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lawtobr

08:35AM | 12/18/03
Member Since: 09/01/03
8 lifetime posts
Bvflooring
I have noticed everyone recommending using hardibacker for shower enclosures. I recently retiled my bathroom shower and was considering using this instead of cement board, until I did a little test. I took a broken piece of the hardibacker home from Home Depot and dripped a little water on it and then set it on my counter top. Three days later the piece was still moist and was finally dry on the fourth day. Needless to say I used cement board instead of the hardibacker.

If I am not mistaken hardibacker came out just a few years ago and does not have a proven track record. If I am wrong does anyone have long term experience with this product (10 or more years)?

carpetman

06:45PM | 12/18/03
Member Since: 01/26/03
542 lifetime posts
the james hardie co was founded in 1888,started making cement backerboard in the 1980's.it is the best product on the market today,very easy to use.i have years of experence with there products,and i find them to be the very best...cement backer board is not waterproof,but water cant hurt it,even when soaked in water for months or even years.........

lawtobr

04:10AM | 12/19/03
Member Since: 09/01/03
8 lifetime posts
I know that cement board is not water proof and is not damaged by water but what about the hardibacker? The hardibacker seems to be some kind of fiber board. The broken piece had fibers in it and I was wondering if this is the reason it stayed wet for so long?

carpetman

07:12PM | 12/19/03
Member Since: 01/26/03
542 lifetime posts
hardibacker is a cement board,the fibers are fiberglass,the board is so dense due to compression,which tends to hold water.
don't forget it's not the backerboard's job to stop water,but to allow water to pass through it,if it did not the mortar would not dry,....good luck

Lawrence

04:40PM | 12/27/03
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
The fibers in the board are fiberglass-like fibers, which are not absorbant. They are also sometimes added to concrete to make it more resilient to developing small cracks while curing. They are only an asset to the board, not a detriment.

As for your "water test" of the hardibacker, that is irrelevant. Water and mositure is supposed to pass through it, as opposed to repel it. (That is why thinset mortar adheres to it instead of just slipping off of it; it draws the thinset into it for a better bond.) The TILE and grout are supposed to stop the water before it gets to the backerboard. Moreover, wetting the back of a tile will yield similar results. If the Hardibacker became brittle when wet, then that would be a disadvantage, but, as you might have noticed, it does not, which is another one of its assets.

The backerboard is there to support the tile so that individual tiles set together as one unit once the thinset cures. Hardibacker does not shread like cement board under pressure or jolts, but it adheres to thinset just as well. That is why it is reputed to be better than cement board and often is the preferred backerboard. The primary (and perhaps only) significant advantage to ordinary cement board/wonderboard is that you can score and break it with a utility knife, whereas you should use a circular saw to cut Hardibacker.

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