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Old 08-09-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
jondon
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Finpan 1/2" ProPanel™ LIGHTWEIGHT WATERPROOF BACKER BOARD

Started a new thread on this because they're name is changed, its ProPanel, I called it Backer. Each sheet weighs less than 6lbs. Anyone familiar with it, anyone do a shower with it that has been around say 5 years. Looking for someone to share information on it, do's and don't. Its twice as much as conventional cbu so I can see why people would stray away from it, but if the seams and screw/washers are covered correctly its supposed to be waterproof, so no waterproofing membrane needed. Anyone?
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:18 PM   #2
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Wink anyone?

bump....
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:05 PM   #3
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I'm wondering about it too. Where can you buy it around our parts?
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Old 08-09-2009, 07:12 PM   #4
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Go to Finpan.com to find nearest dealer

Hello Joe,

Well I can get it here from Conestoga Tile, thats where I get my tile and supplies, I see you are in Lehigh valley. I would go to Finpan.com and see where your nearest distributor is. I am gonna use it on my upcoming shower job but not it is twice as expensive as conventional cement board, but less than 6lbs per sheet, waterproof as long as the caulking is used on all seams, corners, nail/washer holes. Can it be any easier than lifting cement board and cutting it?

I decided to use this because the ceiling in the shower is 10 ft high, and my customer has no problem on what materials I pay, she knows if I do it, it will be right. I have done 4 projects over the years for her, and never any problem, its nice to know people are ganna call you first when they need something and you don't have to put in a bid, I always felt doing quality first would pay off.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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Just to post an update/review on this thread. I've used this product on my last 4 projects which has given me some exposure and allowed me to examine some of the pros and cons. First off, the core is similar to EasyBoard 1.0 which was expanded polystyrene (the little white styro balls), but it's much more rigid with a lot less flex between the studs like EasyBoard 2.0. It's very light and easy to cut with a cordless circular saw. On the other hand it pretty much killed knife blades which caused it to shred the cut edges and generally made a hell of a mess. I also noticed some manufacturing defects throughout the 50-60 boards I bought. The 2 major imperfections were: Loose mesh on the field area of the board and thickness variation. The mesh can be repaired with the adhesive but the variation in the thickness is a major concern. I had 1 board that was 1/2" thick on one side and 3/8" thick on the other. A couple of other boards were also a bit shy of a 1/2" as well. Installation was relatively the same as the other foam boards I've used with the added bonus of not having to tape the seams as long as the adhesive is used to bond the panels together. I like the fact that they recommend using SikaFlex vs. a proprietary sealant (Wedi, Kerdi board). Which allows you to run out to the nearest Depot/Lowes if need be. But be warned, you'll use a lot of sealant (if you use recommended method 1), so cutting tight is very important. The preformed pan I used on one job was fairly easy (nice drain divot) with the exception of the drain assembly which comes premounted vs. an assembly type like Kerdi or Wedi. All in all not a bad product for the price, but I still would prefer to use Wedi if not for the prohibitive cost difference. Some pics of my current disaster.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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Interesting that there's been no chatter about the product since Jon started this thread a year and a half ago.

Do you have easy access to it in your area, Gary?
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:06 AM   #7
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Smile

I've been purchasing it from Mid Atlantic Tile in Frederick, MD who keeps a nominal supply in stock (1/2" & 1/4") along with the washers & SikaFlex. Surprisingly, I've been pretty fortunate to have access to almost all the foam boards that have come out.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:32 PM   #8
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Yes, I spoke with Todd Stull today and he was asking about these panels. I really like using them. Nothing but good to say. Now that I have used both finpan pro panels and kerdi board they are very similar and I would use either. Kerdi Board is much more expensive but comes in a variety of thicknesses and comes in a larger size. You can go without any seams cept for corners and transitions to other wall surfaces. Both make cutting in a niche easy or just cutting in general a charm.

I had posted pics first time I used the finpan panels for a big shower but I couldn't find them I wanted to link to that to shower the panels installed for reference and Todd. I used the washer/nail combos for finpan panels and Hydro Ban. Kerdi board washer/screw combos and kerdi band. I'll try to locate the pics of the finpan panels I put up that first shower.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info on the product Jon! I checked em out at Conestoga tile today and also spoke with Jeff from the tech support dept of FinPan and got a lot of great info on the product so I'm gonna give it a shot when the next opportunity comes by.
I'm all set up with a quote for a tub repacement/tile walls and have the PP quoted in so that would be a nice job to use it on if it goes through
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:46 PM   #10
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Someday someone should do a deflection type of test on these boards. You know, put them all on per mfg spec and fasteners, over 16" O.C. and then use some type of measurin deevice to see which is sturdier pre-tile.

Reason for pre-tile is that I have used both Wedi and Kerdi board and found the Kerdiboard to flex more when having to smoosh a tile in a bit more than its neighbor. Now on 12x12-ish tiles, I can see that the tile will give enough stiffness to make likely any of those backers stiff enough.

But I just did a job with 3/8" thick, 4x4" tiles and when it came to grouting, the board flexed big time between those smaller tiles. (I really mash grout in). And yes, it was 16" O.C., Kerdi-washers AND Sikaflexed to the studs too.

When the PermaColor set up I couldn't see any flex (didn't want to try too hard to see either). But the concern is still there.

In terms of stiffness my thoughts are that the Wedi is the stiffest 1/2," then the Kerdi-board, and last the Fin Pan stuff. Never used it (FinPan), but bent it plenty of times when at my supplier. Seemed too lightweight to me. But that may just be hooey, as no one has tested them, I don't think.

You think its stiff enough Jon?
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:21 AM   #11
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Cary,
With all the use you've had with the board, do you add any blocking in the framing or sister up studs to beef up the seams? Deflection seems to be the most talked about concern with any foam board so I was curious about any extra measures...
Typically I glue board to studs while installing... Can PL premium or Loctite construction Adhesive be used ilo the Sika Flex product?
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:03 AM   #12
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Fin Pan is located in Cincinnati. I had the pleasure of touring their cement board plant this past summer. The Pro Panel is actually made in China. I've not used it, but I've played with samples. I'm convinced it's a good product, and the price is certainly right. The floors, curbs and wall recesses are made in Cincinnati.

It was explained to me that although the foam is expanded, it's dense enough to be considered waterproof, and I've come to believe that after talking to a couple other foam experts.

I will ping somebody at Fin Pan and make them aware of this thread. Don't know whether they will respond. Lots of companies choose not to participate on the Internet.

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Old 12-09-2011, 10:52 AM   #13
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Thanks for "pinging me", John!

Fin Pan prefers to recommend the Sikaflex FC. It was what our waterproof system was tested and approved with. Sikaflex is the gold standard in the sealant/adhesive field especially with respect to waterproof conditions. With that said, we have had successful use of the Loctite PL Polyurethane Sealant. It is less expensive and you give up some flexible properties with it.

It is extremely important not to use just any sealant/adhesive unless it is tested under encapsulated conditions. VOCs, even compliant VOCs, can cavitate the foam and cause sealant failure with foam products. Not all substitutions work and some that work where there is "breathing room" do not work when they are up against a solid surface and covered over.

ProPanel has been fully tested to IRC/ICC codes and is a code listed product. We have done extensive testing and ongoing quality control. Our facility in China does manufacture it at this time. We hold a tight standard with the facility, pulling random samples and testing them again. Our listing agency also comes every quarter, pulls samples and independently tests in their facility.

Hey, I hope this helps! Thanks for the discussion.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:18 AM   #14
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Lisa,

How can I get some samples? Where can I buy it in Houston Texas?
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Old 12-09-2011, 02:46 PM   #15
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Todd,

The only extra blocking I install for ProPanel is on ceilings. If you seam the panels with SikaFlex the panels stiffen up pretty good. I'd probably block if I wasn't using the sealant, but it really isn't necessary.
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