Can Hardie Backer Board Be Used In A Shower

By | April 21, 2024

Can Hardie Backer Board Be Used in a Shower?

Hardie Backer board is a fiber cement backer board commonly used as a substrate for tile installations. It boasts exceptional durability, moisture resistance, and dimensional stability, making it a popular choice for backer boards. However, it's crucial to understand its limitations and suitability for specific applications, particularly in high-moisture environments like showers.

Suitability in Wet Environments: Hardie Backer board is inherently moisture-resistant due to its cement composition. However, it is not wholly waterproof and can deteriorate over time if exposed to excessive or prolonged moisture. While its moisture resistance makes it suitable for use in humid areas like kitchens and bathrooms, it is not recommended for direct exposure to water, such as inside a shower or bathtub.

Alternative Options for Showers: For tile installations in showers, waterproof backer boards specifically designed to withstand direct water exposure are preferable. These include:

  • Cement board: A waterproof backer board made of cement and fiberglass mesh, offering superior moisture resistance and strength.
  • Rigid foam board: A lightweight and waterproof backer board made of extruded polystyrene foam, suitable for moisture-prone areas.
  • Shower panels: Prefabricated wall panels designed for showers, featuring integral waterproofing and eliminating the need for additional backer boards.

Proper Installation Techniques: Even with moisture-resistant backer boards like Hardie Backer, proper installation techniques are essential to ensure longevity. These include:

  • Sealing Joints: Use waterproof tape or caulk to seal all joints and seams between the backer board and the underlying structure to prevent moisture penetration.
  • Slope for Drainage: Ensure a slight slope in the shower pan or floor to allow water to drain properly.
  • Vapor Barrier: Install a vapor barrier behind the backer board to prevent moisture from migrating from the shower into the wall cavity.

Conclusion: While Hardie Backer board offers moisture resistance, it is not suitable for direct water exposure in showers. Waterproof backer boards or shower panels are more appropriate choices for these applications. Proper installation techniques are crucial for all backer board installations to ensure longevity and prevent moisture-related issues.


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