Durock Cement Backer Board versus Hardie Cement Backer Board

Which Cement Backer board is better for Shower Walls and Ceilings on a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Hi Mark, I’m planning a custom ceramic tile shower project and purchased your “How to Install a Shower Membrane Liner” Ebook. It’s a great book and I feel much more confident now in installing the membrane liner. I also noticed while reading your Ebook that you recommend using Durock for a cement backer board on the shower walls. I did have a question for you on this subject. I was wondering about your thoughts on using Hardie backer board versus Durock cement backer board? Also what do you recommend for a backer board on the shower ceiling?

Answer: D.G. Glad to hear you’ve learned a lot from my “How to Install a Shower Membrane Liner” Ebook. I get that feedback regularly on the Ebook.

I’ve used the same process for installing a shower pan membrane liner in all of my custom ceramic tile shower projects and have never had a leak.

In regards to using Durock cement backer board versus Hardie backer board. Either will work, however I just personally feel that Durock cement backer board is more water resistant. Many professional tile installers say positive things about Hardie backer board so I can’t say it’s a bad product.

It’s just that I’ve always used Durock cement backer board and am very comfortable and confident in using it. I’ve heard Hardie backer board is easier to cut/score and snap than Durock cement backer board, however I’ve never had a problem scoring/snapping Durock. Note, I don’t recommend cutting cement backer board with a power tool saw. If you elect to do so I would highly suggest wearing a mask when cutting it. You don’t want to breathe in the silica dust.

How to Install a Mortar Shower Pan Membrane Liner eBook.

In regards to the shower ceiling and backer board, I’ve typically used green board sheathing and simply textured/painted the ceiling.

Green board sheathing is a water resistant gypsum product that works well in high moisture areas. It is commonly used in bathrooms as an alternative to standard gypsum drywall board. If your shower ceilings are relatively low, or you plan to tile the shower ceiling, then I would suggest using either Hardie or Durock backer board on it as well. With either of these products you can paint or texture the finish to get a finished looking ceiling.

Make sure, however, to tape the seams with thinset mortar and an alkali resistant tape before finishing the ceiling. Also make sure to do the same on the shower walls prior to tiling them.

Taped cement backer board

For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

See HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Ceramic Tile Calculator

See my “How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower” Ebook to learn how to tile your own shower:  For a detailed set of instructions on tiling a shower floor and walls, including pictures for every step in the process, see my “How to Tile Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook”.

Related Information

Additional Ceramic Tile Resources from Amazon.com


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