Need help and opinions on backer board [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-06-2007, 11:57 AM
I've read some of the other threads on the subject and the opinions seem varied and also include other products that I have not seen in the local stores.

here is my question. I have Wonderboard and Hardibacker available to me through the local stores. I'm not sure which to use. I have used Hardi on a floor before and it has been 3 years since I did it and it seems to be fine.

I am remodeling my bathroom and I want to tile the floor and shower stall including the ceiling above the shower. Talking to my brother in law who's an engineer, I stated I was going to use Hardi, he suggested Wonderboard for the shower and Hardi for the floor. The 1/2" thick wonderboard is really heavy and I'm not sure if it will be ok to use for the ceiling. Also the Home Depot guy said to use Hardi because it is less porous and make sure to tape the joints. Now, normally I don't trust anyone at Home Depot, so I've been trying to get more info. Can anyone give me advise whether to use Hardi or Wonderboard on the shower? Which one is better and any other tips (vapor barier behind it, etc, etc.)?


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03-06-2007, 12:08 PM
Welcome, Mas.:)

You really don't need to put CBU on the ceiling unless you are doing a steam shower. Otherwise, any area above the showerhead is not considered a wet area. You can use regular drywall, and tile over it if you like (don't paint or prime it, tile right over the paper face).

03-06-2007, 02:13 PM
ok, so just the walls need to use CBU. I can just use greenboard on the ceiling and tile over that? What about Hardi and wonderboard. Which one is better for the shower walls. would you suggest a vapor barrier with either of them? and for the grout lines in the corners and against the ceiling and tub, should i use caulk instead of grout to allow for expansion?

03-06-2007, 02:25 PM
I wouldn't even bother with greenboard. Just use regular drywall.

Whichever CBU you choose, you need a vapor barrier (poly or roofing felt) behind it, or you need to coat the surface with a product like RedGard. Either or, not both!

I've only used Hardibacker myself, so I'm not in a position to compare the two. They both work.

The industry standard is to use caulk at any change of plane. Many folks grout their corners anyway. It might crack if you do. Then you'll have to caulk it.

03-06-2007, 02:42 PM
I think Hardi vs. wonderboard comes down to personal preference. I've used both. There are no performance advantages between the two of them that I know of for shower walls. Hardi may look less porous than wonderboard but I doubt it is and if so probably not significantly. I find wonderboard easier to cut, especially when trying to snap off small pieces, but I like working with Hardi better otherwise. Given the choice I'd use either.

By the way, the first shower I remodeled had a ceiling constructed using 1/4" lauan spanning the joists then tiled over (not by me) and the ceiling was sagging down about 2" in the center by the time I ripped them out :eek: Anyway I swore the ceiling would never move again so made it out of wonderboard (completely unnecessary.) I was alone in the house when I put it in so I drilled four screws partially into the wonderboard, put the piece in position and held it with my head while driving the screws home :yeah: I walked away from that one deciding wonderboard really wasn't necessary on the ceiling of a normal shower.

03-06-2007, 03:17 PM
Hey Mike, a fellow Michigander, I presume?

As long as we're telling on ourselves, I will admit that I did my entire bathroom ceiling with 1/2" Hardibacker. :dunce: I did it all by myself too. I'm trying to forget how I did it to preserve my sanity.

03-06-2007, 04:38 PM
Hi Dan,

You might think I'm in Detroit or the thumb, but a bit west in Farmington so I'm fibbin' a bit in my location description :suspect: Keeps people on their toes.

Hardi on the ceiling, you must have a drywall jack, or a flat head...

03-06-2007, 04:59 PM
No drywall jack, just tall and quick with the screw gun (those square slotted ones are a must).