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Thread: Which is better for shower surround? Durock or Hardibacker?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member
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    Default Which is better for shower surround? Durock or Hardibacker?

    This will be a fully tiled floor to ceiling shower surround, floor, and curb. I know that the pan area has to be propertly waterproofed, etc. But for the walls above the pan, do you prefer Durock or Hardibacker, and why? Thanks.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If I was going to build a shower, I'd consider using Kerdipanel on the walls and building the pan with Kerdi as well. If you aren't familiar with this shower system, there are some videos, installation guides, etc., at www.schluter.com. A conventional shower uses an embedded liner in the pan leaving about an inch of porous deck mud on top. The tile and grout will leak some water through, and it will get into the setting bed, and the excess will drain through the weep holes of the drain. A surface membrane shower is different...the entire surface is waterproof to the drain, so the walls and floor never get wet. In a high humidity area, where drying can take a long time, a surface membrane waterproofing system has distinct advantages in keeping mildew down.

    If you wish to build a conventional shower, it doesn't really matter which you use, Durock or Hardiebacker. My limited experience is that the Hardie is less prone to crack if you get a screw too close to the edge. It may be a little harder to cut cleanly, though. In either case, ensure you install a vapor barrier behind it, lapping over the pan liner and do not screw the bottom in which will compromise the liner. Put the cbu up before you install the setting bed, and that will lock the bottom edges in against the studs rather than screws.

    For good help on tiling issues, check out www.johnbridge.com.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member richjsn's Avatar
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    Dont you love it when you ask a question and you get an answer that has nothing to do with your question. First, I would use Hardi, why...its easyer to handle, cut and install. Both are great products but I perfer Hardibacker. Second, I am a do it yourself kind of guy out of St Louis. NO ONE CARRIES KIRDI PERIOD. So why use it...marketing? Lots of housese being build and redone in the midwest and few to none use that product. Just my two cents worth.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richjsn View Post
    Dont you love it when you ask a question and you get an answer that has nothing to do with your question. First, I would use Hardi, why...its easyer to handle, cut and install. Both are great products but I perfer Hardibacker. Second, I am a do it yourself kind of guy out of St Louis. NO ONE CARRIES KIRDI PERIOD. So why use it...marketing? Lots of housese being build and redone in the midwest and few to none use that product. Just my two cents worth.
    Well, I did answer his question...I prefer Hardie. Any HD can get Kerdi (often less expensive at a tile store or online). It's often available at a 'real' tile store. It's easier to just use drywall, and put up the Kerdi membrane (similar to putting up wallpaper). Or, just screw the Kerdiboard panels right onto the studs. There's something to be said about a totally waterproof shower enclosure. Neither Durock nor Hardie are waterproof - they just don't degrade in water. If you're paying for the labor, the costs aren't much different. It's been around for over a couple of decades, so it is proven.

    I've used both, and prefer Kerdi, I think it makes a superior shower.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Member TWEAK's Avatar
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    I totally agree that Kerdi over regular drywall is the best overall solution. It's available from many pro tile distributors or you can get it online from a few sources, some of which will cut you what you need (an entire roll is pricey).

    If you decide not to go Kerdi (to each his own... but Kerdi is the ONLY way I would do a shower), I am not a Hardiebacker fan. I prefer Wonderboard or Durock. These don't delaminate, and Wonderboard at HD is about a buck a sheet cheaper. I have noted some inconsistency in thickness of Hardibacker, which leads to annoying "speedbumps" - a pain if using a 1/4x1/4 or 1/4x3/8 trowel. Hardibacker is well known to suck the moisture out of the thinset. Wonderboard and Durock don't, which I believe leads to a stronger cure. Many wet down the hardibacker to help this, but you don't have to worry about it with the other boards. I don't notice any particular installation advantage or disadvantage with any of the backers. Except with Wonderboard if you butt the wrapped edges, you don't have to mesh tape - which saves time and also avoids speed bumps.

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    DIY Junior Member sue4072's Avatar
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    Have u already started the work? If you are looking for the most waterproof system u should look into wedi shower system we have used it is worth the money. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Between hardi and durock, I prefer hardi and have used it many times. It is lighter weight, easier to cut and trim and less messy.

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