Houzz Logo Print

What are por's and con's of Wonderboard vs Hardybacker

13 years ago

I want to redo the shower with tile, will take it down to the studs and remove the pan. I see both Wonderboard and Hardybacker at the big box stores. Is one perfered over the other as the substrate or are they basically the same. The new pan will be built over concrete. Thanks for your input.

Comments (8)

  • MongoCT
    13 years ago

    - a true cement board with a mesh facing for integrity
    -brittle. Cut it into thin strips and the strips can easily break
    -cutting, score the surface and cut the mesh reinforcement with a handheld carbide cutter and snap, or cut with a diamond blade. Diamonds make dust.
    -no surprises when you use it, it's an honest product
    -can be tough to screw unless you use the proprietary high/low screws. If you screw close to the edge and overdrive the screw you can break off the edge of the board (brittle, remember?)

    -fibercement versus just cement (has cellulose fibers in it)
    -not brittle like wonderboard. Much more structural integrty, can cut into thin strips.
    -Not a score and snap like cement board due to the fibers in it. If cut with an abrasive blade, again it's dusty. You can actually score it with utility knife and then "fold" it back and forth a couple of times to break it on the cut line. It'll give a raggedy edge. sort of
    -sheets are lighter and easer to handle than cement board.
    -easier to screw, but driving the screws to deep can cause the face to mushroom.

    So, with all that, guess which I prefer?


    Personally I prefer true cement boards, Wonderboard and Durock, over fibercement. But I'll use each. Typically cement board to cover large expanses of wall, and if I need long thin strips to line a niche, thin enough where I think wonderboard will snap or fracture either when cutting or fastening, I'll consider changing over to fibercement for those thin pieces.

    When working solo I'll sometimes use hardie on ceilings. I can hold a sheet up with one hand and drive screws with the other. And due to it being more flexible, it's less likely to snap in two like cement board would. I could use supports to hold a sheet of cement board to a ceiling and fasten it with no problems, and I've done that many a time...but hey, I'm giving you a pro/con here.

    Cement board, you mist it, and you know when it's wet. With fibercement, sometimes it just keeps sucking up water. It seems more thirsty than cement board.

    Both good products. As far as getting physically hurt or "working safe", wonder can hurt you in more ways than hardie. Wonder is heavier, has sharper edges, and is more brittle.

    My opinion.


  • bill_vincent
    13 years ago

    I'm with Mongo on this-- I prefer the original cement boards, such as Wonderboard, Durock, etc.. But you'll find just as many pros who will swear by Hardi over cement boards. Both will do the job.

  • ricomibarra
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hardyboard was recommended by one of the sales person at a home improvement store. However, experienced difficulties cutting it as most of it would break extremely off from the intended cutting edge ( No matter how deep the cut was made with the blade). upon successful installation of first board, and upon testing its strength, I was able to break it in one solid pound. I also noticed that hardy board was very messy as dust particles would end up on clothing and surrounding environment; and worst thing, I was starting the project. Worst of all, mandatory government regulated label on product clearly states that prolonged inhalation of such product may cause cancer. I was forced to clean my house, and dispose all used hardyboard, and return the unused hardyboard to the store to exchange it for wonderboard. Wonderboard is much convenient to install and cheaper.

  • arcy_gw
    6 years ago

    Best practice is to go with the Kerdi Schlueter system. You have to purchase from a tile store--big box stores don't well them. We could not find it when we re-did the upstairs bathroom and went with hardyboard. For the basement now that we know WHERE to find it we will use the KERDI. Leaking behind tile is a pain!!!

  • morrispataky
    4 years ago

    yeah, but kerdi board will cost you about 2x-3x what hardiebacker costs. Their systems is quite expensive.

  • millworkman
    4 years ago

    morris, you relaize this was a 9 year old post that had not been responded to since 2015?

  • Robert Moseley
    3 years ago

    Home owner hardyboard was fairly easy cut however very difficult to drive screws flush with board, i had to predrill and counter sink to pull board tite to floor. I will never use Hardyboard again.

Bull Run Kitchen and Bath
Average rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars191 Reviews
Loudoun County's Expert Kitchen & Bath Renovation Firm | Best of Houzz