HardieBacker® Cement Board

Help prevent underlayment mold and moisture damage in wet areas by installing HardieBacker 1/4" or HardieBacker 500 on your walls, floors and countertops.

JH HardieBacker Installation

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Why HardieBacker®

HardieBacker is the perfect substrate for all of your of your tile wall/backsplash, vinyl, carpet, and wood flooring installation.

Only backer board with a lifetime warranty

Used in place of regular drywall, gypsum boards, glass mesh cement boards, and "floated" walls/floors

Basic Composition: 90% Portland cement and sand with selected additives

  • no formaldehyde
  • no gypsum
  • no paper facing or abrasive aggregate

Superior strength and durability so your floors/walls are stable

  • Greater flexural strength than any competitive board
    • 2x greater than cement & +10x greater than glass mat gypsum
    • 3x compressive strength of glass mesh

Greatest resistance to moisture and mold so the underlayment of your floors/walls are protected

  • Moldblock Technology: substrate achieved perfect score on industry mold tests
  • Contains no paper facing, which serves as a food source for mold, or gypsum, which can disintegrate with continuous moisture exposure

Resistance to flame spread so you are protected

  • Recognized for use in non-combustible construction

HardieBacker500 and HardieBacker ¼":

  • Are easy to install
  • Are available in 3'x5' and 4'x8' sheets
  • HardieBacker 1/4" (0.25") is mainly used for floors and countertops
  • Has the EZ Grid fastener pattern for simple installation
  • HardieBacker500 (0.42") is used for walls and floors
  • .42 size matches up with tapered edge of a drywall sheet
HardieBacker cement board protects against moisture

Why HardieBacker®

Only backer board with a lifetime warranty

Used in place of regular drywall, gypsum boards, glass mesh cement boards, and "floated" walls/floors

Basic Composition: 90% Portland cement and sand with selected additives

  • no formaldehyde
  • no gypsum
  • no paper facing or abrasive aggregate

Superior strength and durability so your floors/walls are stable

  • Greater flexural strength than any competitive board
    • 2x greater than cement & +10x greater than glass mat gypsum
    • 3x compressive strength of glass mesh

Greatest resistance to moisture and mold so the underlayment of your floors/walls are protected

  • Moldblock Technology: substrate achieved perfect score on industry mold tests
  • Contains no paper facing, which serves as a food source for mold, or gypsum, which can disintegrate with continuous moisture exposure

Resistance to flame spread so you are protected

  • Recognized for use in non-combustible construction

HardieBacker500 and HardieBacker 1/4"

  • Are easy to install
  • Are available in 3'x5' and 4'x8' sheets
  • HardieBacker 1/4" (0.25") is mainly used for floors and countertops
  • Has the EZ Grid fastener pattern for simple installation
  • HardieBacker500 (0.42") is used for walls and floors
  • .42 size matches up with tapered edge of a drywall sheet
HardieBacker cement board protects against moisture

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Where to Buy HardieBacker Cement Board

Dealers near the zip code of .

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HardieBacker Installation Guide

Resources

Click on the links below for additional product information

PDFInstallation Guide - English

PDFInstallation Guide - Spanish

PDFInstallation Guide - English/French

PDFWarranty

PDFWarranty for Limited Exterior Applications
(AL, AR, GA, HI, FL, LA, MS, OK, SC, TX, PR and limited areas of AZ, CA, KY, NC, NM, NV, OR, TN, VA, & WA)

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HardieBacker 1/4" board FAQ

Where do I purchase HardieBacker board?

Use the online James Hardie preferred dealer locator or call customer service at 1-888-JHARDIE for your closest sales representative.

How do I cut HardieBacker board?

HardieBacker board may be cut with a carbide-tipped scoring knife, utility knife, or cutting shears (manual, electric or pneumatic).

Where can I get a carbide score and snap knife?

Home Depot® stores and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses®.

Which side goes up, smooth or rough?

Either is acceptable, but we recommend that the smooth side with the nailing pattern of every 8" on center go up.

What subfloor should HardieBacker board be installed over?

The minimum subfloor specified is 5/8" exterior grade plywood or 23/32'' exterior grade OSB subflooring. HardieBacker board must be installed in accordance with local building codes and the floor must be engineered not to exceed the L/360 deflection criteria, including live and dead design loads, for the specific joist spacing used. HardieBacker board is not designed for use over concrete.

Why do I have to use thinset between HardieBacker board and the subfloor?

Dry set (ANSI 118.1) or acrylic modified thinset (ANSI 118.4) is specified between the HardieBacker board and the subfloor to eliminate any deviations between our product and the subfloor. This decreases the probability of popping or cracking tiles due to deflection and air pockets.

What do you mean by ''modified thinset''?

The modified thinset used with our product is a fortified cement-based mortar and should specifically conform to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A 118.4. The thinset can be fortified in a pre-mixed powder form or with a liquid additive.

Can I use liquid nails or glue with HardieBacker board?

No. Where HardieBacker board is being installed over a code-complying subfloor for the attachment of tile, the board is installed over a 3/32''-1/4'' thick bed of bonding mortar and then nailed down. ''Liquid Nails'' is not a bonding mortar. It is a structural adhesive generally used to bond the subfloor to the floor joists just prior to nailing. It creates a very solid joint between the surface of the floor joist and the subfloor and aids in reducing floor squeak. The properties of Liquid Nails are such that it is applied via a tube in the form of a bead-like caulking. It is not trowelable like a mortar and therefore results in high ridges with unsupported areas that can deflect under load, resulting in cracked tile.

Where HardieBacker board is being installed directly to wood or metal framing, the use of a structural adhesive in addition to mechanical fastening can be used. However, the board must be forced into the structural adhesive almost immediately upon application to insure that no ridge or crown is formed. The creation of a crown or ridge will result in an additional thickness of mortar being applied to fill in the valley created by the crown. This will require a longer curing time and result in a weaker bond between the tile and the mortar and the underlayment. The use of a structural adhesive does not result in fewer fasteners being required.

What is the correct fastener pattern for installing HardieBacker board?

Fasten HardieBacker sheets with proper nails or screws (as listed in ''Materials Required'' in the backer installation instructions) every 8'' around the perimeter and all supporting studs. Keep fasteners between 3/8'' and 3/4'' from sheet edges and 2'' in from sheet corners.

What type of fastener do you recommend for floor and wall applications of HardieBacker board?

In compliance with the tile industry, James Hardie recommends 1-1/4'' long galvanized or stainless steel roofing nails (0.121'' shank x 3/8'' HD) or 1-1/4'' long corrosion resistant ribbed waferhead screws (No. 8-18 x 3/8'' HD).

Why can't I get screws to sit flush with the HardieBacker board?

The screws that you are using do not have the power to rout out the material in order for the screw head to sit flush. Be sure to use the specified screws (1-1/4'' No.8-18 by 3/8'' HD Hi-Lo S or S-12 for metal studs, ribbed phil wafer head, self drilling, corrosion-resistant screws). If you continue to have difficulties, we recommend switching to 1-1/4'' galvanized roofing nails.

Why do I have to tape the joints?  What is the purpose of the 2'' wide tape?

The tape will help disperse any movement of the substrate, therefore decreasing the probability of popping or cracking tiles along the seams.

Where can I get the 2'' wide high-strength alkali-resistant glass fiber tape?

Home Depot stores and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses.

Can I put HardieBacker board over linoleum or vinyl composite tile?

Yes, Hardiebacker can go over linoleum or vinyl composite tile. Even though you may go over vinyl composite tile, James Hardie does not recommend you install HardieBacker board over cushioned vinyl. Follow HardieBacker floor installation instructions for complete details.

Can HardieBacker 1/4'' board be used in a shower wall application? Is a vapor barrier required?

Yes, HardieBacker 1/4'' cement board may be used in a shower. However, we recommend HardieBacker 500 if you need to make a smooth transition to drywall. The board must be mechanically fastened every 8'' on center to the wood or metal studs spaced a maximum of 16'' on center. A vapor barrier is needed if required by local building codes.

Can HardieBacker 1/4'' board be used for floor tile applications?

Yes, both HardieBacker 500 and 1/4'' board may be used for floor tile applications. If additional height is not required for transition, consider HardieBacker 1/4'' board — which has more compressive and flexural strength than any board on the market — even when compared to 1/2'' glass mesh cement boards. HardieBacker 1/4'' 3'x5' EZ Grid® sheet comes with a recessed fastener pattern for even easier installation.

Can I use HardieBacker board as a fireplace facing?

Yes, HardieBacker board can be used as a fireplace facing. HardieBacker 1/4'' board can be used as a component in a 1-hour fire resistive construction when installed in compliance with National Evaluation Report NER-405. HardieBacker boards are recognized as non-combustible, when tested according to ASTM E 136.

Can I use HardieBacker cement board in an exterior application?

In accordance with National Evaluation Service Report NER-405, HardieBacker board is recognized only as an interior substrate.

 

Click here for HardieBacker 500 board FAQ

Click here for James Hardie PEL Standards FAQ

 

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HardieBacker 500 board FAQ

Where do I purchase HardieBacker board?

Use the online James Hardie preferred dealer locator or call customer service at 1-888-JHARDIE for your closest sales representative.

How do I cut HardieBacker board?

HardieBacker board may be cut with a carbide-tipped scoring knife, utility knife, or cutting shears (manual, electric or pneumatic).

Where can I get a carbide score and snap knife?

Home Depot® stores and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses®.

Which side goes up, smooth or rough?

Either is acceptable, but we recommend that the smooth side with the nailing pattern of every 8" on center go up.

What subfloor should HardieBacker board be installed over?

The minimum subfloor specified is 5/8" exterior grade plywood or 23/32'' exterior grade OSB subflooring. HardieBacker board must be installed in accordance with local building codes and the floor must be engineered not to exceed the L/360 deflection criteria, including live and dead design loads, for the specific joist spacing used. HardieBacker board is not designed for use over concrete.

Why do I have to use thinset between HardieBacker board and the subfloor?

Dry set (ANSI 118.1) or acrylic modified thinset (ANSI 118.4) is specified between the HardieBacker board and the subfloor to eliminate any deviations between our product and the subfloor. This decreases the probability of popping or cracking tiles due to deflection and air pockets.

What do you mean by ''modified thinset''?

The modified thinset used with our product is a fortified cement-based mortar and should specifically conform to ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A 118.4. The thinset can be fortified in a pre-mixed powder form or with a liquid additive.

Can I use liquid nails or glue with HardieBacker board?

No. Where HardieBacker board is being installed over a code-complying subfloor for the attachment of tile, the board is installed over a 3/32''-1/4'' thick bed of bonding mortar and then nailed down. ''Liquid Nails'' is not a bonding mortar. It is a structural adhesive generally used to bond the subfloor to the floor joists just prior to nailing. It creates a very solid joint between the surface of the floor joist and the subfloor and aids in reducing floor squeak. The properties of Liquid Nails are such that it is applied via a tube in the form of a bead-like caulking. It is not trowelable like a mortar and therefore results in high ridges with unsupported areas that can deflect under load, resulting in cracked tile.

Where HardieBacker board is being installed directly to wood or metal framing, the use of a structural adhesive in addition to mechanical fastening can be used. However, the board must be forced into the structural adhesive almost immediately upon application to insure that no ridge or crown is formed. The creation of a crown or ridge will result in an additional thickness of mortar being applied to fill in the valley created by the crown. This will require a longer curing time and result in a weaker bond between the tile and the mortar and the underlayment. The use of a structural adhesive does not result in fewer fasteners being required.

What is the correct fastener pattern for installing HardieBacker board?

Fasten HardieBacker sheets with proper nails or screws (as listed in ''Materials Required'' in the backer installation instructions) every 8'' around the perimeter and all supporting studs. Keep fasteners between 3/8'' and 3/4'' from sheet edges and 2'' in from sheet corners.

What type of fastener do you recommend for floor and wall applications of HardieBacker board?

In compliance with the tile industry, James Hardie recommends 1-1/4'' long galvanized or stainless steel roofing nails (0.121'' shank x 3/8'' HD) or 1-1/4'' long corrosion resistant ribbed waferhead screws (No. 8-18 x 3/8'' HD).

Why can't I get screws to sit flush with the HardieBacker board?

The screws that you are using do not have the power to rout out the material in order for the screw head to sit flush. Be sure to use the specified screws (1-1/4'' No.8-18 by 3/8'' HD Hi-Lo S or S-12 for metal studs, ribbed phil wafer head, self drilling, corrosion-resistant screws). If you continue to have difficulties, we recommend switching to 1-1/4'' galvanized roofing nails.

Why do I have to tape the joints?  What is the purpose of the 2'' wide tape?

The tape will help disperse any movement of the substrate, therefore decreasing the probability of popping or cracking tiles along the seams.

Where can I get the 2'' wide high-strength alkali-resistant glass fiber tape?

Home Depot stores and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouses.

Can I put HardieBacker board over linoleum or vinyl composite tile?

Yes, Hardiebacker can go over linoleum or vinyl composite tile. Even though you may go over vinyl composite tile, James Hardie does not recommend you install HardieBacker board over cushioned vinyl. Follow HardieBacker board floor installation instructions for complete details.

Can I use HardieBacker board as a fireplace facing?

Yes, HardieBacker board can be used as a fireplace facing. HardieBacker 1/4'' board can be used as a component in a 1-hour fire resistive construction when installed in compliance with National Evaluation Report NER-405. HardieBacker boards are recognized as non-combustible, when tested according to ASTM E 136.

Can I use HardieBacker cement board in an exterior application?

In accordance with National Evaluation Service Report NER-405, HardieBacker board is recognized only as an interior substrate.

 

Click here for HardieBacker 1/4" board FAQ

Click here for James Hardie PEL Standards FAQ

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James Hardie PEL Standards FAQ

Why do you think OSHA is changing the standard?

That’s a question best answered by OSHA. But whatever the standard is, James Hardie will continue to offer solutions that help you comply when cutting our products.

How is James Hardie addressing the new PEL standard?

We will address this new PEL standard exactly like we’ve addressed other workplace safety regulations: by listening to our customers and providing them with the solutions and guidance they need to help them comply with the new standard. We have a number of solutions to help with compliance today, and we are always looking for ways to enhance the usefulness and efficiency of these solutions. We are also evaluating new practices to help you to meet the new PEL standard in a variety of production environments while continuing to provide good efficiencies. Once the standard is in effect, we will, as always, be ready with a number of flexible ways to help you meet the standard.

How will you help me meet the new standard?

The same tools you’ve likely been using to cut HardieBacker® cement board safely – a hand blade or fiber cement shears – allow you to cut our products with minimal airborne dust. Whether you prefer to cut with a hand tool or a power tool, you can keep using our recommended methods to safely cut our products. If you haven’t been using our score and snap method or fiber cement shears, let us know and we can make sure you know where to get what you need.

Why does James Hardie have silica in its products?

Silica is in many everyday building materials: tile, concrete, granite countertops, etc. It is a very durable material and contributes to the stability of fiber cement.

How are fiber cement products safe if silica dust is released when cutting them?

Cutting our fiber cement products is safe when using our guidelines, which are designed to reduce the amount of dust produced.

Are you changing anything with how James Hardie fiber cement products are manufactured?

No, there’s no need to. This is about a rule change, not a concern about our products. Our fiber cement products are safe when cut according to our guidelines.

Are James Hardie fiber cement products safe to put on homes?

Yes. There is no dust concern from fiber cement once it’s installed on the home.

Is there any danger to install crews?

This is about a rule change, not a concern about our products: dust generation is only an issue if our fiber cement products are not cut according to our guidelines. We are here to make it as easy as possible to enable your install crews to cut our fiber cement products properly and safely. These recommendations can be found on www.jhsafesite.com.

Will I have to incur additional costs when installing JH siding to comply with the new standard?

It depends on how you’re currently cutting our fiber cement products. We have a number of solutions today, and we are always looking for ways to enhance the usefulness and efficiency of these solutions. As part of our continual improvement culture, we are also evaluating new practices to help you meet the new PEL standard in a variety of production environments while continuing to provide good efficiencies. Our solutions are designed to help you comply with the new standard in the most cost-efficient way. Visit www.jhsafesite.com for more information.

Is this change going to slow me down?

The tools James Hardie recommends to cut and install our fiber cement products under the new PEL standard are the same tools we recommended under the old PEL standard. James Hardie will provide resources that will help you select tools that allow you to cut and install our products safely and economically. Regardless of the solution you use, we are here to help ensure the impact on your crew is minimal.

What changes will be expected of install crews?

The tools used to install our fiber cement underlayment now can still be used under the new PEL standard. Although the responsibility for compliance rests on the installers, as part of our value-added services, we can provide resources to help train your crews. We’re committed to the continued, safe use of our products and your productivity. And you probably already have the tools needed to comply such as a hand blade or fiber cement sheers.

How do I become OSHA compliant so I don’t get cited for a violation?

It depends on how you’re currently cutting our products and your job site. If you are unsure whether or not you are OSHA compliant, you should contact a certified industrial hygienist or other safety professional for advice. James Hardie can help you with locating these resources. If you need information about the proper way to cut our fiber cement products, you can find it and other resources at www.jhsafesite.com.

Is this change going to affect my ability to get your product?

No. Our fiber cement products are still the same safe, dependable and widely available siding that you’ve been using for years.

How do you now compare to other siding options? Do they have this same issue?

Every type of siding, regardless of whether it’s wood, wood composite siding, bricks, stone or fiber cement, produces dust when it’s cut and is subject to a PEL standard. James Hardie leads all siding manufacturers in providing resources in the field that help enable our customers to comply with the silica PEL standard.

Is it possible to exceed the current or new PEL standard when cutting or installing fiber cement?

It is not possible for James Hardie to comment on every cutting situation. Our recommended cutting practices are the most effective ways to control dust. James Hardie is here to provide solutions and guidance to help you comply with the silica PEL standard.

What do you recommend is the safest method to cut your product?

You can either cut it by hand using a carbide-tipped hand blade or utility knife or with a power tool using fiber cement shears.

Is it safe for me to be moving JH product around my jobsite/yard?

Yes. Moving or storing fiber cement does not generate significant dust from the product.

How will you help me meet the new standard?

James Hardie has always cared about workplace safety and the safe use of our products. James Hardie worked with the NAHB and other construction industry organizations to provide constructive feedback to OSHA on this new PEL standard. Once the standard is in effect, we will be ready to work with your safety staff or consultants to provide the assistance you need to demonstrate compliance with the new standard, just as we have done in the past.

Who will train my crew on the new practices?

The tools we recommend to cut and install our fiber cement underlayment under the new PEL standard are the same tools we recommended under the old PEL standard. Your installers already know how to use a hand blade or fiber cement shears. If you believe your job site will require something different, James Hardie can provide resources to help ensure these changes have no impact on your productivity. Just call James Hardie Technical Services at 800-942-7343 or visit www.jhsafesite.com to schedule a training session with our installation team. We’re committed to the continued, safe use of our products and your productivity

Do I need different tools?

If you’re cutting HardieBacker® cement board per our guidelines, you won’t need anything new. The tools that are used to safely cut our underlayment – a hand blade or fiber cement shears – can be used to help meet the new standard once compliance is required.

Is this change going to cost me any money or additional installation time to address?

It shouldn’t, as long as you’re cutting HardieBacker® cement board per our guidelines. The tools you’re probably using now – a hand blade or fiber cement shears – will help you meet the new standard without any additional expense.

 

Click here for HardieBacker 1/4" board FAQ

Click here for HardieBacker 500 board FAQ

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