Durock and Hardiebacker are two different brands of cement backer boards used in rooms that are susceptible to moisture buildup.
While both of these brands offer products that are highly raved about by users, each brand does have their own features that set them apart from each other.
Ease of Use
Both Durock and James Hardie have placed claims of having products that are easy to work with. Due to the materials used in crafting each of the backer board products, there are some differences that can be noticed.
Hardiebacker board is lighter because of the absence of aggregate materials that it lacks. The company has also incorporated a grid pattern design into their product which makes the boards easier to score and cut over its competition.
Durock boards are made from aggregated Portland cement slurry which is combined with a polymer-coated, glass-fiber mesh that encompasses the edges, front, and back surfaces of the board completely. The edges are brought to a smooth finish and the ends feature a square cut for proper fitting capabilities.
Hardiebacker boards are created with fiber cement composite materials that do not contain glass aggregates. This does cut down on the mess experienced when cutting the boards for a project. However, it also limits the locations in which the boards can be used with confidence.
With the hardness of the product created by the material makeup, Durock boards can be used for indoor or outdoor projects.
Hardieboard, on the other hand, is limited to use only for internal projects throughout a building.
While the environmental temperatures in which Durock works are suggested to be maintained at a range of 40-degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the recommended temperature range in which Hardieboard works best is 57 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Water-Resistant Vs. Waterproof
Another factor that seems to be of importance to consumers when selecting which cement backer board to use is the products ability to repel water.
Hardieboard does offer a high water-repellant capability and provides a high level of mold resistance for the projects that it is used for. This makes the product a good choice for use as an underlayment for showers, bathtubs, laundry rooms, and kitchens.
It is advisable to apply a waterproofing membrane over the Hardieboard should it be used in these areas simply for added protection when the continuous presence of water can be expected.
HardieBacker® Cement Board with HydroDefense™ Technology is the first and only waterproof cement backer board.
- Provides everything you’ve come to expect from the most preferred brand of backer board* – unmatched strength, ease of use, and excellent tile adhesion – now with a waterproof composition throughout the board.
- *According to the 2019 Tile and Stone Installation Contractor Market Study conducted by Clear Seas Research in partnership with the NTCA and TILE Magazine.
- Passing ANSI A118.10 for waterproofness, HardieBacker® Cement Board with HydroDefense™ Technology has been engineered to help protect tile installations in kitchens and bathroom from moisture penetration.
- Delivers lasting results in less time with no compromise to quality.
- HardieBacker® Cement Board with HydroDefense™ Technology delivers solid protection for your customers, your work and your reputation.
Durock, on the other hand, has a material makeup that creates a product that boasts a high waterproof rating. There is a big difference between these two claims, as Durock board will not break down over time due to continuous water presence.
Having a dependable warranty placed on a product is a big plus for most consumers. Durock backs their cement board products with a 30-year limited warranty that begins the day you purchase the product.
The company ensures that the product you purchase will not rot, decay, or breakdown in any other fashion if it is properly installed and maintained according to their specifications.
James Hardie places a similar claim on their cement board products. However, the company incorporates a lifetime warranty for the full life of the products which can be transferred.
It is important to note that the products should be professionally installed and serviced when necessary as strict installation clauses are in place to guard the warranty.
Overall, when trying to choose between Durock or Hardieboard products the fact remains that it is the user’s preference that ensures you get the best product available for your needs. Both companies carry a strong reputation and offer products that meet and or exceed the highest standards within the industry.
Where is Durock Cement Board used for in a House?
Durock boards are durable and approved for use in external and internal construction. They are approved for use with glass and ceramic materials. Other materials they are compatible with are ceramic and quarry tile, tiles of all varieties, and thin brick.
Indoors, Durock is often used for flooring. It provides a sturdy base before adding your tiles anywhere in the house.
However, where Durock boards shine is in situations where their durability is tested. They can handle the wear and tear of high-use locations such as agricultural buildings, where surfaces and flooring take a heavy beating from machinery, animals, and people.
Durock is also highly durable when exposed to the elements. You can use this board in situations that are exposed to rough weather conditions such as garages (mostly in the wainscoting), fences, and even mobile homes.
For all of their rough durability, Durock boards can also be the foundation for something beautiful. You can use them as the foundation for an outdoor ceramic or glass mosaic.
Best Uses for HardieBacker Boards
Like Durock boards, HardieBacker boards are highly durable cement backer boards. However, their uses are slightly different.
HardieBacker boards are not approved for exteriors, but they have plenty of uses inside the house. They are better suited for smaller, more delicate surfaces such as countertops. You can also use HardieBacker boards as the foundation for tile flooring.
HardieBacker is commonly used to provide an extra underlay under showers and tubs because it is mold-resistant. However, it is not perfectly waterproof so if you are planning to use it in your bathroom, it might be a good idea to apply an extra layer of waterproof sealant.
Pros and Cons of Durock Cement Boards
The biggest pro of Durock cement boards is their durability. They are made of cement slurry that also contains glass mesh, which makes the material even stronger. This is why Durock is approved for outdoor usage, not just indoor usage. It can withstand heavy traffic and rough weather.
Durock cement boards are also waterproof. Their ability to stay intact despite the consistent presence of water, as well as their better resistance to cooler temperatures, makes them a better choice for outdoor environments than HardieBacker.
However, some contractors consider Durock a more difficult material to work with. It is far heavier and more difficult to cut.
Durock is also more abrasive than HardieBacker. It can damage delicate materials such as vinyl, porcelain, and enamel. In fact, the official Durock warranty officially does not cover usage with vinyl tile as that can damage both the cement boards and the tiles.
Pros and Cons of HardieBacker Boards
The biggest advantage of HardieBacker boards is their comparative versatility and lightness. They can be used in combination with more materials than Durock boards, including ceramic and enamel, without causing damage.
They are also lighter and easier to cut. Most HardieBacker boards come with pre-cut squares, which makes the job of a contractor much easier.
However, HardieBacker’s lightness and ease of use come with a tradeoff in the form of durability. It cannot withstand low temperatures and weather conditions like Durock can, so it should never be used for outdoor usage.
HardieBacker boards are water-repellant and mold resistant. However, this is not the same as being waterproof and it means that high moisture can cause damage over time. HardieBacker boards can be used in wet environments, such as bathrooms, but must be used in tandem with a waterproof sealant or another tool.
Which Is Better, Durock or HardieBacker for a Bathroom?
Both Durock and HardieBacker are good choices for your bathroom remodel, depending on your preference and the phase of your remodeling.
Durock’s waterproof, durable qualities make it a solid choice for covering your floors or walls before applying tiles.
However, since Durock can damage porcelain or enamel, and is more vulnerable to mold than HardieBacker, you should be wary when putting it under your shower or bathtub.
When creating a foundation for your tub, HardieBacker is a better choice. HardieBacker would also be a good choice for your bathroom counters and other smaller installations because it is more flexible.
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