When it comes to home renovations, you’re already scratching your head at what needs to be done. But when you’re thrown something such as the material options, it can get extra tricky. There are various brands out there on the market, and there are a lot of questions, such as which is best from Durock vs. WonderBoard vs. HardiBacker. Even if you’re hiring a contractor to do all the home renovations for you such as your bathroom, you will still need to be well informed of the materials used.
While it’s true that Durock and HardieBacker are two main manufacturers for cement-based backer boards, it’s often about the contractor’s preference. There are some product biases here and there based on these two products; the same can even be said about Wonderboard. Nonetheless, there are differences between these products.
This is your home, so stay informed on the different types of materials, the options available, and even what’s best will drastically help. Usually, Durock vs. HardieBacker results from contractor preference, but this isn’t necessarily the case with WonderBoard vs. Durock or Hardie board vs. WonderBoard. We’ve included this extensive comparison to help you decide between Durock vs. HardiBacker and WonderBoard for your bathroom renovation. So now, you can read and learn all about the in-depth comparisons from benefits, and setbacks, so you can get the full breakdown of the best material to use for your home renovation.
When Do You Need To Use Cement Board?
The main reason that cement board is used is due to its impact resistance and strength to a wall surface or floor. The thickness of the cement board will vary based on the application, such as a half-inch application for walls and a quarter-inch for floors. They are even used in place of plywood because they are waterproof and can withstand high-moisture environments.
Organic materials such as wood tend to rot and decompose in a short period of time. This is far from sustainable or ideal for a house. Cement boards tend to be out of inorganic materials which helps, as it doesn’t decompose. This can include materials such as fiberglass, cement, or limestone flour. The materials can vary based on the cement board.
Cement Board vs. WonderBoard: Are They the Same?
While Durock and HardieBacker are two different types of cement board, what does that make WonderBoard? From Wonder Board vs. cement board, which is better? Well, WonderBoard is a type of cement board. It’s primarily used for wet tiling areas such as a bathroom. While they’re mostly used for high moisture areas, these can be used for decks, pools, and floors. But, there are different types of backers for cement boards, such as HardieBacker and Durock. Both of these will vary in their qualities and where they are better suited.
Is There a Difference Between Durock vs. Hardiebacker vs. Wonderboard?
Even though WonderBoard is a type of cement board, how does it differ from HardieBacker and Durock? What about WonderBoard lite vs Durock or WonderBoard lite vs HardieBacker? Well, there are some very clear differences between these three brands. Even with the two biggest cement board brands, however, there is one major difference: HardieBacker is only approved for indoor use and cannot be used for outdoor purposes. This alone shows that there is a massive difference. But let’s dive deeper into the three of these.
Durock is the heaviest out of the bunch, and that’s due to the glass mesh it contains. This is tough to maneuver, so it’s not recommended that Durock be used if you are doing the project alone. It’s going to need multiple people handling it at once. This alone can make the installation process difficult and even messy. The quality of Durock is abrasive, meaning it is strongly recommended that it’s not used for vinyl, porcelain, or other softer material.
Hardibacker is significantly lighter than Durock and WonderBoard, leaving this the lightest out of the bunch. How light it instantly makes it one of the most popular brands on the market. Since there isn’t any glass mesh in it, unlike Durock, it makes the job much smoother and even minimizes the cleanup. While it’s lightweight, it contains plenty of strength and doesn’t leave for jagged edges or uneven lines.
Rising in popularity would be the WonderBoard. While this backer works perfectly when water penetrates the tile, it remains fine. While most cement boards can withstand water, WonderBoard was created to be able to be submerged in water and remain found. From shower and tub tiles, pools, and decks, this is arguably considered the best choice for a job, especially when renovating a bathroom.
These three have something unique to bring to your next renovation project. Let’s dive into some of the benefits that each of these contains.
One major benefit of Durock is that it can be used for internal and external situations. This makes it exceptionally versatile when you need a good cement board with reinforcement. However, be warned that this can cost you some additional money.
A significant benefit that HardieBacker, when choosing between HardieBacker vs. WonderBoard, would be that it’s very light, and it’s also considered the best-selling brand for cement boards. It brings flexibility and ease compared to the competitors. Plus, this ease of installation does not sacrifice the integrity of the product either. It’s perfect for tiles and countertops. Additionally, this is also mold resistant.
Wonderboard is the only material that will not fail if the water penetrates the tiling. While one of the competitors can handle moisture, once the water penetrates, it instantly increases the risk of damage. But the WonderBoard does not have this flaw.
While there are some major benefits, not everything can be perfect. You also need to know that each of these will contain some setbacks.
Setbacks for HardieBacker
While the packaging suggests that HardieBacker is waterproof, the cement and fiber mixture in the contents makes that doubtful. If some areas get exposed to moisture, there could be a possibility of significant damage. HardieBacker cannot be used outside, as it is for internal use only. While this can be used as an underlay for showers and tubs, the waterproof sealant may not be enough.
Setbacks for Durock
Durock can admittingly be a hassle to use. The installation process needs multiple people; smoothing can be challenging, and clean-up isn’t great either. Plus, it can’t be used with enamel, porcelain, or vinyl, as it could cause damage.
Setbacks for WonderBoard
There are some limits, such as not being able to use drywall fiberglass tape with it. A wallboard joint compound cannot be used with WonderBoard either. Plus, if you’re planning on using WonderBoard outside, it can only handle wind loads up to 30 lb/ sq ft.
What is Best for Shower and Tub Installation?
A cement board is great for situations where it will need to be submerged in water. There won’t need to be the worry of mold growing, warping, or even rotting once it gets exposed to water. So, what will be the best for bathroom installation, specifically the shower? While HardieBacker can technically be used for the shower, as it is resistant to mold, there will need to be some precautions, such as obtaining waterproof sealant. Durock isn’t flexible, but it can withstand water.
But of course, the third option, and the most common, would be WonderBoard. It’s perfect for the job as even if water gets to the tiles, no damaged is done compared to the other two brands. However, it will also come down to personal preference and what your contractor is most familiar with.
Between Durock vs. WonderBoard vs. HardiBacker, the choice for the best product is just going to depend on the job that you’re doing. It’s important to know the exact demands of each project that you’re taking on. Thus alone will make the process significantly easier as it will help you narrow down which option would be best.