Installing a cement backerboard

Backerboard is a kind of drywall that is installed or put behind ceramic tiles. It was first used to replace the cement mud and metal lath systems. In the market today, there many types of backerboard to be used for many purposes. Having the right tools will help when installing a cement backerboard. Cement backerboards are usually 3\’x5\’ sheets that are placed in places such as drywall and then topped with a thin layer of mortar for tiling. Most people opt for this method as this is a much easier method than the traditional mud flooring for tiling jobs. It is even better that this method can be done by you without any professional help. Here are the steps on how to install a cement backer board.

Things that you need:

  1. Cement backerboard
  2. backerboard screws
  3. tape measure
  4. straightedge
  5. carbide-tipped cement board knife
  6. margin trowel
  7. square notched trowel
  8. thinset mortar
  9. fiberglass tape


  1. First, place the first sheet of cement backerboard in a corner. Plan the layout to prevent the backerboard joints from falling directly over the joints in the underlying plywood. Go ahead to stagger joints of backerboard by at least 18 inches.
  2. Cut the backerboard sheets by measuring for the cut and subtracting 1/4″. Mark your line on both ends and connect the marks with a straightedge. Cut the backerboard sheets using a carbide-tipped cement board knife by scoring about1/16″ deep. While holding one side of the sheet, slide a 2×4 under the sheet in line with the scoring and press down on the other so that the board snaps along the cut line. Stand the sheet on its edge; make a pass with the knife to make the final cuts.
  3. Spread enough thinset mortar for one piece of backerboard on the subfloor using a ¼” square notched trowel. Place the first sheet in the mortar carefully and leave approximately ¼ “around the perimeter area next to the wall.
  4. Every 8 inches, drive the backerboard screws through the board into the subfloor. Screws should be placed every 6 inches around the perimeter. Continue to lay sections of thinset mortar and screw the backerboard. Try to leave 1/8″ gaps between the sections of backerboard.
  5. In each joint, stick a strip of fiberglass mesh tape by press into place with a taping trowel. Spread a thin layer of thinset mortar over the tape with a flat edge of the trowel. Fill only the groove. Smooth away any lumps or mounds and feather the thinset mortar on each side.
  6. Let the thinset to set at least 12 hours before tiling.

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