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Tile over Drywall vs. Backer Board vs. Thinset

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Carl in Virginia needs some help with a tiling project. What can we do for you? 

    CARL: Hi. We’re in the middle of redoing our kitchen … 

    LESLIE: OK. 

    CARL: … and we’re getting ready to start the backsplash and we had a question on should we use a thin backer board over the drywall or should we use that metal grating and attach it and then put – mortar a thinset over that. 

    LESLIE: I like to use a cement backer only because you’re dealing with, perhaps, some moisture situation that you could be getting and you don’t want a lot of water to get kicked up back there to get sucked through the grout and then go right to the drywall. A lot of people do it in different ways. Some people go directly to the drywall. 

    TOM: Or you could use – there’s a Georgia-Pacific product called DensArmor, which is a tile backer, and that will work very well and it’s a lot easier to use than, sometimes, the cement backer boards are. It cuts easier. 

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. But it’s the same purpose. 

    CARL: OK. If I do go with the backer board, can I put that up with just screws or should… 

    TOM: Yeah, actually there’s a special screw that’s designed to use with that. It’s a coated screw and it has a very wide head, so it holds the backer board solidly to the studs without sort of going through it or crumbling it. 

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, without crumbling through. 

    TOM: Yeah, it’s a self-tapping kind of a thing. 

    CARL: OK. 

    LESLIE: And then you go ahead with your mastic and your tile. 

    CARL: OK, great. Alright, well I appreciate the information. 

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Alright, good luck with that project. 

    TOM: (overlapping voices) You’re very welcome, Carl. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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