Hardie Board Siding

Hardie board siding has been growing in popularity due to it’s natural resistance to rot, mold and fire ratings.  Hardie board siding has been giving the relief many are looking for, low-maintenance and long lasting, but does it measure up to its reputation? Or, is this just pure “Grade-A marketing” as usual?
How about an actual point of view from a siding contractor and not from a typical marketing company? I’ll give you my siding professional opinion here with the pros, cons, and prices of Hardie board siding to see how it looks under scrutiny.


Read on more about Hardie board siding

Hardie Board Siding: The Pros

Longevity — When it comes to exterior hardy plank siding, James Hardie Industries offers one of the best warranties on the market, a 50-year limited transferable warranty. When a company offers a huge warranty as that, it’s hard to say no to their siding options. So how can they offer a big warranty? It’s simple really, Hardie plank siding is completely rot and insect resistant, and can even withstand the corrosive salt spray near the coastlines.

Appearance— Another great quality of Hardie board siding is that it can be made to look like any type of wood house siding out on the market. You can have the look of cedar shingle siding, clapboard siding, etc.. The siding color options are unlimited to your tastes and these colors are usually warrantied to up to 15 years on the finish.

Fire Resistance— James Hardie Building Products, states that fiber cement siding “is comprised of more than 90% sand and cement, making it inherently resistant to flames.” Watch this video below to see how well hardie panel siding compares to vinyl siding and wood house siding — I’ll let you decide the rest!

Storm Resistance— As a siding contractor in Massachusetts, I’ve witnessed some harsh weather, be it the brutal winters, Nor’easters, hot humid summers, fiber cement siding has proven its ability to withstand the brutal punishment mother nature tends to throw at her..

Okay, so let’s discuss the Cons of Hardie board siding..

So what’s not to like about this type of house siding? Well, as a siding contractor and installer, I’ll tell you that a couple things come to mind due to experience in installing hardie board siding. First,  Hardie plank siding installation is much more labor intensive because of its weight when compared to other types of siding. Second, nothing is maintenance-free! Hardie panel siding does require painting every 10-15 years.

High Installation and Labor Costs— Due to its composition, fiber cement siding requires more time to install and resources required for proper installation. When compared to vinyl siding cost, fiber cement siding out weights its comparison by three times.

• Maintenance— Just because Hardi board siding comes backed by a 50- year warranty, doesn’t mean it will look the same as it did the day you installed it. The baked on finishes sold by most lumber yards are only guaranteed for 15 years. Please note, the siding will most likely outlive you, but it does require a paint job every 10-15 years – that’s better than wood siding, every 7-10 years.

The Cost

The one thing that still boggles my mind – the prices of fiber cement siding! It’s still way to high in price to justify not using and other type of siding. I mean sure, fiber cement siding has a lot of great qualities, but so doesn’t any other type of siding. Having fiber cement siding installed on your home when comparing prices to vinyl siding, you’re looking to pay almost double!

So in my honest opinion, the quality finish in Hardiplank siding looks great, but the high cost in installation and siding prices need to come down, so if you’re willing to pay the high premium, go for it, it’s still a great product..

Here’s an example of what to expect to pay for each common type of siding option:

  • The average price to install hardie plank siding on a 2,000 square foot home is roughly: 11,500 materials and labor, excluding painting your siding.
  • The average cost to install wood clapboard siding on a 2,000 square foot home is roughly: 10,500 labor and materials – not including paint or stain.
  • The average cost to install vinyl siding as an option for a 2,000 square foot home is roughly: 9,000 for labor and materials. Vinyl siding options are among the cheapest around and doesn’t require your siding to be painted. Minimal maintenance required to keep your siding looking new.

Tools Needed:

Fiber cement cutting shears

Fiber cement cutting blade

Safety glasses

Cordless drill — Check out where to find the best cordless drill for the money

Measuring tape

Caulking designed for hardie board siding



  1. Ellard Martin says

    About cost, it is cheaper to use vinyl siding. New York houses are beginning to use this material for their houses since it’s cheap yet beautiful.

  2. I would most certainly have to agree with you on that one, vinyl siding prices are among the most affordable house siding options anyone could make. However, hardy plank siding still would have to remain a top-dog in siding due to their resistance to fire.

  3. Wonderful article about hardie board siding : ) My husband and I are considering having hardie board siding installed on our house. However, my husband likes vinyl siding too. Not to sure really what will use considering we are planning to sell our house this spring. What do you think would be a great siding option for us?

    Once again, thank you for your help.

  4. Hi Heather, I’m happy you found my article about hardy plank siding helpful. To answer a couple of your question regarding hardie plank siding cost and vinyl siding cost I’ll do my best to provide you some help.

    Hardie board siding is always one of my top choices in house siding. Hardie plank siding has all of the same qualities as vinyl siding in regards to low-maintenance. However, vinyl siding isn’t fire-resistant like hardie board is. Also, hardie board siding resembles the look of real wood siding without the high maintenance that comes along with wood siding.

    Now, if you’re looking to sell your home this spring, have a look at the type of house siding that your neighbors have on their homes. The reason for this is, if everyone in your neighborhood has wood siding, you might decrease the value of your home by having vinyl siding installed. So in essence, installing hardie board siding would be the better option – more pricer. However, if this isn’t the case, vinyl siding prices are highly affordable and would be the top choice in a resale of your home.

  5. I am a siding contractor in Nevada & California and install both vinyl and fiber cement siding. We have found that the James Hardie siding has a closer look to real wood than vinyl siding. we install alot of this product in the Lake Tahoe area as it is easier to maintain than Cedar or Redwood siding yet maintains that wood look.
    The Tahoe area weather is harsh from it’s mass amounts of snow and uv rays from the sun at this alititude vinyl siding just can’t hold up to these conditions. What we found was the best fit for this area was the James Hardie Siding.

  6. Do you have to caulk the siding where it laps?

  7. Hey Mike,
    I was really impressed with the video & fire resistance of the Hardie board. I work for a home builder that uses Hardie Board exclusively for all the “wood” trim on their mainly brick & stone homes. I live in the Dallas area in a home that is approximately 20 yrs old. The home is brick exterior with some wood accents as well as the chimney being done in wood from ground to top (which I thought was odd when I first saw it since I am uesd to homes that are mainly wood siding with brick chimneys). The Texas sun has toasted the wood. Even though it has been painted over the years it is no longer worth painting & all has to be replaced. With the severe Texas weather of extreme heat & hailstorms, I am now convinced that Hardie Board is the only way to go no matter what the cost.
    I may even suggest to anyone getting ready to sell their home, like the couple above, that hardie board would be a good selling point, especially if they showed your video.
    I would also like to see the response to the caulking question.

  8. Kelly Standard says

    I plan to install some 4X8 Hardie board siding. What type of nail gun should I use? A 16 guage finish nailer or a framing nailer?

  9. does it have gaps??

  10. We found Hardie board at Home Depot, but it is the textured kind. Do they make one that is smooth? Our siding is smooth and we need to replace the bottom row and would like to use Hardie board.

  11. I have a house with hardie plank and after 10 years I have some siding which has cracked around windows. I assume the installer had moved the siding and created a stress which over time cracked vertically. My question is there a material that I can use to fill the cracks?

  12. Virginia says

    I have been planning on putting Hardie board on the dormers of my farm house, but my contractor can’t find the stucco look and he doesn’t want to order a pallet. This is house is in north central OK. Does anyone know where I can get the stucco look sheets without buying a pallet. Also, does it need a board behind it for strength. I saw a house built out of it and it weaved in and out like it needed something behind it.

  13. Richard Huffman says

    Does anyone else have trouble accessing jameshardie.com? Every time I try the links Google brings up, there is no connection.
    Does anyone have a phone number or a link that works?

  14. I have been in market for new siding for my house for a while because I want to make sure I get the best product for the right price. I live out west and it is often really dry and there are frequent wildfires. I have been looking for a reliable siding that was fire resistant. I tried to view your video, however it was unavailable, but I managed to find another YouTube video that was helpful in demonstrating the different flammable properties of various siding materials.

    I have been looking at hardiplank for a little while now but I have to admit that the hardi board prices were causing me to look around for an alternative.

    I want something very fire resistant, and another option was metal siding. Unfortunately I love the appearance of hardi siding since it will give my house that wood appearance that I’ve wanted.

    Can you please give me your opinion on whether I should choose metal or hardie? Your post did a great job of shedding light on hardie board problems but what about metal?

  15. We just built a new home in Minnesota and used the “wood grain” hardy board siding. It’s pricey but looks real and is beautiful. I need advice on the best way to attach a picture, hanging basket bracket, stone plaque, etc to the hardy board. Since it’s a fiber cement, i’m scared to nail anything to it as it might crack. Any Ideas?

  16. Kevin O'Rourke says

    Due to the composite nature of the cement board, you need to prime the ends of all the cuts, and caulk every joint, and there’s allot of them due to the fact that the hardie product only comes in 12′ lengths.

  17. Bought our new manufactured home in 1999. Our property home site is at 3690 ft. alt. in north central Idaho. The Hardy Board on the north side of house started splitting and cracking after four years and has progressively grown worse. When the first damage occured, Hardie honored the warrenty. How ever, they only cover the cost of the Hardy board at the closest dealer. In our case, that was 85 miles. The most expensive cost of the repair was the labor, not the materials. Now, after 11 years, the whole north face of the house really needs to be recovered. Noted in contracters comments that the edges of the planks need to be sealed. I’m thinking they were not on our home. The builders warrenty has long ago expired and in fact that builder is no longer in business

  18. we are purchasing a home in Ozona Fl and will replace the existing vinyl siding with Hardie Plank for sure!!

  19. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons of Hardie Board Siding. This article gives me an idea about the advantage of having hardie board siding. Will definitely give a try hardie plank.

  20. Paul Nowosielski says

    I live in Central North Carolina and installed Hardie Board siding, soffet and facia on my home when we rebuilt it. One thing which I don’t think has been mentioned is the critters don’t like it. We have not had any trouble with squirrels in our attic, I have noticed they can chew there way through plastic (vinyl), wood or masonite siding with ease. The critters and I can live in harmony.

  21. So, what is the consensus on cement board cracking and the need to calk the end of the planks?

  22. Dolly Pro says

    We are thinking about having our house re-done in this hardie board but after reading this blog I am now worried about it cracking? Does anyone know how much of a problem that could be? i mean is it like concrete that will crack on the inside corners and if it does, what do you do to fix it. Do you fill and sand like the old mortar and lath board walls in old house, where those walls have a problem cracking on the inside corners of windows? I mean if it’s not like wood, once concrete cracks it will continue to crack until the crack hits the edge. Plus do you use vinyl or silicone caulking to fill cracks or do you use some form of sandable concrete?

    Also does anyone know if it will stop squirrels and raccoons from chewing through and getting up in the soffit’s or attic. And what about spiders? We live in the woods so to speak and animals, bugs and spiders are the main reason we are going to remove our cedar plank siding for hardie board lap siding. My house is 22 years old. Is this a smart idea or not?

  23. Kevin O’Rourke couldn’t me more incorrect. Read the product installation guides for all the types of Hardie/Certainteed material. Do not caulk butt joints and the only cuts you should have should go against a piece of trim (i.e. outside corner, window, etc) and those are to be caulked. You must put felt behind each butt joint and overlap it onto the row below it (on the lap siding).

  24. What is the “cost” of stretching the repaint frequency on hardiboard? I live in Colorado where my house gets 300 days of full hot sun.

    Is there a brand of paint that is more effective than others? Thank you.

  25. Colorado is classified as “Hardie zone 5” (HZ5) What that means is your hardie board paint finish is warrantied for 15 years. I’m pretty sure that if they can warranty it for 15 years, you shouldn’t have any problems in your area getting 5-10 years more out of the paint finish.

    Is there a brand paint I would use? I would only advise you to use hardie zone color plus technology. It’s designed for this type of siding and wouldn’t recommend anything else.

  26. Out of the 30 or so houses I’ve installed this type of siding onto, I’ve yet to see any cracks in the siding. I’ve also asked around and nobody has seen any issues. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. I live in the Boston area and our weather can be pretty extreme.

  27. I know what you mean Paul. I just recently replaced my nephews soffits because of the same thing. Squirrels where eating there way through to the attic with ease. Racoons ate there way through his vinyl trash barrel too! I’ll post pictures sometime soon. I couldn’t believe it they could do that!

  28. Great choice rose. Hardie plank siding is a great choice if you live in Florida.

  29. That’s so true Carl. Hardie board siding does resemble wood siding better than vinyl siding does any day. Over in Boston, MA. it holds up to our harsh weather remarkably great! I haven’t had any issues with the product. It’s like anything home improvement, it comes down to the installation of the siding installer.

  30. Ok all you hardy plank lovers, how will this material do with golf balls arcing in at 225 yds on a bad fade or slice . I presently have vinyl that is being crushed on the tee facing side of my house. My neighbors removed some trees that gave 80 % protection, and now 0% protection.

    The term ‘impact resistant’ is used in adds and my suspicion is that it will get compression fractures on the edges or ball shaped dents on the larger surface. I would like some responses from people living in harm’s way on a golf course before I TRY to get a straight answer from the company and/or contractor.

  31. @John (9/22/12) – If you can’t get a straight answer, you could get a few scrap pieces and take it to the driving range. I would think that a couple of buckets of balls would be more than enough cycles to prove it out or not. Obviously, not every ball that impacts the actual house is going to hit in the same spot, so a couple hundred balls smashed into a small area at “point blank” range would be plenty.

    Just an out of the box idea. That would make a great YouTube video either + or – on the product’s durability.

  32. Hi John, I think most would agree that your situation it a tricky one to answer without testing. I agree with Dillon. If possible, get some hardiplank samples and nail them to a sheet of plywood as if it were being installed onto your home and have at it : )

    Maybe in the next few weeks when I have some down time, I’ll do a video demonstration to see how it performs for you.

  33. Great answer Dillon. I’ve been pondering the idea for the past week since the question was asked. Thanks for the comment. I think I’ll install some hardiplank siding onto a sheet of 4×8 plywood and hammer away at it. I think it would be fun, lol…

  34. Hi Mike, I loved your article and also the helpful information in many of the comments. I’m in CT and our saltbox badly needs re-siding. I am sold on Hardie board, but unsure about the colors that would be best on this style house. I’m thinking a medium beige/taupe with either white/ivory trim or darker trim in the same color family. Hardie’s design tool doesn’t have any houses of this style and I can find no examples online of this style house with their product. Being in MA, have you done any houses like this and have pictures to post?

  35. Hi Kathy, thanks for the kind words. If possible, send me a pic of your house and when I have some down time ill use my design software to create the look and colors your after.

    Do you have a hardie board style in mind?

  36. Are custom paint colors or others than offered w/ the tool) available for factor finish? Like Kathy none of the available colors with the design tools fit the look I’m after, any thoughts?
    thx, Chris

  37. Hi Chris, you can paint hardiplank any color you wish. However, if you’re looking for a factory finish, you might have to look at premium colors. I’ll look into that for you..

  38. Toni Garland says

    I am thinking of using hardy board as a skirting around my mobile home, and surround on my above-ground water garden here in North Florida. Will I need a cement blade for my saw? Will I need framing behind the skirting to avoid the ripple effect? Do I need to worry about chipping or cracking as I screw it in place? What type of screws are required? All the comments and experiences have helped me decide to use hardy board.

  39. We live in a structurally sound vintage home(1700’s) in the historic district of our town in CT. The historic society must approve all renovations to our home. We would like to re-side our home with Hardy board. We presented this option to the historical society and they turned us down because they claim the weight of the Hardy board would collapse the house. Has anyone used hardy board successfully on a vintage home?

  40. Mike,
    I live in the San Francisco bay area. I am renovating my house and I would like to use a Hardie Board siding with color technology. My heart is set on a gray color that is not to dark, and the light mist color is just perfect . After numerous phone calls to the company, this color is not available in my zone and I can’t purchase it even if I didn’t care about the warranty. I do not want to paint the house after the planks are installed. I am now looking at the competitor, since they have a light gray plank. Do you know if Hardie Board is thinking of adding a light gray color anytime soon?

  41. Hello, Mike:
    I found your information very helpful. I have a very challenging situation that I need help with. I live in central MS, and I have a historic brick home. The last owner covered three sides of the home with beige parge or mortar and left the backside the pretty red brick. I want to cover the three sides of parge in hardy board and leave the back brick. My issues are: making sure I am not creating a mold problem in the making, matching the hardy board siding and trim with the back which is red brick, satisfying the historic commission that has to approve the renovation of my 1939 home. Do you have any advice and suggestions for me?

  42. Thanks, just the info I was looking for!

  43. I was thinking of using Hardy Plank to replace the wood on my swinging garage doors. Would it be too heavy for that application? I used it for siding on my rental house and have been more than happy with it.

  44. We have Hardie Board siding on our manufactured home. We would like to attach a garden ornament or two to the back side of our home. However we are concerned that the siding will crack if we nail or screw anything to it. Is this a legetimate concern?

  45. joanne billingsley says

    Our Hardie siding is experiencing chalking . Apparently this is common with Hardie board. What is the recommended correction for this, e.g. clean, repaint. I do not want to repaint because this may affect the warranty and also the home is only 4 years old.

  46. I would never recommend Hardie Plank to anyone. We have had nothing but trouble with the product and the company! There are 3 locations where we can not keep paint on the boards. A professional painter has tried several products and procedures to no success. Hardie Plank will not do anything about it. They said the “new” installation regs say we installed it wrong. Guess 3 years after installation we are to remove and re-install to the “new” regs. I don’t think so! We had it installed correctly to what info we had at the time. Hardie Plank should replace but would not do anything about it. I would not recommend the company nor the product!!!!