previous
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Design Inspiration
    Design Inspiration
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Video: Install a Fence
    Video: Install a Fence
  • Radiant Heat Comparison
    Radiant Heat Comparison
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Remodeling Articles
    Remodeling Articles
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
    Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
next
Pin It

Tile Backerboard Options

Before you begin tiling, make sure that you've chosen the right substrate

When cement backerboard became available in the early 1970s, it became a popular substrate for tile installations because of its imperviousness to water. Although it remains popular, backerboards made of other materials have since come on the market. In this article, senior editor Martin Holladay looks at each of them in turn. Cement is still the leader in water resistance but is heavier than other materials and shouldn't be used on floors because of its brittleness. Polystyrene backerboard consists of panels of polystyrene (either EPS or XPS) covered in fiberglass and polymer resin. Light in weight but surprisingly strong, it is available in more sizes and thicknesses than other backerboards. It also costs more. Fiber-cement backerboard is similar in many ways to cement backerboard, although it weighs less and is less brittle. Its smooth surface allows it to be finished with paint or wallpaper. Gypsum-core backerboard is lighter than both cement backerboard and fiber-cement backerboard, and it handles much like drywall. Unlike drywall, however, it has a waterproof facing; still, most gypsum-core backerboards should not be used in areas that experience daily wetting.

Tile Backerboard Options
Plus get a free gift
Become a Fine Homebuilding Member and get 3 months free. Offer ends 1/30/15 Start your free trial now