Hardiebacker VS Durock: 5 Differences You Should Know

Choosing a cement-based backer board can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re torn between two quality options such as Hardiebacker and Durock.

Both options are excellent in terms of durability and performance, but they have distinct advantages and disadvantages. We will compare the two in all the essential aspects to help with your decision.

The main differences between Hardiebacker and Durock are material, structure, and overall resistance. Keep on reading to learn more about Hardiebacker and Durock and their suitability for different projects.

What is Hardiebacker?

Hardiebacker is a type of cement board that is used as an underlayment for ceramic tile. It is usually made of Portland cement, aggregate, and glass fibers. 

This cement backer board is highly versatile and durable since it is water resistant and will not rot or mildew like other types of underlayment. It is also fire resistant and provides a solid substrate for tile. 

Speaking of versatility, Hardiebacker is available in 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch thicknesses, making it a great option for a wide range of applications. It is also available in both square and tongue-and-groove edges.

These backer boards can be used on floors, walls, and ceilings and are commonly installed in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. They are a common choice for countertops and even for roofs in some cases.

One of the most popular applications for Hardiebacker boards is flooring. They are often used as a subflooring material or underlayment for ceramic tile and other flooring materials. 

Hardiebacker boards can often be found in walls, particularly in bathrooms and kitchens, where they can provide a waterproof barrier behind tiles or other wall coverings.

Many people choose Hardiebacker due to its durability and low maintenance costs. With proper installation and good maintenance, it can last for years without giving you any trouble.

Hardiebacker is also relatively easy to install, which makes it a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers. It can be cut with a saw and drilled with standard tools, so you don’t have to worry about hiring a professional for this task.

When it comes to the potential disadvantages of this option, Hardiebacker is also relatively expensive, so it’s not the most budget-friendly option for your home.

Another potential downside of Hardiebacker is that it doesn’t allow for much flexibility in terms of design. Its density makes it difficult to create curves or other custom shapes with Hardiebacker.

 If you’re looking for something more versatile in terms of custom design, you may want to consider another option.

What is Durock?

Durock is a popular brand of cement board, made of Portland cement, aggregate, and glass mesh. It is used for construction projects such as countertops, floors, and walls.

It is quite versatile and can be used in a number of different applications. Durock is an ideal choice of underlayment for tile floors, but can also be used as exterior sheathing or even as a fireproofing material thanks to its durability.

While Durock is made from cement and aggregate, it is later combined with water to create a slurry. This slurry is then poured into molds and allowed to harden. The finished product is a robust and  strong material that is resistant to water, fire, and impact.

Durock can be purchased in standard size sheets and is also available in various colors, though the most common are white and gray.

It is a durable product designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear. It is also moisture resistant, so it can be used for waterproofing areas with high humidity or moisture, although it doesn’t provide the same level of protection as Hardiebacker.

This strong, resilient material can withstand severe weather conditions and repeated exposure to water. It is also resistant to mold and mildew, making it an ideal choice for pool areas.

When it comes to installing Durock, there are a few different methods. You can use cement board screws or nails to attach them to the studs, or you can use construction adhesive. 

Many people prefer using construction adhesive because it creates a stronger bond and is less likely to come loose over time.

The adhesive is applied to the back of the Durock with a caulk gun. Then, it is pressed firmly into place until the adhesive dries. 

After the adhesive has dried, you can proceed to screw or nail the Durock into place. Regardless of the method of installation, it is necessary to ensure that the Durock is secure before moving on.

It is safe to say that Durock is a material that beginners shouldn’t have too much trouble installing. However, the ease of installation largely depends upon the complexity of the task and the location.

Some potential disadvantages of Durock cement board include the cost and its potential to crack. Durock cement board is generally more expensive than other types of backer board, such as plywood or drywall. 

It is also much heavier than either of those materials, making it difficult to work with and transport.

What’s more, remember that Durock cement board is made with Portland cement, which can cause it to crack if not used correctly, but that applies to all similar materials. 

This is not a common problem but something to be aware of if you’re considering using Durock cement board in your home improvement project.

What are the differences between Hardiebacker and Durock?

Just from the description of these two options, it can be hard to spot the differences, as they seem to have many similarities. There are some key differences that should make your decision-making process a lot easier, so let’s dive right into the essential important aspects of comparison between Hardiebacker and Durock.

1. Structure

The first difference between the two is that Hardiebacker is made with a slightly different formulation, of cement that usually makes it more resistant to moisture. 

These two options have different textures, as well. Durock is made with a smooth surface, while Hardiebacker has a more textured surface.

2. Resistance

Many experts will agree that Hardiebacker is more durable than Durock. It is resistant to cracking and breaking, making it a good choice with will see a lot of wear and tear. 

Hardiebacker is also less likely to absorb water, making it a good choice for wet areas such as showers, kitchens, and pool surrounding areas.

Additionally, Hardiebacker is less prone to sagging over time than Durock. This is due to its cement content, which makes it more rigid

Durock, on the other hand, is often made of a gypsum core. While this gives it some flexibility, it will likely sag in the future.

3. Price

You will notice that Hardiebacker is a more expensive option than Durock. This is due to its increased durability and water resistance. 

When it comes to deciding between the two, and evaluating whether Hardiebacker is worth investing in, make sure to factor in the area of installation and the main reason behind it.

Hardiebacker is undoubtedly a more reliable, durable material that will make your life easier in the long run if the area is more prone to humidity.

Durock, on the other hand, shouldn’t disappoint – especially in areas that don’t get as much water and humidity.

However, many homeowners feel that the extra cost is worth the peace of mind, knowing their home is well-protected.

4. Installation

Another vital difference between Hardiebacker and Durock is the ease of installation. Hardiebacker is much easier to install than Durock, especially if you’re a beginner and doing it independently. 

This is because Hardiebacker is thinner and lighter than Durock. Hardiebacker can be cut with a utility knife, while Durock requires a power saw for cutting. Moreover, Hardiebacker is easier to score and snap than Durock.

Durock, on the other hand, can cause some problems with DIY installation. This is because it is thicker and heavier than Hardiebacker. 

Since Durock is more difficult to score and snap and requires a power saw for cutting (which many people don’t know how to operate safely), it may not be a good choice for beginners. 

5. Thickness and overall design

Hardiebacker comes in 1/4″, 1/2″, and 5/8″ thick sheets, while Durock is only available in 1/4″ and 3/8″. This additional thickness gives Hardiebacker some advantages, particularly in impact resistance.

Hardiebacker also contains a wax additive that makes it more water resistant than Durock. This can be helpful if you’re using the product in an area with a chance of moisture exposure. 

Finally, Hardiebacker is available in various sizes, while Durock is only available in standard sheets.

Hardiebacker vs. Durock: Are they the same?

While they have many similar applications, Hardiebacker and Durock are not the same. The first significant difference between the two is the overall structure.

You’ll find that Hardiebacker is much sturdier and more durable, and more reliable. This cement backer board is highly water-resistant, making it perfect for humid areas such as bathrooms and kitchens

Durock, on the other hand, has been found to sag over time in extreme humidity conditions. 

Speaking of structure, Durock is quite dense and heavy, which makes it rather hard to cut, install, and move around. Hardiebacker, on the other hand, is easily shaped and installed and comes in various sizes.

Finally, Durock is a more affordable option, but it doesn’t provide the same level of security and reliability as Hardiebacker. 

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