Whew. It took a few days, but our bathroom finally has cement backer board. Not just any backer board. LEVEL backer board (important for tiling and flooring in general!).

bathroom cement backer board

Who knows if I did it right. I think I did it right? I read at least a half dozen tutorials, including this, this and this. First, we took out the toilet, a fairly easy task. Not easy? Pretending to sit on an invisible toilet like a weirdo.

We found out the plastic flange is actually cracked, so we’re going to have to replace it (which is okay, since we probably need an extender due to building up the floor height).

While the tutorials say you can install backer board right on top of linoleum, we removed ours because it was bubbled up in a few spots. The backer board needs a completely solid surface. We fitted the cement backer board (two 3′ x 5′ pieces) with some measuring and bending scoring and snapping. CREEPY DOG IN THE BACKGROUND ALERT. Also, I need to find my safety goggles.

Honestly, fitting the cement backer board was a HUGE pain in the you-know-what. Cutting a place out for the toilet and air vent. Sigh. I was exhausted and dusty. With the pieces finally fitted, I properly installed them using (leftover) thinset beneath the backer board and screwed it in with backer board screws*.

cement backer board bathroom

Last, I taped over the joints with backer board joint tape and covered that with thin set. Done.

(*So, one note on screwing in the backer board. I got screws with a square bit head because I figured there was less chance of them stripping. As I screwed them in, many of the heads weren’t sinking. I was giving it MY ALL, body weight on top of the drill, and I still couldn’t sink the screws, even with the drill on the high torque setting. Absolutely maddening. Then, a moment of clarity – the drill has a ring with numbers 1 – 26. A torque adjusting ring! I feel a bit ditsy for not realizing it before. I honestly never knew what that ring was for. So happy to know that setting exists.)

Victory selfie. I used the small spade because it was much easier to scoop the thinset with that, then spread it with a big trowel.

Up next? Actual tiling. Eek! I still need to go buy the last bit of tile…

Anyone else adventurous enough to take on a tiling project?

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