All about Fiber Cement “Hardie” Siding

If you are in search for a great looking, more durable, but cheaper alternative to wood siding, fiber cement siding is an option to consider. Fiber Cement siding is often called HardiPlank and HardiPanel as these are brand names for fiber cement siding manufactured by James Hardie Building Products. Because of the many benefits this material offers to homeowners in terms of price, durability, longevity and style options, fiber cement siding is quickly gaining in popularity. Learn more about the pros and cons of fiber cement siding to decide if this is the right siding material for your home.

What is fiber cement siding?

Fiber cement siding is made from portland cement mixed with ground sand, cellulose fiber, and other additives. It is available in a variety of thicknesses that range between 4.5-18mm. The material also varies in density – the lower density results in a fibrous rough edge when cut, while the higher density has a clean smooth edge. Density and thickness are both important factors to consider when buying fiber cement siding. As a rule of thumb, the thicker and denser the product the better resistance it will have to temperature fluctuations and sound transmission.

Fiber cement siding is manufactured either as planks or panels. Planks are made to resemble long wood planks. They are typically 12 feet long and have varying widths. The width gives fiber cement siding it’s “reveal”, or the amount of plank visible on lap siding. Panels are bigger sheets of siding ( typically 4 ft x 8 ft) and therefore cover a broader surface area per piece than planks. Fiber cement panels are often used to mimic vertical siding.



While fiber cement siding is more expensive than vinyl siding, it is still significantly cheaper than wood. This makes it a great option for homeowners who are looking for a high quality siding material without the premium cost. Compare vinyl siding cost cement siding.


A major benefit of fiber cement siding is that it is more durable than wood or stucco siding. It is better to purchase the thicker/denser fiber cement products because they have excellent impact resistance. On the other hand, the thinner less dense varieties of fiber cement siding need to be protected from impact. Another advantage is that compared to wood siding, fiber cement is not susceptible to termites, fungus or rot. When properly painted and installed, it is also not susceptible to moisture. Moreover,HardieZone fiber cement siding is engineered to withstand tough characteristics of the North American climate, such as freezing cold temperatures, strong sun and hurricane-force winds. It is common for fiber cement siding to have a warranty of up to 50 years.

Fire resistant

Fibre cement siding is a non combustible material, which makes it ideal for homes located in regions prone to bush/forest fires.

Low maintenance

Once installed and painted, fiber cement siding requires minimal maintenance. You will still need to repaint fiber cement siding every 4-5 years, but this is still not be nearly as often as you would have to repaint wood siding. To prolong the length of time until you have to first repaint the siding, it is possible to purchase fiber cement products that are primed or primed-and-painted at the factory. While this is initially more expensive, this saves money and hassle down the road, since the paint is applied at the factory under optimal conditions and therefore lasts a lot longer than conventional paint applied after the siding is installed.

Great Curb Appeal

Fiber cement siding offers homeowners an opportunity to make the exterior of their home highly visually appealing. This siding can be manufactured to resemble stucco, wood clapboards, or cedar shingles, depending on how the panels are textured. Many homeowners love cement fiber siding becomes it comes the closest to emulating a natural wood grain. Premium grade fiber cement siding is often virtually indistinguishable from some wood siding products. Moreover, trim and millwork pieces are also available to provide design detail for the home.


Difficult Installation

One disadvantage of fiber cement siding is that it is difficult to install. Consequently, this installation is likely to cost you more than installing some other types of siding. Fibre cement siding is a very heavy product and requires two people to carry the uncut sheets and then install them once they have been cut. Before installation, fiber cement siding is very fragile and is prone to chipping and breakage if improperly handled. This means that you should choose your contractor wisely and hire a professional who has a lot of experience installing fiber cement siding.

Storage Issues

Fiber cement siding, while is moisture resistant – is not immune to moisture. If stored in conditions where it is exposed to element (not on the house), it will soak in water, and the freeze cycle will cause cracks and breakage of panels. This will render such panels unusable for installation. Cement siding must be stored in dry warehouse – never in the open, even if wrapped in plastic.

Siding Prices and Installation

The least expensive siding materials are vinyl and aluminum. Wooden siding is usually much more expensive and it therefore has a reputation as a more luxurious, high end material, although it does not usually cost as much as stone or brick siding. The cost of installation can be just as influential on the overall cost of your new siding as the price of the material itself. You should make sure that you find out exactly how much it will cost you to buy your new siding and have it installed. It is also a good idea to shop around for a number of different quotes before you choose your supplier, in order to ensure that you are getting the best possible price. You may also want to consider the cost and effort involved in maintaining different types of siding when you are making your choice.

Quality Considerations

The quality of the material that you purchase for your home siding will be an important consideration since it will affect the appearance, durability and cost of the siding. Many home centers and other suppliers offer a selection of different types or qualities of siding for each type of material. This is particularly true with wooden siding. Higher quality materials will be more expensive, but this extra cost can be worthwhile in order to achieve the best aesthetic results and durability. The highest quality wooden siding will have fewer knots and it will be produced from the best types of wood. High quality vinyl siding, meanwhile, can be recognized by its superior appearance, which will look less artificial than the cheaper varieties of vinyl siding. The higher quality vinyl siding products will also tend to be heavier than the lower quality ones.


Wood siding can last for up to 30 years or more when it is being cared for properly. Vinyl siding is intended to be able to last as long as your home, although the quality of the material will determine how long it will actually last. Thicker, seamless vinyl tends to be more durable. Fiber cement siding can last up to 50 years. Natural and manufactured stone, and brick siding can last as long as your house. Stucco can last for 50 years or more.


Suppliers of siding will usually offer warranties on their products, with the length of the warranty varying between different types of siding material and siding of different qualities. The length of the warranty is a good indication of how durable the material is and how long it is likely to last. A longer warranty also offers you protection against any problems that may affect your siding in the future. It is, therefore, a good idea to find out about the warranties offered by your supplier and exactly what will be covered by these warranties.


Vinyl and aluminum siding is typically the easiest to maintain, requiring very little work. This can help to increase the savings of both time and money that can be made by choosing these types of siding. Wooden siding, while it is considered more luxurious and aesthetically appealing, usually takes more effort to maintain. This is particularly true if you have chosen to paint your wooden siding rather than to stain it, as the siding will then require more regular maintenance and repainting in order to keep it looking its best. Wood siding usually needs to be repainted or stained every four to ten years, depending on the climate and the quality of the paint or stain. The amount of maintenance that wood siding requires will also depend upon the type of wood that has been used to construct it. Cedar siding, for example, is a very durable material that typically requires little maintenance. In most cases, the maintenance required by wood siding will simply involve repainting or re-staining it when necessary, which could be as often as every few years.

Vinyl Siding installed on a Cape house

Fiber cement will require periodic repainting, but usually less often than wood. It usually only needs to be painted once every 15 to 20 years. Natural stone may require occasional mortar repairs, but is otherwise very low maintenance. Manufactured stone requires even less maintenance, although its appearance may occasionally be improved through washing it. Brick siding rarely requires maintenance. Stucco siding does not usually require much maintenance, although it will need to be repaired if a crack develops.

Fiber Cement Siding Installed on a house

Suppliers and Installation

You can buy your siding material directly from a home center, or you can buy it through the installer. Even if you intend to purchase your siding from the service that will be installing it, it is still sensible to consider the options that are available in order to ensure that you choose the right material for your home and avoid overspending.

If you are hiring a professional to install your siding, as most homeowners will find it necessary to do, then you should make sure that you choose a professional, reputable installation service. Brick and stone siding typically require professional installation, but you may be able to install some types of siding yourself. Ensuring that your siding has been installed properly will help to make sure that it lasts longer and that it looks as good as possible on your home. You should check that the supplier has experience fitting the type of siding that you have chosen, so that you can be sure they know exactly what they are doing. It is also a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends and relatives who may know a reliable supplier, or to try to find out more about a supplier’s reputation by checking online or consulting the Better Business Bureau. This will ensure that you choose a supplier who you can trust to do the job well. You should also make sure that you ensure your supplier knows the exact size of the area that needs to be sided and that they are aware of the quantity of material that will be required. It is also sensible to find out how long the work is likely to take to complete.