Your Complete Guide to Hardie Board Siding
If you live in the Philadelphia area, you know that the damp, chilly winters and steamy, hot summers can take a toll on your home’s exterior. To withstand these temperature extremes, your home needs exceptionally durable siding.
So how do you know which siding is best for your Pennsylvania home?
We created this guide to help you pick the best siding for your home and feel informed about James Hardie siding. Let’s get started!
What is James Hardie Siding?
James Hardie fiber cement siding is made of a blend of Portland cement, sand, water, and cellulose fibers. These ingredients create a material that is strong enough to stand up to the Philly climate.
Hardie Board is the most popular siding in the United States, for good reason!
- 91% of builders agree fiber cement siding increases a home’s appraisal value.
- The James Hardie company has more than 130 years in business.
- The James Hardie company invests $20 million a year in research and development.
- Hardie siding provides a durable, low-maintenance, stress-free home exterior that you can depend on.
Benefits of James Hardie siding include:
- Pest resistant
- High return on investment
- Ability to stand up to extreme temperatures
- Curb appeal
- 30-year warranty
Stucco vs. James Hardie Siding
While many Philly-area homeowners think a stucco exterior is attractive, there are numerous reasons why fiber cement siding is a much more practical — but just as beautiful — option. Stucco is made of cement, sand, water, and lime, creating a plaster-like consistency. While both are man-made, James Hardie fiber cement siding is much more durable.
James Hardie’s proprietary HardieZone system was developed after an extensive study of the long-term effects that different climates can have on exteriors. HZ5 products are specially engineered for extreme seasonal temperature variations, such as those that we have in the Philly region. The higher performance surface gives it superior moisture resistance and an additional drip edge provides better water management.
Here are some of the disadvantages when it comes to stucco siding for Philadelphia homeowners when compared to James Hardie:
- Temperature fluctuations can cause stucco to expand, contract, and crack. James Hardie siding is more resistant to expansion, contraction, and cracking.
- Stucco is more susceptible to water damage and moisture infiltration, which can damage interior walls. Hardie Board is water-resistant.
- Stucco requires much more upkeep to maintain its appearance.
- Because it is less moisture resistant, stucco can cause mold to proliferate.
- Storms with heavy rainfall and strong winds can put holes in stucco siding. James Hardie siding can stand up to strong winds and hail.
Vinyl Siding vs. James Hardie Siding
Vinyl siding was invented in the 1960s as an alternative to aluminum. Made mostly of polyvinyl chloride resin, it has several limitations.
- Vinyl siding can become brittle with age and weather exposure, causing it to crack, buckle, and warp.
- Vinyl siding melts when exposed to a direct flame while heat-resistant, noncombustible Hardie siding won’t ignite.
- Hail and debris can punch holes in vinyl siding or cause it to chip. Hardie Board is much more durable.
- Creating vinyl requires the use of fossil fuels, while James Hardie siding has a smaller environmental footprint and is made from sustainable, raw materials.
- Vinyl siding can emit VOCs while James Hardie siding does not.
James Hardie siding is five times thicker, providing a more natural, wood-like appearance, while vinyl siding doesn’t have the depth to create that type of texture.
Color & Style Options of James Hardie Siding
Even if you love the look of your home, there may come a time when you’re ready for an exterior overhaul. One of the best things about James Hardie siding is the huge selection of colors and styles. With so many options, it is easy to find something that suits your personal aesthetic, regardless of whether your home is a contemporary, colonial, farmhouse, or craftsman.
When choosing colors, you can select from James Hardie’s painted or primed siding styles:
- James Hardie’s proprietary ColorPlus Technology is baked on in the factory and is fade and chip-resistant and requires minimal upkeep
- Primed Hardie siding is primed and painted upon installation
If you’re having trouble choosing a color, James Hardie’s online color visualizer
can help you select a hue that suits both your neighborhood and preferences. The visualizer allows you to “try on” home exterior colors without a commitment. All you need to do is go online, choose a homestyle that is most like yours, and test out the color combination to get a feel for what it will look like on your home. Hues range from cool blues to earthy greens and classic grays.
When it comes to siding styles, if you can dream it up, James Hardie has a product for you!
- Traditional horizontal HardiePlank lap siding comes in Cedarmill, smooth, beaded Cedarmill, and beaded smooth textures.
- HardieShingle siding has a staggered edge and half rounds that add character to any home style.
- HardieVertical Siding adds visual interest to an entire home exterior or as an accent to James Hardie’s traditional HardiePlank product.
- The popular Board & Batten style can also be achieved easily with a combination of Hardie siding products. It’s a great option for the modern farmhouse style.
- Hardie Trim comes in a variety of widths and textures and can enhance columns, doors, windows, and more.
- Hardie Soffit panels reinforce vulnerable gaps for a protective and decorative option.
- The Artisan Collection’s deep shadow lines and extra thick boards create an especially luxurious appearance that truly allows your home to stand out!
- The Aspyre luxury collection pairs thick distinctive panels of Artisan siding with its smooth Reveal Panel System, to create unique, high-performing designs for any type of home.
What Affects the Cost of James Hardie Siding?
You know what they say: you get what you pay for. Superior products and quality craftsmanship don’t come cheap. New exterior siding for your home is a considerable investment! If you choose a subpar material, it will deteriorate more quickly. Plus, you’ll wind up with a massive home headache and ultimately end up spending much more money in the long run.
Premium James Hardie fiber cement siding typically costs more than other materials like vinyl because it lasts longer, performs better, and is more attractive than other types of siding. Plus, it comes with a superior 30-year warranty and offers an exceptional return on investment.
According to 2022 Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, James Hardie siding allows homeowners to recoup close to 72.2% of their investment.
With its special blend of ingredients and extensive research-backed design, Hardie Board siding is also more difficult to produce than wood or vinyl. However, even vinyl has increased in cost due to supply shortages and now costs the same as fiber cement siding.
Lastly, James Hardie has strict storage guidelines that its certified installers must follow to maintain the brand’s extensive warranty, which affects cost as well.
Here are some of the other factors that can contribute to new Hardie siding installation and product costs:
- Where is your home located?
- In what season will the installation take place?
- How big is your home, and does it have one or two floors?
- Does the old siding need to be removed?
- Will you choose ColorPlus Technology or primed siding?
- Have you requested additional optional features?
- Which siding style did you select?
- Is your home’s architecture simple, or more intricate?
Why Hire a Siding Contractor to Install James Hardie Siding Instead of DIY?
Once you’ve chosen James Hardie siding, you’ll want to identify an experienced contractor to install it. The James Hardie company trains specialists throughout the U.S. with specialized education, onsite training, and more. You can be confident that James Hardie’s trained contractors are using the brand’s best installation, storage, and transporting practices for its entire line of products.
Here are some additional reasons that you’ll want to work with a skilled contractor rather than trying to DIY:
- The James Hardie warranty can become void if it is installed incorrectly.
- Professional contractors know how to store fiber cement siding according to the brand’s standards (for example, it needs to be stored flat, off the ground, and covered with weatherproof materials in addition to its original packaging).
- Professional contractors know how to transport James Hardie correctly, as the brand directs it to be carried in a specific manner.
James Hardie has a specific process and best practices for HZ5 siding installation. An experienced James Hardie contractor will:
- Begin with the first course of siding at the lowest point on the home.
- Nail each Hardie board one at a time and then overlap that layer with the next board so the nails don’t show.
- Install a prefabricated starter strip behind the first course of fiber cement siding, as well as above windows and doors.
- Continue with full 12′ pieces until a door, window, or other feature interrupts the placement, and then notch these planks as needed.
Why Philadelphia Homeowners Choose Porter Family Contracting to Install Their James Hardie Siding
At Porter Family Contracting, we understand how frustrating it is when you wind up with a deteriorating, high-maintenance home exterior due to poor siding installation by inexperienced, low-quality contractors. It is exhausting (and expensive!) to have to spend more money on fixes that don’t hold up over time. Your home is a huge investment and shouldn’t drain your bank account or be a hassle to maintain. We get it. We are homeowners, too!
Since 1976, we have installed James Hardie siding on thousands of homes in the Philly area like this one. We are 100% committed to providing exceptional customer service, which includes our promise that when you call, you will speak to a real live person, not have to push 10 buttons only to leave another voicemail. Our reps and crews are professional, punctual, and will inspect your property carefully and listen to your concerns so we can craft a plan that fulfills your needs and stays within your budget. We will provide you with an initial consultation, and a free quote, and then complete the work efficiently and promptly. You can even see examples of our work here.
Read our dozens of five-star reviews to learn exactly why your Philadelphia area neighbors love Porter Family Contracting’s James Hardie siding installation services! We look forward to hearing from you.
Recent James Hardie Siding Articles: