuts nice, and is much lighter.

01-15-2010, 07:37 AM
I think I'll pay the extra 2 bucks a sheet for permabase from the supply house.

I pay about $8 per sheet at my local Lowes. Geez Rick, what are you paying for PB?

01-15-2010, 10:13 AM
Understand, Chuck. I was just trying to point out to our new friend, Phil, that you weren't talking about it flexing on floor installations.

I've never used the product myownself. :)

01-15-2010, 10:27 AM
Only problem I have with PB is the two tile stores I use don't carry it,just Hardi,Durock,Easy Boards....

The big boxes here don't sell it either.

01-15-2010, 10:42 AM
I use PermaBase too. Well sorta. If I go to a dealler for Permabase here in town, they want $10~11 a sheet. I cann go to Daltile and get their Dalbacker for $9 a sheet. The Dalbacker is Permabase that is private labeled for Daltile. The Dalbacker has "Edgetech" imprinted on it too.
Posted via Mobile Device

01-15-2010, 11:12 AM
Well,I can get my hands on Dal boards....usually runs me about $5 for a 1/2 sheet.Most of the time I have to call ahead to make sure the stores have what I need.They don't stock the 1/4 boards.

01-15-2010, 10:13 PM
Thats cheap.

Brad Denny
01-16-2010, 12:40 AM
I have a feeling the Dal label and the PB label are different boards. Maybe same recipe, but something seems different about the two to me.
Wonder if they are made in the same place??

Maybe it's like firearm manufacturers. Didn't Beretta sell some of their old machines to Taurus to produce .45s or something?
Sumpthin' like that maybe? Just sayin'...

01-16-2010, 01:30 AM
and Gueuze uses it too!

My favorite flavor. :D

Dal backer is pretty much the same, but smells different. Haven't tasted it yet, purely for research purposes of course.


01-16-2010, 08:05 AM
I'm thinking the same thing, Brad.

01-16-2010, 04:59 PM
Im all in favor of yall using PB since it helps support Charlotte's economy!:tup2:
There is a company here that makes Niches also not sure of the name though.

Greg Larkin
01-16-2010, 07:22 PM
Personally i tend to not like any of the backer boards that have the tapered edge to them. It seems I'm always having problems with height issues when setting tiles around the joints. I never end the day with setting a tile around the tapered joint on permabase. Usually the next day I'll have to (fight) the next tile to get it nice and level. and you might as well forget laying a glass mosaic floor on it unless you run the edges through a table saw and cut them all off so you have a nice flat floor. I know they say to tape the joints and let dry,but lets be real.That's hard to do in Mrs.Jones house with a 4 and 7 year old playing with trucks.

01-16-2010, 07:41 PM
Welcome Greg!

Sounds like you may need a bigger trowel?

Dan Kramer
01-16-2010, 08:14 PM
You can use 1/2" hardibacker and get a speed bump where you tape the seams. Not cool.

01-16-2010, 08:30 PM
yeah I prefer the tapered edge over the hardi as you don't get the speed bump...

Also permabase sheets are not crumbly and really are nice to work with. Oh did I mention I get pallet pricing of like 6.75 a sheet for 1/4 inch. Went through two pallets this last year.

01-16-2010, 09:00 PM
I don't want to use anything but Permabase.

Hate Hardi except for floors and even then I don't like it.

Will not will not use Durarock. Not in years. Used it for years until Permabase came around. Now I hate it as much as Hardi.

Permabase is easy to find around here thank goodness.

01-16-2010, 10:39 PM
Boy, the GC Im doing a job for just got screwed......... He told me where to pick board for the shower Im doing......... PB was 14.99 a sheet. oh well, it wasnt in my bid. Hammy

Bill Vincent
01-17-2010, 12:35 AM
I have a hard time understanding why someone would like Permabase and not Durock. They're pretty much identical products, except for maybe the price. You can throw the Dal-backer into that group, as well.

Three of my favorite products.

John K
01-17-2010, 06:32 AM
I finally saw the next generation durock in lowes. It is definately lighter.


Why would you use durock over permabase? Does it cut easier?:bow:

Bill Vincent
01-17-2010, 11:01 AM
Only if it's more available, and dependent on the price. I don't see one as better than the other. To me, they're almost identical products.

01-17-2010, 11:13 AM
They are both CBU but they are not the same.

Permabase is better all the way around. Hence Durarock is changing to be more like Permabase and not
vice versa.

Bill Vincent
01-17-2010, 11:22 AM
Permabase is better all the way around.


01-17-2010, 11:29 AM
Permabase does seem to be better, but Next Gen Durock is a fine product.

I like the double reinforced edge on the Permabase, you can set your screws nicely without blowing through, and it cuts real clean with just a utility knife. Plus, it just smells better. :D

The new Durock cuts pretty clean, but the old stuff almost never did. Sometimes you would get an extra brittle, warped batch that would not cut worth a dang, and screws would just blow through.

01-17-2010, 11:44 AM
PB was 14.99 a sheet.

Thats a rip.

I have a hard time understanding why someone would like Permabase and not Durock. They're pretty much identical products, except for maybe the price. You can throw the Dal-backer into that group, as well.

I find PB to be more user friendly than Durock. Seems lighter, more flexible and easier to cut.

Bill Vincent
01-17-2010, 11:52 AM
I honestly don't find any difference between using either one.

01-17-2010, 01:17 PM
If you have not tried Durock Next Gen, you should try it. It is easier to cut, easier to fasten and it is 25% lighter than traditional Durock or Permabase--that's about 12 lbs per sheet (1/2" 3' x 5'). For the record, traditional Durock and Permabase are both about 3.2 lbs/sq. ft. and Durock Next Gen is 2.4 lbs/sq. ft.

Durock Next Gen launched nationwide on November 30, 2009 and will replace traditional Durock.

By the way, CX, this is not an advertisement, simply a clarifying post.


01-17-2010, 01:47 PM
We have no problem recognizing the difference, Scott, and we certainly have no problem with clarifying posts that benefit our members.

And we appreciate your attention to that separation of issues as well as your participation. :)

Brad Denny
01-17-2010, 02:24 PM
Hey Scott, Will there be an increase in price?
Last time I picked up a 1/2" sheet of Durock at HD, the Next Gen was on the mid shelf and the traditional on the low shelf and the only sticker I could see said $9.?? under the traditional. When I had it scanned up front, the price for the was 2 or 3 dollars higher. 'Course I had the lady go back and look and she gave it to me for the price on the sticker, but I specifically saw the SKU come up on the computer as 1/2" Next Gen.

01-17-2010, 02:46 PM
Since Durock Next Gen is replacing traditional Durock, our position has been to price them the same. However, distributors, dealers and our retail partners (big box) may price them differently. Additionally, some retail partners may discount traditional Durock in an effort to clear out their inventory, so they are only stocking one product--Durock Next Gen.

Hope that makes sense.

Bill Vincent
01-17-2010, 03:10 PM
It sure does. Supply and demand. I'm still waiting for the next gen to be available up here.

01-17-2010, 03:24 PM
Like I said; I'm paying about $8 per sheet for Perma Base. I'm glad to try the new Durock if the price is in line with PB.

01-17-2010, 03:43 PM
Is the Traditional Durock being phased out, Scott, or just some of your retailers electing not to stock both?

Crestone Tile
01-17-2010, 03:56 PM
I saw the Next Gen stuff the other day. It is light. I didn't know what to think of the 1/4" board. When I picked it up, you could constantly here it crack and pop everywhere ... probably inconsequential. :shrug:

At the tile house I frequent, every board is the exact same price no matter the thickness or manufacturer (Durock, Hardi, PermaBase, etc.)

Brad Denny
01-17-2010, 04:24 PM
Explanation perfect, Scott. Glad to hear that the increase in technology didn't inflate the price. :)

01-17-2010, 05:35 PM
Is the Traditional Durock being phased out, Scott, or just some of your retailers electing not to stock both?

Traditional Durock is being phased out, it is being replaced by Durock Next Gen.

01-17-2010, 06:26 PM
Scott, thanks for comiing here and clarifing things. I have a shower coming up and definitily will try the next Generation. Hammy

John K
01-18-2010, 06:34 AM

Does your board come with the built in plumb adjusters for walls?:D

David Drummond
01-18-2010, 04:22 PM
Hey guys - I thought I would jump in here and answer some of the questions about PermaBase. My name is David Drummmond and I am the General Manager of the PermaBase Business Unit of National Gypsum Company. We are based in Charlotte, NC as someone noted.

PermaBase and DuraBacker from Dal Tile are the same product - as noted DuraBacker is a private lable product distributed by Dal Tile.

PermaBase can be cut with a couple passes of a standard drywall knife. The white beads you see are expanded polystyrene beads. The weight of PermaBase is 3.0 pounds per square foot.

PermaBase is available nationwide although individual customers and locations will often use various factors in determining what they inventory as stock products.

I think that answers the questions that were posted. Like Scott I'm trying to provide information and not appear to be a commericial out of respect to the discussion board format.

Thanks for the positive comments on PermaBase.

Bill Vincent
01-18-2010, 04:25 PM
Hey David! It's always a welcome sight to see reps from the different manufacturers come in and explain or answer questions about their products! Welcome to the fray, and I hope you'll stick around!

You 'n' Scott play nice now! :yeah:

01-18-2010, 04:27 PM
So do I get some t-shirts or something for my positive comments.:D

Brad Denny
01-18-2010, 04:31 PM
Welcome David.
Glad you are keeping up with the forum. :nod:
Good to have you around. :)

David Drummond
01-18-2010, 04:37 PM
Java (or anyone else) - send me a PM with your address and size and we will get a Tshirt out to you.

Bill Vincent
01-18-2010, 04:43 PM
David, you done opened the flood gates now!!

But JUST t-shirts? When Scott first come in, I got pens, pencils, a polo shirt, and this neat trusty clipon sheetrockknife (that's saved my ass a couple of times already)!


John Bridge
01-18-2010, 05:03 PM
Geez, Bill, will you quit begging - - or intimidating -- or whatever it is? Have you no scruples? (Don't have to answer the last one.] ;)

Dan Kramer
01-18-2010, 09:23 PM
As Bill said it's nice to see the reps here.:tup2:
Top notch forum you got here, John.:tup2: But, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that.

Bill Vincent
01-18-2010, 09:37 PM
John, flattery will get you no where. :tongue:

01-19-2010, 06:39 AM
I have used PermaBase for many years and have had great results.I can't remember ever tearing out one of my jobs due to failure of this product. I do know that PermaBase comes in various thicknesses. I'm in the Chicago area
and I can get it in both the 1/4" and 5/16". I prefer the 5/16" to use as my
underlayment under and hard surface floors. I set it with thin set and nails as per manufactures instructions. My question, What is your preferred thickness
for underlayment?

John K
01-19-2010, 07:12 AM
See if you look in the back ground on the last post mick posted in the TLS thread. What do you see on the wall? Permabase...

01-19-2010, 07:55 AM
Hey Perma Base lovers; if you contact National Gypsum and tell them you love their products, they may send you a thank you package like they sent me which included five tee shirts, a nice hat and a bunch of pens. Here is contact info;

Jacki Chabot
National Gypsum Company
PermaBase Unit Coordinator
704 365 7302

01-19-2010, 06:26 PM
One thing I don't get about PermaBase. I pay less tan $8 per sheet for half inch but quarter inch is over a buck more. Something don't seem right wit dat,:shrug:

Bill Vincent
01-19-2010, 07:22 PM
Supply and demand. :) Alot more flooring feet going in than shower feet!

01-19-2010, 07:23 PM
I'm sorry I went to Depot to get some for a friends shower and all the Durock the edges were cracked where the taper was on the sheet and in the middle of the sheet all the sheets were cracked. I can not risk installing something like this on a job. So I bought wonderboard, the cbu that weights 100 lbs a sheet. :D When they used to carry Permabase it was always perfect and they had sheets 32x60 amd 36x60 perfect for tub surrounds.

Crestone Tile
01-19-2010, 07:48 PM

Are you talking about the next gen stuff?

01-19-2010, 07:48 PM
Supply and demand. Alot more flooring feet going in than shower feet!

Ahhhh yes. See, this is why I ask the experts. :yeah:

01-19-2010, 07:57 PM
I love permabase, it cuts easy, smells good, and I've never had a problem with it. Unfortunately the big box around here got rid of it and has Durock now.

The only thing about permabase that made me nervous is how waxy it feels sometimes, no problems though.

01-19-2010, 08:07 PM

Yes I am, Depot has it its almost white it seems super dry, brittle and it shows up at depot looking like crap. We pulled the 1st 5 sheets off a new pallet and they all sucked so I went back to wonderboard. I mean when I came into this trade Permabase didnt even exist wonderboard had the edge. PLus what are you doing with permabase?? your a mud slinger!

Crestone Tile
01-19-2010, 08:12 PM
What are you doing in HD ... I thought your were a tile pro.:drevil:

I used Permabase a lot before Ditra. Still use the 1/2" on some tub surrounds.

Same experience with the next gen stuff ... it seems really unstable to me (particularly the 1/4"). I couldn't move it any which way without it cracking and popping everywhere. The tile house just got it in so I had to check it out.

01-19-2010, 08:30 PM
I was buying light bulbs. :D

01-20-2010, 04:30 PM
Love the Permabase in 4 x 8 sheets!!

Alex Whyte
01-20-2010, 05:04 PM
Hey everyone, great forum you guys have here, and I'm glad to see the great responses to Permabase! I'm the Permabase representative in the Northern California area (Sacramento and surrounding area). If any of you are in my area and have any questions or ever need any help with Permabase, don't hesitate to send me a PM. David and I are here to answer any and all questions.

01-20-2010, 08:55 PM
Hey Alex; great to meet ya.

01-20-2010, 09:01 PM
what I like about permabase and wonderboard over durarock is that they don't crack like rick said.

With the durarock if the sheets gets flexed at all it gets these little micro cracks that form all over and the whole sheet is super flimsy after that.

my local hd doesn't carry permabase though

01-20-2010, 10:09 PM
Welcome, Alex. Glad to have ya. :)

01-22-2010, 12:20 AM
My opinion,

#1 permabase lighter, usually cheaper, stuff from HD seems to be different sizes and different thicknesses, I guess thats why its cheaper there. To dusty when cut with grinder. I will say one thing tile sure does stick to it if you ever try to remove one over permabase(after it has set up) you will no what I'm talking about.

#2 durrock liked it before I found permabase, cracks alot when working with. heavier

#3 wonder board-utilicrete Both are almost the same thing to me,way heavy, sometimes you'll find sharp edges that will slice your fingers open. sometimes hard to cut, sometimes it cuts real easy with knife

#4 hardie and fiberock never could cut it as easy as they said you could. then you resort to saw and then way to dusty. can't nail in corners they break off. If you don't seal board or keep wet your thinset dries out to quick

denceshield afraid to try it

Local tile shop has something now its a board weighs 6#, Not sure what it is but I thought it was too expensive, and to much extra work involved in installing it, then they told me the price and that was all.

That my 2cents worth

Bill Vincent
01-22-2010, 06:57 AM
usually cheaper, stuff from HD seems to be different sizes and different thicknesses, I guess thats why its cheaper there.

Not up here it isn't. Day before yesterday I went to Lowes to get Durock, where I pay 7.88 a sheet for 5/16, but they were out, so I went to HD to get Wonderboard-- 9.45 a sheet.

John K
01-22-2010, 08:23 AM
Hate working with Wonderboard. Good product, just hate it.

Here is a little info from the FAQ area of the Permabase website.

"Do I need a vapor barrier behind PermaBase?
PermaBase is not a vapor barrier and an additional barrier is not required in most conditions. In areas such as indoor pools and saunas, a vapor barrier is recommended. "

Not in a regular ol shower?:scratch:

01-22-2010, 10:34 AM
Well, John, there is never a requirement for a vapor barrier behind any wall of a regular shower.

Seems like NG is recognizing the need for a vapor barrier in steam applications, but a moisture barrier is still required behind the wall board in any shower according to industry standards.

My opinion; worth price charged.

Bill Vincent
01-22-2010, 08:37 PM
John-- If I can, I'd rather use Durock or Permabase. But I'll take Wonderboard over Hardi or Denshield any day, and being that Lowes was outa Durock and Dal was closed at that point, those were my options, so Wonderboard it is. :shrug:

01-22-2010, 09:20 PM
Got my shirt, hat and pens today! Thanks Permabase!

01-23-2010, 10:28 AM
Got my shirt, hat and pens today! Thanks Permabase!

Me 2 !!! Thanks PermaBase Hammy

01-23-2010, 10:37 AM
Where's mine? :cry:


01-23-2010, 10:45 AM
Gueuzeman, Read the whole PB thread. Hammy

01-23-2010, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the gear Permabase.

01-23-2010, 11:14 AM
Got my gear today also...thanks Permabase!

Greg Larkin
01-28-2010, 06:27 PM
THANKS Permabase got my hat, shirt, and pens....all the guy's were using them to fill out time sheets this morning!!

01-28-2010, 06:56 PM
Got my Permabase gear today. It was a piece of cake. :yeah:



01-28-2010, 06:58 PM
Got my gear today,thanks! Can't wait to wear it when I sub for the one guy who loves Hardicrapper.

01-29-2010, 05:24 PM
Got to admit. David said "ANYONE who wants PERMABASE gear let them know." We did, and we all got it right away. It shows that not only is PERMABASE a great product ,the guys that represent them are good at their word. :clap2:

I will continue to use and recommend PERMABASE. Keep up the good work

Crestone Tile
01-29-2010, 10:56 PM
I want a PermaBase air freshener for my truck.

01-29-2010, 11:03 PM
Matt- I'll cut you a scrap and drill a hole in it so you can tie it to your rear view mirror.


02-05-2010, 08:15 PM
Got a little box from National Gypsum today. Thanks for the goodies, looking forward to trying PermaBase. I hear it tastes like chicken? ;)

02-06-2010, 07:21 AM

Chicken? They're saying something about cake.... frosted with Hydroban.

I would have said it looks like a stack of waffles but some other company has that waffle thing all copyright protected.:)

02-22-2010, 03:22 PM
Glad to know I did SOMETHING right on this reno...Lucky for me it was the only option Rona had for cement board!! Suns gotta shine on a dog's a$$ SOMEDAY right??