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Why James Hardie / Product Comparison Guide

Hardiebacker board offers the most flexural and compressive strength available, while being the lightest cement board on the market. No other board offers a cement formulation with a smooth surface that can be painted, textured, tiled or wallpapered. Hardiebacker board passes both industry tests with a perfect score, providing the ultimate in durability, moisture resistance, and protection against mold growth. It contains no gypsum, paper facing, or abrasive aggregate.

HardieBacker® 1/4"

Click here to see how HardieBacker 1/4" compares to Durock® Board, WonderBoard®, PermaBase®, DensShield® Board,
Fiberock® Aqua-Tough™ Underlayment and 1/4" Easy Board® Backerboard.

Attribute HardieBacker 1/4" Glass Mesh Board Gypsum Board
Product Composition Portland cement, ground sand and select additives Portland cement, aggregate, glass-fiber mesh Gypsum core; may have fiberglass mat w/acrylic coating or paper facing
Flexural Strength (psi) 2100 1250-1500 Not indicated
Compressive Strength (psi) 7000 2250-2500 450-1250
Tile Council of America Recommended for Wet Areas¹ Yes Yes No
Gypsum-Free Yes Yes No
Cuts Cleanly and Easily Yes No Yes
Smooth Surface That Can Be Painted, Textured, Wallpapered Yes No Yes
Transferable Warranty Yes No Yes (only for engineered gypsum fiber core panel)
Recessed Fastener Pattern* Yes No No
Weight (lbs/sq.ft.) 1.9 2 1.2-1.5
Product Characteristics Passes both ASTM mold tests- ASTM G21 and D3273- with a perfect score. Lightest 1/4" cement board on the market and named "Best Quality Underlayment" in 2006 Builder Brand Survey Contains abrasive aggregate that can scratch porcelain and enamel surfaces. Also contains glass mesh that must be cut after snapping. Gypsum board with glass mat coating: According to the TCA, intended only for use in dry or limited water exposure areas. Not for use in floor tile installations when using tile with less than 2"x2" dimensions. Engineered gypsum fiber core panels: TCA recognized only for dry or limited water exposure areas.

HardieBacker® 500

Click here to see how HardieBacker 500 compares to Durock® Board, WonderBoard®, PermaBase®, DensShield® Board,
Fiberock® Aqua-Tough™ Interior Panel and Backerboard, Greenboard, 1/2" EasyBoard® Backerboard.

Attribute HardieBacker 500 Glass Mesh Board Gypsum Board
Product Composition Portland cement, ground sand and select additives Portland cement, aggregate, glass-fiber mesh Gypsum core; may have fiberglass mat w/acrylic coating or paper facing
Flexural Strength (psi) 1700 750-900 ≤ 110
Compressive Strength (psi) 6500 2250-2500 ≤ 500
Tile Council of America Recommended for Wet Areas¹ Yes Yes No
Gypsum-Free Yes Yes No
Cuts Cleanly and Easily Yes No Yes
Smooth Surface That Can Be Painted, Textured, Wallpapered Yes No Yes
Transferable Warranty Yes No Yes (only for engineered gypsum fiber core panel)
Weight (lbs/sq.ft.) 2.6 3 1.8-2.0
Product Characteristics Passes both ASTM mold tests- ASTM G21 and D3273- with a perfect score. Lightest 1/2" cement board on the market and named "Best Quality Underlayment" in 2006 Builder Brand Survey Contains abrasive aggregate that can scratch porcelain and enamel surfaces. Also contains glass mesh that must be cut after snapping. Gypsum board with glass mat coating: Tile wall applications have a maximum total weight limit of 4 lbs/sq.ft. All openings must be caulked with 100% silicone sealant/caulk. Engineered gypsum fiber core panels: Not recognized for use in wet areas by either the TCA or IRC. Greenboard: Not recognized for use in wet areas by TCA or IRC. Gypsum core disintegrates with continuous moisture exposure and paper facing serves as food source for mold.
* Hardiebacker 1/4" board in 3'x5' size

¹TCA 2006 Handbook definition of wet areas includes tub enclosures and showers.


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