How to Install Cement Board for Tile Projects | Methods for Interior Floor and Wall

Cement board is a popular choice for tile projects because it is durable, water-resistant, and provides a stable base for tiles. It is made from a mixture of cement, water, and fibers, and it is typically sold in sheets that are 1/2 inch thick.

There are a few challenges that you may face when installing cement boards for tile projects. First, it is important to make sure that the subfloor or walls are properly prepared. This means that the surface should be level, smooth, and clean. Second, you need to use the correct type of screws and fasteners to attach the cement board to the subfloor or walls. Third, you need to take care not to overtighten the screws, as this can damage the cement board.

Despite these challenges, installing cement boards for tile projects is a relatively easy DIY project. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure a successful installation.

How to Install Cement Board for Tile Projects

What Procedure Do I Follow to Install Cement Board for Tile Projects

Before we start the installing cement board, let’s gather our supplies. To ensure a smooth installation, you’ll need the following materials and tools –


  • Cement Board Sheets – These come in 3 ft. x 5 ft. or 4 ft. x 8 ft. sheets and are available in various thicknesses, typically 14 inches or 12 inches. Choose the thickness suitable for your project.
  • Screws – 1-1/4 inch or 1-5/8 inch cement board screws will work well.
  • Cement Board Tape – This is essential for reinforcing seams and preventing cracks. 
  • Thinset Mortar – Used for adhering the cement board to the subfloor or wall.
  • Circular Saw – A circular saw with a masonry blade will help you cut the cement board to size.


  • Tape Measure and Straight Edge – Essential for precise measurements and cuts.
  • Screw Gun – To drive the cement board screws securely.
  • Notched Trowel – Used for applying thinset mortar.
  • Utility Knife – Handy for trimming cement board edges and making cutouts.

Now that we’ve gathered our materials and tools, let’s move on to the actual installation process.

For installing cement board in the bathroom and room, the steps are quite similar. However, there are slight differences while installing cement boards in the bathroom. Here, we have provided the steps for both the room and bathroom. 

#Steps for Interior Room Floor and Wall –

Step 1 Prepare the Surface

Before installing cement board, ensure that the subfloor or wall is clean, dry, and structurally sound. Any loose or damaged areas should be repaired.

Step 2 Measure and Cut

Measure the area where you’ll be installing the cement board and cut the sheets accordingly using a circular saw. To get better measurements, it is suggested to lay the cement boards all over the area. First, measure the portions that need to be cut. Then, use a utility knife to score the board along the measurement and cut it with a circular saw.

Step 3 Apply Thinset Mortar

Using a notched trowel, spread a layer of thinset mortar evenly over the subfloor or wall surface. Press the cement board sheets firmly into the mortar, leaving that 0.125 or 1/8-inch gap between them and 0.25 or ¼-inch gap between the board and the edge of the wall.

Follow the process until you cover up the entire process.

Step 4 Secure the Boards

Attach the cement board to the subfloor or wall using cement board screws. The distance between screws should be approximately 6-8 inches, with a maximum distance of 2.5 inches from the edge of the board.

Step 5 Reinforce Seams

Apply cement board tape such as fiberglass mesh tape over the seams between the sheets and embed it in thinset mortar. This will prevent cracks from forming in the future.

Step 6 Let it Cure

Allow the thinset mortar to dry and cure for at least 24 hours before proceeding with your tile installation.

#Steps for Bathroom Floor and Wall –

Prepare the Surfaces

Prepare the subfloor and walls by making sure that they are level, smooth, and clean. If the subfloor is not level, you can use a self-leveling compound to level it out.

Provide Waterproofing Membrane

Apply a waterproofing membrane to the subfloor and walls. This will help to prevent water from seeping through the cement board and damaging the subfloor or walls.

Measure and Cut the Cement Board

Follow the instructions that we have provided under the Measure heading in the previous section and prepare the cement board. While measuring the cement board for the bathroom wall, you will need to make spaces for different water outlets and valves. So, measure carefully, and for making circular holes on the board, you can use a circle cutter.

Place the Cement Boards

Lay out the cement board sheets on the subfloor and walls. Make sure that the joints between the sheets are staggered and that there is a 1/4-inch gap between the sheets and all surrounding walls.

Screw the Cement Boards

Attach the cement board sheets to the subfloor and walls using cement board screws. Space the screws 6 to 8 inches apart across the entire sheet and 2-1/2 inches apart along the edges.

Finishing Up

Use the mesh tape to cover the gaps between the cement boards and between the wall and edges of the board. After that, apply thinset mortar to fill up the gaps. Let the entire place cure for 24 to 48 hours 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to install cement board for tile projects, you’re well on your way to creating a stunning and durable tile surface. Remember to follow safety precautions, take your time with measurements and cuts, and ensure a solid bond between the cement board and the subfloor or wall. With the right materials, tools, and a bit of patience, your DIY tile project will be a resounding success!

For more expert tips and guidance on home improvement projects, keep exploring our website. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or just getting started, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Happy tiling!

You Asked, We Answered

Can I install tile directly on plywood without using cement board

While it’s possible, it’s not recommended for long-term durability. A cement board provides a stable, moisture-resistant surface that helps prevent tile from cracking over time. It’s a crucial step for most tile installations.

Is there a difference between the cement board and drywall?

Yes, there is a significant difference. Cement board is specifically designed for use in wet and high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms and kitchens, as it doesn’t deteriorate when exposed to moisture. Drywall, on the other hand, is not suitable for these applications.

Do I need to use a special type of thinset mortar for the cement board?

You should use a latex-modified thinset mortar designed for use with cement board. This type of mortar provides a strong bond and helps prevent cracks.

Can I install a cement board over the existing tile?

It’s not recommended to install a cement board over the existing tile. It’s best to remove the old tile and ensure a clean, even surface for your new cement board and tile installation.

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