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The must-bookmark Hardie Board siding installation guide for homeowners

For homeowners who want the very best fiber cement siding, James Hardie has the top-performing fiber cement siding of all time. Sometimes called Hardie board siding, Hardie Plank, Hardie Panel, and other similar names, this siding lasts longer than any other siding on the market. James Hardie is one of the leading fiber cement siding manufacturers in the US. This pioneering company invented this high-grade exterior material over 30 years ago. Today, it continues to be the ultimate choice for homeowners nationwide. Keep reading to learn what is special about Hardie Board siding and why investing in it might be your best home improvement solution. This detailed buying guide covers everything from Hardie Board siding benefits to installation costs and upkeep. Having all the necessary information at hand, you will be able to decide whether this siding material could meet your expectations.

The must-bookmark Hardie Board siding installation guide for homeowners

Things to know before Hardie Board siding installation

Fiber cement siding is made very much like plaster or mortar by mixing cement, sand, and water. However, fiber cement also has cellulose fibers mixed in, which gives the product its name. These fibers offer higher tensile strength than you would normally have in most siding products, as they are less brittle and prone to cracking.

The ready-made mixture is dyed and pressed into siding boards. Often it is molded to have a textured design, so the final product mimics wood or other materials. James Hardie also uses ColorPlus technology to bake color into its fiber cement siding to make it long-lasting and fade-proof.

Because James Hardie's siding is made of strong ingredients like fibers and cement, it is immune to many of the weaknesses of other siding materials like vinyl and metal. This kind of longevity makes James Hardie siding a favorite among homeowners who want a house siding that looks and works great with little maintenance.

What are the types of Hardie Board siding?

Hardie board siding comes in all the popular types and finishes. Clapboard or Lap siding, cedar shake, board, and batten, all with several different textures from smooth to rough finishes.

Lap siding 

Horizontal siding is the most popular style of siding. It refers to the direction in which the siding boards are laid against the exterior so the boards are parallel to the horizon. 

  • Traditional lap. This siding is laid horizontally, with the bottom of each board slightly overlapping the board below it. This is the most common type of horizontal siding. 
  • Beaded lap. This siding consists of horizontal boards with a small, bead-like strip running between each board. Beaded cedarmill is inspired by coastal communities, while beaded smooth gives your home a modern, contemporary look.
  • Custom Colonial. This siding is Hardie’s Dutch lap style, where the larger horizontal boards are separated by skinny, inverted segments of the siding. Available as both a smooth and wood-like finish, Colonial Roughsawn and Colonial Smooth reflect a historical look. 

Vertical siding

Hardie carries two styles of vertical siding - stucco and sierra.

  • Stucco. Hardie provides the comforting, classic look of stucco with the benefits of fiber cement. This look provides you with an intricate, unique texture different from wood grain.  
  • Sierra. This vertical style is similar to Custom Colonial, with smaller dividends between the boards. Sierra is available as a smooth or select cedar mill and elongates your home, providing dimension without complication.   

Shingle siding

This siding type is made of smaller siding boards of either uniform or varying sizes laid in many different ways. Also known as shake siding, this style gives your home a Cape Cod look and is available with a cedar mill finish. 

There are three styles of HardieShingle siding - straight edge panel, staggered edge panel, and scalloped. 

  • Straight edge panel. This shingle style is made up of small shingle boards cut at varying widths but the same length to give a sharp edge to each horizontal line. This style provides a classic yet rustic look for your home.
  • Staggered edge panel. This style is laid following no horizontal line, creating a staggered, beautifully chaotic look great for a ranch home or cottage look. 
  • Scalloped. This style is made of small shingle boards with half-rounded edges, creating a fish-scale look. This classic style gives your home a historical and coastal aesthetic.

Panel siding

The soffit is the underneath area that stretches between the top of the siding to the roofing’s edge. It is an integral part of a siding replacement to protect your home and upgrade its look. There are seven different styles of HardieSoffit panels.

  • Non-vented. This is the most popular type of soffit with a texture to mimic wood but resist the issues that come with wood soffit, like rotting and warping. Non-vented soffit panels are also offered in smooth to compliment any style of siding.
  • Vented. Pair your smooth or cedarmill siding with perfectly matching vented soffit panels with small holes for ventilation to meet coding regulations. Vented soffit panels are essential to help air circulate through and out of the attic and can also help to protect against mold. 
  • VentedPlusTM. This type of soffit has ventilation holes that are shaped like dashes to provide more airflow than any other engineered wood or fiber cement-vented soffit. Offered in cedarmill or smooth, this type of soffit is perfect for homes built on close lot lines with restrictions on vented soffit use.
  • Beaded porch panel. This style mimics the same look as beaded horizontal siding and is a traditional look. These panels come only in smooth and are made for porch ceilings, and ventilation is not required on porch ceilings. 

Siding boards

Trim is one of the finishing touches on your new siding. HardieTrim can border not only your trim but the fascia, doors, windows, and columns. 

There are three different trim boards, each available in smooth and rustic: 4/4, 5/4, and batten boards. Each of these collections is a part of the James Hardie Statement Collection, available in a range of classic, neutral colors. However, there are hundreds of colors for you to choose from. 

  • 4/4. These boards are ¾ in. thick and available in either smooth or rustic. Rustic has a wood-like finish to fit that traditional aesthetic. 
  • 5/4. These boards are 1 in. thick and also available in smooth or rustic. 
  • Batten boards. These boards go hand in hand with HardiePanel vertical siding to create the board and batten style, where the batten boards are placed between each vertical board. They are available in Rustic Grain and smooth and are ¾ in. thick. 

Downsides and benefits of Hardie Board siding

Every siding product has pros and cons, but James Hardie's siding clearly has many more pros than it does cons. You're sure to love this outstanding siding with a track record like no other siding product.

See the primary advantages of Hardie Board siding below: 

  • Long service life. Hardie Board siding withstands the elements with ease. It keeps looking amazing and performing its job of protecting your home in spite of its direct contact with the elements 24/7. It withstands rain, hail, high winds, storms, snow, ice, harsh humidity, and temperature changes. It resists moisture penetration, saving homeowners the hassles involved in repairs due to rotting, swelling, or warping.
  • Extended warranty. James Hardie fiber cement siding gives homeowners a 30-year non-prorated warranty that is transferable. Additionally, James Hardie's ColorPlus Technology is warrantied against peeling, chipping, and cracking for 15 years—including labor and materials.
  • Environment friendliness. James Hardie siding is the greenest siding brand in the industry because of its makeup and the James Hardie Company's sustainable practices.
  • Aesthetic look. Hardie Board siding is beautiful and gives your home pleasing aesthetics with various styles and colors. It makes your home stand out and can even look like wood siding, but it's not, so you don't have to be burdened with the high maintenance wood requires.
  • Customization. The multiple styles of Hardie Board siding give you plenty of options from which to choose. Match your home's architectural style and your personal preferences with your choice of Hardie Board siding styles. Create the look you love with the perfect color selection of James Hardie siding.
  • Resistance to fire. Fiber cement siding won't contribute to a fire because it isn't combustible. Other siding products like wood will actually fuel a fire. But Hardie Board siding gives you and your family the added protection to give you peace of mind about your safety in case of a fire.
  • Resistance to pests. Hardie Board siding resists pests, including termites and carpenter ants. It's also woodpecker resistant, so you don't have to worry about the hassles of repairing termite or woodpecker damage.
  • Low maintenance. Hardie Board siding requires almost no maintenance year-round. Simply take your garden hose and a medium bristle nylon brush to clean it twice a year.

Nevertheless, this siding material has its downsides as well. Check them out to be well-informed before buying: 

  • High cost. Hardie Board siding costs higher than other similar siding materials as this brand has made its name by offering unmatched quality and durability. The long service life of this fiber cement siding and the warranty you're provided compensate for the initial investment, bringing a considerable return. 
  • Complicate installation. The heavyweight of Hardie Board siding makes it more challenging to handle than other siding materials, so it is more difficult to install. Installation should only be done by James Hardie-trained professionals to ensure the warranty stays intact.

How much does Hardie Board siding cost?

The national average cost of Hardie Board siding varies from $7 to $13 per square foot. This price includes all materials and installation services. Putting up Hardie Board siding on a 2.000 sq. ft. house costs around $18.000. The cost is notably higher compared to other types of siding since James Hardie is considered a premium quality product among other fiber cement and engineered wood siding options.

Factors like accessibility, location, and job complexity can greatly increase or lower your Hardie board siding installation costs. Moreover, depending on your desired siding board exposure and color, material prices for James Hardie will vary significantly. Also, keep in mind that you need to include the cost of trim, be it wood or PVC / AZEK trim board. 

Lastly, siding removal and disposal will add $1.500-2.500 to the total cost, depending on the size of the house and the type of old siding you have.

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