Hardie Siding: The Pros and Cons

Written by Stephen Scoggins

August 12, 2020

hardie board siding, hardie siding

Easily one of the best options for house siding is Hardie siding. Hardieplank® has been synonymous with fiber cement siding for decades, and it’s because it’s the best of its kind in terms of quality. Here we’ll explain the benefits of Hardie board siding for your home exterior. Then we’ll compare it with other brands and home exterior options.

The Higher Quality of Hardie Siding 

Fiber cement siding is generally associated with sturdiness and longevity. It’s very resilient and tough to be sure, as its base ingredient is concrete. It also contains sand, silica, and an added ingredient that’s unique to each manufacturer. 

This extra ingredient is where Hardie board stands apart from other manufacturers. For decades Hardie has invested massive amounts of money into its R&D – currently over $20 million every year – to continually improve its product and ensure the highest quality in the market. 

The commitment to excellence definitely shows. In my 20+ years of experience, Hardie is the only fiber cement siding that doesn’t shrink at least a quarter inch within 6 months after it’s applied. It’s also consistently tougher than other brands, and it comes with a 30-year limited warranty that you can capitalize on as long as you use a VSI certified installer like CHE. 

Pros and Cons of Hardie Board Siding

Hardieplank comes with a wide variety of benefits over other forms of house siding. While many of the features I mention below could apply to fiber cement in general, they won’t be as true with other brands.

PROS

Looks like Real Wood

Fiber cement can emulate wood in a way that vinyl exteriors and aluminum simply can’t, and Hardie board looks especially beautiful. It can even come with a feature called color-plus. This is a process that provides the color already baked into the board. This lets you avoid the staining, repainting, and sealing required by wood, and it also helps avoid uneven coating from exterior painting.

Resists Rotting, Warping, and Fire

Not only does Hardie board look just like wood, it’s also sturdier in a number of ways. Because its base ingredient is concrete, it’s non-combustible, meaning it’s very difficult for it to catch fire. This is a big advantage over cedar. Not only that, but it’s highly resistant to rot, heat, and warping.

Insects, Woodpeckers, and Fungus Despise it

Another big advantage Hardie has over wood is that it’s very unattractive to insects and pests. It’s also easy to protect against fungus. Simply cleaning it with soap and a garden hose every once in a while will ensure that fungus can’t grow on it. You could also power wash it, though we recommend hiring a professional to do this, since power washing incorrectly could damage the siding due to the sheer pressure of the blast.

Weather and UV Resistant

While it’s not invincible, Hardie siding is highly weather resistant, especially compared to vinyl and aluminum. It stands up well against hail, and it provides higher defense against tornados and hurricanes than other forms of house siding. The color-plus feature that I mentioned earlier also keeps your home exterior from fading from sun exposure.

Another unique blessing Hardie plank has over other brands is its Engineered for Climate® feature. This means that it’s manufactured according to each region of the U.S. to withstand its particular elements. For instance, if you live in the southern United States, Hardieplank would come with HZ10®. This is a formula designed with additional resistance against UV light and heat to prevent cracking and splitting. If you live further north where there are harsher winters, your Hardie board would come with HZ5®, which is formulated to withstand freezing temperatures and wet conditions.

CONS

Higher Installation Costs 

Hardieplank’s benefits do come at a price. While it’s by no means drastically more expensive than other brands, the cost difference is noticeable. Given that it’s the highest quality fiber cement on the market, this should come as no surprise. 

No R-Value

R-value is a metric used to determine thermal resistance per unit area of a given material. The higher the r-value, the more a product carries insulation properties. Hardie generally doesn’t have any r-value, meaning that you will have to add additional insulation to your home. This is the case with fiber cement in general, so Hardie isn’t unique in this regard. 

What About Other Fiber Cement Manufacturers?

I wouldn’t put any fiber cement product up against Hardie. That said, there’s a few solid alternatives if you can’t get past the price difference. 

Allura

Allura® has been around for over 75 years and in my experience has been a passable substitute for Hardie board. Though it was recently involved in a lawsuit over the use of fly ash in their engineering mix (the substance that causes most fiber cement products to shrink), they’ve supposedly removed fly ash from their ingredients within the last year or so and have a higher quality product as a result. They offer a 50 year limited warranty on their siding and a 15-year warranty on their finish. As with Hardie board, you will need a certified installer to take advantage of these warranties. 

Nichiha

Nichiha® has been around since the 50’s. While they mostly focus on commercial products, they make good residential products as well. However, it can only be purchased through a contractor or architect, which is a pain.

Contact CHE for Your Hardieplank Installation

I love Hardie siding for the same reason I founded Custom Home Exteriors, Inc – I demand superior quality. The home remodeling and construction business is infamous for underdelivering, and this is what me and my team are determined to change.

Since 1998, CHE has been serving Raleigh NC with superior service. We show up on time, give meticulous and itemized quotes, and use digital design to show you what your remodel will look like before you sign off on the plan. We also adhere to every manufacturer’s warranty guidelines so that you can be protected from damage and wear. Best of all, we give you a book at the end of your home remodel with the details of every warranty you’re entitled to. If any of those warranties can’t be used due to an error on our part, we’ll cover the cost, no matter how many years have passed.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Custom Home Exteriors.

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