WonderBoard VS Durock: 5 Differences You Should Know

The choice of construction material is never easy, as so many things to consider. You want the material to be durable, reliable, and easy to work with – especially if you’re installing it on your own.

When choosing between WonderBoard and Durock, it is safe to say that these two options are among the most popular ones on the market – if not the most popular.

In this guide, we will explain all their pros and cons. The main differences between WonderBoard and Durock are density and weight.

What is WonderBoard?

WonderBoard is a construction panel that is used as an alternative to drywall. It is made of a cement board that is then covered with a water-resistant surface.

This makes it ideal for use in high moisture areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens. WonderBoard can be cut with a saw and nailed or screwed into place. It is also easy to install, making it a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers.

WonderBoard cement boards have numerous applications for construction, and they offer a high level of versatility.

You can use WonderBoard as a backer board for tile in wet areas such as showers, tub surrounds, and waterproofing systems since they’re specifically formulated to resist mold and mildew.

Many people choose to install these boards over wood or metal framing members in dry areas as a base for veneer plaster, acoustical ceilings, or directly applied finishes. They’re also often used as soffit panels.

When properly installed and finished, the WonderBoard cement backer board provides a flat, level surface resistant to fire, impact, and thermal shock.

Many people choose WonderBoard precisely because it is fire resistant. WonderBoard can also hold up under high temperatures, making it ideal for use in areas that experience a lot of heat.

Additionally, WonderBoard is strong and durable, meaning it will not crack or break easily. This makes it an excellent choice for use in high-traffic areas or places where there is potential for things to fall on it.

There are a few things to consider when it comes to WonderBoard thickness and density. For example, if you’re using WonderBoard Lite, which is 1/2″ thick, you’ll need about 4.5 pounds per square foot of mortar coverage.

If you’re using regular WonderBoard, which is 5/8″ thick, you’ll need about 5 pounds per square foot. Finally, if you choose WonderBoard HD, which is 3/4″ thick, you’ll need about 6 pounds per square foot.

When it comes to the structure, there are two main types of WonderBoard, and they’re used for different applications and tasks:

– Type X: This type of WonderBoard contains a layer of gypsum core reinforced with fiberglass mats. It is the leading choice in commercial construction due to its high level of fire resistance.

– Type C: The cementitious core of Type C WonderBoard is reinforced with fiberglass mats. WonderBoard is more focused on waterproofing, so it is generally a more reliable option for high-moisture areas.

Remember that WonderBoard is also generally heavier than Durock, so it may require additional support if used for large installations.

What is Durock?

Durock cement board is a type of drywall made from gypsum board. It is thicker and denser than regular drywall, making it ideal for areas that need extra support, such as load-bearing walls.

Durock is also fire resistant and can be used in interior and exterior applications.

Furthermore, durock is mold and mildew-resistant, making it a great choice for damp or humid areas. Additionally, durock is easy to cut and install, making it a popular choice for DIY projects.

When it comes to Durock installation, it is beginner-friendly, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

First, make sure that you have the right tools for the job. You will need a hammer, screwdriver, utility knife, and a level.

Second, ensure that the surface you’re installing Durock on is clean and free of debris. Any dirt or dust will make it harder for the Durock to adhere correctly.

Installing a Durock board shouldn’t be too complicated, but if you’re unfamiliar with the process, it’s always best to ask for help from a professional.

You have various options when it comes to different types and thicknesses of the Durock boards. Typically, the thinnest boards are 1/4 inch, and the thickest are 1 inch.

The different Durock boards offer additional benefits but also have certain drawbacks, so choosing the right one for your project is essential.

The thinnest Durock board, the  1/4 inch, is also the lightest and easiest to work with. It’s perfect for small projects or areas where you need to make precise cuts.

However, this cement backer board is not as strong as the thicker boards and isn’t recommended for larger projects.

The 1/2-inch Durock board is an excellent middle-ground option. It’s strong enough for most projects but still easy to work with.

The ¾-inch and 1-inch Durock boards are the thickest and strongest options. They’re great for large projects or areas where you need extra support.

However, they can be challenging to cut and work with due to their thickness and design, so ensure you have the right tools before starting your project.

What are the differences between WonderBoard and Durock?

While they may seem pretty identical, it is essential to note some significant differences between these two cement boards.

They share many essential characteristics, but they also differ in some key aspects, so let’s compare WonderBoard and Durock to decide which option is the best for your project.

1. Exterior and interior applications

While Durock can be used for exterior and interior applications, this isn’t the case with WonderBoard.

WonderBoard is only approved for interior use, so if you’re considering using either of these products for an exterior application, Durock would be the better option.

Durock is made with a water-resistant core, while WonderBoard is not, making it the obvious choice for wet areas like showers and tub surrounds.

Durock is also resistant to freeze-thaw damage, so it can be used in exterior applications where freezing temperatures are a concern.

2. Weight

WonderBoard does have some advantages over Durock, though. It’s lighter and easier to work with and cuts more cleanly and evenly.

You’ll find that Durock can be quite hard to cut and carry, and it often crumbles when you try to work with it. WonderBoard is also considerably thinner, so it’s easier to maneuver around tight corners.

Due to its weight, when installing Durock, you will probably require some help in carrying, cutting, shaping, and installing the boards, whereas WonderBoard is generally more beginner-friendly.

3. Waterproofing

When it comes to waterproofing, Durock is the clear winner. It’s made with a waterproof core, so it won’t absorb any water that comes into contact with it.

WonderBoard is also waterproof, but it’s made with a porous core, so it can absorb water if it’s not sealed correctly. Either way, both products are excellent choices for waterproofing your shower.

4. Design

If you’re looking for a more stylish option, Durock comes in various colors and textures. Wonderboard is only available in gray, but it’s also popular with contractors as it is classic, neutral, and easy to combine with other elements.

The texture and design options with Durock include smooth, brick, stone, slate, embossed, and wood grain, offering great versatility and freedom in custom design.

5. Cost

When it comes to the price difference between Durock and WonderBoard, it depends on the project you’re working on.

For example, if you’re doing a small backsplash or shower surround, Durock may be the more affordable option.

However, if you’re working on a large project like a basement finishing system, WonderBoard may be more cost-effective in the long run.

As far as installation goes, both Durock and WonderBoard are pretty easy to work with. However, Durock is generally slightly more straightforward to install than WonderBoard.

That said, you may need to hire someone to help you install your WonderBoard cement boards,  as they are pretty heavy.

Hiring professionals to help with the installation adds to the overall cost of WonderBoard, which is also something to consider in your calculation.

What’s more, one of the main differences between Durock and WonderBoard is the warranty. Durock offers a 15-year limited warranty, while WonderBoard provides a 30-year limited warranty.

So, if you’re looking for a cement board with a more extended warranty, WonderBoard may be the better option for you.

Both Durock and WonderBoard are excellent choices for cement boards. It just comes down to personal preference and the needs of your project.

WonderBoard vs Durock: Are they the same?

While these cement boards are used for similar tasks and have many common characteristics, they certainly cannot be considered the same.

While Durock is suitable for interior and exterior projects, WonderBoard has only been designed for interior applications.

If versatility is essential to you, especially in design, you’ll undoubtedly gravitate more towards Durock, as it is available in many designs.

WonderBoard, on the other hand, is generally lighter and easier to cut, carry, install, and work with – especially if you’re a beginner. However, Durock is more suitable for areas with high humidity, as it is more water resistant.

Finally, WonderBoard offers a more extended warranty, whereas its installation can cost more than Durock if you need to hire a professional to assist you in this project. 

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