How to Install Cement & Hardiebacker Board Around Tub?

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 to first set a cement board. As putting tiles by calling a plumber can be quite expensive nowadays, many people prefer to install cement and Hardiebacker board around a tub themselves.

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 guideline 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 ΒΌ 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 minimum 1/8 inches above the tub. Now grab some caulk and use it to cover the space between the cement board and the 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 simply look for it on the internet.

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

Make sure that at the corner region of the tub and the framing is done correctly to avoid complications later on in the project.

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 silicon 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 tube. Using the gun, you can easily 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 mostly used in construction projects. It can be both corded and cordless.

We can use either for the project depending on the availability of a power point 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 on it 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 it. To smoothen the adhesive, the notched trowel should be used.


You will need to have the necessary amount of caulk at bay to avoid delay 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 which is made of cement.

Tile Backer

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

The Installation Process

Not sure about the installation process? Read though 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 leaking onto it and consequently damaging it.

Step 2

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

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.

Step 4

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

Step 5

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

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.

Step 7

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

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.

Installing a cement and Hardie backer board around your tub is a necessary step to secure your bathroom from tainted and damp walls. Therefore, following this article step by step will help you to do this job by yourself easily.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.