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Show Highlights

Graham goes solo today while awaiting Ashkahn’s return.

Graham takes a question about cement backer board and the reasons it should be avoided in a float room. It’s a dense episode. Real dense. More dense, in fact, than cement backer board.

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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Graham: All right, hello, everybody. My name is Graham, and that’s it, my name’s Graham. There’s no one else in the studio here with me today. Ashkahn’s gonna be back very shortly, and we’ll have the old Grashkamn duo.

But, for now, I’m just gonna launch right into answering today’s question, which is: “You mentioned not to use cement board when using tiles on the wall. What is the reason for that?”

There’s a couple good reasons, besides just we said so. They are related to soundproofing, and then salt, I guess, like so much else in the float world. The salt aspect, I guess we’ll talk about first because that’s more core to what cement backerboard is.

Basically, just in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a different kind of material that you’re putting behind typical tile wall. It’s kind of porous, but still very dense, kind of inflexible type material. Typically, you’d put this directly on the studs rather than putting on drywall or something on top of them.

The kind of classic application is that the tile going on top is itself kind of permeable, especially the grout. For instance, in a shower area, you expect a certain amount of the water to kind of seep into the grout, and perhaps get into whatever’s behind it. If that’s regular drywall, then you risk it getting that wet, and molding out, and stuff like that. You want this kind of material back there that’s more solid, that’s not going to mold, but that’s also semipermeable so when the water gets in there, it’s allowed to evaporate over time, which is kind of the idea.

With our application, we’re using porcelain tile with epoxy grout, so we’re not really expecting water to get back there. The main protection from the walls is actually just that impermeable surface of the tile and the epoxy grout.

The other thing is, if water did get back in there, and if you weren’t using kind of a permeable solution with the cement backerboard, salt would also theoretically be able to get back there. That’s terrible because while water is able to evaporate, saltwater will get into something, and when it dries, the salt crystals will expand, and that thing will just start to get destroyed, which is where so much of the salt damage that we see in our space comes from. That’s kind of just on the salt-proofing side, why you don’t really see that cement backerboard.

The main reason why you see the alternative, which is some kind of either adapted drywall setup, usually MMR, mold and mildew resistant, maybe multilayered for soundproofing, or specifically soundproof drywall, something like QuietRock, also maybe MMR, mold and mildew resistant. The idea with that is in addition to trying to make these wet rooms, which is usually where cement board is going, you’re now trying to soundproof those, and turn them into the equivalent of a sound studio almost. Cement backerboard is not going to provide you the same kind of soundproofing as a really heavy drywall set up, or especially something like QuietRock.

Since you want that soundproofing, is also one of the reasons that we go with a totally impermeable surface on the outside. Other than saltwater, you just wanna make sure that now that you’ve put up this heavy soundproof drywall, you’re protecting it. So kind of for both of those reasons, and they mix together a lot, but that’s typically why you’re not seeing cement backerboard in a float center type application. Instead, what you will see, if you are using tile, is this heavy layer of soundproof drywall, again, whatever, whether it’s custom made or just multilayers of drywall with something like green glue in between. Then you’ll see the porcelain tile on top of that.

All right, that wasn’t so bad. I think that the Graham only show can hold its own, maybe we’ll just kick Ashkahn off for the foreseeable future, you know, just kind of wing it on my own.

If you do not wanna see that, let me know by going to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and I will talk to you tomorrow. Thanks, everyone.

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