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Old 02-07-2011, 07:52 AM   #1
acid
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best cement back board?

I am beginning to prep/tile a small upstairs bathroom- 2x10 or so joists at 16" spacing with 3/4" plywood. What is the ideal cement backer board to use (well one that I can get at home depot)- I saw a hardiboard product, wonderboard, and one other product. Is one much better than the other- is there one that is ideal for a floor installation?

Also, what thickness? I think I should use 1/4 right?

Thinset? Just a nice modified thinset?
Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:04 AM   #2
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ok went to home depot- they had 3 options (in 1/4")
1)hardibacker
2)wonderboard
3)fiberock (only had the durock in 1/2" thickness).

I'm leaning towards the hardibacker- seems the sturdiest to me just looking at it.

So when I install this, its modified thinset over the plywood followed by the cement board. Then screw in the cement board into plywood (avoiding joists) then tile above that right? Anything else to watch out for? I've tile lots on concrete slab- just never done a second story tile job.

Also, is there a need for any waterproof membrane or paint (like redguard)? This is for a bathroom tile floor installation- not anticipating much water other than some drips when my kids get out of the shower.

Thanks!
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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I prefer Hardi, because I have these:

Don't know if they work with wonderboard or not, but they cut through hardi like butter.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
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Hi William........

I also prefer using 1/4" Hardiboard.

Closely follow Hardi installation instructions found HERE.

To attach the board I use Backer-on screws found at Home Depot near the Hardiboard.
Name:  backeron_screw_pack.jpg
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I don't see where a membrane like RedGard will help much but..... if drips from the kids are a big concern...... consider using Ditra as your tiling substrate as opposed to a backer-board.
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Old 02-07-2011, 09:54 AM   #5
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thanks for the feedback- dripping shouldnt be that bad. Hopefully I can get started this afternoon- I'll posts some pics as I go. Its not a big fancy tile job but it will be nice to get the bathroom back into operation.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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acid.. this may be a little too late, but you can use the Orange stuff (Ditra) and it will go a little faster for ya... Higher cost - less work.. Just another option for ya..
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:30 AM   #7
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not too late- still waiting on the plumber before I run out and buy stuff- I had thought about ditra initially but it seemed that most places were saying to use cement backer bored- I'm not soo worried about the labor time (its a tiny bathroom and my labor is free)- but is one better than the other? I was wondering about ditra since its an uncoupling membrane it might be good to keep anything from cracking? My concern was though it might have some give to it- which might not be good around the toilet (gonna have the flange set above the tile like it should be). The previous toilet leaked and rotted the plywood (they had lots of caulk around the toilet- obviously applied when it was leaking- thanks previous owners...) so I'm paranoid about leaks now.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:48 PM   #8
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I prefer Ditra. Lightweight, easy to haul from the store back to your place. Easy to cut with a utility knife or scissors. Easy to install. Saves time and wear and tear on the body. No mess from cutting either.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:03 PM   #9
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Also, not that it really matters, but I believe james hardie's installation instructions call for unmodified thinset under the board and modified over.

It'll save you around $10 to do it that way too.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:22 PM   #10
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I've never had a problem using Versabond under 1/4" inch Hardi, and you can pick it up about 10 steps down the aisle at Home Depot.

If you do pick Hardi, I recommend you buy a scoring tool (I'm pretty sure HD will have them) specifically for cutting Hardi. They're pretty cheap, maybe about $10, and you won't have the dust you'll get if you try to saw it. Basically it works just like cutting drywall, except you have to score it a few times before snapping.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:49 PM   #11
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hmm votes for backer board and votes for ditra. I guess the advantage ditra has is its uncoupling properties, which might prevent tile cracks? Both are primarily used just to bond the tile to the plywood- I know backer board gives no structural support, but I guess it feels sturdier to me. My joists are 2x12, 16 inches apart. No idea how long they run between supports but the floor seems very stable.

On the hardibacker website it says to use mortar or modified thinset.

I'm looking at ditra- sounds interesting. It says to use "latex p.c. mortar' on the plywood- is that just modified thinset? Or I've heard people use unmodified thinset plus add latex additive instead of water?

And then above the ditra use unmodified thinset- correct?
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:08 PM   #12
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Welcome, acid. Please add a first name to a permanent signature line for us to use. If you go by Acid, add that so's we'll know.

To install the Schluter membrane over plywood you must use a mortar that meets ANSI A118.11 specifications. It'll say that on the bag if it does. You can also use an A118.1, un-modified mortar, with an additive that makes it meet A118.11 standards. It'll say that onna bag, too.

You really don't wanna guess at the joist structure. It's important.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:20 PM   #13
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Also, not that it really matters, but I believe james hardie's installation instructions call for unmodified thinset under the board and modified over.

It'll save you around $10 to do it that way too.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:01 PM   #14
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ok fixed my name

I'm leaning towards ditra, sounds like it might be easy to fit in my bathroom. It is a very small bathroom, but does have lots of corners and turns which might make a hardibacker installation difficult.

As far as the deflection goes- It seems sturdy when I jump on it, but I admit I'm flying at this blind. I've got john bridge's tile your world book and read the part about deflection and other than the jump test I'm not sure how I can tell 100% for sure if it will be ok. I'm gonna use ceramic tiles so that should help (over natural stone). The joists are 2x12 16" apart-house built in 1969. If the floor comes up with ditra due to deflection problems I would be suprised.

As far as what thinset to use under hardibacker I dunno-It's weird on the hardibacker installation instrucations under floor they say:

3. Attach HardieBacker cement board to subfloor
• Apply a supporting bed of mortar or modified thinset to subfloor using a 1/4”
square-notched trowel.
• Embed HardieBacker cement board firmly and evenly in the wet mortar.
• Use the fastener pattern as a guide. Fasten HardieBacker cement board with specified
nails or screws (as listed in “Materials Required”) every 8” over the entire surface.
Keep fasteners 3/8” from board edges and 2” in from board corners.
• Set fastener heads flush with the surface without overdriving.

But then under materials it says:
Materials Required
1. Mortar
For floors:
• Latex or acrylic modified thinset
(complying with ANSI A118.4).
• Dry-set mortar for use between
subfloor and cement
board only (complying with
ANSI A118.1).
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:15 PM   #15
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William..........

I've placed both modified and unmodified thinset under Hardi work I've done previously..... without issues.

Point is.... the thinset beneath Hardi (and most any other CBU) does not need to bond to the subfloor.... it serves only to fill voids between the substrate and the subfloor providing a solid, flat surface. The screws (or nails) used hold the CBU (and Hardi) down and in place.

Point of fact.... it wasn't that long ago that Hardi instructions did not specify what thinset to use beneath their product. A bit later the instructions called for modified beneath their product.

Whatsa' girl to do?

For a small bathroom..... either substrate product should work well.

Follow the manufacturer's current instructions for either substrate you select.

Oh! And like CX says above..... be sure your floor substructure and subfloor sandwich will support a new ceramic covering.
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