Pros, Cons, & Costs: Hardie Board Siding

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 11, 2017

Hardie board siding
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 accompanied by a 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.

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 Costs: Hardie 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 60-70 pounds for vinyl siding. This can increase labor and the cost of cement installation.
  • Maintenance: It has to be re-painted periodically. Hardie board’s ColorPlus ® Technology Warranty covers paint and labor for peeling and chipping of their finishes for only 15 years.
Ready to start your hardie board siding?
Find Pros

The Cost

Hardie board siding runs about $0.70 to $5.25 per square foot. This could lead to a total cost of anywhere from $4,700 to $13,300. Why such a huge flux in the price range? You have to consider the amount of siding you’ll need, how long it will take and any additional fees for equipment and materials. However, if the pros speak to you more than the cons, the price doesn’t matter that much.

Local Considerations

The costs and benefits of hardie board siding will vary based on your climate, number of contractors, demand and materials. You should always consult with 3-4 professionals before hiring one. You don’t want to get a hardie board siding installation that needs constant repair. On the other hand, you don’t want to pay too much or additional fees that are unwarranted.



  1. Jason, May 9:

    10$ a sq ft is only to buy and install not the removal of the old hardy board? Is that right .

  2. Jason, May 9:

    600sq ft of hardy board with the highest part 36 ft high. What is a fair price for removal and replace. Basically the whole job. Time and material and dumping?

  3. Marie Walker, May 10:

    We are looking to buy a new home in Texas and most of the new construction say they use fiber cement for siding, just wanted to know if it was a good product. Thank you helped.

  4. James Hardie, May 10:

    You’re welcome!

  5. Kevin Suber, May 13:

    I am experiencing alot of cracks and gapping. My home is only 3 years old. Any idea of the root cause?

  6. Carolyn, May 16:

    Can Hardy Board stand up to woodpeckers? We have a mountain cabin that is being attached by woodpeckers, leaving large holes. Due the extra weight of the Hardy Board, does the structure need to be reinforced?

  7. James Hardie, May 16:

    Typically structures are robust enough to handle the added weight of James Hardie siding. Woodpeckers are not fond of James Hardie siding.

  8. Bob Murphy, May 28:

    I had Hardie board installed on my home in 2011. It has chippings along the edges of the numerous board. It carries warranties for 15 years again fading, but no mention of chipping. No chemicals or power washings were applied. What do you suggest?

  9. Mike Yost, June 4:

    I live on a golf course would this Hardie board hold up . ( Like if golf balls would it )

  10. Ken, June 13:

    Will Hardie Board stand up against Woodpeckers

  11. James Hardie, June 13:

    Because the board is cement, bugs do not nest in it, and woodpeckers don’t peck it.

  12. Jason, June 28:

    Why are the only comparisons from this article in reference to vinyl or aluminum siding? I personally am not considering either of those two as a siding option, so I would have found this article more helpful if it would have included wood siding comparisons.

  13. Anne QUINN, July 15:

    Do the cracks between the hardy board need recaulking if the original causing has worn off? I was told the tightness would crack the existing boards.

  14. James Hardie, July 15:

    Only calk where siding meets trim, do not calk butt joints. Installation best practices available on the James Hardie website

  15. Norma Gonzales, July 17:

    Please call me. I cannot get any action on a caulking failure on my father’s home from your local rep or contractor. Norma Gonzsles, RN, BSN, CHPN 469-853-3445

  16. Spencer, October 18:

    One of the things not mentioned in the pros for HardiePlank is that insurance companies will give you a lower price on your homeowners insurance because they consider it to be the same as brick construction. I know because it lowered my premiums after replacing my masonite product.

  17. James Hardie, October 18:

    Insurance benefits will vary among providers

  18. Hal Abrams, October 21:

    Our client installed Hardie Plank 20 years ago . Now it has to be removed . Did the product Ever have asbestos material in it?

  19. Tony, October 21:

    Looking for price on siding

  20. April Huddleston, October 24:

    Is Prevail Multisiding product good for the construction of my new home? What about quality and warranty?

  21. Curtis Jones, October 25:

    Just a few question on maintenance on hardie planks. Should they be caulked when installed ? And if so when you repaint should the old caulk be totally stripped from each seam?

  22. James Hardie, October 25:

    Only calk where siding meets trim, do not calk butt joints. Installation best practices available on the James Hardie website

  23. Don, October 29:

    A contractor installed your product on my home, however, it has a lot of waves in it. The contractor says it’s normal with cement board. Is this true or did the contractor do a poor job?

  24. M. C. Katzel, October 29:

    Can woodpeckers peck holes in Hardie Plank?

  25. Ally McNee, October 31:

    I have the same question as Curtis re: caulking. My builder says he always caulks the horizontal planks despite JH recommending otherwise. Are there different schools of thought on this? What about reprinting – remove old caulk?

  26. JARATIA I. LACOD, December 18:

    I want to ask on the health safety of usisng the hardieflex board because i know it is made of fiber cement etc. I want to assure the health safety of my family. According to some of my friend using hardieflex is hazardous to health. Please i need your technical explaination regarding my doubts i am sorry but i have no intention of anything else except for clarification in the issue. Thak you for your response.

  27. James Hardie, December 18:

    If the proper installation techniques are met, Hardie siding can be installed safely. Check out the James Hardie website for installation best practices.

  28. bob mcfarlane, December 19:

    I’m 100 yards from the gulf and the beach. Should I caulk the horizontal planks? There is a lot of air borne micro sand.

  29. James Hardie, December 19:

    Only calk where siding meets trim, not the butt joints.

  30. Clint, December 28:

    I just had my Hardiplank cement planks installed on my new house and a month later a windstorm blew off 3 planks leaving the nails in the wall ripping them right through the planks. Could have this siding been installed incorrectly? Also the contractor got white paint on these pre colored gray planks, and he wants to paint over them. Will this be a problem in a few years?

  31. James Hardie, December 28:

    Hard to say what the problem was, but they could have been installed incorrectly. The prefinished boards are only covered for the factory applied paint. Any additional paint is not covered by our warranty.

  32. Lamanna Curt, December 29:

    Was told that 1/2 foam lnsulation not recomended, voids warranty

  33. Lawton B Smith, January 13:

    I have a floor that is covered with Hardi-Plank in my bedroom. It is painted. Is there a health risk? thanks.

  34. James Hardie, January 13:

    There is no health risk.

  35. Bruce, March 3:

    We are finding our installation of hardiboard to replace our previous cedar planks as vertical board and batt to be quite noisy. The boards mounted with a vapor barrier gap behind the board have created a drum effect and seem to be picking up and amplifying the noise from vehicle mufflers that go by our home.

  36. Kelly, March 27:

    Anyone worrying about woodpeckers put a few balloons out the windows and it will make them leave. They are pecking the house to dominate the space for other woodpeckers to leave!

  37. Cooper, May 14:

    If you have issues with your siding, good luck. We had a house built by Pratt using Hardin lap siding. A mess is the least I can say. We have scratches, dents, dings, and concrete showing in numerous places. Finally got a rep out to access, and still no info after more than a week.

  38. mIKE hOLL, July 3:

    What is available for hardiboard trim for windows? Is it paintable?

  39. Steve, July 6:

    I have a question we are building a recreational center 4 miles from the ocean and I would like to know if Hardi board is the way to go. I am looking at something that is not high maintenance thank you

  40. Lantz, October 10:

    Hardie has two websites that will pretty much answer all question, especially the Pro site and it installation information.
    Also a number of videos

  41. Luke, October 16:

    I resently painted a house with hardie board siding. The owner choose to use an oil based primer. After applying primer and paint I noticed that there was a sticky residue coming through the paint. Was told it was surfactant. Do you have any idea what it may be

  42. Karyn, October 19:

    We are planning on purchasing a house that has Hardie Board siding already. But it’s been there probably since the house was built in 1986. The front (south facing and windy) exposure looks like it needs some boards replaced. Is that possible to pull some pieces out to replace? Or must we take off the whole front aspect and start again? (I’m assuming the latter, but thought I’d ask!)

  43. Tom Sanders, January 14:

    I have a house with a gambrel style roof. I was wanting to put Hardie shingles on the bottom part which has a small pitch to it. Probably 18/12. Is this doable?

  44. gregory gressen, January 16:

    is there a tounge and groove option so it can be run verticle?

  45. Gwen, January 27:

    Does this siding carry a good insulation

  46. Al Kovacs, March 2:

    Hi there !
    I do have some Hardie Board installed on my house on the front of my house ,however now we decided to go all the way around the rest of the house as well . So i do need a price on per /board for me to figure out the final amount . I’d like to go to the source and Not to Home Depot . HardiePlank® Lap Siding is the type what i have .Please advise on price please .

  47. Jay in the midwest, March 30:

    I recently purchased a 20 year old home that had hardy board installed @ time of build. It seems that are a few different methods of install, with the latest including flashing strips at the joints.

    Moving forward we decided to paint and I took advantage of this time to fix and recondition as I saw fit. As I went around to check the caulking I found that the OSI Quad only showed surface cracking, still plyable and in good condition. As for the cracking the only problems where from the installer not leaving enough of a gap around the window frames and where they nailed down the visible corners they did not pre drill so many corners cracked off.

    So at this time I made 20 45* corner splices from 1 board purchased from my hardware store and used my osilating plunge cutter to remove the damaged material and then predrilled the splices and nailed it in. Also to prep for paint I got more OSI Quad and filled all gaps, cracks, joints, and splices.

    All this was done in one weekend with 2 people and well worth the effort it seems like a never ending job at first but went quick once we settled in and got busy. This is a great material and absorbs solar heat very well for cooler climates yet good in the summer time with a well insulated home. Also adds to insurance value so expect a slight increase to cover in case Armageddon destroys your home.

  48. neri olmenares, April 13:

    im choosing between using a gypsum board or a fiber cement for my ceiling. which one is better healthwise ? i have some allergies and would prefer a “non” allergenic material.
    secondly, is fiber cement also usuable for interior of homes? i often see theyre for exterior. but can it be used for interior walls and ceilings ?

    thank you and i would appreciate your advice on this.


  49. As a contractor who has installed miles of fiber cement siding/James Hardie products, I’d like to clear up a few things.

    In my experience, FCS is no heavier than smart siding, and just a little lighter than the old masonite siding. Installation is simple and works in the same way that any other siding (sans vinyl/metal) would install. The only thing different is the necessity of a fiber cement saw blade.

    When installing, we like to install our corner and window trim first then cut our siding to fit inside, leaving a 1/8″ gap between the siding and trim. When you lay trim boards over the top of siding, it leaves a noticeable gap where water can penetrate, and get into the substrate.

    Its durability is unmatched, and when coupled with a lifetime paint (applied correctly) you should have worry-free siding for life. My only complaint with Hardie products is the thickness of the trim boards. On corners and windows, we usually install pre-primed 2×4’s on which we apply a 2nd coat of oil based primer to all sides, in order to prevent any moisture penetration and rot.

    I live in Oklahoma and have installed this material nationwide. Most multi-tenant dwellings are moving to this product, due to its durability. In warmer climates, it is unbeatable and the durability far exceeds that of vinyl or wood. Vinyl will warp in hotter climates, necessitating the need for replacement. Most manufacturers don’t recommend “face nailing”, but I think that more for the look than anything. In windier climates, it’s a necessity.

    I try to stress to everyone that spending the money once, for a quality product, is much better and economically friendly, than repainting and maintaining the exterior every 5-10 years. It may cost a little more, but it’s worth it.

  50. Jay Ambrose, May 13:

    I have Hardie siding on a new house I bought. Is it okay to mount plant hangers onto the siding with screws directly into the siding?

  51. Jay Sanders, May 23:

    I’m trying to find the long-term maintenance costs of the ColorPlus Hardie Plank if I use it for my house. I understand that the warranty lasts 15 years, do people usually need to repaint it at that point?

  52. Karen Jeffers, May 23:

    My siding is over 20 years old, and was installed without flashing. It was caulked and there are now significant gaps. What is my best course of action?

  53. K. Larsen, June 2:

    I had a bad hail storm hit last June and all fall, winter and spring I had large brown blutches (my house is painted tan) appears all over where the hail hit. You can see where the awning hard protected the siding but where the hail hit these spots would appear and disappear. They almost look like someone splattered and oily substance on the siding. They ranged from the size of a golfball to the size of a cantaloupe. What would cause this. I can send you pictures if you would like.

  54. John Brewster, June 14:

    I installed Hardie siding about 10 years ago and love just about everything about it. It has survived many windy days and nasty weather with no problems at all. I didn’t know that you were only supposed to caulk where the siding meets the trim though. Every year I notice that the gaps between where two pieces butt together seems to have either lost the caulking or it just looks like it, so I have recaulked some of those seems again, and now understand why. I was also told to put a thin piece of flashing underneath where the two pieces come together in case rain gets in. I now wonder if I should remove the caulk and flashing. Any suggestions?

  55. Connie, June 15:

    We have new hardie plank siding? What is the proper way to hang decorative items on screen porch and deck walls?

  56. David, August 2:

    What is the special consideration for putting Hardie Board Plank siding over my existing stucco wall?

  57. Alice Stevens, August 20:

    I have a very long garden. Yrs. I said garden. I have problems with stolen for the borders. They are very expensive and shift. I also want them high. I was wondering if hardiplank boards with support would be ok. Will they rot it in constant contact with ground and mulch? It would be a lot cheaper than stone and would still bend some.

  58. Paul, August 29:

    We installed Hardiplank about 15 years ago, and it has mostly been terrific. We have two spots however that are problematic. Both are on walls along rooflines where snow and ice build up and sit during the winter. The Hardieplank is chipping and crumbling in those places. I think the ice scraped away its protective exterior, and exposed its porous cement interior. Should this be covered by warranty? If not, what should I do to patch it and prevent further damage? I’ve thought about installing aluminum flashing in front of the hardieplank for about 6″-12″ from the edge where the plank meets the roof.

  59. Kevin, September 8:

    “requires a larger work crew to install”? NO. With the correct tools and planning, it can be done by 1 person. 2 is better, but 15 years ago, I resided a 2 story house by my self. It went up quickly and still looks great. All you have to do is use the tools made for Hardie board.

  60. Laci, September 14:

    How well does factory painted Hardie Panel hold up at high altitude? We are at 9000 feet in CO.

  61. Bill, September 28:

    What is the Wind Speed Rating of Hardie Board? I am building in Wilmington , NC and I want to make sure that I get the right type and rating. Any suggestions?

  62. Robert, October 2:

    My home is 11 years old. I have boards that are warping, some cracked in half and falling out. Everything is faded and I have some that have swollen and are falling apart like paper mache near my spigot. I called the warranty dept at hardie and they told me that they DO NOT warranty against fading and they dont reimburse for labor, only product replacement for panels shown to be defective. Good luck, I will never use again.

  63. Dave P, October 24:

    So James Hardy stands up to Woodpeckers? How often is that a problem?. Stands up to wind? So does vinyl (over 200 MPH). This stuff is a big hoax! You will regret the decision. Paying more money for more problems is for chumps!!! Don’t buy into the Hype. They have effective Marketing, pretty pictures, and a product with too many issues.

  64. Larry, November 1:

    How much heat resistance is hardiboeard? Can I put in back of stove to shield heat from oven that has a mirror on wall to keep from cracking?
    Thank you

  65. Ninety nine percent of the problems that people are referring to in this thread is improper insulation! The chipped butt joints and gaps are from not having proper cutting means and cutting boards too short. If cut properly and to perfect size then your boards won’t be chipped up on the ends and there will be no gaps… If you have caulk butt joints then it’s cut wrong! If installed properly the stuff is amazing, yea it costs a bit but you get the best, assuming that’s the look you want, durability and the pros are far superior to most anything out there.

  66. Kent, November 29:

    For those asking about cracking. I just had a 3 year old house inspected, the inspector said the siding was screwed on too tight in combination of the house settling. There was no play in the siding when the house was settling causing cracking.

  67. john dennehy, January 19:

    Hardy plank siding with wood grain looks fake and the smooth version is rough compared to real cedar siding. Real cedar siding with 4 inch lap adds 1.5 to the R rating of your exterior wall, and the seams don’t open up 3/8 of an inch like Hardy plank does. Both should be painted or stained every 5 to 7 yrs. Cedar is a pleasure to work with vs Hardy and the finished product looks SUPERIOR. The open seams and fake grain look ridiculous.

  68. Michael Estrada, February 24:

    my subdivision requires that homes be 75% masonry. will Hardy siding be considered masonry. Stucco, brick, and stone is also used in the neighborhood.

  69. Crystal, April 28:

    Can you replace a wood siding house with Hardie boards? Is it expensive?

  70. Eve, May 2:

    We had this installed 12 years ago. Under the roof the cement board has chipped and rotted, and the cement board is showing. The color has held up well but I am extremely disappointed in the wear of this product. Is there a warranty on this? I don’t know who to call or if I should call the company. Beware … it looks terrible.

  71. Lynn, May 16:

    We are planning to get Hardie board siding. One of the lumber companies here has hardie board that is not James Hardie. Is there a difference?

  72. Randall McMillan, June 6:

    Personally I just don’t get the passion for Hardie. It cracks, chips easier, you have to handle it more gently, and you still have to paint which I hate. If you get it pre-painted the caulk makes the colors turn so why?!?!
    I love insulted vinyl siding it holds up to high wind (220 mph) and you don’t have to paint. New one out called “Everlast” which looks great. It’s a little more expensive than insulted vinyl siding but looks like Hardie without chipping, painting, etc. I want that on my next build.

  73. Kitty hoover, July 13:

    My son is moving into a house made with this siding. I’d like to know if it can be nailed into? Does it need to be drilled into? If so, what kind of drill bit?

  74. barb gibson, July 23:

    We are looking to reside our house and presently have shutters on our windows. Can they be installed over the Hardie Board Siding? What precautions will we need to take when adding plant holders, etc.? Thank you.

  75. Neil, October 31:

    I’d like to install Hardie siding to replace wood for more fire resistance. Is there something besides the usual sheathing that would be better to use? I read somewhere that gypsum board is good for this purpose. Thanks

  76. Bud Hachmeister, January 16:

    I’ve had this product on two houses that I’ve lived in. I cannot say enough good things about this product absolutely no problems whatsoever and looks great my only question is does the warranty carry to the next owner

  77. Christopher, April 24:

    I sided my mom’s house with Hardiplank lap siding 20 years ago, painted it with good exterior latex paint and it still looks great. I also did a shed 10 years ago, using siding that had been on the ground for a few years. I dried it out, installed it and it looks great. This stuff is about as stable a material as you can find and it’s pretty much impervious to rot. If you have waves in the siding, it’s because the sheathing was not shimmed to give you a flat surface. I would not recommend drilling into it to hang anything. I wouldn’t recommend drilling into any other material either. Drilling into siding gives water an entrance point. Water will cause more damage to your house that anything other than fire. Hardee has excellent installation instructions, and I recommend you look them up and make sure whoever you hire is following the same instructions. I have had to correct some installers because they weren’t following instructions. If installed correctly, this siding will outlast most homeowners.

  78. Jonathan Lambert, April 25:

    We have had hardie shingles in our house installed in 1998. Not only has it held up it looks as good as new 22 years later. Just have to keep the house painted and maintained and power wash it to keep it clean, and it just keeps on trucking.

  79. Fred, June 2:

    Let me say please, my home was built 25 years ago in grants pass Oregon. I am extremely happy with my hardy board siding I have painted it twice in 25 years. Durability is excellent it does not shrink in the summer and does not expand in the winter. Our temperatures range from 100+ in the summer to 20° sometimes the teens In the winter. I am 100% sold on hardy board.

  80. Julie G, June 29:

    Can Hardie plank be placed over existing wood siding?

Are You Familiar With This Topic? Share Your Experience.

Compare quotes from local pros Compare Quotes
Return to Top