Can You Use Liquid Nails on Cement Board?

When doing a home DIY project or working at a construction site, it is vital to use suitable materials for each job. However, a common question that often comes up is whether you can use Liquid Nails on cement boards.

The quick answer is yes. Liquid Nails on cement board is perfectly fine as long as you are using it the right way. How you use the adhesive on the cement sheets is another matter, though.

That said, we have created the ultimate guide below to answer all your questions and provide some expert tips.

Ultimate Guide to Using Liquid Nails on Cement Board

Typically, a cement board is a foundation used for laying tile. Liquid Nails, on the other hand, is a heavy-duty adhesive people use on various projects. One of those projects is laying tile with cement board.

Liquid Nails come in a variety of strengths and types depending on the project and your needs. Today, we will talk about the specific style you need for a cement board project. Before we get into that, however, let’s take a closer look at the cement board.

Ultimate Guide to Using Liquid Nails on Cement Board

What Is a Cement Board?

A cement board is made of cement and cellulose fibers. It is vital, stable, and creates a secure anchor for heavy materials to be installed on top.

Cement board is also both water and moisture resistant. You will find it is utilized in bathrooms, kitchens, and other locations with a high amount of moisture.

Similar in appearance to sheetrock, cement sheets come in different sizes:

 

Cement Board Sizes Cement Board Thicknesses
3’ X 5’ ¼”
4’ X 8’ ½”
⅝”

 

It is also important to note that cement board is very heavy. For example, a 3 X 5-foot board ¼” thick weighs upwards of 30 pounds. Installing these sheets usually requires more than one person.

What Is It Used For?

As we mentioned above, cement board is often used in tiling projects for a few key reasons. The first is water resistance. Tile floors, walls, and backsplashes are popular in bathrooms and kitchens where there is a lot of moisture in the air.

Unfortunately, if you don’t have a suitable substrate, mold and mildew can grow. It can cause a lot of issues and even health problems.

Additionally, cement board is powerful and can hold up under the weight of tile or other materials like stone, stucco, and clay.

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How to Properly Use Liquid Nails With Cement Board

While cement board can be used under different materials, it is used primarily with tile. The panels are attached to plywood, floor joists, etc. Here is the crucial part, however. You don’t want to install a cement board (to the surface below it) with liquid nails.

Liquid Nails is a structural adhesive, not a bonding mortar. Thin-set (a bonding mortar) needs to be applied between the cement board and plywood (or another base). It fills in gaps and voids and makes it rigid.

Keep in mind that Liquid Nails does not work as a thin-set. Nor does thin-set “glue” the cement board into place. Instead, it creates an even, secure surface. You can use an adhesive like Liquid Nails in conjunction with anchor nails and screws, though.

In this case, the glue is acting as a second precaution in addition to the nails. It is not the anchor holding it all together. That being said, where Liquid Nails really shines is in tile installation.

How to Properly Use Liquid Nails With Cement Board

What Type of Liquid Nails Should You Use?

There are many different kinds of Liquid Nails. When working with cement boards, there are two types you should use for the best outcome.

The first is Liquid Nails Extreme Heavy Duty Construction. It has an application temperature between 22 and 120 degrees and a service temperature of -20 and 140 degrees.

According to Liquid Nails, you can use the Extreme Heavy Duty Construction adhesive on the following:

  • Plywood
  • Waferboard
  • Cement board
  • Particleboard
  • Treated Lumber
  • Drywall
  • Brick veneer (interior)
  • Imitation stone (interior)
  • Tileboard
  • Foamboard
  • Ceiling tile
  • 18” MDF paneling

Keep in mind, the area you are working on needs to be completely dry before applying this product.

For installing tile, Liquid Nails Fuze It Max All Surface Construction Adhesive is the way to go. You can use it in wet and/or damp conditions. That in itself makes it perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

This heavy-duty glue also has a quick set time which is crucial for applying tile on vertical walls. Take a look at the other surfaces Liquid Nails Fuze you can use it on:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Most plastic
  • Subfloor
  • Ceramic
  • Marble
  • Mirror
  • Foamboard
  • landscape block
  • Granite
  • Rubber
  • Tile
  • Fiberglass
  • Tub & shower
  • Decks
  • Drywall
  • trim/molding
  • Paneling
  • Laminate
  • Stone
  • Flooring
  • Masonry
  • Brick
  • Aluminum
  • Concrete
  • Porcelain
  • PVC
  • Plaster
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Using the correct Liquid Nails with a cement board is essential. Beyond that, though, there are a few other tips you should know.

What Type of Liquid Nails Should You Use?

Tips for Laying Tile

There are a few essential rules to keep in mind when laying tile on a cement board. First, make sure that your board is completely secure before you start.

Cement board also has a smooth side and a rough side. You want the smooth side to face in so it will lie flush against thesurface underneath.

The opposite rough side should face out. The texture here will help the glue stick.

Additionally, make sure the surface is free of dust and other debris that could weaken the adhesive. Although you can use Liquid Nails Fuze It on damp surfaces, dry is still better.

What to Avoid

There are a few things to avoid when laying tile with cement board and Liquid Nails.

First, and most importantly, you should not install tile with anything other than:

  • Glue
  • Cement
  • Mortar
  • Another bonding agent

Trying screws or nails will only lead to wasted time and broken tiles. As said above, you also want to avoid using Liquid Nails as a bonding mortar underneath a cement board.

Eventually, the glue will dry out and become brittle. This drying weakens the integrity of the wall or floor. Plus, it opens the door for moisture to seep into cracks and pockets in the old glue. When it is helping to steady something heavy (such as cement board), you want to have a long-lasting anchor.

Finally, make sure you use a Liquid Nails product that can stand up to a lot of moisture in the air. Bathroom tile, for example, needs to be attached with a water-resistant adhesive, so you won’t have them popping out at inopportune moments.

What to Avoid

Conclusion

Can you use Liquid Nails on cement board? The answer is yes, but only conditionally. You don’t want to rely on it to hold up your cement sheets, but it will help secure nails and screws.

Besides that, you can use it to install tile to cement board. Just make sure you are using the correct variation of the heavy-duty glue.