How to Install Shower/Floor Hardie Board

If you have been following our bathroom renovation, you know that this has been no joke.  It was a total gut job!  So, in this post, I’m going to break things down a bit and talk about how to actually start putting things back together and do it yourself. Specifically speaking – shower walls and floors.

What you will need for this project:

  • 1/2 inch Hardie Backer Board
  • Hardie Screws
  • Screw gun
  • measuring tape
  • box cutter/cement board cutting tool
  • 2-3 sets of hands
  • patience  🙂

First things first.  What are the shower walls and floor going to be made of?  We used James Hardie Backer Board from Lowes.  They sell it in 1/4 inch thick and 1/2 inch thick (3 foot x 5 foot).  You are going to want the 1/2 inch – ESPECIALLY for the floor.  It’s much more durable. At $13 a sheet, we used about 8 sheets in total.

(Note: We own a small SUV and the hardie board fit right in the back when the seats were folded down.  Super easy to transport home!)
hardie board

 

With the hardie board, we also purchased the special hardie screws to go with it. Yes, they were more expensive than regular screws, but this ensures that it is all installed properly. One package  ran about $8 and for our small bathroom it was enough to attach the hardie board for the shower and the floor.  They have a special coating on them to help with being water resistant.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE DRYWALL SCREWS TO ATTACH HARDIE BOARD.

Included with the hardie backer screws comes a special attachment for screwing them in.  As you can see they aren’t your typical Phillips or flathead screws.  As stated above, you will want a screw gun for this project.  Unfortunately our handheld screwdriver wasn’t powerful enough for the job.  The screw gun did just the trick!

Once you have your supplies, make sure to measure twice and cut once. To cut the board you can either use a saw (the backer board eats up the blades so beware) or you can get a cement board scoring tool – score the cut line several times and then snap it.  We used a combination of the two methods.
(Note: This stuff makes a total mess!  I would highly advise NOT cutting the board inside.  We made the cuts in our garage and everything was covered in dust.)

Before you start hanging the board, make some marks on the ceiling and floor as to where the wood studs are.  This could possibly be the most important step.  You’ll really want to know where those suckers are when you start to screw the board in.

For our shower, we started with the back wall (because it was the easiest of course.)  We laid the backer board horizontally to start at the top.  When you go to do this you’ll want to get the top of the backer board and the ceiling as tight as you can against one another.  You may need two people to hold the board while someone else screws it in to ensure it stays in place and doesn’t move even the slightest bit.

Screw the screws in at each corner first.  Then move on to screwing them in along the studs.  We went about every 8 inches or so.

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We left about 1/4 inch between the top of the tub and the backer board.  You don’t want them rubbing up against each other for moisture issues.

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Honestly the hardest part of this was cutting the holes for the shower head and the tub faucet.  It took a couple times and a few curse words but we managed! 🙂

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Once we were finished with the shower, we moved onto the floor.  Same materials, same method. Laying the hardie board right ontop of the subflooring was a breeze compared to the shower!

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The only tricky part on the floor was the hole for the toilet.  But we used the same methods to make the cut for that. 
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Next up on the blog:  drywall and tiling!

Have a question? Just ask!  We are here to help!

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