Installing Cement Backer Board on a Wood Subfloor Before Tiling

Ceramic tile makes a durable flooring material that resists moisture and heavy traffic if it’s installed properly. Before installing ceramic tile on a plywood subfloor, it’s important to put down a layer of cement backer board first. Use corrosion resistant nails or screws to attach the cement backer board to the plywood subfloor.

Cement backer board is more dimensionally stable than plywood and forms a better bond with the thin-set adhesive used to glue the tile down. This means that tile applied to cement backer board resists cracking and popping loose better than tile applied to a plywood subfloor alone.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


  1. i’m installing porcelen tile out side on a pre existing patio. i’ve tore up the old boards and the joists and in great shape. they are anchored to 4×4 post that are concreated in the ground i am thinkin of laying treated plywood with a plastic underneath it then hardi backer over that then tileing. any one hoave a suggestions could use all the help possible gotta wife really trusting me to get it done properly lol thanks alot

  2. Can I manipulate the height of the subfloor to achieve the same height for ceramic tile flooring and hardwood flooring in 2 adjoining areas?

    • Hi, Cindy! It’s hard to visualize this setup. Can you please describe, in detail, what you’re trying to do, where the wood cabinets are located in relation to the room and the flooring, and any other details that might be helpful?

    • Hi, Chester!
      As the article states, use corrosion-resistant nails or screws to attach the cement backer board to the plywood subfloor.
      It’s super-easy.
      Good luck with your project. 🙂

  3. Is there a modified thinset you recommend or have experience working with? I need a modified thinset to attach the Hardie cement backer board to the plywood subfloor. This is for tiling a bathroom floor. There are so many options at Lowe’s that is hard to know the best one to pick.


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