Hardibacker Tile Installation

”Hardibacker has become the backing of choice for ceramic tile jobs in the past few years. This is true for walls and for floors that have a wood subflooring. This article will help you understand how to easily and successfully complete a hardibacker tile installation project in your kitchen or bathroom.

Hardibacker is a member of the Hardie family of construction materials which includes siding, facia boards, and trim. This material is cement-like in nature and is strong and virtually unaffected by nature.

Tools That You Will Need

    – Table saw or circular saw with blade to cut cement board
    Chalk line
    – Mortar trowel
    – CBX plywood
    – Hardibacker
    – Durock CBU tape
    Thinset Mortar


If you are tiling a floor you will need to screw or otherwise attach the plywood to the subfloor. Then mix and trowel out thinset over the plywood, enough to completely coat the surface and fill in any low spots. Now while the thinset is still wet, lay out the pre-cut pieces of Hardibacker and screw them down to the plywood. As you go, cover the seams with the Durock CBU tape.

If you are going to tile a wall you may forgo the plywood and thinset step but screw the Hardibacker directly to the wall making sure to use the Durock CBU tape. The reason you may skip these steps is that a wall is not a load-bearing surface.

Laying the Tile

Your tile size and the grout width will determines your layout and the size of your borders. When you have determined the layout, snap perpendicular control lines using a chalk line. This lays out the first full tiles beginning from the corner you have determined to work from.

Ensure that your chalk lines are square. Use the 3-4-5 method to do this.

Lay the Tile

Begin with several border and field tiles. Work out from the corner where the control lines intersect. Trowel out just enough mortar as far as you can reach. Use the wet saw to cut the border tile. A score-and-snap tool will only lead to frustration.

After you lay several tiles, set them with light taps with the rubber mallet along with a beating block. Use the tile spacers between the tiles as you go. Let the mortar set for 24 hours.

Time to Grout the Tile

The instructions for mixing the powder grout are on the packaging. It should be the texture of a milkshake.

Begin by applying some grout at the corner of your porch and work outwards using a grout float. Work it in at a 45 degree angle with a sweeping motion.

Use clean water to sponge the grout off the tile surface as you go. Shape a slight indentation in your joints. This should be done before the grout sets up so you'll be grouting in sections.

Once the grout is completely dried, use a grout sealer.

photo by Crystal -CreativeCommons Attribution