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A Buyers Guide For Hardie® Board Siding: What It Is, Pros And Cons, And How It Performs Compared To Other Options

Carol J Alexander

Published on March 14, 2024

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A Buyers Guide For Hardie® Board Siding: What It Is, Pros And Cons, And How It Performs Compared To Other Options

This article provides an in-depth look at the pros, cons, and performance of fiber cement siding compared to other siding options.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

Read about our editorial process here. Want to use our cost data? Click here.

If you're shopping for new home siding, have you considered Hardie® board? It's visually appealing, impervious to the elements, and, with proper care, can last a lifetime.

According to the 2023 Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners enjoy a hefty 88.5% ROI after installing fiber cement siding–a generic term for Hardie board. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 23% of newly constructed single-family homes included fiber cement siding in 2022.

But is it the right choice for you? In this buyer's guide, we discuss the pros and cons of Hardie board siding and share how it performs compared to other options. We also provide average cost ranges for different-sized homes to give you enough information to help you make the right decision for your upcoming siding project.

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Key takeaways

  • Hardie® board is often used synonymously with fiber cement board.
  • The average cost to install fiber cement board is $6 to $11 per square foot.
  • Fiber cement board siding can last 30 years.

What is Hardie® board siding?

Hardie board siding is a product of James Hardie Industries. Founded in 1888, the company manufactures fiber cement siding to resemble natural wood. However, the product is made of Portland cement, water, sand, and cellulose fibers and is more durable and longer-lasting than wood. It doesn't rot, warp, twist, fade, or crack when exposed to the elements and harmful UV rays. It's impervious to wood-boring insects like termites, rodents, and woodpeckers, and it's fire-resistant.

James Hardie fiber cement siding comes in plank, vertical, and shingle-shaped styles to complement any home. As the original fiber cement siding, the term Hardie board is often used to describe any similar brand of siding.

Pros and cons of Hardie® board siding

While fiber cement siding is more durable and longer lasting than other siding options, it does have a few disadvantages. To choose the best option for protecting your home's exterior, check out these pros and cons.

Pros
  • + With proper maintenance, it can last a lifetime
  • + Withstands any climate
  • + Insect, rot, rodent, and fire-resistant
  • + Warp, crack, and fade-resistant
  • + Many color and style options
  • + Carries a 30-year, non-prorated warranty
  • + Brings an 88.5% ROI
  • + Improves curb appeal
Cons
  • - Higher cost than vinyl or stucco
  • - Heaviest siding option
  • - Without foam insulation, it is less energy-efficient than vinyl siding or wood
  • - Requires professional installation

How much does fiber cement siding cost?

The cost to side a home in fiber cement board varies by size, style, and brand. The cost of new siding for the average-sized U.S. home is $15,000 to $27,500. But, since the average home size varies across the country, here is a chart to help you see what it may cost to install fiber cement siding on your home.

Cost to side a home in fiber cement by square footage

Square feet

Cost range

1,000

$6,000 to $11,000

1,500

$9,000 to $16,500

2,000

$12,000 to $22,000

2,500

$15,000 to $27,500

3,000

$18,000 to $33,000

3,500

$21,000 to $38,500

Fiber cement vs other siding types

If you're looking into Hardie® board siding, you might want to see how it stacks up against other siding options. While it may be one of the most expensive options, it surpasses other options in longevity and durability. Here is a comparison of the most popular siding materials and how they compare on the main issues.

Can I DIY my fiber cement siding installation?

Hiring a certified installer is the best way to ensure that your Hardie® board siding lives a long, beautiful life. While not impossible, doing the project yourself will require tools you may not already own. Also, the material is much heavier than wood. An 8x12-foot fiber cement board weighs about 19 pounds. However, a plank of cedar the same size weighs under 5 pounds. Also, fiber cement responds differently to fastening than wood siding, requiring prior knowledge before installing the product. For a siding replacement that will turn heads, hire a siding contractor certified to install James Hardie products.

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Styles of Hardie® board siding

The types and styles of fiber cement siding materials depend primarily on the manufacturer. However, Hardie siding comes in three styles with various textures and colors. In addition to the siding material, you can purchase trim boards, soffit, and fascia boards to match.

Traditional lap planks

Lap siding resembles traditional wood plank siding. Hardie planks come in smooth or wood-grain textures. It also comes primed to paint or in a variety of colors.

Beaded lap planks

Add a beaded edge to a traditional plank, and you have a unique feature reminiscent of coastal communities. Hardie beaded planks come in smooth or woodgrain textures, primed for painting or in various colors. 

Shingle siding panels

Shingle panels are roughly 15 inches by 4 feet long and shaped to resemble wooden shakes. They come with a smooth or woodgrain texture and a straight or staggered edge. Hardie shingles complement contemporary or rustic-style homes with many colors to choose from.

Vertical siding panels

Vertical panels come with woodgrain, smooth, or stucco-like textures to complement any home style. You can also get vertical Hardie panels with a linear detail that resembles T-111 or add trim to provide a board-and-batten appearance. 

How to clean and maintain Hardie® board siding

Improper cleaning and maintenance could void your siding warranty. But don't worry. It's low maintenance and pretty easy to take care of. 

Use a garden hose and soft brush to remove dirt and debris. Start at the top and work your way downward. Do this every six to 12 months, as needed. For stubborn dirt or stains, use a mild detergent in water.

Pro tip

Improper pressure washer use will damage your fiber cement siding. If you must use a pressure washer, use a wide fan tip, keep at least 6 feet from the wall, and use no more pressure than 1500 PSI.

Some regular home maintenance tasks will ensure your Hardie board remains in top condition for as long as you own your home. Always remember the following:

  • Keep bushes and shrubs trimmed away from the siding.
  • Keep gutters and downspouts cleaned out to prevent overflows.
  • Promptly remove debris like twigs and leaves from the roof.
  • Don't allow sprinklers to spray water on the siding.
  • Refrain from using deicing salts near the siding to prevent it from splashing on it and causing damage.

Best fiber cement siding brands

While James Hardie holds the honor of inventing fiber cement siding in the 1980s, other companies produce a quality product. Here is a brief comparison of a few fiber cement siding manufacturers.

James Hardie

James Hardie siding products are formulated to suit the climate. It offers a 30-year warranty on siding and a 15-year warranty on its ColorPlus® technology. In addition to its Statement Collection, which includes 15 colors, it has the Dream Collection with 12 shades of white and six shades of black. The company has also partnered with Magnolia Home to offer another 16 colors. The colors of the Magnolia Home | James Hardie Collection were handpicked by Joanna Gaines to look stunning, no matter what type of lighting Mother Nature provides.

Nichiha

Nichiha Corporation was founded in Japan in 1956. Nichiha USA is one of its 13 locations worldwide. Its products include architectural wall panels, plank siding resembling shingles, and a budget-friendly series with woodgrain finishes, board-and-batten, and classic lap siding.  

Allura™

Allura's fiber cement siding features 25 colors from Sherwin-Willams. It offers woodgrain and smooth lap siding, a shingle profile with straight, staggered, or rounded edges, and vertical panels for board-and-batten siding. The company provides a 30-year siding warranty and a 15-year paint warranty. 

Is fiber cement siding right for you?

When deciding on a siding material, home style, longevity, cost, and curb appeal are all factors to consider. No matter your home improvement project, we can fix you up with professional installers to get the job done right, on budget, and on time.

Get an estimate for your siding installation project

Frequently asked questions

What is the downside of Hardie® board?

Hardie board siding is heavy. Because a single piece of lap siding weighs almost 20 pounds, most homeowners need help to install it. 

Is Hardie® board better than vinyl siding?

That depends. If you want a siding to last the rest of your life, yes. But if you want a budget-friendly option that will bring a high ROI when you sell your home, vinyl siding is the better choice.

Is Hardie® board siding worth it?

The average homeowner recoups 85% of their investment after installing fiber cement siding. Considering this high ROI and the product's durability and longevity, it's worth the investment.

Written by

Carol J Alexander Content Specialist and Subject Matter Expert

Carol J Alexander is a home remodeling industry expert for Fixr.com. For more than 15 years as a journalist and content marketer, her in-depth research, interviewing skills, and technical insight have ensured she provides the most accurate and current information on a given topic. Before joining the Fixr team, her personal clients included leaders in the building materials market like Behr Paint Company, CertainTeed, and Chicago Faucet, and national publications like This Old House and Real Homes.