James Hardie Siding

There are many types of siding available and the choice is difficult to make for many homeowners. Many homes today are sided with an inexpensive vinyl, but if you want to stand out from your neighbours and get a more durable product that doesn’t put you in the poor house, check out fiber-cement siding. It has been around for more than 100 years, but it’s in the last 30 years that James Hardie Industries have developed a safer, more sustainable product.

Fiber Cement Siding

James Hardie Industries Ltd. was founded in 1888 in Australia, and became a large manufacturer of building products containing asbestos due to their involvement in mining asbestos. As producers and the general public became aware of the ill-effects of asbestos, James Hardie sought to make a solution while maintaining their standard for building materials. In the mid-1980′s, James Hardie began developing fiber-cement technology that didn’t require asbestos for reinforcing and is instead composed of cellulose fibers (the most abundant organic polymer on earth, commonly found in cotton).

James Hardie now produces many styles of fiber-cement siding products. All products come either pre-primed, or they come with ColourPlus Technology, an engineered paint coating system that is baked on to the siding, environmentally friendly, has better fade resistance than vinyl and of course comes in a wide variety of colours.

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HardiePlank lap siding comes with 4 different face textures, and up to 4 different widths in the select Cedarmill and Smooth textures. The siding is 5/16 of an inch thick, twice as thick as most vinyl products, and comes in 12 foot lengths. This product gives your home the traditional look of horizontal siding.


HardiePanel Vertical Siding are 4′x8′ or 4′x10′ sheets of fiber-cement board that come in 4 different styles; Stucco, Cedarmill, Smooth and Sierra 8 which features vertical grooves. HardieTrim battens can be added to create a board and batten historic home appeal. While the sheets are heavy, they have better coverage for a faster installation.


HardieShingle siding comes in 2 styles of panel (straight or staggered edge) and individual shingles. The panels are 4 feet wide and have 5 and 7 inch exposure available. The shingle siding is worth every dollar to give your home a shingle exterior that is tough and will maintain paint consistency.


James Hardie is the premier product when it comes to fiber-cement siding, to prove it, they keep improving it. Hardie siding is now engineered to withstand even more environmental abuse around your home. They call it the HardieZone, and it’s broken into 2 categories. The HZ10 product is designed for homes in the southern United States and is made to withstand the elements of hurricane force winds, salty sea air, and hot humid temperatures. The HZ5 product is designed for homes in seasonal temperate climates that face freezing temperatures, snow and ice.


The phrase “in a perfect world” applies to everything, and Hardie products are not immune. While the asbestos (and all asbestos related health affects) have been removed from the product long ago, the silica dust generated from fiber cement is not exactly a health benefit. While there are multiple methods to cut the siding, James Hardie recommending the score and snap method, our contractors prescribe the use of a dust reducing circular saw equipped with a Hardiblade (designed for cutting fiber cement). It is best to cut it outdoors, as that offers the best ventilation, and wear a particle mask and safety goggles for added protection. This does make the installation process more difficult and I highly recommend you select a contractor that has experience in handling this fiber cement products before it goes on your home.

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Why Use It?

After all of the details, it appears Hardie siding products are designed to replicate other building materials. So why use it?

It is a good choice to use Hardie siding products if you’re looking for the best of all building materials. Being made from fiber-cement it brings together many great elements that make it a well-balanced building material. HardieBoards are flame resistant and non-combustible, unlike any wood product, and vinyl which melts when exposed to extreme heat. The paint is guaranteed to last 15 years, longer than wood siding, and can be repainted if needed, unlike vinyl. Fiber-cement combats extreme weather more than either wood or vinyl. And while it cannot mirror the curb appeal of wood siding, it is twice as thick as vinyl, giving it a more realistic appearance.

The best reason to consider using a James Hardie fiber-cement product, is to add value to your home. For the last 10+ years, fiber-cement siding has consistently ranked in the top 5 on a list of home projects that will provide a good return on investment. The product has increased less than 1% in cost every year since getting more recognition as a value adding product for home renovations. All siding products come with a 30 year warranty, and paint comes with a 15 year warranty.

This is why when we have clients looking for a long lasting, durable siding product at a reasonable cost, we recommend using James Hardie fiber-cement products.

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