Hardibacker Vs Wonderboard: Which Should You Choose For Construction Use?

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Generally, a cement board, often known as a backer board, is a helpful tool for construction. In detail, people often use this kind of material as a foundation for flooring, walls, and other installation projects.

When it comes to cement backer boards, HardieBacker and WonderBoard are two of the most well-known brands. Furthermore, their differences can lead to damage to the construction due to negligence. 

Thus, the comparison between HardieBacker vs WonderBoard is of great interest to be searched on the internet. Read on for an extensive guide to compare these two brands and a detailed explanation of their materials.

Overview Of Hardibacker And Wonderboard

Overall, cement backer board is a low-cost, handy building material that speeds up and improves the appearance of tiling, flooring, and countertop projects. Therefore, in this segment, there are many competing brands, including Hardibacker and Wonderboard. Let’s take a look at these two brands.

What is Hardibacker?

HardieBacker is one of the most well-known firms in the market. Since 1980, cement manufacturers such as HardieBacker have utilized reinforced fibers to improve the quality of pure cement.

HardieBacker cement board is a tile underlayment used in wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. Moreover, this cement-based backer board, composed of 90% Portland cement and sand, resists moisture damage, offers excellent tile adhesion, and is designed with MoldBlock Technology to prevent mold development.

What is Wonderboard?

Paul Dinkle, a tile setter, invented WonderBoard because he could not find anyone to float walls at that time. Therefore, he produced it with his partner, Ted Clear. 

Like HardieBacker, WonderBoard is a cement-based backer board that is primarily used for wet-area tiling. Furthermore, another similarity between these two brands is the main component: Portland cement. 

Hardibacker Vs Wonderboard: 5 Main Differences

Composition

The composition of HardieBacker and WonderBoard Lite is the most significant distinction between them. In detail, HardieBacker is a 90% Portland cement, sand, and 10% cellulose fiber combination, along with proprietary additives to enhance performance. 

Meanwhile, WonderBoard is a cement and fiberglass mixture reinforced with mesh. Moreover, it contains no fiber and gypsum, which reduces the durability of backer boards.

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Use

WonderBoard’s products are almost more resistant than the regular line of HardieBacker. Therefore, WonderBoard is safer for wet areas than HardieBacker. 

While HardieBacker has a waterproof line named HardieBacker HydroDefense, most products are just normally water-resistant and not fully waterproof. So, when installing HardieBacker, they need to use additional waterproof sealants. 

Meanwhile, all products of WonderBoard are fully water-resistant. As a result, WonderBoard is approved for indoor and outdoor use, while HardieBacker is only used indoor and should never be used outside. 

Properties

In general, the cement boards are resistant to a degree of force that is considerably more than the breaking strength of previously utilized plywood and gypsum boards. If cement boards are adequately protected and maintained, they can endure up to 50 years. In addition, because cement boards are less likely to shrink, they are more robust and resistant.

Honestly, both HardieBacker and WonderBoard boast some degree of water resistance. However, due to the different materials, this leads to their other properties. In detail, HardieBacker is made of cellulose fibers and cement instead of pure cement, while WonderBoard is mainly from a mostly cement formula.

As a result, HardieBacker is more flexible and lighter than its competitor. Moreover, it also makes installation more accessible and efficient without losing integrity. Finally, HardieBacker also allows for easier cleanup.

Cut and shape

Portland cement and fiberglass reinforcing strands are among the components used in WonderBoard. Furthermore, due to the mesh, WonderBoard makes cutting challenging. Indeed, WonderBoard is also more prone to breaking, significantly when cutting off small pieces.

Thus, the manufacturer advises breaking it with a knife, similar to cutting drywall. Yet, you may also cut it using a circular saw. Unfortunately, it quickly dulls cutting blades, so experts suggest having spares on hand, and it produces clouds of cement dust when using a power saw, so a respirator and goggles are required.

However, HardieBacker allows you to cut and shape more easily than WonderBoard. Hence, HardieBacker’s smooth cutting experience is made even easier by following the pre-cut grid pattern when cutting.

Price

It is difficult to discuss specific prices because prices depend on many factors such as stores, thickness, product line, etc. However, in general, WonderBoard is cheaper than HardieBacker.

For example, a 3ft x 5ft tile of HardieBacker backer board with 1/4 inch thick costs about $12. Meanwhile, a WonderBoard tile of the same size costs about $10. So that means WonderBoard was cheaper than HardieBacker $2.

Hardibacker Vs Wonderboard: Which One Is Better?

After comparing cement backer boards of these two brands, it is difficult to answer which one will be better, although they serve similar purposes. However, since its properties aren’t entirely the same, they will be more suitable for different usage.

In short, the lightweight HardieBacker is ideal for smaller projects or circumstances where people must work alone. Meanwhile, the heavy but long-lasting WonderBoard serves as a solid foundation for your walls and floors.

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Indeed, WonderBoard is better because it is more robust and affordable when covering a large surface (walls or floor). However, HardieBacker is a better alternative for little areas, such as bathroom corners or vanity surfaces. In addition, HardieBacker is easier to use and less prone to shattering when cut into smaller pieces.

Furthermore, HardieBacker is also more suitable with sensitive materials like vinyl and enamel, whereas WonderBoard may cause damage to your tub or installation.

Conclusion

Both HardieBacker and WonderBoard make high-quality products, providing a good foundation for most construction projects. However, there are always differences between the two different brands, which can affect the quality of the construction.

For that reason, this article has detailed the differences between Hardibacker vs Wonderboard. Hopefully, that knowledge will be helpful to you in deciding which one will be best for your house.