Durock versus Hardibacker [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-22-2004, 03:54 PM
Ok - here's a question for the pros. I am helping a friend remodel her bathroom. This weekend we will be installing the backer board for the floor tile. We've already prepped the subfloor with 5/8" plywood over the existing 23/32" dialgonally laid subfloor. The plywood is glued and screwed.

I had planned on us using Durock over the plywood, but I noticed the Hardibacker product at Lowe's, and I am curious about which one might be better. Having looked at the installation instructions for both, they appear remarkably similar. The Hardibacker looks like it might be a tad easier to cut and a tad easier to install since the hot-dipped galvanized roofing nails (1.5") can be used to install versus screws. Plus, Hardibacker provides the convenient nailing dots on the board telling you where to nail. I know Durock says nails are OK, but they really push the screws.

Anyway, I wanted to ask the pros which board they would go with: Durock or Hardibacker? Cost does not appear to be an issue, but I want to use what's best. I guess I am leaning towards the Durock because it appears to be more substantial than the Hardibacker, but maybe I am missing something.

I did search the forum, but I might not have used the best search parameters because I didn't really get good results, so forgive me if I am asking a question that's been answered a dozen times already.

Thanks for your help!

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01-22-2004, 04:01 PM
Welcome, Bronson!

The Hardi is a little easier to cut, and is a little lighter. However, Hardi is not recommended for steamshowers, if you had that in mind. Otherwise, pick one.


01-22-2004, 04:23 PM
I like Hardibacker.

01-22-2004, 04:24 PM
This definitely isn't a steam room. We're doing the floor in the bath this week and will be doing the surround for the shower in a week or two, so it sounds like the Hardibacker will work for both (if we choose to go that route). Thanks again for your help!

01-22-2004, 06:38 PM
"Amateur" chiming in here with a vote for Hardibacker. I've used both and it's much easier to work with and get clean cuts than with durock.

01-22-2004, 06:49 PM
I love Hardi because it's so easy to install. I've got the power shears that will cut the 1/2"; wow, talk about a fun tool! To bad I almost never use Hardi.
If you care about getting a superior bond to your tile, true cement boards have a definate advantage. Hardi is adequate, but cement is better.
I've also seen 2 bad batches of delaminating Hardi on separate occasions. Some of it was installed by the shop I was with before we discovered it. Who knows if it will become a problem on those jobs in the future? They only tore out what was visibly coming apart right then.:rolleyes: Too much risk for me.

01-22-2004, 07:33 PM
Durock's been around the block.It is cement,it is more substantial and it will cut nicely with a carbide tipped circular saw and give you a nice edge.
Its heavier(its cement ,what do you expect;) )
My vote at this time goes for a product that outsells any other 3-1
has been around longer than any except wonderboard and stood the test of time.
Its also the board spec'd by 9 of 10 architects.
You do the math....:)

John Bridge
01-22-2004, 08:47 PM
Welcome aboard, Bronson. :)

Wonder Board works pretty well, too.

01-23-2004, 09:05 AM
Thanks John for the Welcome! I think we'll go with the Durock or wonderboard (I believe Lowe's carries Durock). I'll let y'all know how it goes, and thanks again for the feedback.

Jeff Z
01-23-2004, 05:51 PM
Jumping in here. I have been told by a tile guy that Hardibacker is impregnated with a waterproofing material to make it impermeable to water. Is that the case? Is Durock water permeable?

John Bridge
01-23-2004, 06:26 PM

That's exactly the case. Hardi-backer is actually made from wood fibers which are encased in concrete. So the material is not "waterproof," but it's impervious to water. This is also the case with cement backer boards -- Durock, Wonder Board, Perma Base and the like. :)

01-28-2004, 12:26 PM
Another amateur here.

I've only used Hardibacker - about 4 sheets so far in the shower stall I just tiled.

My one observation is that the Hardibacker is really prone to fracturing into strata when using the recommended screws. What I mean is that as the screw is driven into the board the top 1/8" of the board will tend to lift from the rest. This is primarily a problem when screwing down the edges of sheets.

Best resolution is to press the board down firmly right next to where you are driving the screws, but this isn't always feasible.

Anybody else seen this ? Does this happen with other CBs ?


01-28-2004, 08:29 PM
Regarding the Hardi board lifting at driven screw locations, that's probably true, but my experience is to not drive the screws completely flush or countersunk, I leave them slightly above the surface, about 1/32", no problem because the thin-set thickness is usually thicker. Makes the installation easier on my driver too. It's a real PITA effort to drive the screws flush vs. slightly above.
One charteristic of Hardi I appreciate is it's higher shear strength resisitance compaired to the sand/cement boards, you can take hold of one of those and easily break it with your hand. How many busted-up Wonder Boards do you see at Lowes or Home Depot vs. Hardi Backer boards? Makes a statement in itself.
I think Hardi has resolved some very early delamination problems quite a while ago with their latest product.
My vote goes to Hardi.

01-28-2004, 11:38 PM
My beef with Hardi backer is it doesn't flush up to 1/2" drywall. I think Hardi is more like 7/16". Sure cuts easier then durock though.

Bill Vincent
01-29-2004, 05:05 AM
I've used durock since it first came out. I like it better than any of the other cement boards because it'll take screws alot better, and I most certainly like it better than the "backerboard" genre for a couple of reasons-- first, like the other cement boards such as wonderboard, the backerboards don't like taking screws unless you use special screws that have the "nubs" under the head to help with countersinking. Secondly, I don't have to buy yet another highly specialized powertool that is used for absolutely nothing but cutting the backerboard.

01-29-2004, 05:45 AM
I just wanted to give everyone an update. We ended up going with teh 5/16" Durock for the bath floor. I found it very easy to install and cut. I used my circular saw with a carbide blade for msot of the cuts and my reciprocating saw for the others. I cut it outside to keep the dust down (and wore a mask).

It screwed in very easily using the backerboard screws, and of course we laid it in a bed of thinset.

Of course, I've never used hardibacker board, so I can't compare the two, but the Durock sure was easy to use IMHO.

01-29-2004, 07:10 AM
Good choice, glad to hear things went well for you.
Carbide tipped blade works pretty darn good doesnt it :)

Good luck on the rest of your project :)