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Installing Cement Backer Board Underlayment

Make Sure Your Substrate is Secure

Underlayment is the layer between a subfloor and your finished floor. Installing a new walking surface may be necessary if your bathroom is old or has suffered water damage over the years. Underlayment provides a suitable installation surface for you to apply the perfect finish to your tile or linoleum floor.

So if you are planning to install new tile flooring in your bath, you will have to prepare the appropriate substrate that can withstand moisture without compromising the quality of your flooring design. Cement backer board is the logical choice.

Tips like, installing a base with the face grain running across support joists will make your flooring project turn out right. Continue reading this tutorial and you will be provided with all the necessary information to install a stable surface to mount your floor coverings with the care of a seasoned professional.

A Durability and Water Resistant Compound

First of all, there are numerous floor substrates to choose from. However, this article will be highlighting an underlayment that is commonly used in the bathroom setting that has the appropriate durability to remain intact after water exposure.

Even if your grooming area has a wooden subfloor this lining will still provide a stable surface for your finished project.

Cement backer-board is the recommended layer of choice that you should use if planning to install ceramic or stone tiles in your bathing space. This protective layer is made of actual cement and has a glass fiber-mesh that coats the back and front of its edges protecting it from disintegration under the elements.

Because of its durable and water-proof nature, this construction material is a suitable floor substrate for use on areas that are prone to water exposure like your bathroom; this means that choosing this underlayment for your shower and floor will ensure that your tiled flooring is securely bonded to the substrate no matter the level of moisture.

Building Materials to Avoid

As a warning, do not install tiles in your bathroom on a plywood underlayment; this floor substrate tends to expand and contract when exposed to moisture and can loosen the grout on tiles attached to its surface. If you want to ensure the longevity of your finished bath floor, we recommend cement backer-board for your base.

Here are the tools and materials that you are going to need for installing a waterproof bathroom subfloor:

• Cement Backer-Board   • Polymer Thin Set Mortar

• Notched Trowel     • Power Drill with Bits and Corrosion Resistant Screws

• Back Saw     • Measuring Tape

• Long Level     • Cement Board Seam-Tape

• Hammer/Pry Bar (optional)     • Utility Knife

• Concrete Grinder (optional)     • Floor Patch and Leveler (optional)

Page 1. Make Sure Your Substrate is Secure

  • Bill VIncent says:

    No need to worry about grain with reference to cement board floor underlayment. The only time it makes a difference is when laying engineered wood products (plywood, OSB, Advantec, etc), and THEN you want to make sure the grain goes across the joists. Woth reference to CBU, there ISN’T any grain.

    One question– you mentioned using cement board as an underlayment in a shower floor? could you explain that further?

    Also, with reference to applying mesh tape to the seams of the CBU, I’ve found it’s best to do this as you actually install the tile, that way you don’t end up with “speed bumps” at the tape joints. it’s just as easy to embed the tape as you spread thinset to set your tile.

    Other than that, very informative!


    July 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm

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