I’ve been rehabbing home exteriors for over two decades, so I’ve seen it done a lot of ways with a lot of different products. One of the most popular house siding options is fiber cement siding, and the most popular brand of fiber cement is Hardie Plank. Fiber cement is known for its durability, beauty, ease of maintenance, and flame and pest resistance. Hardie siding, meanwhile, is known for its particularly outstanding quality and appearance among other brands.
However, there’s another brand that’s been getting a lot of attention lately: Nichiha®. Nichaha was founded in Japan and has been manufacturing and selling siding internationally for about 60 years. As far as fiber cement siding goes, they’ve been in the game for 20 years. In that time they’ve been gaining a reputation for really good-looking panels and durability.
Here I’ll explore Hardie board and Nichiha individually within several categories so you can better understand the pros and cons of each brand.
Hardie Plank is More Popular with Homeowners
Hardie siding has the most equity with the average consumer out of any fiber cement brand. In fact, people commonly use the terms “fiber cement” and “Hardie plank” interchangeably. This is largely because James Hardie® invented fiber cement in the 80s and has led the industry ever since. The company itself has been around a long time as well – over 130 years.
However, Nichaha has carved its own niche in commercial real estate, particularly with its Architectural Wall Panels®. These panels come in over 40 different styles. Some mimic wood, while others emulate sandstone and stacked stone. The realism in these panels is very impressive, as is the variety.
Nicha Has Lower Pricing
Hardie plank averages a little over $9 per square foot, while Nichica averages slightly under $8. This is one reason why a lot of commercial projects use Nichiha. Large-scale developments are usually looking to cut their construction budget as much as possible, and siding is an area that often gets the cut.
One of the reasons Hardie plank is priced so high is because they spend so much money on their R&D. They’ve been known to spend approximately $20 million annually to keep improving their product. In other words, their higher price comes with a lot of peace of mind and quality assurance.
Both Have an Incredible Assortment of Styles
Hardie plank and Nichaha each have several product lines, with a very wide range of styles, colors, orientations, and finishes. They all look fantastic, and it’s tough to give the edge to one brand over the other in any aesthetic category. Both look very good whether you’re talking about wood, stone, stucco, corrugated, board, panel, or shake For examples from Nichaha, check out the Nichiproduct® series. To compare, check out Hardie’s product line.
Their Warranties Are Comparable in Length
I have a lot of experience with Hardie’s warranties, and I can attest that they’re very generous. For instance, their Colorplus® comes with a 15 year limited warranty, while the lap siding and panels themselves usually come with a 30 year limited warranty. Nichiha’s warranties are similar in duration, though sometimes a little less. For instance, their Nichitrim® and Nichisoffit® come with a 25 year limited warranty, and their Architectural Wall Panels have a 15 year limited warranty.
Make sure you use a VSI certified installer for either product. The warranties for each brand come with conditions that need to be met, and only someone VSI certified will meet them all for you. Without a certified contractor like CHE in Raleigh NC, you won’t be able to use your warranties.
Hardie Siding Has the Edge in Innovations
In the mid 2000s, Hardie debuted their Hardizone ® feature. Also known as “Engineered for Climate®”, this feature altered the engineering of Hardie plank according to the region of the buyer. HZ5® is designed for the midwest and the northeast to account for the ice, snow, and temperature swings in these regions. Meanwhile, HZ10® is sold to the US south and southwest with added resistance to humidity and heat.
Hardiplank® also can include Colorplus®, which pre-bakes color and finishes into the siding products. This leaves for a more durable and longer-lasting richness in color that resists fading. It also avoids the unevenness that can come with exterior painting. Our company is a big believer in Colorplus®, and we’re currently the #2 installer of this feature in the United States.
Nichiha is Harder to Find
It would be very difficult to find a contractor that didn’t install Hardie plank. However, not all contractors install Nichiha, and it’s generally harder to find. Hardie siding is available in more areas, so if you’re considering Nichiha, contact a rep to confirm you can buy in your area.
Contact CHE to Get More Details
Custom Home Exteriors, Inc. has been installing house siding for 20+ years. We emphasize timeliness, accuracy, precise follow-through, and warranty protection. In fact, at the end of every project, we give you a book containing all the details of your warranties, and how to comply with them. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation.