When you are deciding how to approach a project, be careful who you ask.  It’s usually best to get several opinions if there’s any question. 

I was at Lowe’s today buying a cart full of tile & supplies for a flooring project this week.  I asked one of the employees at the register if they had 2″ mesh tape for cementboard nearby or if I’d have to go back to the tile department.  He showed me where it was and then told me:  “You know, you don’t really need to use that.  I never do.”

I kept my mouth shut and thanked him for his help… and bought the tape.

So, why is the 2″ tape necessary?  James Hardie’s website says:  “The tape will help disperse any movement of the substrate, therefore decreasing the probability of popping or cracking tiles along the seams.”

As much as possible, I try to install products exactly how the manufacturer suggests.  Otherwise, it may fail and then I’m to blame.  Not a good plan.  You can read all of the official Hardibacker specifications and installation instructions at www.hardibacker.com.

For the most part, I’ve found the people at the home stores to be fairly knowledgeable about their products.  When it really counts, though, it’s good to get a couple more opinions.

If you want some great advice about laying tile (other than articles on my site, of course) I highly recommend the forums over at www.JohnBridge.com.  Whenever I have a tricky situation I still go there for help.  John Bridge also wrote an incredible book called Tile Your World, available at his website and Amazon.com that covers about everything you’d want to know about tile.

 Never be afraid to ask for help or admit you don’t know everything.  It happens to the best of us… once in a while…  :)

Side note:  I just read a fantastic book called “The Richest Man in Babylon”, which I highly recommend.  (No, really- awesome book.)  In it, George Clason writes about how you wouldn’t give your money to a brick layer to invest in jewels.  His advice is to get experts in the appropriate field from which to gather wisdom.  My interpretation:  if you have a tile question, ask a tile guy.