When you build a new house or remodel an existing one, you have many choices to make about the exterior finish. There are many elements to consider, all of which affect the look, feel and curb appeal of your home. Everything from individual taste and potential association covenants to the material and other characteristics such as color, dimension, texture, style and quality affect our decision.
The outside of a home is simultaneously both personal and public. Everyone, including you, sees it anytime they approach. Besides acting as the main, outdoor aesthetic of your home, the exterior finish also serves as the first line of defense against whatever Mother Nature unleashes.
You want a perfect exterior that creates the right look and functions efficiently, so you probably talk to friends, family and neighbors. You might even read blogs, pour over reviews and gather information any way possible. It never takes long in this quest to see facts about the excellence of James Hardie fiber-cement siding, as well as how the company, its products and its affiliated installers can benefit any residential project.
What Are My Choices of Siding?
You’ve probably seen many exterior finishes, such as:
- Cedar and cedar shake
- Wood shingles
Generally, siding is constructed from fiber cement, vinyl, metal or oriented strand board (OSB) panels. Here’s a quick description of each:
- Fiber cement siding. This type of siding consists of a mixture of cellulose (wood) fiber, cement and sand. Cement binds the materials together and is itself a natural mix of crushed rocks and powdered minerals, mainly lime, clay, magnesium and iron.
- Vinyl siding. This type of siding is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is a type of thermoplastic made from synthetic resin.
- Metal siding. This type is normally comprised of aluminum and sometimes steel.
- OSB siding panels. These contain wood strands bound together using heat, pressure and adhesive.
While each type has its endearing qualities, James Hardie fiber-cement siding eliminates most of the concerns associated with other choices of exterior finishes.
Wood brings justifiable concerns about the following:
- Insurance costs
- Termite infestation
- Natural deterioration
Brick and stone can settle, crack and separate depending on the local ground and is sometimes unadvisable depending on your region.
Metal is known to dent easily and become worn from the elements. Stucco is a favorite but crucially dependant on expert installation and can crumble depending on the elements to which it’s subjected.
Vinyl and OSB siding will melt in a fire, and the elements fade its color over time, not always evenly. People in cold climates complain that it becomes brittle and cracks.
James Hardie fiber-cement siding, however, uses regular and artisan lines, which means your siding can be made and colored to look like just about any finish you might have in mind — from wood to stone to a one-of-a-kind color.
What’s the Difference Between Fiber Cement and Vinyl Siding?
Both vinyl and fiber-cement siding are popular choices for different reasons. Vinyl consists of synthetic material and fiber cement consists of natural material. Vinyl is cheap and light but can blow off, fade, become brittle in the cold and melt in fire or extreme heat.
Vinyl is also prone to problems because of the way it expands and contracts with temperature and humidity. The complexity of its co-efficient often causes incorrect installations, which can result in more serious problems underneath the siding if the vinyl has buckled or leaked.
While proper installation is important with either material, the fiber-cement siding offers protection against buckling, fading and brittleness. It weighs 2.3 pounds per square foot and stays in place. There are many size, cut and style options within each product category, but the average thickness of vinyl siding is .045 of an inch and the average thickness of James Hardie fiber-cement siding is .625 of an inch.
The specific attributes of your project — such as size of the job, product materials, color, schedule and other criteria — all affect price. Basic fiber-cement siding prices start at about $2 per square foot and vinyl starts at about $1 per square foot, sometimes less. Both options are dramatically less expensive than some of the more worrisome finishes like stone, brick or cedar.
Both vinyl and fiber-cement siding materials may reach costs in the range of $8 or $10 per square foot depending on the degree of customization desired and amount of specialty or artisan designs used.
Why Is James Hardie Siding More Expensive Than Vinyl Siding?
When you buy Hardie fiber-cement products, you make an important investment that will yield dividends in:
- Increased resale value
- Increased energy efficiency
- Less frequent painting and maintenance
For example, the research statistics show that remodeling with fiber-cement siding gains you 25% more resale value than if you add a bathroom.
James Hardie won’t be your least expensive siding option, but that’s because it literally sits at the top of its class in quality, options, service and more. It’s the only siding product that carries the prestigious “Good Housekeeping” seal of approval and the only siding company that engineers its fiber-cement siding especially for the climate in which it will be used, a method called Hardizone®.
Hardie Brings History, Experience and Confidence
As you consider your choices for siding, remember that not all fiber-cement siding products are created equal. James Hardie invented fiber cement 30 years ago and has been in the siding business for five generations, more than 100 years. The brand has invested deeply in perfecting the material — “Hardieboard” has become the word that means fiber-cement siding in the same way Kleenex means tissue.
When you buy James Hardie product, you enjoy the peace of mind that only comes from a company with strong, trusted experience and industry leadership. The company produces other types of fiber-cement products to complement its extensive siding line:
- HardiePlank lap board
- HardieShingle siding
- HardiePanel vertical siding
- HardieSoffit panels for the roof eaves
- HardieWrap weather barrier
- HardieTrim boards
- HardieBacker cement board
The Portland Cement Association says about 15% of new homes built use fiber-cement siding, and its popularity continues to grow. The popular TV show and magazine This Old House calls it the “wonder siding,” while others describe it as the best-yet option in exterior finishes.
Hardie Achieves Unmatched Longevity and Durability
The quality built into James Hardie fiber-cement siding means it’s ready to stand up to whatever your four seasons have in store, no matter where you live or what climate concerns you may have. Cold, wind, snow, rain, sleet and hail do not affect the look or condition of fiber-cement siding. It’s impervious to many of the problems people experience with other types of exterior finishes:
- Termites, birds and other pests
How Long Does James Hardie Siding Last?
The company gives a 30-year, non-prorated warranty on its fiber-cement siding products, which contractors and clients appreciate judging by the popularity and praise it elicits. The siding can withstand winds up to 130 mph (equivalent to an F1 or lower-end F2 tornado).
James Hardie fiber-cement products create the perfect option for people with weather concerns in the following climates:
- Moisture-prone places like the river and lake
- Sandy, salty beaches with bright sun
- Climates with excessive humidity
- High altitudes in hills or mountains
- Regions with blazing heat and unrelenting sun.
The natural toughness of fiber cement makes it worthy to battle the elements and maintain a lasting beauty.
Find the Ultimate Color and Style
With James Hardie fiber-cement siding, you can achieve the aesthetics of your dreams in vivid color and just about any texture. The range of styles and designs enable you to have siding that looks like wood, stone, brick, stucco, overlapped panels and more, in an array of colors.
You can get trim and accessories to match such as windows, doors, gables, corners, roof-eave soffits and more. The pieces are designed so that fasteners are hidden.
A movement started in the 1990s and into the 21st century, which used different looks than the standard, four-inch, overlay-style siding. James Hardie responded with designs and selections that enable you to create an original look or a traditional style.
People note the even, uniform color of James Hardie siding that lasts, remains vibrant and gives an impressive look from the curb for many more years than the competition’s siding. Hardie’s ColorPlus® option offers with a palette of colors and several selections within classes of warm, cool, fresh, light, dark and neutral tones. The proprietary color technology involves a baked-on finish that resists UV rays and lasts an amazingly long time.
You can decide to have your siding arrive the shade you want it with ColorPlus, but it can also come primed and ready to paint if that’s your choice. Many homeowners’ associations, neighbors and even historical societies condone fiber-cement siding, and its design and style options have practically no limit. People are usually pleased to learn they can create styles to look like real wood without the headaches, splinters and high-insurance costs that come with it.
Safety and Stewardship Are the Standard
As confirmed by the American Society for the Testing of Materials (ASTM), James Hardie fiber-cement siding is non-combustible due to its thickness, denseness and chemical composition. Tests show this siding does not ignite when exposed to open flame, nor will it melt or burn, which can be a lifesaving benefit if a fire breaks out in your own home or nearby at a neighbor’s.
Just as some materials such as natural wood have the potential to drive up your insurance costs, there are some cases in which James Hardie fiber-cement products might qualify your home for an insurance discount. While that decision mostly depends on your company’s policy, switching to a less-flammable exterior makes good safety sense and can reduce your rate.
Is James Hardie Siding Environmentally Friendly?
The answer is yes. Its all-natural and non-toxic composition means it neither contains nor emits any volatile ingredients such as formaldehyde, asbestos or chemical gases.
Most fiber-cement siding will last a lifetime and contains no petroleum derivatives. It’s even eco-friendly to discard since it’s comprised of wood pulp that is often from recycled wood, sand, rocks and minerals, as opposed to other materials, like PVC, which remains in a landfill practically forever.
There are several characteristics of fiber-cement siding that can earn points toward certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a set of standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. Fiber cement scores points on the LEED scale for its sustainability, for its non-volatile nature and for being a qualified form of “non-toxic pest control.”
Certainly not the least of the environmental benefits of James Hardie fiber-cement siding is the outstanding defense it provides against the elements, all day every day. Combined with excellent-quality wrap and insulation, your home will demand less energy for heating and cooling, which saves you money on utility bills.
Do You Need a Professional to Install James Hardie Siding?
Calling a pro is usually best since cutting the pieces requires a special saw and precise accuracy. If you do plan cut the panels yourself, be sure you have the right cutting tool and that you wear a dust mask as you do it. A panel will break if a team mishandles it and it falls a distance onto a hard surface, which is another reason people leave the installation to a professional partner.
For example, Sunshine Contracting is a preferred installer of James Hardie products, a status earned by training and demonstrated installation performance. When you choose Sunshine as a partner, siding experts come to your home or job site so they can meet with you and see the project. A typical job takes four-to-six days to complete, and clients in the northern Virginia area can contact us for a free estimate.
Experts at any preferred installer should work with you to determine how much siding you want to show and overlap (the exposure), so you can order the correct amount. Contractors who work with fiber-cement siding should also know to use rustproof stainless-steel nails, prime all the cuts and caulk all the joints with a flexible exterior-grade sealant.
Sunshine offers award-winning service, 21 years of experience and most importantly, a majority of customers from referrals. We offer an extensive portfolio of successful projects, showcasing new homes, remodeled structures, roofs or siding, new windows, enclosed porches or decks and affixed gutter-leaf systems to help prevent ice-dam formation. We proudly offer James Hardie Siding installation to residents of Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun and Stafford County.
If you choose James Hardie with Sunshine Contracting installation, there won’t be much left to do but enjoy the picturesque new look of your home. You can spray any dirt off the siding with a water hose once a year or every six months, and you should check the caulking in the joints every other year. Many advise that you keep landscape plants a few inches away from the foundation so the concrete has a chance to dry regularly.
Once your fiber-cement siding project is complete, you can sit back, relax and relish the curb appeal of your home, along with the thought that it will last for decades. You can achieve that perfect blend of great exterior aesthetics and the right feel for you, as well as efficient, durable and eco friendly functionality.
Contact Sunshine Contracting today for help in selecting superior James Hardie fiber-cement siding.