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I came across an interesting product the other day, and thought it might be perfect for an upcoming project. I'm redoing the tile back splash in my kitchen and was planning on using cement board behind the tile, but now I'm not so sure.

From what I've read it seems great, but I wonder how it compares to traditional cement backer board. So has anybody used KIRDI-BOARD? What advantages/disadvantages does it have?

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6 Answers 6

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Unless you've got a lot of intricate cuts (tough with concrete board) or expect to have a LOT of water on your backsplash on a regular basis, it's probably just simpler to go with backerboard.

I have used a Kerdi-board competitor, Wedi, for a shower and found it very easy to work with. Easy to cut and seal. Comes with sealant (caulk tubes) and fastening bolts (might be tricky to drive in small backsplash places) To avoid flex, you want to use a thicker board. It's pretty strong stuff (particularly for a kitchen backsplash, which shouldn't bear much (any?) weight or pressure.

I have also used the original Kerdi membrane (not the newer board you mention) for a shower. I have a lot of confidence in the quality of the seal with the Kerdi membrane, but it's quite a bit of extra work if you haven't done it before, and is probably overkill for a backsplash (I assume the counter top runs below).

As for cost - my personal opinion is that small jobs are precisely the place to spend the extra money (assuming the quality is better for what you need). If I had to do 100 bathrooms, the added cost of the these newer products would really add up. If I'm doing 1 or 2, then the difference is relatively small.

As a bit of history: The Kerdi membrane (from Schluter Systems) is one of (the?) original products in this space. Wedi board came as a competitive product, eliminating the need to put up drywall and then apply the membrane. Schluter responded with the Kerdi board.

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I ended up tackling my basement bathroom renovation by myself. I started out with cement board and a close cousin to it.Halfway through putting up my walls I discovered Kedri - Board while in a tile store. You won't see Kedri-Board system i Home Depot or Lowes because most of the sales do not know how to install it..But the big upside to the Kedri-Board system is the weight. I can lift 2 of these boards where I was struggling with one cement board. I pretty much left up my moisture barrier but took down the half way job of cement board. Its about 9 months since the completion of my bathroom. I can't wait to start another project and to work on my learning curve. It's like getting a new toy. That light.

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I believe using 1/2" Kerdi-Board is much better than Kerdi Membrane over 1/2" Drywall

  1. Its cleaner (no gypsum dust etc.)

  2. It’s probably more water proof (moisture will not deteriorate Kerdi-Board)

  3. Its only about 30% more in cost (about $440 for at large 4 foot time 8 foot shower or 96 sq. ft. of wall space, which is a big shower)

1/2" inch Kerdi board is $3.60 sq. ft. assume about another $1.00 for Kerdi Band or 96 sq. ft. x $4.60 = $441

Using wallboard 3 x $10 = $30 and Kerdi membrane $2.10 sq. ft. x 96 = $201 + $96 Kerdi-Band = $30 + $201 + $96 = $327

This means you pay $114 for a better result Given your shower overall cost is around $2000 this is a good investment..

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when doing a simple backsplash for a kitchen you would not need to use a backerboard for a project like that.. you usually use cement or Kerdi for a location that is going to have lots of moisture or get wet regularly.. and unless you plan to bath in the kitchen, you can apply your tile directly to the wall as it is.

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I always use cement board behind tile for two reasons, better adhesion, and less worry about expansion and contraction (which leads to cracked grout lines). –  Tester101 Mar 31 '11 at 11:48
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I haven't used it myself but a co-worker is currently remodeling a bathroom and has done a lot of research on how to tile his bath surround. His impressions of Kerdi-board:

  • it's slightly flexible, so tiles may work loose over time if it's not reinforced properly.
  • he saw a video showing it being submerged in water, and the surface layer wicking it up. That shouldn't be a real-life problem unless you do something really wrong with the grouting and caulking.
  • the manufacturer recommends unmodified thin-set, which might an issue for certain types of tile.
  • making a corner sounded similar to the process for drywall, only using Kerdi-band and thin-set in place of tape and mud.
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what tile types were you thinking would be a problem for unmodified? –  HerrBag Jun 24 '13 at 20:29
    
@HerrBag: From their website, Exceptions: Certain moisture-sensitive stones, e.g., green marble, or resin-backed tiles may not be appropriate for use in wet areas or may require special setting materials. –  Niall C. Jun 24 '13 at 20:47
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I haven't used KIRDI-BOARD itself, but I have used similar products. Mostly, the biggest advantages are found in weight and longevity of the material. The synthetic foam will last longer than traditional concrete and produce significantly less dust when cutting and installing.

The biggest disadvantage will be the cost. Synthetics (KIRDI-BOARD and similar products) tend to run on the expensive side. Some quick Google-ing turned up about $10/sheet for 5'x3'x1/2" cement boards. KIRDI-BOARDs in a similar dimension (4'x5'x1/2") would run about $77.

So ... if you're working on a DIY project, stick with the less expensive, traditional building materials. If you can afford to buy massive quantities in bulk (or know a contractor willing to do it for you), look into the more advanced stuff.

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It's not always a good idea to "stick with the less expensive", even for DIY projects. Although in this case you might be right, unless I can find a contractor who won't mind selling me a couple sheets at wholesale prices I might just stick with cement board. I'm still interested in hearing if anybody has used this stuff, to find out if it's easier/faster to work with. Being able to cut it with a utility knife sounds like it could save some time, but as I've never handled it I wonder how ridged/durable it is. –  Tester101 Mar 8 '11 at 2:23
    
@EAMann You have any sources on synthetic foam lasting longer than traditional concrete? –  John Smith Aug 22 '13 at 19:07
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