Hardibacker vs Durock

Hardibacker vs Durock – Which is Best?

Hardibacker vs Durock

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning a tile project is the type of backer board. Naturally, your top concern is to install the tiles correctly so they will last many years. Because of this, picking the ideal backer board for your project can significantly affect its outcome.

HardieBacker and Durock are two well-known brands of backer boards. Hardibacker vs Durock – Which is Best? Read on and discover the comparison between Hardibacker vs Durock to help you choose which one is right for your tiling project.

It would also be worth reading our Schluter vs Bullnose tiling article here.

What is Backer Board?

Backer board is a material used in tile installation that provides a flat and stable surface. The backer board is constructed from cement, water, silica, flour from limestone, and strengthening fibers like fiberglass.

The concrete backer board lacks any organic material, unlike drywall, which contains some wood. As a result, it is less prone to rot, decay, or foster the spread of mold.

You can use the backer board for tile installation on the kitchen floor, bathroom floor, walls, shower stall, and more. It is strong, durable, and water-resistant, making it ideal for wet areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms. 

What is HardieBacker?

A mixture of Portland cement, crushed sand, and cellulose fibers are used to create HardieBacker, a cement-based backer board. It comes in 3×5 and 4×8 foot sheets with various thicknesses, ranging from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch.

Durability is one of HardieBacker’s key advantages. Because of its resistance to moisture, it is perfect for use in bathrooms, kitchens, and other places with a lot of moisture. It is appropriate for use on floors because it is sturdy and capable of supporting large loads. But HardieBacker can be challenging to cut and install since it is hefty.

What is Durock?

Durock is a cement-based backing board made from Portland cement, glass mesh, and additives such as water-resistant agents and fire retardants. Similar to HardieBacker, it is available in 3×5 and 4×8 foot sheets in a range of thicknesses from 1/4 inch to 5/8 inch.

Durock’s adaptability is one of its key advantages. It is simple to cut and install and may be used on both floors and walls. It is also moisture-resistant, making it the perfect choice for environments with a lot of moisture. However, it lacks HardieBacker’s strength and might not be appropriate for big loads.

Hardibacker vs Durock – Which is Best?


HardieBacker is more durable than Durock. It is made of cellulose fibers, crushed sand, and Portland cement, which gives it its strength. However, it is also heavier and more difficult to handle than Durock.

Durock is lighter and easier to handle than HardieBacker. It is made of Portland cement, glass mesh, and some other additives. Although it is not as durable as HardieBacker, Durock is still a solid material that can provide a secure surface for tile installation.


As previously stated, HardieBacker and Durock are waterproof and moisture-resistant, making them suitable for use in high-moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

HardieBacker is designed to withstand moisture, making it ideal for more water-prone areas than Durock. Because of its superior mold resistance, it is an excellent choice for areas with high humidity or moisture levels.

HardieBacker is made with cement and fiberglass, while Durock is made with cement and gypsum. Gypsum is more porous than fiberglass, which makes it more susceptible to moisture damage.  Durock is likewise moisture-resistant, but in humid or moist places, it could not be as successful as HardieBacker.

Regarding fire resistance, HardieBacker and Durock are both compliant with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards and exhibit fire-resistant properties. 


Considering the price for backer boards, HardieBacker is more expensive than Durock since the materials used for HardieBacker are higher quality. The cost of HardieBacker, however, is not a concern if you’re looking for a backer board that is more resilient and long-lasting. 

Durock is less expensive and of lower quality than HardieBacker, but if you are working on a project you know will not be exposed to water or moisture, it will be practical to use Durock as a backer board.

Ease of Installation

Since HardieBacker is heavier, firmer, and more rigid than Durock, it is harder to cut and install than Durock, which can be cut and easily shaped using basic cutting tools and can be installed using screws or nails.

In order to affix the board to the surface, both HardieBacker and Durock necessitate the utilization of thin-set mortar. The mortar specifications may differ based on the chosen board and the surface of the installation.

HardieBacker vs Durock for Specific Jobs – Which Wins?

1. Bathroom and kitchen floors

HardieBacker and Durock can withstand high humidity and wet conditions, making them ideal for use in wet rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. Despite their similarities, HardieBacker is the superior backer board for heavily used floors due to its greater durability and capacity to support heavier loads than Durock.

2. Shower stalls and walls

HardieBacker is widely regarded as the top choice for shower stalls and walls due to its exceptional resistance to moisture and mold. The material in question provides a sturdy base for tiling and exhibits a reduced tendency to warp or degrade in a damp setting over an extended period of time.

3. Fireplace surrounds

Durock is made with glass particles and has fire-resistant properties, making it a better choice for a fire-proof backing board than HardieBacker. 

4. Countertops

When it comes to countertops, it is advisable to use a thinner backer board, like a 1/4-inch thick HardieBacker or Durock. Both materials exhibit moisture resistance and offer a stable substrate for tile installation.

5. Backsplashes

Both HardieBacker and Durock can be used for areas with backsplashes since they are both moisture-resistant and waterproof.

6. Outdoor patios and decks

In the field of outdoor patios and decks, Durock is widely regarded as the optimal choice owing to its exceptional moisture resistance and capacity to endure inclement weather. This material exhibits versatility and can be applied to areas in both vertical and horizontal orientations.

7. Swimming pools and hot tubs

Durock is a good option as it is moisture-resistant and can withstand exposure to water. It is best used for swimming pools and hot tubs, which require longer exposure to water. 

8. Commercial kitchens and restaurants

In the world of commercial kitchens and restaurants, HardieBacker is widely regarded as the optimal choice owing to its exceptional robustness and resilience. This material boasts a high load-bearing capacity and excellent moisture resistance, making it a prime candidate for deployment in areas with high foot traffic.

9. Hospitals and healthcare facilities

It is advisable to use a mold-resistant and easily cleanable backer board for hospitals and healthcare facilities. HardieBacker is a favorable choice due to its mold-resistant properties and effortless sanitization.

10. Schools and public buildings

When it comes to educational institutions and civic structures, Durock is widely regarded as the optimal choice owing to its adaptability and straightforward installation process. This material is versatile and can be applied to surfaces in both vertical and horizontal orientations. Additionally, its lightweight composition facilitates ease of handling during the installation process.

Is There a Clear Winner?

There is no clear winner when picking between HardieBacker and Durock. Both choices have pros and cons, so your choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Consider the things we’ve discussed in this article, like structure, durability, price, and how easy it is to install, to decide which choice is best for your project. If you’re unsure, talk to a professional installer or contractor. They can give you expert information and help you figure things out.

HardieBacker and Durock Installation Tips and Tricks

Installing a backer board may look challenging; however, with the right tools and equipment, you can easily install a backer board to your tiling project. This article will provide tips and tricks to help make your next tile installation successful

1. Properly Prepare the Surface

To ensure a successful backer board installation, it is important to prep the surface adequately so it will be placed properly. For a seamless tiling job, it is crucial that the surface be thoroughly cleaned, dried, and cleared of any debris or loose materials.

Ensure that the surface is impeccably clean by sweeping or vacuuming it. In the case of any grease or oil, use a degreaser to eliminate it. In addition, if the base is made of wood, it might be essential to strengthen it with plywood to ensure sufficient support for the backer board.

2. Choose the Right Backer Board for Your Project

In the tiling industry, one can find many kinds of backer boards, each with particular features and perks. When selecting a backer board for your tiling project, it is crucial to consider aspects such as resistance to moisture, sturdiness, and ease of installation.

Indeed, HardieBacker and Durock are among the top choices for backer boards, although there are alternative options to consider. To ensure ideal tile installation results, it is essential to assess the specific needs of your project and select the right backer board as well

3. Use the Right Tools

If you plan to install a backer board, using the right tools will let you have a proper and easier process, and these are the tools that you’ll need.

  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife or saw
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Trowel for applying thin-set mortar
  • Screws or nails for attaching the backer board to the surface

4. Cut the Backer Board Carefully

When sizing the backer board, it’s important to use a utility knife or saw suitable for its thickness. You should be careful while cutting the board to guarantee precision and avoid the risk of cracking or splintering. It is necessary to wear protective gear such as safety goggles and a dust mask while cutting the backer board to protect your lungs and eyes from dust and debris.

5. Apply Thin-Set Mortar Evenly

To achieve an effective bond, it’s important to apply thin-set mortar uniformly when attaching the backer board to the surface. Use a trowel for applying the mortar, and ensure that you apply it evenly across the area. Exercise caution while applying mortar to prevent any potential change or unevenness of the backer board.

6. Use the Right Fasteners

It is necessary to use proper fasteners while attaching the backer board to the surface. When attaching the backer board, select fasteners suitable for the board’s thickness and the surface to which it will be attached to. Both screws and nails can be utilized for this purpose.

Use a power drill or screwdriver to attach the fasteners and make sure that they are evenly spaced for a firm installation.

7. Leave Space Between Backer Boards

When tiling adjacent backer boards, it’s essential to leave a slight gap between them to allow for potential expansion and contraction. To ensure waterproofing between the boards, better use a flexible adhesive to fill the gap.

Final Words

When it comes to a backer board for tile installation, there are several factors that you should consider, including the structure, resistance, price, and ease of installation. Two leading backer board brands, are HardieBacker and Durock. The durability and moisture resistance of HardieBacker makes it ideal for use in high-moisture spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

On the other hand, Durock is more flexible and easier to handle but may not be as strong as HardieBacker. Hardibacker vs Durock – Which is Best? Both backer boards are moisture-resistant and fire-resistant, with HardieBacker exhibiting better mold resistance. The final decision between HardieBacker and Durock should be based on the project’s requirements and the a person’s preferences.

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