Saving time on substrates: Find a practical tile backerboard

The latest updates to BS5385 Part 1 have placed renewed focus on tile backerboards, as a solution to combating deteriorating standards of plywood entering the UK market.

The standard now specifies that wall tiling direct to plywood is no longer recommended in wet areas and that a tile backerboard should be used in its place. There are a number of different boards on the market, with varying properties. So what qualities should you look for in a backerboard? Here are four that will make a positive practical impact on the projects that you undertake.

Waterproof not water-resistant

A number of other boards on the market are merely water-resistant rather than waterproof. The difference is significant – water-resistant boards will allow water to ingress over time, whereas waterproof boards keep it out permanently. Water-resistant boards can be waterproofed via the use of a liquid-applied or sheet membrane, but this increases installation time by adding an additional process to the job. It is also not uncommon for this crucial waterproofing step to be missed, due to the package of works for a substrate often not including the additional waterproofing layer. Use of one, ready-waterproof product avoids any ambiguity, preventing confusion on-site as to who is responsible for the work and protecting the specifier’s reputation.


Particularly on large scale projects, having a lightweight board that can be easily manoeuvred around site makes a tangible difference, encouraging a quicker construction process and preventing injuries caused by lifting and dropping. Reduced fatigue means more work is completed, to a higher standard, saving time and money on remedial steps later.


A board that is cement-free is more environmentally friendly in its constitution, plus is more practical on-site as it can be cut without having to use masks or clear the area. Coupled with additional useful features such as high strength support, thermal insulation and sound reduction, you can achieve a system that performs as well as more traditional boards, but without the health implications of carcinogenic materials.


Why use five products when you can use one? Backerboards that come in a variety of thicknesses can often be used for a number of different purposes, from use over existing substrates through to the creation of features such as shelves, partition walls and seats. It’s easier to customise boards that are non-cementitious into different shapes and you can more quickly achieve neater and cleaner edges ready to receive tile and stone edge details.

Chose… Schlüter®-KERDI-BOARD

Offering design flexibility, ease of installation and enabling the creation of CE Marked bonded waterproofing assemblies, the versatile and unique Schlüter®-KERDI-BOARD is a robust and practical backerboard, capable of supporting up to 60kg/m². Its construction consists of an extruded hard foam core panel, with a special reinforcement material on both sides and waterproof fleece faces to finish, providing effective anchoring in the tile adhesive. Providing a smooth substrate and enabling precise angling of corners, seven thickness options are available—ranging from 5–50mm. Plus a utility knife is all that is needed to cut it to shape and size.

This core product in Schlüter-Systems’ portfolio is the key to an easier specification process and a quicker project progression. For more information, call 01530 813396, email pr(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign) or visit