Hardie Board Siding: Your Comprehensive Guide on Style, Cost and Concerns

Hardie Board siding has been dominating the siding market for a while now and it’s no secret why. A durable material with plenty of options for customization, it’s a no-brainer.

Hardie Board SidingView in gallery

Even so, some may wonder what sets it apart from more traditional siding options like vinyl and wood.

What is Hardie Board Siding?

What is Hardie Board sidingView in gallery

Hardie Board is the brand of a siding manufactured by James Hardie Industries, not the material itself. It’s common to hear the name used as a blanket statement for a material which can become confusing when there are other brands that achieve the same outcome.

That said, Hardie Board is considered to be the best of the best in its class, that is fiber cement siding. Fiber cement siding is a strong, long-lasting siding made up of sand, cement and wood fibers. Once mixed and cured, this combination creates a siding that can stand the test of time and elements.

Pros of Hardie Board Siding

With so many advantages it’s hard to imagine why Hardie Board wouldn’t be a homeowners first choice for siding. Take a look at why this product remains distinguished among the rest.

  • Customization: Whether you want a horizontal or vertical look, Hardie Board can create the aesthetic you are envisioning. From simple planks to shingles or lap siding, there’s no shortage of selection. Likewise, Hardie Board also has texture options from smooth, to more grained, rough textures.
  • Pest Proof: Due to its unique combination of materials, Hardie Board is resistant to pest such as ants and termites. It also deters birds and squirrels, critters that are known to sink their teeth into more vulnerable materials such as wood siding.
  • Durability: Opposed to other siding materials, boards made by James Hardie are built to last. You won’t have to worry with water intrusion, fading, warping and the like. A weather-resistant siding less prone to cracking, its a force to be reckoned with.
  • Eco-Friendly: James Hardie Industries makes it clear that they’re committed to being conscious of the environment and the footprint they leave. Their code of sustainability gives homeowners the reassurance that they’re buying a product with low negative impact.
  • Fire Resistant: Hardie Board is a non-combustible substance, giving it the advantage over other sidings. Unlike wood siding, Hardie Board won’t aid in fueling a fire. Likewise, its fireproof properties keep it from catching fire when subject to direct flames.
  • Low Maintenance: Hardie Board siding carries little in the way of maintenance requirements which is one of the reasons it’s such an attractive choice. A simple rinse and scrub every 6 months to a year will keep your siding looking good as new.
  • Warranty: Unlike most other siding options, James Hardie Industries provides its customers will an unbelievable warranty. For their basic siding, they offer a 30-year warranty on their products, not including coverage on their ColorPlus Technology.

Cons of Hardie Board Siding

Even though there’s far more pros than cons, it’s always good to have all the information when making such a large investment. Here’s a few disadvantages to consider when choosing James Hardie siding products.

  • Lengthy Installation: Hardie Board siding tends to be heavier than other siding materials, making it a bit harder to work with. It’s because of this extra weight that your installation will require more precision and time, thus a longer installation timeframe.
  • Overall Cost: Due to obstacles with installation, the overall cost of Hardie Board siding will be greater than other siding options available. Not to mention, more man power needed to install the Hardie Board, adding to labor costs as well.

How is it installed?

How is it installedView in gallery
We Bought a Teardown

The installation process requires much attention to detail. That said, the instructions below are general steps to keep in mind, not a comprehensive guide. See the manufacturers manual for more in depth guidelines when taking on this DIY.

  • Prep Work: First things first, you’ll want to prepare your space for to ensure everything is installed properly. Clear items away from the exterior of the home, remove old siding and prep the wood (or base materials) with house wrap. Marking the studs at this point in the project will be helpful in the long run.
  • Measure and Mark: Start by measuring 6 inches up from the ground, marking that distance to ensure proper clearance. If you’re installing above concrete, roofing boards and the like you’ll only need to measure 2 inches up. Next, you’ll measure your boards and trim based on your home’s particular specifications. Your siding boards should be measured to end at a stud for proper fastening.
  • Cut: Once you’ve made your measurements and marks, it’s time to cut. Prior to cutting, double-check your math to be sure your measurements are on point. Due to material thickness you may also consider using a jigsaw or scoring tool to aid in making cuts. Last, protect yourself by taking a few simple safety precautions. These include wearing glasses, goggles and a mask, cutting with slow concentration to avoid injury.
  • Fasten Siding: There’s several things to consider when fastening the boards. First, what fastener you’ll use whether it be screws or nails. Next, the method which will be chosen based upon style. For instance, the blind nailing technique or face nailing technique is applicable to the lap board style, a common choice for Hardie Board. With blind nailing, the fasteners will hide behind the board above. With face nailing, the fastener will be exposed, going through both the baseboard and overlapping board.

Other styles like board and batten, vertical style, shingles and the like all require their own fastening steps. See your manufacturers instructions for more detail.

  • Install Trim: It’s time to hang your vertical trim at this point. When nailing in your trim make sure your nail has penetrated all levels, most importantly the wood framing. Regular framing nails should do fine, just be sure they’re long enough to make it through at least 1 inch of the frame. (Note: Trim pieces do not need to be made of fiber cement, you can use other materials for this.)
  • Install Siding: As with the fastening process, each style will require different steps. For the popular lap siding option, you’ll work from the bottom up, starting by installing a wood lath. This lath will push out the first, bottom board to create the angle you need. For a style like board and batten, you’d first need to install the base layer of smooth Hardie Board along the entire exterior surface. Then you can install Hardie Board battens vertically, one by one, every 16 to 24 inches.While each style will have its own set of installation instructions, it’s critical your siding is installed with framing penetration in mind regardless of the style chosen.
  • Finishing: Depending on the style of board installed, you’ll want to finish your project by applying caulk to vulnerable spaces. Be sure to leave a 1/8 inch gap on all end joints for this purpose. In regard to color, James Hardie Industries provides ColorPlus Technology that goes unmatched when it comes to siding finishes. Baked on in the manufacturing process, the paint color and primer are ready to stand up against the elements for years to come.The versatile color palettes offered and lack of need for hand painting are just the cherry on top. Even so, if you find yourself wanting a color that ColorPlus doesn’t offer, you can purchase pre primed James Hardie products and finish it with your paint selection just as well.

How Much Does Fiber Cement Siding Cost?

As with any home project, total cost is a major factor. Even though an exact cost hinges on the size and scope of your project, you can get a general idea of cost to help get you started.

  • The overall average cost with material and labor is $13,893.
  • The average cost per square foot with material and labor is $10.00.
  • The average cost of panels is $2.50 to $15.00 per square foot.
  • The average cost of shingles is $2.00 to $6.00 per square foot.
  • The average cost of planks is $0.70 to $8.00 per square foot.

Note that these are industry averages and that more popular, quality fiber cement brands like James Hardie will likely cost a hair more when it’s all said and done.

Examples of Hardie Board on Real Homes

Contemporary

ContemporaryView in gallery
Rottmann Collier Architects

James Hardie clapboard adorns the upper half of this contemporary stunner while its horizontal board and batten shapes the lower level with crisp, clean lines.

Modern Farmhouse

Modern FarmhouseView in gallery
R.G. Custom Homes

This modern farmhouse exudes country comfort with its dazzling white fiber cement siding in the hardieplank lap siding style.

Craftsman

CraftsmanView in gallery
Timberlake Custom Homes

Mixed materials make up this craftsman beauty with a muted gray James Hardie siding in both board and batten planks and clapboard coupled with earthy-toned stonework at the base.

Traditional

TraditionalView in gallery
Heydt Designs

The exterior of this gray traditional style cottage utilizes shingle fiber cement siding as an eye-catching accent on the front balcony with lap boarding elsewhere to round out the look.

Modern

ModernView in gallery
One Kindesign

Dark fiber cement siding in both plain board and classic vertical board and batten embellish this remodeled split-level with stained wood siding acting as a beautiful contrast.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Will I get an insurance break for using Hardie Board?

A little known fact that’s worth investigating, some insurance companies will give you a discount on homeowners insurance if you have Hardie Board installed. Its fire resistance is the primary contributor to this price break. Whether you’re installing cement board on a new build or moving into a home with existing Hardie siding, it’s worth a call to your insurance company.

Are there knock offs of Hardie Board siding?

As with any good product, the knock offs are inevitable. While there are plenty of companies that have tried to replicate Hardie Board siding, none have created a better product. James Hardie siding remains the leader in cement board siding, having proven its superior durability. You could try a knock off version but in the end, you get what you pay for.

Is there a specific caulking that needs to be used with Hardie Board?

Applying caulk is a critical step in the installation process of James Hardie siding, but that’s dependent upon which type of Hardie Board you use. Not all fiber cement needs to be caulked. That said, if the board you’ve used requires caulk, James Hardie Industries recommends using a permanently flexible option.

Conclusion

It’s clear that when it comes to siding, nothing is comparable to Hardie Board. Despite a lengthier installation, it’s well worth the benefits of low maintenance, durable siding.

With many different colors to offer and designs that fit any personal style, homeowners have endless choices.

If you’ve been searching for the siding option right for you, you’ve found it in Hardie Board siding.