Canadian Contractor

All About Fasteners, Episode 6: Special screws for cement backer boards (VIDEO)



You don't want to use regular drywall screws for cement boards. They can corrode, they can break down the edges of the boards, and they won't drive in flush properly. Use ITW's ROCK-ON and BACKER-ON screws instead.

In this short video, Will Chen, product marketing manager for ITW, explains to Rob Koci why his company’s special backer board fasteners – ROCK-ON and BACKER-ON – are so popular.

If you’ve ever tried to use regular drywall screws for cement backer boards, you’ve probably noticed they are hard to drive nice and flush. That’s not good for tile setting.

Even worse, if you DO use drywall screws for such applications, there can be problems down the road, long after you’ve left the job. Regular drywall screws lack the special coating that moisture-prone conditions and the chemistry of cement backer boards require. A bad chemical reaction between the alkaline cement board and the screws can lead to rust and corrosion. That can lead to all sorts of bad things happening.


BACKER-ON is the right fastener for HardieBacker or equivalent cement boards. ROCK-ON is the right fastener for Durock WonderBoard or equivalent cement boards. These fasteners not only have the right coatings for these types of boards, they also have specially shaped heads that will drive flush without mushrooming up the cement board material.

And there’s more! These screws have T25 star drive heads that allow them to “stick fit” right into the driver bit. You can move your drill-driver around with one hand without worrying about the screw falling off – which really helps speed up your production.

After watching this video, you’ll never use a regular drywall screw when installing cement backer boards, ever again.


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2 Comments » for All About Fasteners, Episode 6: Special screws for cement backer boards (VIDEO)
  1. Mark Bernier says:

    Great innovation. Now improve regular drywall screws the same way. Corrosion, mushrooming and blowouts are not only in backer boards. Make sure they are available in bulk and collated versions.

    • Will Chen says:

      Thank you for the generous comment, Mark! These screws could work for drywall too. All the benefits like one-hand installation and coating are all benefits that can carry over.

      Will Chen
      Product Marketing Manager, ITW

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