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James Hardie Siding Guide

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Homeowners’ Complete Guide to James Hardie Siding

Are you thinking about residing your home? We know that homeowners want an exterior siding that is durable, low-maintenance, and attractive, but most siding materials don’t check all three of those important boxes. However, there’s one siding manufacturer whose products have it all: James Hardie, the most popular siding in North America, and is on more than 8 million homes! The siding will last for years, look amazing, and require minimal work to maintain its quality.

You’ve probably heard it mentioned before: Some people refer to it as “Hardie siding,” or “Hardie lap siding.” Other people might mention it by describing some of the different options available: “HardiePlank,” “HardieShingle,” or “HardiePanel.”

It’s likely that if anyone in your neighborhood has recently resided their home, they’ve gone with James Hardie products, so the next time you’re out and about, look around for some inspiration!

We’re going to break down for you all the great reasons why James Hardie siding is the right choice for your siding project by answering common questions.

 

What is James Hardie siding?

To start with the basics, Hardie siding is fiber cement, a product developed by James Hardie over 30 years ago. Fiber cement is made of three components: cement, sand, and cellulose fiber from plant materials. The materials are dyed and formed into boards that, as we’ll get to later, can have a variety of finished appearances. Fiber cement siding is environmentally friendly, noncombustible, and a great insulation material. If your home has a fireplace, having James Hardie siding could save your family’s life in the event that you have a house fire–a circumstance no one wants to imagine, of course, but needs to be prepared for.

Now in its 130th year of business, James Hardie spends $20 million annually on research and development to continually craft its superior fiber cement superior siding, and it’s been awarded many times over. In May of 2013, the company received the Good Housekeeping Seal from the Good Housekeeping Research Institute for its HardiePlank lap siding.


 

What are the benefits to James Hardie siding?

How much time do you have? There are so many Hardie siding benefits!

Durable

Hardie siding is engineered for the specific climates that homeowners live in, so you’ll get the right siding for your home. It can stand up to whatever Mother Nature delivers, wherever she delivers it. High altitude is no match for the siding it’s also UV-resistant, so you can enjoy the sunshine without wondering how it’s affecting your siding; the color won’t fade.

Long lasting

Hardie siding won’t buckle, warp, rot or crack. It resists mold and mildew growth–even in the St. Louis humidity! It comes with a 30 to 50-year warranty! If it’s properly installed and you take care of it (which requires minimal upkeep on your part) you’ll have a warrantied replacement, if need be.

Not easily damaged in storms

We want to single out this fact, because no matter where in the country you live, you experience storms–rain, wind, hail. Hardie siding is more resistant to heavy impacts than other siding materials. And, hail damage is covered by the warranty.

Fire resistant

It doesn’t ignite, won’t serve as an accelerant, and won’t melt or give off toxic fumes.

 

Provides great insulation

It reduces the risk of air leaks, and so keeps your utility bills low all year.

Termite and pest-resistant

Termites, other insects, woodpeckers, and other unwanted animals won’t be able to breach the siding.

Environmentally friendly

The fiber is taken from unused scrap wood and recycled materials. James Hardie was named the “Greenest Siding Brand” for the sixth year in a row in 2017 by the Green Builder Media annual Readers’ Choice survey. Because of all these great qualities, your home’s siding is less likely to need replacement, and so won’t take up space in landfills.

Low-maintenance

You already know it won’t crack, warp, rot, or buckle. It’s also incredibly easy to keep clean! A powerwash is all you’ll need to do, and since the color won’t fade, you won’t need to worry about applying fresh coats of paint every couple of years. Because it’s easy to keep clean, unlike other siding materials, costs are going to be kept down, so that’s money in your pocket.

 

How does Hardie siding compare to other siding materials?

Let’s discuss a Hardie siding comparison. Three common types of siding materials are wood, vinyl, and Oriented Strand Board (OSB). Hardie blows all three out of the water (or off the construction site). You might be able to guess why if you look again at the benefits listed above.
Hardie siding compared to wood or cedar siding
Wood looks beautiful, is eco-friendly, and there are inexpensive options, but it requires a lot of maintenance, including regular repainting and re-sealing. It is, of course, combustible, can rot and warp, and is vulnerable to pests and moisture.
Hardie siding compared to vinyl siding
Vinyl can mimic the look of wood and is a cost-effective, low-maintenance siding option. That said, it is also combustible, can warp, or crack, and is vulnerable to pests and moisture. Vinyl siding can also be brittle, and will likely need to be replaced eventually, long before your Hardie siding will. Hardie siding is also five times thicker than vinyl.
Hardie siding compared to OSB siding
OSB, also known as wood composite, is wood that is bonded together with a resin under heat and pressure. It’s susceptible to water damage, and its bottom edges can split due to cycles of freezing temperatures and exposure to wet weather.

Weather Comparison

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Moisture Comparison

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James Hardie Siding Styles and Products

As we’ve mentioned, there are a variety of Hardie siding products and styles. Let’s take a look at them now.


HardiePlank Siding

HardiePlank siding is incredibly popular, but since it’s available in four different styles and numerous colors, you’re sure to find the combination that makes your house unique. Select Cedarmill planks have the look of wood with the appearance of a grain, but none of the downsides we’ve discussed above. Smooth planks are an elegant and classic option without the wood grain. If you’d like a nice finished look, both Beaded Select Cedarmill, and Beaded Smooth options are available with a beaded edge along the bottom of each plank.

Cedarmill

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Smooth

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Beaded Cedarmill

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Beaded Smooth

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HardieShingle Siding
As the name suggests, HardieShingle mimics the look of cedar shingles, with all of the benefits of Hardie siding that we’ve listed above. It’s available in two styles: HardieShingle Straight Edge and HardieShingle Staggered Edge. Either will give your home the familiar, inviting look of wood shingles, without the problems that can befall wood.

HardiShingle Straight Edge

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HardiShingle Staggered Edge

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HardiePanel
HardiePanel is vertical siding. Using HardiePanel on your home’s exterior will ensure that it stands out from the other homes on the block! You can also mix-and-match it with HardiePlank or HardieShingle, the choice is yours! It’s available in a variety of textures; Cedarmill and Sierra 8 mimic wood grain; Smooth, like its HardiePlank cousin, lacks the wood texture. If you love the look of stucco, you’re in luck, as HardiePanel is also available in a Stucco finish.

Cedarmill

Hardipanel-cedarmill

Sierra 8

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Smooth

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Stucco

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HardieTrim
HardieTrim allows you to add the perfect, neat, unifying finishing touches of trim around corners, columns, and window frames. It’s available in both Smooth and Rustic finishes. (The latter mimics wood.) Don’t neglect this aspect of your home design. It’s a great opportunity to add contrasting color to your home’s exterior, or to accentuate certain features of your house.

Smooth

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Rustic

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HardieSoffit
Hardie Soffit panels cover the underside of your roof eaves, and, if you have it, the ceiling of your front porch. James Hardie offers its HardieSoffit in both vented and non-vented Cedarmill and Smooth options so that you can choose the right one for your personal style while also being mindful of any relevant building codes.

Vented Smooth

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Vented Cedarmill

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Non-Vented Smooth

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Non-Vented Cedarmill

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Artisan
Artisan siding is a new offering from James Hardie, which the company describes as” luxurious.” Thicker than other Hardie sidings, it is offered in two types: Artisan Lap Siding, which you can purchase already treated with Hardie’s colors, or primed for painting. And Artisan V-Groove Siding, which comes primed for paint. You can finish off this elegant choice with Artisan Trim.

ColorPlus and James Hardie Siding Color Options

Hardie siding stands out from among the competition not only because of the benefits we’ve mentioned above but because of its ColorPlus Technology. Multiple coats of James Hardie’s colors are applied onto the surface of each plank or piece of siding. This is 50% more than the average house painter applies. In between applications, the paint is baked on. After the process is finished, the paint resists chipping, peeling, cracking, and fading, and comes with a 15-year limited warranty that covers paint and labor. So, not only is it durable, it looks beautiful for a long time.
There are numerous Hardie siding colors for you to choose from. The Hardie color palette was designed by Leslie Harrington, an expert color designer, and no matter what color or colors you choose, your home will look stunning. Perhaps you’ll want to choose the deep, rich Countrylane Red, evocative of older farmhouses. Maybe the striking Deep Ocean is more to your taste and will ensure your house stands out from the rest on your block. Or, maybe, thinking of vacations on the beach, the neutral Sail Cloth appeals to you.
Maybe you don’t want to go with a James Hardie color at all. That’s also an option! You can choose to get boards that are primed so you can get them painted another color of your choosing by a painting company.

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What is the process to install Hardie siding correctly?

Let’s talk about Hardie siding installation, and what the typical installation process is. First, it is crucial to hire a qualified siding contractor who is experienced at installing Hardie siding. Choosing a single contractor over working with multiple subcontractors is the safest and best way to go: Homeowners can be confident that the work will be completed how and when it was promised.
Subcontractors may not show up on time (or at all) and may use subpar materials and cut other corners. These are issues that you don’t need to worry about when working with a single experienced contractor that has been reviewed by others in your community.

The typical installation of HardiePlank siding takes 10-12 days.

According to the HardiePlank Best Practice Guide for HardieZone 5:
The first course of planking is installed at the lowest point of the home. The contractor will ensure that it’s straight and level. “Blind nailing” is used, and so each subsequent course of planks covers the nails on the course below.
First, the contractor will starter strip needs to be installed beneath the first course of siding to ensure that the planks are all installed correctly.
After your contractor has secured the first course of planking, installation continues with full 12′ pieces until a door, window, or other feature interrupts the placement. Your contractor will notch these planks as needed.
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The installation time is dependent on several factors:
How many stories your home has
The overall square footage of your home
The presence of sharply sloping terrain immediately surrounding the foundation
Trees, bushes, and other landscaping features adjacent to the home
Which Hardie siding you choose: They each have different installation processes
Whether you need your existing siding removed
Whether you want your primed Hardie siding painted.
Be sure to share these details with your contractor so that you’re both on the same page, and so they will be able to give you an estimate.

How much does Hardie siding cost?

James Hardie siding costs $10 to $12 per square foot. For a home with 1,500 exterior square feet, that’s a total cost of approximately $15,000 and up. The cost to remove and dispose of existing siding, if not included in the estimate, could cost an additional $2 to $3 per square foot.

At this price, Hardie board is roughly 35 percent more expensive than vinyl and other siding materials. This is mostly due to the fact that fiber cement is heavy (around 5 times heavier than vinyl) and therefore more labor-intensive. With Hardie siding, you are also paying for high-quality, durable, low-maintenance, long-lasting siding that can withstand weather and temperature changes, that won’t warp, rot, crack, fade, or catch fire. And, it comes with a fantastic warranty, so you can have peace of mind that, assuming you’ve done your due diligence in maintaining it, if there is a problem, you’ll be covered.
When thinking about your project budget, keep in mind that the size of your home and whether any prep work is necessary (and what kind) will affect your installation costs. After you get your estimate from your contractor, it’s good to build a buffer into your budget, so that you’ll be able to deal with any unforeseen additional costs that may accrue as the project progresses and previously unknown issues crop up

An investment that increases your home’s value.
Which home remodeling project will give me the best return on investment? This is often the first question homeowners ask when thinking about remodeling their home because unless you plan to live in your same house forever, you want to know that the hard earned money you put into your home, will result in an increase in your home’s value.
For the past decade, siding your home with fiber-cement siding has held one of the top spots for return on investment on remodeling projects.
There are many other projects you can take on as a homeowner, but only re-siding your home with Hardie siding will give you the best return on your investment.

James Hardie catalog

Northeast Hardie Catalog (pdf)

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