How to Install Hardiebacker: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Install Hardiebacker

If you are planning to install tiles in your bathroom or kitchen, you need a strong and durable surface to support them. That’s where Hardiebacker comes in. It is a cement-based board that provides a stable and moisture-resistant base for tile installation. However, the installation process can be tricky for those who are not familiar with it. In this guide, we will show you how to install Hardiebacker correctly to ensure a long-lasting and professional-looking tile installation.

Preparing for the Installation

Screws and washers securely attach the Hardiebacker board to the subfloor.
Screws and washers securely attach the Hardiebacker board to the subfloor.

Before you start installing Hardiebacker, you need to prepare your tools and materials. Here is a list of things you will need:


  • Circular saw or jigsaw
  • Power drill
  • Carbide-tipped scoring knife
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • Notched trowel
  • Margin trowel
  • Mixing paddle
  • Bucket


  • Hardiebacker cement board
  • Cement board screws and washers
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Fiberglass mesh tape
  • Silicone caulk
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask

It is essential to wear safety glasses and a dust mask during the installation process to protect your eyes and lungs from dust and debris. Measure the area where you want to install the Hardiebacker and purchase enough boards to cover the entire surface. It’s better to have extra boards in case of mistakes or unforeseen circumstances.

Once you have all the tools and materials, you can start measuring and cutting the Hardiebacker boards. Use a circular saw or jigsaw to cut the boards to the correct size. A carbide-tipped scoring knife can also be used to score the board and snap it along the scored edge. Make sure to leave a 1/8-inch gap between the boards and the walls to allow for expansion and contraction.

Installing the Hardiebacker

Now that you have all the Hardiebacker boards cut to the right size, it’s time to install them. The following steps will guide you through the installation process:

Starting from the Bottom

Start at the bottom of the wall and work your way up. Apply a thin layer of thin-set mortar to the subfloor using a notched trowel. Press the Hardiebacker board onto the mortar and screw it into place using cement board screws and washers. Make sure to countersink the screws and leave a 1/8-inch gap between the boards.

Laying out the Hardiebacker

Lay out the Hardiebacker boards in a staggered pattern, similar to how you would lay out tiles. Use a straight edge to ensure that the boards are level and the gaps are consistent. Apply thin-set mortar to the subfloor and the back of the board using a notched trowel.

Stay tuned for the next sections.

Installing the Hardiebacker (Continued)

Attaching the Hardiebacker to the Subfloor

Attach the Hardiebacker boards to the subfloor using cement board screws and washers. Space the screws 8 inches apart along the edges and 12 inches apart in the field of the board. Make sure the screws are flush with the surface of the board.

Installing Screws and Washers

When installing screws and washers, make sure to use the right size and type of screws. Hardiebacker recommends using 1 5/8 inches long screws for 1/4 inches thick boards and 1 7/8 inches long screws for 1/2 inches thick boards. The screws should be corrosion-resistant and have a flat head. The washers should be large enough to prevent the screws from pulling through the board.

Finishing the Installation

Once you have installed all the Hardiebacker boards, it’s time to finish the installation. Here are the steps you need to follow:

Sealing the Joints

Apply silicone caulk to the joints between the Hardiebacker boards and the walls or other surfaces. This will prevent water from penetrating the gaps and damaging the subfloor. Use a caulking gun to apply the caulk evenly and smoothly. Smooth out the caulk with a damp finger or a caulk smoothing tool.

Taping the Seams

Cover the seams between the Hardiebacker boards with fiberglass mesh tape. This will reinforce the joints and prevent cracking. Apply thin-set mortar to the seams using a margin trowel, then press the fiberglass mesh tape into the mortar. Smooth out any excess mortar with the margin trowel.

Applying Thin-Set Mortar

Finally, apply a layer of thin-set mortar to the surface of the Hardiebacker boards using a notched trowel. This will create a smooth and level surface for tile installation. Make sure to spread the mortar evenly and consistently, and don’t leave any gaps or bumps.

In conclusion, installing Hardiebacker is not as difficult as it may seem. By following these steps, you can ensure a professional-looking and long-lasting tile installation. Remember to wear protective gear, use the right tools and materials, and follow the instructions carefully.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Hardiebacker

Once the Hardiebacker is installed, it’s essential to clean it properly and maintain it to ensure its longevity. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining the Hardiebacker:

Removing Excess Mortar

Once the mortar has dried, use a carbide-tipped scoring knife to remove any excess mortar that has squeezed out from between the boards. This will ensure that the surface is flat and even.

Cleaning the Surface

Use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe down the surface of the Hardiebacker. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the surface. If there are stubborn stains or grime, use a mild soap solution and a soft-bristled brush to scrub the surface gently.

Proper Maintenance

To ensure the longevity of the Hardiebacker, it’s essential to maintain it properly. Keep the surface free from debris and clean up any spills immediately. Avoid dragging heavy objects across the surface as they can cause scratches or damage. It’s also essential to reseal the joints and seams periodically to prevent moisture from seeping in.


Installing Hardiebacker is an essential step in ensuring a long-lasting and professional-looking tile installation. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can install Hardiebacker correctly and avoid common mistakes. Remember to prepare your tools and materials, measure and cut the boards correctly, install them in a staggered pattern, seal the joints and seams, and maintain the surface properly.

By using Hardiebacker, you can ensure that your tile installation is strong, durable, and moisture-resistant. It provides a stable base for your tiles and prevents them from cracking or shifting over time. By installing Hardiebacker correctly, you can save time and money in the long run and enjoy a beautiful and functional tile installation for years to come.

Dayne Williamson

I'm Dayne Williamson, and I love all things technology and finance. I started Napo News Online as a way to keep people up-to-date on the latest news in those industries, and I've loved every minute of it. I'm always looking for new ways to improve my site and help my readers, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

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