Composite Siding 101: James Hardie

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding is a great alternative to wood siding and is well known in the building industry for its superior durability and quality. There are many reasons why homeowners and contractors alike choose fiber cement siding over other exterior siding options. Learn why James Hardie siding solutions can be one of the greatest investments you can make for your home.

Benefits of James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding is composed of cement, water, wood pulp cellulose, and sand, which makes it really durable. This unique makeup makes it resistant to extreme conditions while remaining lower maintenance.

Engineered for Climate

Hardie Zone System

After realizing that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to siding, James Hardie came up with something called the Hardie Zone System and engineered siding specifically for the climate you live in. The northern hemisphere of the United States is known as Hardie Zone 5 (HZ5) and the southern hemisphere, plus the west coast, is known as Hardie Zone 10 (HZ10). HZ5 products are made to withstand harsh winds, snow, and freeze spell cycles while HZ10 products protect homes from harsh UV rays, moisture, and high heat.

Enhanced Drainage

HZ5 Lap Siding Profile

HZ5 lap siding has a unique shape that improves drainage. A common issue with regular siding is that water can get behind it, causing mold, mildew, and eventually rot. HZ5 lap siding has a rolled top edge, which allows water to drip down the front of it. At the bottom of the board is a slight angle that allows the water to drip right off instead of rolling back up behind the board.

Fire Protection

Hardie Plank Lap Siding withstands a house fire and the home’s interior is not penetrated.

Unlike wood or vinyl, Hardie siding does not melt or fuel fire. In addition to the peace of mind, because Hardie’s fiber cement products are non-combustible, many insurance companies will offer a discount if they’re installed on your home.

Pest Resistant

One of the most frustrating problems with wood or composite wood siding is that it can be a minefield for bird and insect damage. Fortunately, fiber cement is not appealing to wildlife, so you won’t be patching up woodpecker holes or exterminating termites.

Low Maintenance

For all the reasons above, Hardie fiber cement siding products are lower maintenance than other types of siding systems. In addition to being climate, rot, and pest resistant, Hardie siding is available factory pre-finished in a variety of different colors using their proprietary ColorPlus Technology, which comes with a 15-year limited warranty against bubbling, chipping, and cracking. In comparison, on a home exterior, wood surfaces should be repainted every 3-7 years, stucco every 5-6 years, and vinyl every 10 years.

Choosing Your New Siding

The versatility of James Hardie’s different products and profiles allows for homeowners and contractors to improve curb appeal with creative siding projects.

Hardie Plank Lap Siding

Hardie Plank Lap Siding, Pearl Gray

Hardie Plank Lap Siding is their most popular and timeless product. It is available in two different looks, Select Cedarmill and Smooth. Select Cedarmill mimics real wood grain.

Hardie Plank Lap Siding Select Cedarmill vs Smooth

Hardie Shingle Siding

Hardie Shingle Siding, Light Mist

Hardie Shingle Siding gives the look of a traditional cedar shingle home, but with much less maintenance.

Hardie Shingle Siding mimics the look of real wood shingles

Hardie Panel Vertical Siding

Hardie Panel Vertical Siding, Traditional Red

Hardie Panel Vertical Siding adds an interesting element to a home’s exterior.

Hardie Trim Boards

Hardie Trim Boards, Timber Bark

Trim is the icing on the cake when it comes to exterior siding. Use Hardie Trim Boards to accentuate details on your home such as windows, doors, corners, or even create a board and batten look.

Hardie Trim Boards, Iron Gray

James Hardie Statement Collection Colors

As mentioned earlier, Hardie siding comes in many different factory pre-finished colors using ColorPlus Technology; the color is not painted onto the boards, but rather baked on, so it’s fade-resistant with long lasting vibrancy. Colors available are dependent on what zone you’re located in, as well as which product you’re installing. You can also order James Hardie’s “primed for paint” siding and paint it whatever color you wish. Just make sure to use a high-quality exterior paint, such as Benjamin Moore Aura Exterior.

James Hardie Siding vs Other Siding Materials

James Hardie siding stands out because of its durability, low maintenance, and proven ability to withstand the elements, no matter where you live. Traditional wood and composite wood siding looks beautiful, but the upkeep can be demanding when you factor in rot, insect damage, and a more frequent repainting schedule. While vinyl siding is lower maintenance than wood siding, it’s still much thinner than fiber-cement siding and will melt in a fire. Vinyl siding can also crack and warp from extreme weather. James Hardie siding resists all of that.

James Hardie siding is backed by a 30-year warranty and trim products are backed by a 15-year warranty. When researching building materials for a new build or renovation, James Hardie fiber-cement siding products are a fantastic option. If you have any questions about James Hardie products, please visit your local Ring’s End or chat online with one of our sales experts.