How to Attach Cement Board to Brick Walls

Building a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower and Fastening Cement Board to Brick Wall Surfaces

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, I am in the process of preparing to install a custom ceramic tile shower in my bathroom and I have a question regarding on how to fasten cement board to brick walls. Is there a way to attach cement board directly to a brick wall?

I was thinking about gluing the cement backer backer board to the brick walls and then securing them with Tapcon anchors. Also, I thought about using furring strips to attach the cement board to the brick walls.

Answer: J.D., I would recommend attaching 1″x3″ furring strips to the brick walls using Tapcon anchors and liquid nails adhesive. Due to the fact that cement board and tile are very heavy I would attach furring strips on 12 inch centers along the brick wall surfaces.

Make sure that you install Tapcon anchors every 10 to 12 inches along the length of the furring strips. Also, install the Tapcon anchors in the mortar that is sandwiched in between the bricks. Use a hammer drill to pre-drill the holes in the mortar and make sure you use Tapcon anchors that penetrate into the mortar at least 1.5 inches.

Once the furring strips and liquid nails adhesive has set up for 24 hours, then attach the cement board to the furring strips using non-corrosive screws (Rock-on fasteners). Also, make sure to first install a vapor barrier between the brick walls and furring strips, and the cement backer board.

Once you’ve install the cement board onto the brick walls, via the furring strips, then tape and mud the seams using an alkaline resistant tape and thinset mortar. 

Taped cement backer board

Once the thinset mortar has cured, you can begin tiling your custom ceramic tile shower.

For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook from  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’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


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