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Guidelines for Installing Cement Boards

Guidelines for Installing Cement Boards

Cement boards are the finest waterproofing base for ceramic tile flooring and walls. For installing them, you require cement board sheets, thin set mortar, a circular saw, drilling machine, screws, seam tape, and measurement tape. Let's look at the most important guidelines for installing cement boards, to be followed.
DecorDezine Staff
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
A cement board is an ideal solution to create a waterproofing base for ceramic tile flooring and walls. It also helps in supporting the overlying tiles, thus increasing their durability. In the process of making these boards, cement and glass fibers are combined in a specific proportion, so as to form a ½ inch or ¼ inch thick solid base. Thin sheets are also available for use in bending surfaces. Their size may be either 4 x 8 foot sheets or 3 x 5 foot sheets.

If you are planning to remodel the flooring or walls with ceramic tiles, you should consider installing these boards underneath the tiles for longer durability. As per reviews, they offer more resistance to water rots in comparison to water-resistant gypsum boards. They are highly tolerant to mold and mildew growth, even after prolonged exposure to moisture and water. Let's take a look at the step-by-step procedure for installation.

Installation Guidelines

As already mentioned, these sheets can be used as a base for both flooring and walls. Some homeowners prefer them as an exterior finishing to protect their homes from harsh environmental conditions. For installation, the sub floor should be smoothened and secured properly. It is best to fix backer boards over a plywood sub floor. To secure them well, they should be nailed to the studs directly.

Step 1
One of the major hurdles in this process is the transportation of the boards and cutting them to appropriate sizes, as they are quite heavy. According to the dimensions of the floors or walls that you are planning to install and the size, calculate the number of boards and mark them for cutting. Make sure you leave a space of 1/4 inch - 1/8 inch between each one. In simple terms, do not place two adjacent to each other.

Step 2
After you mark the dimensions properly, you can begin the cutting process accordingly. Since the boards are thick and hard, cutting should be done using carbide-tipped tools or circular saws. You can make use of old saws for cutting with smooth edges and a chisel for making holes. Also, pre-drilling for screws and fasteners should be done prior to installation. Cutting and drilling of holes generate lots of saw dust. Hence, you can complete these tasks outdoors, but be sure to wear a protective mask while you do this.

Step 3
Once you are done with cutting and drilling, you can start the installation process. First, make a thin-set tile mortar by mixing dry powder with a latex additive as per the guidelines of the manufacturer. An alternative of thin-set mortar preparation is purchasing the premixed type. Apply a layer of thin-set mortar on the surface that you are planning to install. You can spread the mortar uniformly by using a notched trowel.

Step 4
The next step is to fix the boards over the mortar bed. Lay them as per your plan, leaving a space between each one. You can start laying boards from the center and go outwards. Secure them by fastening them with screws in the pre-drilled holes. Ensure that they are tightly secured to the underlying sub floor. Fasten the screws in such a way that the heads are not protruding above the surface. For covering the seams, you can apply seam tape.

These were some basic guidelines for installing cement boards. Though the initial cost is more expensive than other waterproofing bases, it usually lasts for many decades.