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.


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.


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! 🙂



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!


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. 

Next up on the blog:  drywall and tiling!

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

Posted by:Jackie Hausler of haus2home

Jackie Hausler seeks to inspire creativity in the name of reclaiming, reusing and upcycling. With each project, she walks followers through do-it-yourself projects, shows how to give old items a new chance at life, and teaches ways to be eco-friendly and live a green lifestyle. She believes making your house a home doesn't have to be expensive to be beautiful, and is passionate about accomplishing that while being kind to our earth. Jackie is the founder of the home and lifestyle blog haus2home.com.

7 replies on “How to Install Shower/Floor Hardie Board

    1. Hi Denise! Thanks for stopping by! For the shower walls we used all hardie board. We cut the straight edges with a heavy duty box cutting knife and then bent along the edge to separate. You can use the same method for the circular holes for the fixtures and then once you have the outline cut, carefully hammer the holes out. If you want to be more precise and quick with it, you can always try to use a jigsaw with a tungsten blade. Those blades are more expensive but cement board will eat through other blades. I hope this helps! let me know if you have any other questions.

  1. Hi there,

    I’m curious as to what tub you have as mine looks similar. I’m having a problem figuring out how to tile over the tub skirt where the cement board meets up with the tub. It’s over a half inch and tapers a bit into the tub. The cement board is around 7/16”. I screwed it to the studs similar to yours, but if I want to cover the screw holes I will have to use about a 3/8” of thin set or more the whole way up so that the tile will be flat. Also how did you cover up the 45 degree angle on each side of the tub so that moisture doesn’t get in there? I’m unsure whether to tape it with mesh tape and use thin set to join the drywall to the cement board, or to use mud then thin set.

    1. Hi Dan! Thanks for stopping by. We put in a jacuzzi brand tub from Lowe’s (no jets.) We had to use a lot of thin set to make it even as well -especially with using heavy marble tile. We placed the tile hanging over the hardy board at the bottom of the hardy board/top of the top with just a very small space in between for them to set. we locked everything in to protect against the water with a a good caulking job. I hope this helps and answers all of your questions! Holler if you have more or need more info!

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