Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock
#11
  Re: (...)
I just wrapped up building a new laundry room and expanded the guest bath, both floors are tiled and I tiled the tub surround.

In the past, I've always used Durorc but I decided to try Hardi-Backer because it looked like it would be "cleaner" to work with. It's also stiffer so I thought it might be easier to work with, more like working with sheetrock. Well, that isn't what I found. I found it difficult to "snap" cut. When I did finally get it to snap, it left a ragged edge which I needed to trim off. I also found it a little difficult to shoot screws through. Even though I bought the proper screws which are supposed to countersink themselves, they almost always stayed "proud" of the backer. Not only that, they pushed up a ring of material around the screw head like what you would find working with MDF. I thought it worked very similar to MDF, just denser and heavier and just as dusty. It was also a lot dirtier/dusty to work with than I anticipated. Again like MDF. Overall, I didn't like working with it.

In the past, I have always used 3/8" Durock on the floors under the tile. 1/2" on the walls. Thinset on the subfloor, Durock laid on top and screwed down every 6" with the approved screws and never had an issue. It's kind of nasty stuff but it works great. Talk about a solid floor. I ran out of Durock half way theough the laundry room floor and went to HD to get more. They don't sell it, they sell Wonderboard. I had never used it so I gave it a try.

I found that Wonderboard is stiffer than Durock (less floppy) which makes it easier to handle, carrying up stairs, loading etc. It also seemed to have a more consistent cement fill with less voids and less soft and "crumbly" areas than Durock. Because of these traits, it is easier to "snap" cut and a bit cleaner to work with.

I'm now a Wonderboard convert.

I have never used the rolled Kerdi tilebacker. I talked with a tile setter once and he told me that if you have any doubt whatsoever of the integrity of the subfloor, don't use it. The only nightmare jobs he has ever had were over Kerdi. If thinset above or below it isn't perfect, a tile can pop loose and if that happens, it's near impossible to re-attach and re-grout without it happening again. "you can always repair a floor over cementboard". I've always remembered that. He said Kerdi is used to save on material and labor and it provides a thinner installation (which might be necessary in some installations) but it isn't as durable as cement board and has no inherent load strength. It's one man's opinion but it made sense to me.

I wouldn't put tile directly on wood but I know some do. I've seen it last 15 years over green-board in a shower too, not sure how though.

Hope this helps..."I'm no pro but I sure want it to look that way when I'm done".

I'd post some pictures but I haven't figured out how to get windows 10 to recognize my camera or phone so they'll have to wait.
Neil Summers Home Inspections


When it comes to 'lectricity, I'm a pretty good wood turner.

... Grey Mountain 3/2/21

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#12
  Re: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Snipe Hunter (I just wrapped up bu...)
been a while, but i kinda remember the same experiences with the hardi backer.  didn't care for the durock either, so i'll definitely keep the wonderboard in mind.  
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#13
  Re: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Snipe Hunter (I just wrapped up bu...)
Thanks!  I'll give it a shot during my next tile job
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#14
Big Grin    Re: RE: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by brnhornt (Thanks!  I'll give i...)
I've used Schluter Ditra on floors in all the installs I've done in the last couple of years.  If you follow the installation instructions for the subfloor you won't have any issues.  I worked and trained with folks that install in commercial environments and never had problems with any tile floor.  Besides, it is the easiest way to waterproof a floor or bathroom.  Many architects  now spec using Ditra.  Folks that have issues have ignored the subfloor instructions or used the wrong adhesives.   Plus, the newer Ditra has an option for heating (expensive) that is easy to install.  As to the Kerdi board, it works as well as and of the backer boards.  The key is your framing has to be done correctly.  It is far easier to install and cut than any of the cement boards, it is waterproof (unlike cement boards) and can be easily shaped.  It is faster to install.  I haven't had any tile adhesion problems. I've seen warranty issues and the cause was not using the recommended adhesives.  It isn't cheap, but as I told customers I won't be back in a couple of years replacing a leaking shower.   I also use the Durarock products.  They have a membrane system also.  I like the fact I can order a custom base for the shower, some folks like some odd shaped showers.
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#15
  Re: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Snipe Hunter (I just wrapped up bu...)
Ditra does make wonderful products. The price has kept me away from it. Maybe someday it will get to a point where it makes sen$e for me. If I were a pro, I might consider it. That being said, a properly installed shower, even with a mud floor should last 30 years. I do take the utmost care. I've done a few and haven't had any issues. It's cool that they are over basements so a leak would show itself.
Neil Summers Home Inspections


When it comes to 'lectricity, I'm a pretty good wood turner.

... Grey Mountain 3/2/21

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#16
  Re: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Snipe Hunter (I just wrapped up bu...)
Kerdi is for walls and shower pans and Ditra for floors. I disagree on your tilesetter's opinion. Ditra is a great product. I'd not hesitate to use it again.

Kerdi over drywall for surrounds is the bees knees. No need to decide where the cement board ends and the drywall begins. Its so much easier to work with drywall than cement board too. kerdi on the shower pan is an absolute joy too. Perfect mud job. Perfectly leakproof.

If I recall, I consider Durock and Wonderboard to be about the same. Hardibacker to be flimsier and less tolerant to screws in edges. I was using 1/4" on a vertical surface. However, I'll use any and all as the situation permits.

I prefer Kerdi products though.
Rocket Science is more fun when you actually have rockets. 

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." -- Patrick Henry
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#17
  Re: RE: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Mr_Mike (Kerdi is for walls a...)
I stand corrected. He was referring to the rolled "ditra" product. He said he used it if he needed a low overall finished height as long as it was laid over a substantial, solid subfloor. If he had to strengthen the sub floor, he might as well use cement board. Cement board will strengthen a floor whereas the rolled product can't really do that. It does what it is supposed to do very well. Sometimes it's cheaper,and as effective to use the cement board. I've seen failed Ditra in brand new homes. I'm sure it was installed over a weak subfloor and the subfloor should have been prepped right but I doubt it would have failed if it was a cement board backer. People use cement board because it's a tried and proven method. So is Ditra and Kerdi but they don't always make sense,particularly financial sense. That's why I don't use it. I can do a mud shower floor for about 100 bucks in materials. I can't come anywhere near that with the other products and the mud floor holds up just fine. It might take a couple hours more but who cares? I don't pay myself several hundred dollars an hour.
Neil Summers Home Inspections


When it comes to 'lectricity, I'm a pretty good wood turner.

... Grey Mountain 3/2/21

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#18
  Re: RE: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Snipe Hunter (I stand corrected. H...)
While it may be true that cement board adds some overall strength to a floor, it's much less than most would think, and you're really not supposed to rely on cement board to bring a floors deflection rating up to snuff.  Cement board is just a compatible surface for tile to adhere to.  Besides, the 1/4" cement board is generally what is used on floors. No sense using 1/2" unless you need to raise the floor to meet some other surface.

Now that the Schluter products are sold at Big Orange, every tom and sally homeowner are using them, and without proper training or experience, there's sure to be failures.  I've been using Schluter for 12 years now.  I've done maybe 2 cement board floors in the last decade since discovering Schluter. I do plenty of mud floors when I have to level out a room or embed hydronic tubing.  It's just as easy to remove a tile set on Ditra as it is on cement board.  Bust up the tile and scrape up the Ditra.  I've had to do it once for a last minute pattern change, and again when I cut an electric heat wire while scraping thinset out of a grout joint. 

Schluter is more expensive and uses more thinset during the installation, however I save a ton of time on the install, and I'm not exhausted at the end of the day from hauling around all that cement board. 
90% of my showers are mud floor with Schluter Kerdi on top.  I dont care for the foam floors because most of the time they dont fit size-wise, and the subfloors are never perfectly level.  Much easier and cheaper to do mud.
-who?
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#19
  Re: RE: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by who (While it may be true...)
(09-02-2016, 08:24 PM)who Wrote: ...
90% of my showers are mud floor with Schluter Kerdi on top.  I dont care for the foam floors because most of the time they dont fit size-wise, and the subfloors are never perfectly level.  Much easier and cheaper to do mud.

Are you saying the floors Schluter sells are problematic?  I was going to go that way on a bath conversion one day soon.
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#20
  Re: Hardi-Backer vs Wonderboard vs Durock by Snipe Hunter (I just wrapped up bu...)
(09-03-2016, 07:38 AM)KC Wrote: Are you saying the floors Schluter sells are problematic?  I was going to go that way on a bath conversion one day soon.


Not saying that at all... I've used them, and they're great for someone who has little experience doing a mud floor.  One of the biggest problems a first time DIY'er has with doing a mud shower floor is getting a consistent slope to the drain.  The Schluter tray has the proper slope built in. 

I do a lot of showers every year, and we generally use the existing plumbing in the home.  The drain position in the Schluter tray rarely lines up with the existing drain.  Plus the subfloors are never perfectly level, so there would need to be some leveling work done before installation of the foam tray. 

Its easier, faster and cheaper for me to draw a level perimeter line, install a Schluter Kerdi drain, and pack in a mud floor.  I can do a 36x60 floor in about two hours and spend $40 on sand, cement and wire lath.   If I had to move the P-trap, level the floor, and install a Kerdi tray, I'd be into it for several hundred in material and labor.

When you say bath conversion, Im guessing you want to ditch the tub for a large shower.  Schluter makes a tray for that with the drain position in the typical tub drain location.  The issues I have with this is most DIY'ers are going to leave the 1 1/2" trap and drain, which isnt code for a shower.  (2" required)  Also, since the perimeter is level, and the center of the drain is the low point, there's a dramatic slope at the front of the tray.  It's alright when using a small mosaic floor tile, but a royal pain when the homeowner chooses something larger like 2x2, or 3x3, or even worse, a 2x3 basket weave.   You're better off using their other tub sized tray that moves the drain location to the center, and re-pipe the drain with 2" back to the stack.

Once tiled, you're not going to hurt that foam floor, just keep in mind that it'll dent if you kneel on it before tile. Use a piece of plywood on it if you're going to be kneeling or standing in there.
-who?
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