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Unread 07-06-2022, 04:50 AM   #1
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1/4" backer reviews???

Has anyone ever did a study of which backer board is the best? I can't find any independent reviews Googling. I have a disagreement with a fellow installer. We have both been installing for 38 years. Is there definitive proof Hardi is better than Dens, is better than Durock, etc.?
The project in question is 2000 sqft of 24x48x3/4 porcelain over 3/4 plywood. The backer will be glued and screwed. Height restrictions eliminate thicker board.
I'd love the opinions of my peers.
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Unread 07-06-2022, 07:57 AM   #2
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Welcome back, Todd.

I'm guessing this is a floor application?

By "glued and screwed," do you mean installed over a bed of thinset mortar per manufacturer's instructions, or are you actually gluing your installation?

As for good, better, best, you'd be engaging in a Ford, Chevy, Dodge argument. You'd need to specify a particular characteristic to argue any differences, and even those would tend to be personal preferences. The boards are different. The boards all work as advertised if installed properly. You get to decide which one you prefer to work with and is easiest to acquire in your area.

All the CBU manufacturers, to my knowledge, recommend their thinner panels (about 1/4") for floor installations.

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Unread 07-06-2022, 09:16 AM   #3
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Yes. Thinset as glue. Kinda prefer Hardin. Seems less flexible, but is more time consuming screwing in or has a propensity to not allow roofing nails from gun finish flush. I really wish there was a Fine Homebuilding publication for the tile world, 5ather than a bunch of very subjective videos on YouTube.
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Unread 07-06-2022, 09:48 AM   #4
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They all have advantages and disadvantages. Don't think good, better, best works in the product category relative to type.
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Unread 07-07-2022, 05:04 PM   #5
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Hardie takes more care to get the screwheads countersunk so you have a flat surface, and it's easier to screw-jack the panel. Proper screw selection is critical. OTOH, with the fiber reinforcement, you're less likely to crack it, but it's a bit harder to cut. HB does allow 1/4" panels on a wall, but most prefer the thicker panel to help mate up with drywall, even if it is slightly thinner than the 1/2".

It depends on what you're using it for, and your experience.

The fiber in HB is listed as cellulose (i.e., wood fiber), and it must be treated differently than a 'pure' cement board, so that can also limit where it can be used as well. IMHO, no one panel is 'best' overall.
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Unread 07-08-2022, 09:25 AM   #6
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Better how? Performance? Ease of installation? Cutting? Value?

Better is very subjective.

If you want another opinion, Permabase is the best cement board. The edges hold up the best when you are fastening on the seam. It cuts as clean as a cement board can. It has little foam pellets in it to lighten it up just a bit. And the production quality is consistent from sheet to sheet.

But some people prefer fiber cement boards like Hardibacker. Some hate the little foam pellets that can blow around if you are cutting it outside.

So, I guess you could say... it depends.
James Upton
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Unread 07-11-2022, 06:04 AM   #7
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Have you considered using an uncoupling membrane?

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