What Is the Minimum Thickness of Cement Board When Tiling Walls?

Written by tim daniel
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What Is the Minimum Thickness of Cement Board When Tiling Walls?
Cement board is a good product for creating tile walls. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Tile can significantly upgrade the appearance of bathroom and kitchen walls. Using cement board creates a solid, easy-to-install and economical base for your tile. Minimum thickness requirements apply to cement board in different applications.

Structural Integrity

For added weight-bearing strength on framed walls, 1/2-inch-thick or greater cement board is required. Quarter-inch cement board can be used on solid surface walls, such as over plywood sheathing. It is not advised to use cement board as a structural load bearing member.

Necessary Installation Components

After hanging cement board, polymer modified thin-set mortar is used to bond fibreglass mesh joint tape to cement board seams. One and a half-inch hot-dipped galvanised roofing nails or 1 1/4-inch cement board screws are used to install cement board. One and a quarter-inch tile backer screws for steel are required for steel framing. A simple utility knife is used to cut cement board. Additionally, a portable saw equipped with a carbide-tipped 3 1/2-inch blade is necessary for pipe and fixture cutouts; a hole-saw-equipped electric drill can also be used for cutouts.


Maximum stud spacing for cement board is 16 inches on centre and 24 inches on centre for cavity wall assembly. Framing must be secured in corners. The maximum distance between nail or screw fasteners is 8 inches; 6 inches is recommended. Manufacturers suggest staggering sheets during installation and to never allow all four corners of cement board to meet at one point on a wall. Applicable building vapour barrier code requirements apply as well.

Additional Qualities

Cement board is comprised of mould and mildew-resistant material making it ideal for moist mould-prone areas of the home. While cement boards are not impervious to water, they offer excellent water resistance.

Cement Board Manufacturers

Wonderboard differs from other cement boards in that it reinforced fibreglass mesh giving it high flexural strength, along with moisture resistance. Half-inch Wonderboard comes in 3-foot by 5-foot sheets. Hardiebacker does not contain the mesh fibre that Wonderboard contains, can be painted and is available in both 3-by-5 foot sheets and 4-by-8 foot sheets. DUROCK's 5/8-inch cement board is intended for floors and countertops only. DUROCK cement board is known for being easy to cut as well as being lighter than other cement board.

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