Do I Need Backer Board for Kitchen Backsplash?

Do I Need Backer Board for Kitchen Backsplash?

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Do I Need Backer Board for Kitchen Backsplash?

The type and design of the backsplash are primarily dependent on individual taste and will usually take the form of a pattern, such as geometric shapes, images, words, or arrangements.

A Backer board is a plywood or rigid fiberboard available in many thicknesses, widths, and shapes.

You can use it to improve the look of bare walls and create decorative patterns on kitchen backsplashes.

Professionals also use it for repair work and surface preparation for construction projects.

The Backer board comprises wood or non-combustible materials, such as pressed paperboard or glass fiber mixed with various resins.

Yes! The main purpose of the backer board is to protect the surface it’s placed on. In commercial construction projects, bare concrete or dirt walls require its installation before the tiles are installed over them. This prevents the wall from cracking or loosening up when you finish tiling.

You can use the ordinary plywood from a hardware store for your home as a cheaper alternative for backer boards in residential construction projects.

In both cases, secure the backer board with screws or construction adhesive to avoid loosening up the backer board over time.

Using a Hardibacker is suitable for surfaces like concrete and masonry walls. Hardibacker is a special cement-based product that you can easily cut and install properly.

What Material Goes Behind the Kitchen Backsplash?

A backsplash is a layer of material applied to the wall behind your stove and sinks. Finding out what materials go behind the kitchen backsplash can be a simple process.

You’ll need some paint, grout, and sealant. The most popular materials are glass tiles in different colors or stainless-steel sheets with grout.

Backsplashes have come a long way since the days of simply painting the wall in your kitchen. There are plenty of options on what materials go behind the kitchen backsplash.

The first option is to use glass tiles, to be more specific. The tiles range in color, design, and size, so they can blend well with any theme you might have in mind.

Another option is stainless steel sheets with grout (like a sandwich). You could also choose to use a plastic material designed for this application.

Ceramic TilesRelatively affordable, they come in all sorts of styles and shapes and can be adorned with anything from contemporary to traditional patterns, Ceramic tiles are often treated with a sealant for water resistance.
Glass Tiles or Mosaic glassThese are often seen on kitchen backsplashes since the smaller pieces tend to be more resistant to water damage.
Glass TilesThis material is treated with a sealant for water resistance, Often has the same ceramic look as tile with a 1″x1″ or 1″x2″ grout space.
Metal TilesThey have a shiny, reflective finish that can be attractive or even fancy
Porcelain TilesRelatively affordable and comes in a wide range of colors and patterns
Stone TilesThey come in many colors and styles, from granite to travertine to marble. Many stone backsplashes are sealed with a nonporous sealant to prevent this.

Can You Put the Backsplash Directly on The Drywall?

Yes! You can put a backsplash directly on the drywall, provided your wall is smooth and flat. Thus, you can install a ceramic tile kitchen backsplash over drywall or plaster with no problem.

Use a small amount of joint compound and sandpaper to smooth the surface. The key is to avoid using too much paint or other finishes as they may damage the drywall.

Do I Need Backer Board for Kitchen Backsplash?

You will have to do several coats of paint or other finish for it not to show through, but you’ll need less material and can prevent any puddling that might otherwise happen on drywall.

You can use putty around the edges of the tile if necessary, but it may also damage the wall. That is why you should do this job in an area with excellent ventilation, such as a garage or utility room.

You can use a putty knife to smooth rough spots and apply the grout in small amounts at each joint. Be sure to clean up any excess grout before it dries.

You can use stove-top grout for this installation, but it will not be as strong as mortar. For a shower or tub surround installation, you need to use a less-flexible setting material, such as mortar.

Putty will be easier to install on a flat wall because mortar requires enough slope so that water will drain away from the tile.

Before installing the tile, you’ll need to ensure the walls are smooth and level.

A level can help you see if the walls are perfectly straight, but if you have any dips or unevenness, it may affect how well the tile will fit over them.

You can use a level placed on a 2x4x8 stud to check walls for straightness and levelness.

Types of Backer Board

Cement BoardIt consists of a layer of cement made up of Portland cement, silica fume and water, sawdust, limestone, and dolomite.

This layer is attached to a plywood substrate that is engineered with layers of wood fibers or veneers oriented at right angles to each other.

Cement board can be either flat-faced or corrugated, depending on where it’s going to be installed in your home.
Fiber Cement BoardMade from recycled plastic and other recycled fibers used to make products such as insulation or flooring.

Made by combining the thermoset resin with glass fibers, final product can be used in anything from the walls to the floor of your home.

Fiber cement board (FCB) is commonly used to protect against moisture, noise, fungus, and insects, in addition to sound control in your home.
Glass Mat Gypsum boardSuitable for heavy loads and moisture control, such as in shower walls, backsplashes, between countertops and sinks.

Provide additional strength over the usual boards, can be used with ceramic tile, marble, or stone surfaces.

Comes with a finished surface on both sides, so you don’t have to purchase a separate finish material.
Composite Backer BoardA rigid board used in various applications provides strength and heat insulation, sound control, and fire resistance.

It can be used in fire-rated cavities where wood or mineral wool would be too flammable, such as under roofing materials or wood flooring.

What Do You Put Behind the Tile Backsplash?

1. Water-Resistant Drywall

You need to put drywall behind your tile backsplash. You’ll have to seal the drywall before you paint.

2. A Large Sheet of Unwaxed, Smooth Ceramic Tile

You must use ceramic tile with no texture and no design for your backsplash. If you’re thinking of adding color to your backsplash, now is not the time.

3. A Large Sheet of Unpainted Drywall

You need to put the drywall on top of your tile. The tile should look slightly raised from the floor.

4. A Large Sheet of Plastic or Heavy Cardboard

You need to use a good underlayment for your ceramic tile backsplash. If you don’t use a tack strip, you’ll pay for it later with unsightly water spots and mold growth because of winter rain or condensation.

5. A Large Sheet of Vinyl Insulation (R13)

This will help keep the floor warm in the winter and make it nice and cool in the summer. You can put up to three inches of insulation on the drywall.

6. A Wood or Glass Wall Frame in Your Kitchen, Bathroom, Or Bedroom

You need to attach these to all six sides of your house by nailing them through the drywall into studs in your walls and then screwing them into wood studs on both sides at mid-height.

This will give you support for your tiles.

7. Nails and Screws

You need to attach the tile to the wall frame, then attach the drywall. Use 8d galvanized decking nails (this is a better choice than drywall nails since they are less likely to split your tile).

Screw through the drywall into wood studs.

Does The Backsplash Tile Sit on The Countertop?

Yes! Roughly, you should place 5″ of backsplash tile over the countertop, with the lip of the tile at least 1/8″ from any edge.

If you want to install a backsplash over your countertops, here’s how you can do it. When you’re ready to put in your backsplash, lay out your countertop on top of the backsplash tiles.

If your countertop is against a wall or in a corner, measure the back of it and subtract 5″ from that measurement; that’s how long your first row of tiles should be.

Measure the length of your backsplash, and that’s how many rows of tiles you’ll need. If you have a backsplash less than 5″, you won’t need as many rows of tiles.

Tiles are generally sold by the square foot, so you’ll need enough to measure your first row. I measured about a 10 x 10 (10″ x 10″) area with my tape measure; my tiles were 8½” x 8½”.

Do I Need Backer Board for Kitchen Backsplash?

To figure out how many tiles I needed for my first row, I divided the length of the backsplash by the length of my tiles.

For my 10 x 10 area, which is ten divided by 8 ½ inches, I rounded it up to 9, so that’s how many tiles I needed for my first row.

Will Tile Mortar Stick to Painted Drywall?

No, It won’t stick to drywall painted with a primer solution or paint. You can easily put them in contact without peeling off as long as the drywall isn’t too thin and the mortar is not too thick.

If you use a bag of setting mortar properly and don’t over-paint your walls (no more than two coats), this question will have no answer.

However, if you apply a new layer of paint to your walls, it will not stick to the existing drywall.

You can apply another coat of primer to your walls if you wish to have a medium or heavy texture on the wall. It would be best if you don’t mind “rough,” but try not to have thin or flaky surfaces.

For example, one way would be to use paper rollers instead of rollers. Make sure that you cover all roller tracks with primers and paints.

You might want to apply 2-3 coats of the same primer and paint to your walls for the best results.

If you do this, and you don’t mind having a strong texture on the wall, it will be okay for a single coat of drywall compound.

After that, two-three coats of drywall compound will finish your work. Please consult a professional before doing this.

For your second question, you may want to try using some sandpaper first.

The best way would be to use 100-600 grit paper on the surface and work it with a tooth-blade to ensure you get all the dust out of the pores.

Then you can use larger abrasives like 400-800 to refine the texture slightly. You can also do it without sanding, but it will take longer time and effort.

Is Quartz Too Thick for The Backsplash?

The average quartz slab boasts 1-¼ inches (or 3 centimeters) thick. This may seem excessive at first, but this is just enough to meet the needs of most backsplashes.

Quartz boasts the most popular material used for a backsplash because it’s easy to maintain and sanitize.

It has a remarkably long-life span if you plan on using quartz for your next kitchen renovation project and need some guidance.

  1. Review All Your Options

Many considerations come into play when deciding what material to use for your next kitchen renovation. One of your most important decisions is which stone you want to use.

If you have a good idea of which stone type you prefer, this will give you a great starting point.

Many other options may or may not work for your specific needs or preferences, so be sure to review them all by doing a little research on your own and talking with others about their experiences with various materials.

  • Know The Type of Stone You’re Considering

You can choose from many different types and qualities of stone. The type of stone you choose will depend on your kitchen remodeling budget, design style, and color requirements.

You’ll probably hear a lot of whispers that some kinds of stone are better than others. But all stones have strengths and weaknesses, so try not to be overly swayed by these claims.

Can You Put a Coffeemaker on The Quartz Countertop?

Yes! Quartz is a very porous and natural-looking material. Because of this, a mildly wet surface can easily stain or mark it.

If you plan on placing a coffee maker on your quartz countertop, placing it on a tile or some other protective surface will be best. Quartz also requires very little care, like soap and water, to keep it clean and look great.

While quartz is an excellent material for countertops, it may not be suitable for everyone. Quartz can be costly, and some people don’t like the look of it.

If you choose quartz countertops, there are many different designs and colors.

When looking at quartz, make sure it’s real; you can do this by finding a certificate of authenticity or going through a reputable dealer.

Some quartz countertops are fake, which can be difficult to tell to the untrained eye.

Real quartz countertops are typically more expensive than other materials, but they last longer and look better. Quartz also has low maintenance and is easy to clean.

If you decide to go with quartz, and you have decided that you want to put a coffee maker on your quartz countertop, you will want to place the coffee maker on a tile surface or some other protective surface.

When Should You Use a Backer Board?

You should use a backer board when you want to give your wallboard a better surface for laying tile, mortar, or mesh.

For example, if you’re installing a cement backer board, you should use a backer board when tiling a shower or bathtub surround.

It will stabilize the mortar and give your final product a better surface for laying tile. It’s not essential, but it will make your job easier.

If you’re installing a plastic wallboard like Hardie Backer on framing members, you should still use a backer board. The inside of the stud bay is the weakest spot on your wall.

Plastic is not very strong and often only gives you 1/2″ or less wood you can screw into. So, a backer board will help fill in the gap and give you more wood to screw into to secure your paneling.

The paneling will also help to fill in any gaps in the wood and give you a better, safer installation.

If you’re installing plastic sheetrock, you don’t need to use a backer board. Plastic is self-adhering, and you can install it on top of wood framing without a backer board.

However, it’s not suitable because it’s a pain to try to screw into plastic sheetrock. It will crack and chip easily, so your screws have nothing to grab onto.

Using plastic sheetrock on top of framing without a backer board, use at least three to four framing members underneath the wall.

This will give you a better surface to screw into the plastic sheetrock and make it more structurally sound.

Should The Backer Board Go Over the Drywall?

Yes! The backer board should be over drywall, and use a drywall screw to attach. The screw will provide better structural support and is less likely to pull out the drywall.

Using an L-bracket, you should mount it over the backer board and screw it into the studs for extra strength.

The backer board should go over drywall to provide structural support up and down. It’s more difficult to pull a drywall screw out than an L-bracket.

I recommend installing the backer board before screwing in your bracket, and if you’re using an L-bracket, be sure to screw it into the studs with drywall screws for extra strength.

If you don’t, you may find that the wall buckles or bulges when you hang your mirror or be more likely to rip the drywall out of the wall.

A note about heavy mirrors: If you plan on hanging a large mirror, it’s best to reinforce the studs first.

Locate them using a stud sensor, then mount additional framing members between the studs and attach them at least 6 inches from the edge of each other to firmly support your heavy mirror.

When hanging a heavy mirror, you want some redundancy in the system.

Does Drywall Need Priming Before Tiling?

Yes! You should prime your drywall before tiling. Not only does this remove any dust on the drywall, which can cause many problems for you when it inevitably falls, but priming also helps attach the tiles much better.

It’s not about avoiding some dust or delaying falling drywall at this point, though. Priming will also make your tiled surfaces much smoother and more durable over the year.

This will reduce the time you spend fixing tiles each month, so it pays itself quickly.

If you’re doing a large job or tiling over multiple rooms where you don’t want to do it in one go, it’s best to prime the walls with paint and then tile the surface in one go.

This helps avoid going back and redoing the job, which can be costly if you order more materials. 

You can prime first and tile second if you’re doing one room and have already ordered the tiles. If you’re doing this, we recommend using a special primer called an ‘all-in-one primer.

This is important so that you don’t leave any marks on your freshly tiled walls once it’s all finished.

Some people think using a primer will mean you don’t need to use a sealer. This is not true at all.

Primers aren’t just for attaching tiles; they also ensure the surface is smooth and clean so your sealer adheres better and lasts longer.

You should use primers with every new tiling job, regardless of whether or not you’re using sealants.


Backer boards can help make your life a lot easier regarding tiling.

They are inexpensive and usually don’t take that much time to install, though they can be a little more time-consuming in some cases.

You should use backer boards with drywall and not on top of plastic sheetrock. You can also find them with L-brackets to give you a stronger fixing point for your tiles.


Hi! I' am Tyron. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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