If you’ve been shopping for siding, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the name “Hardie board siding” at least a few times. James Hardie siding, or Hardie siding as it’s sometimes called, is one of the leading manufacturers of fiber cement siding in North America. These pioneers invented this high-grade exterior material over 30 years ago.

We’ve created this buyers guide so you can learn more about James Hardie siding and make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for your home. 

What Is Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiber cement siding is made very much the way you would make 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 it is less brittle and less prone to cracking.

What Makes Fiber Cement Special?

Fiber cement is usually a little more expensive than vinyl siding, but less expensive than stucco, composite, or wood siding. So, what would make you choose fiber cement siding instead of vinyl siding?

Here are a few stand-out features:

  • It’s fire resistant – which means it won’t light or fuel a fire
  • It’s largely weatherproof, no matter what kind of climate you live in
  • It has no appeal to pests including insects (like termites) and birds( like woodpeckers), so you won’t have to worry about animal damage
  • It is mostly impervious to moisture and doesn’t rot

Fiber cement checks far more boxes than any of the competition for safety and durability! Hardie offers definite advantages over vinyl, since it is over five times thicker. This thickness allows for deeper grooves and a more artistic  wood grain effect. Aesthetically, the wood grain looks more authentic, particularly on a historic home.

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Does James Hardie Stand By Their Products?

If you choose pre-finished Hardie board siding, the color is already on the product, so you won’t have to do anything for years. Also, all James Hardie siding products come with a 30-year, non-prorated limited warranty. Trim products come with a 15-year, non-prorated limited warranty.

Hardie Siding for Different Climate Zones

James Hardie is the only siding company that engineers siding and trim products for specific climates, ensuring that you get the best performance for your home. We can help you select the right siding boards for our Chicago climate zone.

Is There Only One Style of Hardie Board Siding?

No! Actually, because Hardie board siding is made from a very moldable material, it can be used to create many different styles of siding products.

There are Hardie board fiber cement siding products that are smooth,  some with wood grain and others sport the look of cedar shake. They offer products that can be installed vertically or horizontally. You will enjoy creating exactly the look you want from their great range of products. 

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ColorPlus® Technology: Color That Lasts

Baked-on ColorPlus® Technology has greater resistance to fading, chipping and cracking than painted siding, which means less maintenance for you.  

Hardie board’s pre-colored products use the patented “baked on” color system to add a layer of tough and durable color to the outside of the boards before they arrive. This coating is tougher and more chip and scratch resistant than ordinary paint products.

Hardie Board Siding Installation

Hardie board siding products are delivered to the job in standard stock length bundles. These boards and products can be cut to exact measurements on site, so there’s very little waste and every surface is completely covered and protected. 

This kind of fiber cement siding is usually installed using nails or screws, with a pneumatic nailer being one of the most efficient installation options. 

Hardie board siding is installed over sheathing, so whether you have a new build or are updating an existing home, you want to be sure you have a clean, undamaged layer below. This will provide the waterproof layer your home needs, so if there is any damage or your sheathing is old, it might be an idea to replace that too. 

Once the siding is secured in place, trim is attached to cover and protect all the edges, which adds to the design style of the home. 

To ensure the best outcome for your fiber cement installation, be sure you choose a certified installer. Lang Home Exteriors has been working with James Hardie as a preferred contractor for more than a decade. This trusted partnership provides our customers with high quality workmanship for every siding project we do.