DIY Network

How to Install Backer Board

Learn how to install backer board before installing a ceramic tile floor.

More in Floors

installing backerboard
  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Check the Area

Ensure that the subfloor is sound and not loose, warped or damaged. Ensure that it's clean and flat.

Step 2: Make the Necessary Cuts

Use a straightedge to score the material and then snap to break it apart. Make large cuts with a circular saw. You can also use a drill with a masonry bit to make pilot holes – for such cut-outs as circular patterns and then hit it out using a hammer.

Note: Cement backer board can be cut with a carbide tip scoring tool, circular saw with a carbide tip (set saw for thickness of board) or mechanical Snapper Steelhead Shear.

make necessary cuts on backer board

Step 3: Lay the Backer Board

Lay the backer board in a "brickwork" type pattern–meaning that sheets are offset. No four corners should meet at any point. Do not align sheet joints with subfloor joints. In a narrow hallway, the boards can be installed in a line.

Step 4: Apply the Mortar

Using a notched trowel, apply a leveling bed of thinset mortar over the subfloor and embed the backer board sheets into the adhesive. Spread the mortar to about 3/16" thickness. Add more mortar as necessary to fill sunken areas in. Lay the backer board according to the manufacturer's instructions. Many have a nailing pattern that should go face up–with a nailing pattern every 8" on center.

Step 5: Attach the Backer Board

Fasten the backer board to the floor using proper nails or screws, as recommended by the manufacturer, every 8" around the perimeter and all supporting the studs. Keep fasteners between 3/8" and 3/4" from sheet edges and 2" in from sheet corners. Make sure that the nail or screw heads are not sticking up above the board surface.

Note: In some cases, you can attach the backer board joints using 2" wide glass fiber mesh cementitious alkali-resistant backer unit reinforcing tape (see product instructions – usually needed for wide areas). The tape will help disperse any movement of the boards and decrease the probability of popping or cracking tiles along the seams.

fasten backer board to floor

Was this project helpful?

Don't forget: Read comments and leave your own

Advertisement

Projects

COMMENT ON THIS PROJECT

    

Sign in

All fields are required.

E-mail Address:

Password:

Remember me on this computer

Signing in

Please enter your email address and we will send your password

E-mail Address

Your password has been sent and should arrive in your mailbox very soon.

Not a member?

Sign up with DIY Network to share tips with other do-it-yourselfers and comment and ask questions on projects.

It's free and easy.