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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cement Backerboard Installation For Tiling 

Some pros still install tile the old-fashioned way by pouring a thick slab of mortar and setting the tiles directly in it. But a mud job, as this technique is called, is a time-consuming operation that requires a practiced hand, and it increases the thickness of the floor or well considerably. That's why most tile setters now use cement backerboard 3-by-5 foot sheets that get screwed in place much like drywall and then topped with a thin layer of mortar to bed the tiles.

This is a far easier process for the do-it yourselfer. You should lay 1/2 -inch-thick backerboard over any wood subfloor before laying tile on it. Cement backerboard must also be used for wall tile installations in shower surrounds. For bathroom and kitchen walls where the tile may see occasional moisture but not direct, daily contact with running water, you can use drywall or fiberboard instead of backerboard. In completely dry locations, you can simply install tiles directly on existing or new drywall or plaster.

1. Prepare the surface and start the layout. If you're tiling a wall in a wet area, remove any existing tiles and the existing drywall or plaster down to the studs, making sure to pull loose nails or sink their heads. If you're tiling a floor, remove old flooring and other debris from subfloors. Then plan your layout. Starting in the corner, place the first sheet of cement backerboard. Use strips of 1.4 inch plywood to create a gap around the perimeter of the surface, and make sure the length of the sheet crosses the joists in the floor or the studs in the wall.

The tile side of the sheet (which is the rough-textured side) will be identified on the product label and should face outward. Plan the layout so that none of the backerboard joints fall directly over joints in a plywood subfloor. Stagger backerboard joints by 18 inches or more, so that there is no place where four corners meet, and keep a 1/8 inch gap between backerboard sheets. For walls, you'll need to cut the sheets to end at the center of the studs so that you can fasten them, but for floors, you can fasten the ends of the subfloor wherever they wind up.

2. Score the cuts. To cut a sheet of cement backerboard, measure for the cut and subtract 1/4 inch, since the cut end will be rough, with jagged bumps that will jut out beyond your cut line. Make your mark at both edges of the board and hold a straight 2x4 between them. Mark the line with a carbide-tipped cement board knife. Then, pressing hard enough to hear the blade tearing through the cement, make about 10 more passes along it to score a 1/16-inch-deep groove. You can use a standard utility knife, but be prepared to change the blade after every cut.

3. Snap and cut again. Slide the 2x4 under the sheet and align it just under the score line. While holding one side of the sheet firmly, press down on the other to snap the board along the cut. Stand the sheet on its edge and make a pass with the knife from the back to make the final cut. Use a rasp, a tile stone, or the rough finish of a cinder block to, smooth any rough sports so the sheet can sit tight against its neighbor.

4. Make cutouts. To make holes for pipes to go through, you'll need to use a 1/2 inch drill loaded with a hole saw. For other odd cuts, you'll need to use an angle grinder, rotary cutter, or circular saw with the masonry blade. Wear a respirator when cutting the sheets with power tools, as you'll make a lot of cement dust that's unhealthful to breathe. You can also make a 1-inch hole for standard plumbing pipes by hitting the board hard at just the right spot with a hammer and then cutting away the debris with a backerboard knife.

Sometimes, it's more economical to opt for handyman remodeling instead of performing things on your own. With local handyman, you will have less trouble in getting things done according to your budget.

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