Tile Fix Direct Blog

October 2019

When To Use Tile Backer Boards

Tile backer boards are an almost essential part of tile installation; they provide a smooth and level surface that’s specifically designed for use with tile adhesives, allow you to install heavy tiles, and create an insulating & waterproof layer. If you are wondering whether you need a tile backer board for your next installation Tile Fix Direct is here to help. Here’s a list of when tile backer boards should be used for tile installations, and the other benefits the boards can provide. This blog also highlights a change to the British Standard which is important when considering the substrate for your tiling project.

For Tiling

For tile installation to be a success a suitable substrate must be used. Tile Backer Boards offer a reliable surface for tiles being used on both walls and floors. Due to tile backer board being hard and flat it won’t buckle like some other substrate options, like plywood. Thanks to its increased stability it allows you to adhere tile using only a thin-set mortar, helping you create a level tile surface.

For Tiling with Heavy Tiles

Thanks to its durable design the tile backer board can support much more weight than other, more traditional wall surfaces. Each board can support around 60kg, that’s more than double what some other substrates, like plaster, can hold. Therefore, Tile Backer Boards are perfectly suited for use when large or heavy tiles are being installed.

For Waterproofing

Besides using tile backer boards for their primary function as a flat surface for tiling, they are also designed to help waterproof areas that see a lot of moisture, like bathrooms and wet rooms. By installing the boards before the tiles, they create a waterproof barrier behind the tiles. The boards themselves are made from an extruded polystyrene with a bonded cementitious coating, which is on both sides of the board. This coating helps protect the boards, and so the tiles, from rotting, deforming or weakening, making the boards their strong and long-lasting.

For Insulation

Tile backer boards also have insulating properties. This means that whilst the boards are being as the tile substrate, they can also provide a solution for dry lining buildings. Not only that but they can improve the insulation of wet rooms and the efficiency of underfloor heating.

Other Added Benefits

Thanks to its strength and adaptability, Tile Backer Boards are well-suited for use with a wide range of tiles from marble to granite. Furthermore, the boards versatility makes them ideal for both floors and walls – with curved backer boards awkward spots and corners are no problem either.

Changes to The British Standard

Besides all these instances when using tile backer boards is recommended, The Tile Association has recently brought attention to the latest revision to the British Standard. One of the changes was in regards to backing:

  • Tiling direct to plywood is no longer recommended for wall tiling, but a bespoke tiling backer board should be used.
The Tile Association has explained that plywood has been removed from the new Standard as a recommended substrate for wall tiling, because of the wide variance in the quality of plywood as a Tile Backer on the UK market. A lot of cheaper imported plywoods are not able to provide a “stable and rigid background” for the tiles being installed on them. The decline in the quality of plywood is mirrored by the rise of specially developed tiling Backer Boards. These are stable and moisture resistant, as well as being more environmentally friendly and so are not only being favoured by companies and consumers but also by the British Standard and The Tile Association.

At Tile Fix Direct we stock tile backer boards from Marmox, Orbry and Schluter – see the full range and order online here.

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