What is Hardie Board Siding?

Hardie Board Siding is a brand of fiber cement siding. It’s a durable material with plenty of options for customization.

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 Siding?

Hardie Board is manufactured by James Hardie Industries. It’s a type of fiber cement siding that people refer to as “Hardie Board” or “hardiboard.” Sometimes when people reference Hardie Board, they’re talking about all types of fiber cement siding instead of this specific brand. 

Fiber cement siding is a strong, long-lasting material 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. Since James Hardie was the first company to manufacture fiber cement siding, they’ve become synonymous with this product.

Pros of Hardie Board Siding

Hardie Board offers many benefits to its users.

  • Customization: Whether you want a horizontal or vertical look, you can get it with Hardie Board. From simple planks to shingles or lap siding, there’s no shortage of selection. Likewise, Hardie Board also has texture options, including smooth, grained, and rough textures.
  • Pest Proof: Due to its unique combination of materials, Hardie Board is resistant to pests 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 and are weather-resistant. You won’t have to worry about water intrusion, fading, or warping. 
  • Eco-Friendly: James Hardie Industries’ 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. Unlike wood siding, it 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 with 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 are more pros than cons, it’s always good to have all the information when making a large investment. Here are 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 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: The overall cost of Hardie Board siding is greater than other options, like vinyl, for example. Not to mention, more manpower is needed to install the Hardie Board, adding to labor costs 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 the cost of Hardie Board to help get you started.

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

Note: These are industry averages and quality fiber cement brands like James Hardie may cost more.

How is Hardie Board installed?

How is it installed
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Hardie Board is heavier than most other types of siding. If you’re planning on a DIY installation of fiber cement board, ensure you have plenty of help to hold the boards in place while you fasten them.

  • Prep Work: 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, you’ll only need to measure 2 inches up. Next, measure your boards and trim based on your home’s specifications. Measure your siding boards 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. 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. Cut with slow concentration to avoid injury.
  • Fasten Siding: There are several things to consider when fastening the boards. Including the type of fastener and method. 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 the overlapping board.

Other styles like board and batten, vertical style, and shingles require their own fastening steps. See your manufacturer’s instructions for more detail.

  • Install Trim: 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, 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’ll 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. Leave a 1/8-inch gap on all end joints for this purpose.

Can You Paint Hardie Board?

Yes, you can paint Hardie Board. You can even buy pre-primed fiber cement siding to help cut down on painting time. Other options, like James Hardie’s Color Plus Technology, come with a baked-on primer and paint color that will last for at least 15 years before you need to repaint.

How Do You Clean Hardie Board Siding?

When you’re ready to clean Hardie Board, avoid using a pressure washer. Instead, you’ll need a soft-bristled scrub brush and a garden hose. Start by wetting an area of siding, then scrub with your brush and rinse. If you want to use a cleaning solution, add a few drops of Dawn Dishsoap to a bucket of water. Be sure to rinse the soap from the siding before it has a chance to dry.

Examples of Hardie Board on Real Homes

Contemporary Home with Fiber Cement Siding

Rottmann Collier Architects

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

Modern Farmhouse with Hardie Board

Modern Farmhouse
R.G. Custom Homes

This modern farmhouse exudes country comfort with its white fiber cement siding. It features the Hardie plank lapboard style.

Craftsman Home with Fiber Cement Siding

Timberlake Custom Homes

Mixed materials make up this craftsman beauty. It features a muted gray James Hardie siding in both board and batten planks and clapboard. The earthy-toned stonework complements the siding.

Traditional Home with Fiber Cement Siding

Heydt Designs

The exterior of this gray traditional-style cottage utilizes shingle fiber cement siding as an eye-catching accent on the front balcony. Lap board siding covers the rest of the home.

Modern Home with Hardie Board

One Kindesign

Dark fiber cement siding embellish this remodeled split-level home. The stained wood siding acts 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.

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Written by Murat

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