Pros, Cons, & Costs: Hardie Board Siding

by Matt Goering

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Hardie board siding, created by James Hardie and also known as cement board siding, has been around forever, but its popularity seems to come in streaks. Typically billed as a low-maintenance, long-lasting material, does it measure up to its reputation? Here are the pros, cons and costs of hardie board siding to see how it looks under scrutiny.

Hardie Board Siding: The Pros
This siding seems to be a rising trend in the industry lately. It's a product that lasts, comes in a wide variety of textures and colors, and it's affordable. The benefits extend beyond those factors, and when it comes to hardie board siding, there is a long list of pros.

  • Longevity Most hardie board siding comes with a 50-year, limited transferable warranty. This siding is completely rot and insect resistant and can even handle salt spray from the ocean.
  • Appearance Hardie board siding can be made to mimic just about any other siding material, including wood lap boards, cedar shingles, and wood shake siding. Color options are virtually unlimited. These colors are typically accompanied by a 10 to 15 year warranty on the finish.
  • Fire Resistance Hardie board siding is 90 percent sand and cement which makes it fire-resistant. Case in point, a St. Paul Minnesota house fire torched two fire trucks parked 60 feet away, but the cement board siding home next door, 50 feet away, remained unscathed.
  • Storm Resistance Whether you're looking for a siding material that can withstand the next Katrina, or one that can fend off the next summer hailstorm without sustaining damage, cement board siding is a proven commodity in the weather department.

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The Cons
What's not to like about hardie board siding? Two things stand out. First of all, because of its weight, the siding requires more resources to install than other siding materials. Second, it's not a maintenance-free siding material. You will have to repaint it in time.

  • High Installation and Labor CostsHardie board siding requires more planning, a larger labor force, and takes longer to install due to its composition. It weighs about 300 pounds (100 square feet) compared to 60 to 70 pounds for vinyl siding. This can increase labor and installation costs as compared to vinyl or aluminum siding.
  • MaintenanceIt has to be re-painted periodically. Although the warranty is usually for 50 years, hardie board siding finishes are only guaranteed for 15 years.

The Cost
Hardie board siding runs about $1,000 or $10 per square foot. So plan on spending about 40 percent more if you choose it over vinyl. However, if the pros speak to you more than the cons, the price doesn't matter that much. To get hardie board siding quotes, click here.

Local Considerations
The costs and benefits of hardie board siding will vary based on your climate, number of contractors, demand and materials. See our general siding cost guide and how major cities stack up below.

Atlanta Hardie Board Siding Austin Hardie Board Siding Baltimore Hardie Board Siding
Boston Hardie Board Siding Dallas Hardie Board Siding Denver Hardie Board Siding
Houston Hardie Board Siding Minneapolis Hardie Board Siding Phoenix Hardie Board Siding
Philadephia Hardie Board Siding Pittsburgh Hardie Board Siding Portland Hardie Board Siding
San Antonio Hardie Board Siding Seattle Hardie Board Siding Washington DC Hardie Board Siding
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.