When it comes time to tile, many homeowners like to take this project on themselves.
If you get the basic process down, the tiling of a bathroom or a kitchen backsplash can be very manageable.
One of the most important things to consider when starting a tiling project is to ensure that the tile is going to stay on the wall.
Two of the options that you have for this installation are Kerdi Board and Cement Board.
There are quite a few things to understand about underlayment to ensure that your final product is a good one.
If you have been wondering whether Kerdi Board or Cement Board is better for your project, we have all the answers you will need.
Kerdi Board Vs. Cement Board (What’s The Difference?)
Kerdi Board and Cement Board are both products that can be used a tile underlayment.
However, these two products offer some different functionality.
It is a good idea to understand the differences between these two products before you install them.
Let’s look at the main differences between Kerdi Board and Cement Board.
Cement Board is significantly heavier than Kerdi Board.
The Kerdi Board can be carried with multiple boards at a time, and it is not too cumbersome for one person to carry.
The weight also helps when it comes to installation and having to hold a board in place.
For those who are worried about very bulky and heavy walls, it is essential to make sure that the Cement Board is not too heavy.
With Kerdi Board, that won’t be a problem.
Overall, the weight of the Cement Board does sometimes make it a bit more durable over the long term, but this is not something that should keep you away from Kerdi Board.
Truly, you must consider both products and the positives and negatives before you can make a final decision.
There is no question that Cement Board is more popular than Kerdi Board.
Cement Board has been on the market for many years, and it is the most widely known product to put under a tile project.
The Kerdi Board is newer and therefore not as well known, but it does have its advantages.
Sometimes a newer product will not have the same durability or longevity.
However, newer products often have an advantage when it comes to key features and technologies.
Kerdi Board as a whole is much easier to install than Cement Board.
The great thing about Kerdi Board is that it is lightweight and easier to maneuver.
When having to put it up on the wall or measure it for size, you will find that you can get the exact measurements you need without much trouble.
In addition to the installation because of the weight, the Kerdi Board also has gridlines on the surface of the board.
These grid lines seem like a simple feature, yet they really help when it comes to measurement and installation.
You can even use a utility knife, and it will cut right through the Kerdi Board and give you the exact size that you need.
When working to try and get a job done quickly, you will rely on these gridlines quite often.
4. Water Resistant/Waterproof
Cement Board can withstand a certain amount of water.
This is why when you look at Cement Board, it is considered to be water-resistant yet not waterproof.
Kerdi Board, however, does really well with water and it can handle getting quite wet.
Many people will even use Kerdi Board when they are doing waterproofing.
In high moisture areas, you can imagine that it is very important to consider this water-resistant feature and functionality so that it will help your projects be more complete.
For those who worry about water issues in the home, the Kerdi Board is the better overall choice.
What Is Cement Board?
A cement board is a substrate that is used under the tile.
You may see cement board in your kitchen or bathroom, and it can be under the floor as well.
The cement board has been used for a very long time, and it is an inexpensive option to consider.
Many people who are working with cement boards know that it is an efficient piece of material to put up and install.
When you put the cement board in place, you will apply it using a bit of thin-set, and then to get the tiles to stick to the cement board, you will then use thin-set again.
The idea behind using the cement board is to make sure that the tile has a stable and durable surface to attach to long term.
The cement board can, however, be really heavy, and that is an issue for some people who are worried about overall weight, especially when then adding tile to the board.
In addition, the cement board is not waterproof.
Although it is capable of handling a bit of moisture, you can’t fully expect the cement board to get soaked and continue to hold up all your tile.
When hanging full sheets of cement board, you will find that the product is easy to work with.
However, for anyone who has cut a piece of sheetrock, you know how messy things can get when you start making cuts.
The same holds true for cement boards.
As soon as you start making cuts with the cement board, you will be left with a small piece of cement that is just flying around the room.
These small pieces can end up scratching things and causing damage, so try to keep this in mind.
Overall, the cement board does a great job, and it has been something that has helped to make tile projects go smoothly for many years.
Both professionals and those who are DIY experts are going to recognize Cement Board as being a great solution.
What Is Kerdi Board?
As we mentioned when we talked about what Cement Board is, there were a few downsides to this product.
This is the case with almost all products on the market, and there are times when they just can’t do it all.
This essentially opens a window for those who are interested in coming up with a new design.
The Kerdi Board was created as a way to help improve on the flaws of Cement Board.
Therefore, Kerdi Board has a bit of an advantage over the Cement Board.
The Kerdi Board is a tile underlayment that is very lightweight and can even provide some waterproof functionality.
As you may remember, the two major flaws of the Cement Board were the fact that this is a heavy material that is not waterproof.
When you think about areas like the kitchen and bathroom, the chance of a tile underlayment getting exposed to water is relatively high.
With the Kerdi Board, this won’t be an issue.
When hanging Kerdi Board, it is relatively easy to get the board to hang level and flat, especially because it is so much lighter than Cement Board.
If you are using Kerdi Board correctly and following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you can also use it as a waterproof barrier.
The other thing you find with Kerdi Board is that it has more uses than Cement Board.
People will often use it as a waterproof barrier or even a kitchen countertop underlayment.
Although this is a simple feature of the Kerdi Board, we find that it is one worth mentioning.
The Kerdi Board has lines on it that help you make a more even cut and allow you to easily measure the boards that you have in place.
If you are used to dealing with Cement Boards all the time, and you make a switch to Kerdi board, you will be amazed at how versatile this product is.
Of course, some people out there will say that the stability of the Cement Board cannot be beaten, but this is not always the case.
Depending on the application, you will sometimes find that Kerdi Board can do just as good of a job.
Is Kerdi Board Better Than Cement Board?
As you can see from our review of Kerdi Board vs. Cement Board, there are some really great features in Kerdi Board that you won’t find in Cement Board.
Therefore, it is really important to understand these features and to see if they are going to make a difference to your project.
Here are the reasons that you will want to consider using Kerdi Board for your next project that requires an underlayment.
1. Even Panel Surface
Having an even surface to complete a tile project is essential.
If you do not have an even surface, you will struggle with the ability to get the final tile project to look the way you want it to.
Although cement board can be even, the Kerdi Board is even easier to manage and much easier to get to lay flat.
For those who worry about leveling and ensuring the end product has a proper look, the Kerdi Board is the better choice.
The waterproof makeup of the Kerdi Board really does help to make it a better long-term option.
For those who are interested in tiling something, chances are there will be some water close by.
If you think that the water could damage the Cement Board, it is an excellent idea to seriously consider the Kerdi Board.
Although waterproofing is something that can be done to Cement Board to help it handle more water, it is much easier to work on this from the start and ensure that you are working with a more water tolerant product.
Many people choose Cement Board because they say that it is more stable than any other product.
However, after quite a bit of testing, the Kerdi Board is just as stable as the Cement Board.
Experts who work in this field every day are finding that they have no issues simply switching to Kerdi Board and using it as an alternative to the Cement Board.
Even in high-end homes or industrial applications where Cement Board has always been the norm, the Kerdi Board tends to be a good replacement.
The Kerdi Board has gridlines on it that help for two reasons.
The first is that you can make quick and easy measurements because of the guide that is already in place.
In addition, you can also easily apply mortar to the Kerdi Board because it is has a surface that is much more tolerant and accepting of the mortar.
Overall, the grid lines on the Kerdi Board are a positive for both measurements and acceptance of mortar.
5. Easy To Cut
A Kerdi Board is cut with just a simple utility knife.
This is not the type of thing you will need to break out the saw to work with.
The board is simple to work with, and you will not make a mess when you are cutting it.
There are very few pieces of debris that will fall on the ground in your workspace and cause a chance of damage.
Do I Need A Tile Underlayment?
Cement Board and Kerdi Board are both tile underlayments.
There are three parts to any tile project that you are doing on a floor: the subfloor, the underlayment, and then the tile surface.
The underlayment is smooth, and it allows you the best chance of getting a smooth and complete finished tile project.
In addition, over time, the underlayment helps to ensure that the subfloor will not sink and bend over time.
The tile underlayment is also going to help when waterproofing issues come into play.
If there are water issues, the underlayment can ensure that the floor will remain in place over time.
Choose The Right Tile Underlayment
When working on a tile project, the thing that you are going to be most concerned about is the finished look of the tile.
This is completely understandable, but it is not the only part of the project that matters.
In fact, to get the finished product looking the way you want it to, the initial steps of choosing the proper tile underlayment are the more critical parts of the process.
Overall, you have to choose a tile underlayment, and the two most popular options are the Kerdi Board and the Cement Board.
If you are working on trying and preventing cracks, you may want to go with a cement board that has a bit more durability.
There are also times that you will want to ensure moisture protection, and this is where the Kerdi Board is going to be a better fit.
Essentially, the first step is to ensure that you have a plan for this project and that you know exactly what your end goal is.
The type of sheet that you apply can be very rigid, or it can have a little more give to it.
Ensuring that you use something that is a bit more rigid is smart for tile.
You have to consider the subfloor cracks and ensure that these do not start to shift into the underlayment.
If you are new to tiling, you may want to have a professional come over and explain their process because chances are they will be able to tell you exactly how they recommend proceeding.
Even if you continue the rest of the project on your own, at least you know what you will need.
Don’t ignore these basic steps in the tiling process, and you will be glad you did the research later on.
Hopefully, you are now clearly able to see the difference between Kerdi Board and Cement Board.
The two products have the same general functionality, but their features will vary.
If you are new to DIY projects and want something that is easy to work with and provides excellent waterproofing, go with the Kerdi Board.
If you have been in the industry for a long time, and you know there are issues with rigidity or cracking that require a more durable material, the Cement Board could be the better choice.
Regardless of the way you decide to do your next tile project, at least be informed about potential issues and the proper underlayment to choose.
We all want our finished projects to come out looking great, but sometimes that takes a bit of research and focus to ensure it happens.