Hardiebacker Board Around Tub – The Installation Process Guideline

A bathroom is a susceptible part of a house, and proper factors must be considered when building a bathroom and its facilities such as bathtubs. To prevent the dampening of the walls surrounding the bathtub, it is essential to cover it with tiles. And to place the tiles, you need first to set a cement board. Putting tiles by calling a plumber can be quite expensive nowadays; many people prefer to install cement and Hardiebacker boards around a tub themselves.

It is constantly exposed to water and therefore should be designed with durable, water-resistant and strong materials. These are materials known to enable it to last longer before the damages can begin. Otherwise, when you use poor construction material, the water may damage it within a short time.

Installing cement boards is an essential part of bathroom renovation, especially if you want to install ceramic tiles around the tub.

Cement boards are critical to your bathtub because it is water-resistant and cannot easily break down if it gets wet. That makes the material strong enough to support your tiles and the bathtub.

The project requires a little bit more effort and elbow grease, but the outcome is pleasing and looks beautiful. You will realize that the long-lasting results are worth the investment 

On the other hand, this is a relatively cheap and durable process as well. The board will protect your walls from getting wet and thus prevent dampening and letting it become bacteria and algae prone.

Here is a step-by-step guide which will help you to install a cement and HardieBacker Board around your tub:

Specifications About the Cement Board

First of all, you will have to make sure that your wall is dry before placing the cement board on it. The cement board has to be placed a bit above the lip of the bathtub so that the tub or its lip is not damaged.

By using a measuring tape, place the cement board at least ¼ inch above the lip. It prevents water from leaking onto the backer board.

Then, you will have to apply the required amount of thin-set at the bottom tile of the tub by placing it a minimum of 1/8 inches above the tub. Now grab some caulk and use it to cover the space between the cement board and the tub.

Cement And Hardiebacker Board Around Tub – Ensuring Structural Framing

The framing should be such that it follows the local building code. If you are unaware of the local building code, you can ask your neighbors, or look for it on the internet.

You will need to have a wood stud of 2″ x 4″ or studs made of metal at least 20 gauge and place it straight. Properly align it with the wall and keep a maximum gap of 16″ on the middle region.

Ensure that the tub’s corner region and the framing are done correctly to avoid complications later on in the project.

Cement And Hardiebacker Board Around Tub – Necessary Equipment Needed For Installation

Before beginning the actual task of installing the board, you will need to prepare some tools and keep them near you so that your work is not delayed and you can quickly grab the necessary equipment at ease. The required equipment are:

Caulk Gun

Caulk is a binding material used to seal the gaps between metals, glass, tile, etc. It is made of silicone or latex. The caulk is usually stored inside a tube to prevent it from getting on your hands.

A gun is attached to the tube, which regulates the flow of the caulk from the pipe. Using the weapon, you can quickly put caulk wherever you want to.


It is a machine which is used to put holes on a wall. They can vary in shape and size and also in their mode of operation. They are used mainly in construction projects. It can be both corded and cordless.

We can use either for the project depending on the availability of a PowerPoint around the installation site. But to avoid accidents, using a cordless one should be safer.

Teflon Coated Self-Tapping Screws

These screws don’t easily get rusted and help to prepare a flat surface on the board. Thus the tile can be placed without any trouble after attaching the board with this screw on the wall.


You will need a hammer to attach the board with the wall by placing the screws on the drilled holes.

Notched Trowel

Before putting the tiles on the board, you will need to have a smooth coating of adhesives on them. To smoothen the adhesive, a notched trowel should be used.


You will need to have the necessary amount of caulk at bay to avoid delays in your work.

Mesh Tape

It has a similar function as caulk, but it is not a liquid substance

Thin-set Mortar

Thin-set mortar is an adhesive that is made of cement.

Tile Backer

The essential material in this project is the tile backer who will serve as the base for applying the cement and putting the tiles on it.

When determining the layout of your HardieBacker cement boards, you should consider the following;

  • Choose whether you will install your cement boards vertically or horizontally. When doing that, there are other factors also to consider. The first one is to consider the aesthetic look. It would help if you chose a layout that will produce the best aesthetic look, which will impress the owner at a glance.

You should also take into consideration the measurement and shape of the bathroom. That will also help you to choose the best layout for the cement boards.

  • Arrange your boards in a staggered pattern. That arrangement will also make it attractive and appealing.
  • Make sure a structural framing member supports the edges of the board parallel to framing.
  • Make sure the corners do not meet at one point as that can create a week point. When a week point exists, the structure can quickly fail at any time.

Cement And Hardiebacker Board Around Tub – The Installation Process

Not sure about the installation process? Read through the steps down below to find out more.

Step 1

The first step is the most crucial and making any mistakes here might force you to restart the entire process. This step includes taking appropriate measurements of your tub and the backer board.

Make sure to place the backer board at least a quarter-inch above the tub to prevent water from leaking onto it and consequently damaging it.

Cover the bathtub with a drop cloth and tape the edges to the tub to make sure no dust or debris escapes into the tub beneath the cloth’s edge.

Step 2

After taking the necessary measurements, ensure you have all the essential materials near you.

Install the first full sheet of cement board lengthwise against the back wall. Hold the sheet against the wall and insert quarter-inch spacers to keep the cement board quarter -inch above the tub’s lip.

Screw the board into place with cement board screws. Insert each screw straight and make the screws flush with the board.

Step 3

Next, use the drill to bore holes on the wall and attach the backer board onto it. Put the screws in place with a hammer. And make sure the screws are Teflon coated to prevent rusting.

Cut the next sheet to fit above the first with a utility knife. Cut straight by clamping a straightedge along the length of the board, score, and cut down the size of the edge. Use a jigsaw to cut out shapes for windows and drill with a carbide-grit hole saw to drill holes for pipes.

Step 4

Now, you can use either caulk or mesh tapes to close the gaps between the backer boards.

Install the sheet 1/8 inch above the first, leaving room for thin-set mortar with will provide strength to the seam. Use 1/8 inch spacers to maintain the gap as you secure the board with the cement board screws.

Step 5

Apply thin sets made of cement over the tapes on the backer boards to fix the seams of the board correctly.

Cut and shape the boards for the remaining sides of the tub and install them in the same manner. That will leave enough gaps in between adjacent panels.

Step 6

Then apply the tile backer on the boards and use a notched trowel over it to create a smooth surface for the application of the tiles.

Cover each of the seams with fiberglass mesh tape. Smooth the tape along the seams keeping it centered on either side of the joint, and cut off the excess when you reach the end.

Step 7

Prepare a batch of thin-set mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spread a layer of the thin-set mortar on the taped seams with a metal putty knife. It should resemble a thick paste when you are finished. 

Finally, you can attach the tiles to the board, and your work will be completed.

Hardiebacker Board Around TubHow to Add Tiles to your Walls

  • Wipe the surface of the HardieBacker Board around the tub. Wipe it clean with a damp sponger. That will ensure the surface is clean for proper contact between the tiles and the cement boards.

Improper surface cleaning may leave some particles that may not make the two in proper contact. The tiles may therefore fall off the cement board after a short period.

  • Spread your motor with an appropriately sized notched trowel. Comb the ridges in one direction for best results.
  • Twist or press and beat in the tiles.
  • Allow a minimum of 24hours curing set time before grouting.

Hardiebacker Board Around Tub – Factors to consider when choosing tile adhesives

When it comes to fixing tiles, When you don’t spend much of your time in proper preparation, you should be ready for failure after a short time. So, before you open the first bag of tile adhesive, your substrates must be ready. That means it should be flat, clean, and strong to take your tiles.

After you have picked your perfect tiles, it’s not yet time to sit back and relax. You have to think of adhesives and installation as the tiles will only look good when appropriately fixed. Installing a hardy backer, therefore, requires proper skills to do it perfectly.

If you are a homeowner and still wondering how to install a Hardie backer board around your bathtub, The factors below will help you choose the best adhesive that will enable it to last longer.

What Types of Tile Adhesives are there?

Before choosing the type of adhesive you want to use for your tiles, you first need to consider the types of bonds available. That is because you may end up choosing something that is not readily available. In any construction or work, there is always a need to minimize expenses. Choosing an additive that is not readily available will add more expenses such as transport cost plus the taxes. That will make you spend a lot.

There are two different types of tile adhesives which are, ready mixed pastes and powdered adhesives. Ready-mixed tapes can be used straight out of the tub, so they are pretty easy to use. Everything must have its limitations, and therefore the limitation of pastes is that they can only be used to fix smaller ceramic tiles to walls.

Powdered adhesives need to be mixed with water into a slurry, which takes more time and effort. However, they offer a much stronger bond and can fit ceramic and natural stone tiles.

What Substrate are you Fixing the board to?

Another essential factor to consider is the Substrate you are fixing to. There are different substrates you can select tiles to, which will help you choose the best adhesive to use. I you are still wondering how to install a Hardie backer on your bathtub, then selecting the best adhesive is one of the best steps to make.

Walls-Plaster and Plasterboard

Small ceramic tiles are often used for walls and splash backs, and in most cases, a ready-mixed paste will be suitable for the work. If you are fixing larger ceramic tile, you will need to use a powdered adhesive in different colors, setting speed and flexibility options.


For timber floors, you will always need to use a powdered adhesive. Newly laid floors will need to be sufficiently before you can tile. Fixing tiles before the foundation dries can make them only last for a short time.


Before you fix your tiles, you need first to install a layer of marine-grade plywood or a tile backing board on top. That will give you a more robust and stable surface to tile onto. Ready-mixed pastes are not suitable for tiling floors if you are using ceramic tiles. You will need to use a powdered adhesive. You can choose your best colour from the ones available.

  • Flexibility

Floor tiles usually experience a lot of stress from underfloor heating, foot traffic, and other movements on the floor. A god adhesive will help absorb the stresses to prevent your floor from cracking. That means the bond should be flexible enough. A flexible adhesive will give you peace of mind even when operating on the floor.

Powdered adhesives are rated as S1 or S2, depending on their flexibility. S1 adhesives are suitable for most applications in areas subjected to a lot of vibrations. S2 offers more ] degree of flexibility.

  • Setting Time

Powdered adhesives are classified as either standard or rapid settings. Setting time refers to the working time you have to use the product. An adhesive that sets faster will make you get into growing and finishing the room more quickly. That is because once it sets before you complete the work, you can no longer work on it. After all, it becomes complicated.

Rapid setting adhesive will be set faster than standard adhesives. If you require more working time, then it is not advisable to use quick setting adhesive. That is because it will harden before you finish your work. It, therefore, requires you to work faster.

Also, more activities are to be carried out, such as tiling a floor in a tricky pattern and laying larger format tiles to a wall. The activities require more time, and therefore rapid setting adhesive is not recommended because it will set faster before you finish the work.

  • Underfloor Heating

Underfloor heating is an essential factor to consider when choosing an adhesive. You may want to make your house as comfortable as possible. You are interested in installing electric underfloor heating to keep the room warm. In that case, it is essential to use a flexible adhesive. Using an adhesive that is not flexible may cause cracks on the floor because they expand when heated.

The heating and cooling processes also generate stress, and a flexible adhesive can absorb the stresses. That will help reduce the chances of your tiles cracking.

  • Color

Adhesives are usually available in two colors, grey and white. It is advisable to use white colour adhesive when using lighter grout. On the other hand, the grey adhesive is preferable for the other groups.

  • Strength

It is essential to consider the weight of tiles when chasing an adhesive. You will need to allow about four kg per square metre for the adhesive and grout on top of the weight of tiles. The weights are not constant but vary with the type of tiles you have chosen to work with.

Hardiebacker Board Around Tub – Comprehensive Guide to Selecting the Perfect Tile

It is essential to know what to consider, what to expect, and where to install the different tiles that are available. That will help using a tile where it is not appropriate that may make it get damaged within a short time.

Installing tile is a decision based on both aesthetics and functionality. It is, therefore, a hard decision to make as you also want something that is appealing to the eye.

To help you make the right decision, I have listed the most important aspects to consider when shopping for a tile.

  • Durability

It is always essential to go for a material that can withstand wear and tear. Replacing tiles after a short period is always expensive in the long run. Because cost is also an essential factor to consider, going for one that will help you reduce the expenses is necessary.

Not all materials are durable. Some maybe are attractive to the eye but week. That is where most people get confused and end p choosing inappropriate material.

  • Location

The room where you are going to install the tile can narrow down your options. The bathroom and kitchen require waterproof tiles like those made of ceramic and glass for the walls. That is because the rooms are prone to water damages. Floors need more durable material because they have to withstand walking pressures.

  • Style

Textured tiles are less slippery options in comparison to other smooth finishes. It is essential to keep in mind places such as the bathroom and kitchen even when considering the style you want. The sites have high chances of moisture and do not require slippery tyles. They may cause accidents to the users.

  • Size

Large floor tiles can make the room appear larger since less visible grout lines break the pattern. Small tiles can work well as a backsplash or on the floor of a small space. Smaller tiles also seem to feel more natural in a room.


Doing plumbing work can often prove to be difficult due to the precision needed in this job. But doing it yourself saves money and also teaches you what to do in case there is an emergency in the bathroom and there is no expert around.

Overall, installing a cement and Hardiebacker board around tub is a necessary step to secure your bathroom from being tainted or having damp walls. Therefore, following this article step by step will help you to do this job by yourself easily.

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