We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Backer Board?

By Amy Hunter
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Backer board is a type of submaterial used under a variety of building projects, most often, tile projects. The most popular type is made of compressed cement pressed between two sheets of fiberglass. Another type is one-half inch (1.3 cm) water resistant greenboard. The determining factor on what type to choose is the area where it will be installed.

Backer board does not add any structural strength to the floor or walls. If strength is a concern, reinforce the area first, before adding the additional weight of the board. Cement board, in particular, is heavy, so it is important to place it on strong subflooring.

The use of backing board makes tiling an easy do-it-yourself project. Prior to its development, laying tile required the person handling the job to lay a thick mud bed with mortar. This created a waterproof barrier and provided a level area to install tile. Installation is simple with backer board, which it is screwed directly into the sub floor. A thin application of mortar under the board fills any voids between the board and the sub floor.

Greenboard is water resistant, but not waterproof. Greenboard is not for use in areas where it will be exposed to a great deal of moisture. While it will do well in areas with some moisture, such as on a bathroom wall or under a backsplash, when exposed to a great deal of moisture, the greenboard can break down and disintegrate.

Cement backer board is a much more durable material. Typically available in one-half inch (1.3 cm) thickness, it is impervious to moisture. This is the ideal choice for showers, bathroom floors, and other wet weather applications. Cement backing board is long lasting; many types advertise a projected life of 50 years. It is also resistant to mold, rotting, and warping.

The major disadvantage of cement backer board is that it is heavy and can be difficult to handle during installation. Available in 3 by 5 foot (.9m by 1.5m) and 4 by 6 foot (1.2m by 1.8m) sizes, depending on the manufacturer, bringing the board into a small bathroom or laundry room for installation can be challenging. It is often necessary to bring the full sheets of backing board into the area where it will be installed to make accurate cuts along pipes and other fittings.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By lovealot — On Jun 19, 2011

Plumbing problems in our two back to back bathrooms led to a complete redo of the common wall and the shower, bathtub area.

What a mess it was. The backer board that was in there was truly no good. It was coming apart like crazy.

Our plumber told us that Greenboard was the best thing out there for moisture areas like a shower or bath. I don't know if our plumber didn't know about concrete backer board or it just wasn't on the market. That's what we should have used. Anyway, we've moved since, and I don't know how the Greenboard is holding up.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.