Since the inception of NoMorePly we have had two goals in mind; to solve the problems created in the tiling industry by plywood, and to revolutionise the industry with an alternative so perfect for the job that plywood would never be needed again.
Together we created the ultimate solution for everyone’s tiling needs and we found that solution in a wonderful and innovative material known as Fibre Cement.
Fibre Cement vs Plywood
The difference in quality becomes clear when we consider the practical applications of both materials, specifically when used as a material to meet the needs of the tiling industry.
You’ll find fibre cement boards and plywood sheets being used as the backing materials to which tiles are affixed. So, to know which material is best suited for the job we need to consider what kind of environment tiles need to be in to maintain their integrity and strength for the years of use they were made to endure.
Tiles are made from porcelain or ceramic, and are wonderful materials to use in any room with high humidity or which is likely to get wet on a regular basis, such as a bathroom or kitchen. Easy to clean, durable and long lasting, tiles have been used for centuries to line floors and walls, from the mosaics of roman baths, to swimming pools at the local leisure centers, to our very own bathrooms and kitchens.
Tile has one major natural flaw, whilst its compressive strength is extremely high, that means it is able to bear great loads that press down evenly onto it, it’s tensile strength is extremely weak in comparison.
In simple terms, if I stand on a tile, or several people do, laid on a flat surface, the tile will happily hold us all up without causing any problem. If we place a small stone under that tile, and then stand on it, it will create tension across the tile, in a less rigid material it might bend and flex, but in a ceramic or porcelain tile the consequence is that it snaps.
Knowing this, we have used tile backer boards to ensure that tiles are laid onto a flat surface before being fixed into place.
To ensure the best kind of backer board we need to ensure it is rigid enough to prevent the tile from flexing, and resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, just like the tile is and just the like environments they will be fitted in.
Plywood: Plywood is formed from thin sheets, or laminates, of wood, that are glued together, layer by layer, to create a composite sheet of wood that is light, flexible, easy to shape and relatively cheap to produce.
Plywood’s main properties are as follows:
- Flexible, bends and warps easily under pressures and loads
- Liable to water damage – moisture can delaminate the layers and cause it to come apart
- Rots over time
- Liable to pests
- Cheap to buy
- Easy to work with
- Not a good insulator
Fibre Cement Boards: Fibre cement boards are made from organic fibres, sand and cement. It begins life as a liquid, with all the pulp, sand and cement mixed together and compressed into boards, where they dry and harden into fibre cement.
The properties of fibre cement boards are essentially the same as cement itself:
- Incombustible, which means it can’t set on fire
- Waterproof, and therefore weather resistant, it’ll never be permanently damaged by moisture
- Does not rot; which means it doesn’t degrade over time
- Rigid: so it does not warp or flex under pressure
- Pest Proof
- Provides great insulation and even heat distribution for underfloor heating
Knowing what we need from a tile backing substrate, we can see quite easily that Fibre Cement boards are the future, and that’s why NoMorePly are revolutionizing the tiling industry with this innovative material.
It will provide the rigidity needed so that tiles don’t flex and bounce as they would with plywood, meaning years of walking on the tiles won’t cause them to crack and break over time.
It is essentially resistant to all the elements; it won’t be damaged by water like plywood, and it is not able to combust and set on fire, unlike plywood.
It can be a little trickier to work with, but we have a solution for that too. And you may pay a little more for fibre cement boards but they will certainly last you a lifetime if you follow our ultimate installation guide.
6mm Tile Backer Boards
One of the fibre cement products we stock and distribute is the 6mm tile backer boards.
These exquisite boards are perfectly developed to strengthen timber floors before laying tiles on top of them. As we mentioned previously, the rigidity and strength in each board ensures that tiles and grout lines won’t crack over time, exposing the underneath to moisture and spills, as the fibre cement tile backing boards remove any flex or bounce as people walk across it.
We decided to go the extra step and offer our 6mm tile backer board pre-primed so that it stays and remains water resistant throughout its lifetime, saving you a job before you begin!
And if you have used plywood for backing before you may notice that 6mm seems quite thin! Well thanks to the great tensile and compressive strength of fibre cement boards, we are able to get all the rigidity and strength we need from only 6mm of thickness! Allowing tiles to move seamlessly from room to room with as little ‘step’ as possible!
TG4 Insulated Tile Backing Board
Our insulated tile backing boards are an excellent alternative to plywood for use as a substrate for underfloor heating.
We developed a fibre cement board that has a four-sided tongue and groove system to make installation as easy as possible. As the board edges don’t have to rest on joists to be joined together, they can be fitted quicker, with less cutting and mess during the process.
Like all of our NoMorePly fibre cement products, they are water resistant enough to be laid on site without taking on weather damage at all, allowing construction to go ahead regardless of weather conditions.
These boards stand out from the crowd when we consider their insulative capacity. Thanks to the insulative properties of fibre cement our TG4 tile backing floorboards can absorb and release heat without warping and or expanding over time, ensuring that all that sits above it stays flush and level.
And finally, our TG4 tile backing boards reflect heat so efficiently that none of the energy from underfloor heating will be lost to the ground and the substrate itself. This makes them very effective at being an underboard for electric underfloor heating, as the heat goes directly up and into the floor, ensuring that no energy is wasted in heating your clients flooring.
If you were to use underfloor pipes for heating, we would recommend our 6mm pre-primed tile backer board instead as it’s insulative qualities are slightly lower, this means the board absorbs some of the heat into it. However, it is also excellent at redistributing that heat back out, evenly, into the floor above, allowing the flooring to retain heat for longer without losing any into the earth below.
So that’s our wonderful selection of floor tile backing boards from the miracle material that is fibre cement! You can readily see why we developed and chose this material as an alternative to plywood as the number one tile backing material on the market, now you can try it too and know you won’t be disappointed.