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Unread 09-25-2017, 05:47 PM   #1
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Hardibacker embedded in shower pan?

I have read a lot on this forum on building a shower pan. One thing I am a little confused on is embedding hardibacker board in the shower pan. The posts I have read state to embed the cement board in the shower pan. However, the hardibacker info states to keep the edges above the floor. Can anyone tell me what is the correct process to build a shower pan utilizing hardibacker? Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Unread 09-25-2017, 05:51 PM   #2
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The main difference is between an actual cement backer and a fiber cement backer. Hardi is fiber cement and therefore is better served being left up out of the pan due to its tendency to wick moisture more than something that durock. If you're using a topical waterproofing like kerdi or USG then go ahead and bury your hardi in the pan.
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Unread 09-25-2017, 05:53 PM   #3
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Thank you for the quick response! I am going to be utilizing redgaurd to seal the hardibacker. Using this method would you recommend embedding the hardibacker?
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Unread 09-25-2017, 05:55 PM   #4
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The real question is about the pan. If the pan is a traditional pan, there will be water in the mudbed, and you don't want to embed the Hardi.

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Unread 09-25-2017, 05:59 PM   #5
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It is a traditional pan. So if thats the case do I secure the hardboard above the shower pan and fill in the gap with silicone?
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Unread 09-25-2017, 06:03 PM   #6
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^What Ryan said. If you are building a conventional shower pan follow the Hardi instructions and don't embed in the final mud bed. If you are using a direct bonded membrane (Kerdi, Hydroban, etc) go ahead and bury it in the mud pan.

I actually prefer Hardi over the other brands because of its strength and stiffness. I bury my Hardi board in the mud and also fasten it around the bottom perimeter because I use a direct bonded membrane so moisture wicking and liner penetration is not a concern. However if you are going to build a conventional shower pan I personally would use a board that you can bury so that you can secure the bottom from movement.
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Unread 09-25-2017, 09:42 PM   #7
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Hi, Matt.

I'm glad you're asking ahead of time.

Everybody has certain preferences. So, there's a bit of a bias to our advice.

Assuming RedGard on the walls, and nothing on the pan:
Me? I use Durock because it's rated to be buried in the mud pan. I want it buried in the pan because doing so packs it very stoutly against the walls. I don't like either leaving the bottom of the pan unsecured so as to avoid poking holes in the liner lower than 2" above the height of the finishe curb.....or poking holes way too low in order to secure the board and then trying to make up for it with surface applied waterproofing (to the walls only, in this case). There's nothing at all wrong with surface waterproofing. In fact, I really like it for most showers. But I'm not going down the road of poking holes in my liner. No matter what waterproofing occurs after.

In 100 out of 100 cases, I would return the Hardibacker and purchase Durock. It's only one little trip to the store for a shower that has the capacity to last 50+ years. I personally wouldn't be detered from proceeding with a shower build based on material I've already got in the garage. But that's me. I'm particular. I want what I think will deliver the best long-range performance. And so do my customers.
***The only exception would be if I where doing a full sheet membrane like Kerdi on the walls and pan, along with a Kerdi direct-bond flange drain...then I'd have zero problem burying a substrate like Hardi in the pan mud.

Good luck on whatever you choose.
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