Installing a backer board

Backer boards are commonly installed behind or underneath ceramic tile and natural stone installations in your home. They come in various sizes and are quite similar in construction, to a drywall. If you are planning to work on a tile or natural stone project, knowing the proper information and tools will make your backer board installation goes smoothly. Here\’s how you can do it.

Things that you need:

  1. Carbide-tipped hand tool
  2. alkali-resistant tape
  3. corrosion-resistant screws
  4. vacuum
  5. thin-set mortar


  1. First, measure the space to determine how much backer board you need. You can avoid false result or less loss of material by doing measurement twice. Multiply the measurement number by five percent to account for mistakes and unusable pieces. Mark the stud locations along the floor or the ceiling to make the installation easier.
  2. Then, install a vapor barrier of either asphalt-backed paper or polyethylene to prevent moisture damage between the wall or sub-floor and the backer board.
  3. Make sure to clean the installation area from any dust, debris and dirt. You can use a vacuum to make sure that everything is completely removed. Make sure the surface on which the backer board will be installed is leveled.
  4. Next, cut the backer board pieces to fit the space. There are different ways to do this. You can either use a hand tool with a carbide tip and score along your measured marks, at the same time apply pressure until the cut breaks clean. Or, you can use a diamond or carbide blade when cutting backer board with jigsaws or circular saws.
  5. Then, fasten the backer board to the wall or sub-floor. Attach the backer board to the wall studs or sub-floor by using corrosion-resistant screws or nails.
  6. Finally, seal the joints with an alkali-resistant tape. Then followed by a layer of thin-set mortar. Allow the thin-set mortar to dry completely at least 24 hours before the tile installation begin. If you are installing the backer board in moist and wet areas such as around the bathtubs or sinks, use a silicone sealant.

Additional Reading:

Image Credit: