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Unread 02-07-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
Paul Romaldini
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Re-Using Cement Backer Board

I'd like to replace the ceramic tiles in my bathroom with new ceramic tile. The current tile is installed over some type of backer board (looks like Durock). Is it possible to remove the old tiles and thinset without damaging the backer board? If the backer board does need to come up, is there an easy way to remove all those dang screws??? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Unread 02-07-2011, 09:45 AM   #2
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Welcome, Paul.

Only way to know is try to remove some tiles and see how it works.

I think it very unlikely that you'll be able to remove the tiles and sufficiently clean and prepare the old backer board more easily or quickly than removing the whole installation and starting over.

No, there's no easy way to remove those screws if, indeed, screws were used to install the boards. Brute force is generally called for.

For any such installation, I always prefer to cut the wall into manageable pieces and remove them that way.

My opinion; worth price charged.

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Unread 02-07-2011, 09:50 AM   #3
Dave Taylor
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Hi Paul.... been a while since you've stoped by :---)

It's very difficult to save and re-use old cement board.... nigh unto impossible in fact. By the time you get the tile up and thinset cleaned off.... the old backer-board will probably be destroyed.

Get the tile up..... and for the screws you can't back out.... use a crow bar to break the board up around them and clamp a vise grips on em' and turn em' out..... or cut em' off with a grinder, Fein Multimaster type tool or a reciprocating saw.

Then clean thinset away and install new board.


What CX says above...... his finners' are quicker than mine.
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Unread 02-07-2011, 10:36 AM   #4
Paul Romaldini
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Thanks for the quick replies. They're very helpful, although I'm disappointed that my worst fear has been realized: I have to tear the whole mess up!! I should have specified I'm dealing with the floor, not the walls, although I'm guessing it doesn't much matter. Thanks again!
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Unread 02-07-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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If this was easy, none of us would have jobs.

For when DIY isn't such a good idea...
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