How to Nail Hardi Board Panels

Hardi board panels, also known as Hardibacker panels are a type of cement board used under tile in bathrooms and for other household applications. It installs above the sheathing before the tile is set. Hardibacker panels are water and mold resistant. They do not rot, decompose or disintegrate. They come in 3-by-5-foot sections with thicknesses of either 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch. Hardibacker panels can either be nailed or screwed to the sheathing underneath.

  1. Inspect the sheathing on the floor. Check for gaps and cracks. Open a tub of dry set mortar and mix it with a trowel. Turn the Hardibacker upside down.

  2. Spread out the dry set mortar with the trowel over the entire back of the Hardibacker. Dip the trowel into the dry set mortar as needed and spread out the mortar 3/32-inch thick across the back of the panel.

  3. Line up the Hardibacker at the bottom corner of the room and press it firmly into place by hand. Run your hands over the entire surface. Line up the first Hardibacker nails at the bottom corner of the panel. Space the first nail two inches from the bottom.

  4. Hammer the nail into place until the head is flush with the top of the panel. Insert screws every eight inches over the surface. Keep the nails 3/4-inch from the edge of the panel and 2 inches from each corner. Hammer all of the nail heads flush with the top of the panel.

  5. Butt the second panel up to the first. Leave a 1/8-inch gap for expansion and install this panel and all of the remaining panels just like the first was installed.

About the Author

Alexander Callos began writing in 2005 for "The Lantern" at The Ohio State University and has written for various websites, including Bleacher Report, Top Ten Real Estate Deals and Columbus Sports. He has published articles for CBS Sports, SI.com and other websites. He graduated in 2007 from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's degree in public affairs journalism.