Can You Put Tile On Hardie Board

By | March 22, 2024

Can You Put Tile on Hardie Board?

Hardie Board, also known as fiber cement board, is a popular choice for siding and exterior wall coverings. It is known for its durability, resistance to rot, insects, and fire. However, it is not as commonly used as a substrate for tile installations. So, can you put tile on Hardie Board?

Yes, you can install tile on Hardie Board, but it requires proper preparation and techniques to ensure a successful and long-lasting installation. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Surface Preparation

Ensure a Clean and Level Surface: Before tiling, the Hardie Board surface must be clean, level, and free from any debris or imperfections. Use a damp sponge to wipe down the surface and scrape off any bumps or protrusions.

Moisture Barriers

Install a Vapor Barrier: Since Hardie Board is not inherently waterproof, a vapor barrier is crucial to prevent moisture from penetrating the substrate and damaging the tile installation. Apply a self-adhering vapor barrier sheathing membrane over the Hardie Board surface.

Apply a Liquid Waterproofing Membrane: For added protection, consider applying a liquid waterproofing membrane over the vapor barrier. This will create an additional layer of defense against moisture infiltration.


Use a Bonding Primer: To ensure proper adhesion between the tile and Hardie Board, apply a bonding primer specifically designed for use on cementitious surfaces. This will create a strong bond and prevent the tiles from detaching.

Thinset Mortar

Choose the Right Thinset: When selecting thinset mortar, opt for a polymer-modified thinset that is suitable for use with large or heavy tiles. Ensure that the thinset is compatible with both the Hardie Board substrate and the tile material.

Tiling Techniques

Use Back-Buttering: Back-buttering involves applying a layer of thinset mortar to the back of each tile before placing it on the Hardie Board. This ensures full coverage and reduces the risk of voids. Press the tiles firmly into place, ensuring they are level and properly aligned.

Stagger Joints: Avoid aligning tile joints directly above or below one another. Staggering the joints distributes the weight and stress more evenly, reducing the risk of cracks or detachment.

Grouting and Sealing

Use a Flexible Grout: Choose a flexible grout that can accommodate minor movement in the substrate. This will prevent cracking or dislodging of the grout lines over time.

Seal the Tile and Grout: Apply a penetrating sealer to the tiled surface to protect it from moisture, stains, and wear. This will also enhance the durability and appearance of the installation.

Additional Considerations

Tile Size and Weight: Hardie Board is suitable for most tile sizes and weights, but larger or heavier tiles may require additional reinforcement such as a backerboard or mesh membrane.

Exterior Installations: For exterior applications, use weather-resistant materials and follow best practices for outdoor tiling, including proper drainage and expansion joints.


Installing tile on Hardie Board is possible with careful preparation and execution. By adhering to the recommended techniques and using the appropriate materials, you can achieve a durable and aesthetically pleasing tile installation on your fiber cement board substrate.

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