One of the most popular home remodeling projects for homeowners is siding replacement. Aside from roof replacement, no other home improvement project has the potential to transform a home’s appearance and functionality so completely. In the past, homeowners had fewer choices as to the materials they might choose for their siding installation projects. One of the most influential additions to the market in the last two decades is fiber cement siding—a highly popular choice for homeowners that stands above many of the more traditional choices in durability, performance, and aesthetics.
While there are several brands available for those interested in fiber cement siding, there is no other brand as synonymous with this material as the James Hardie brand. There are two types of fiber cement siding products offered by James Hardie, which are HardiePlank siding and HardiePanel siding. Both options have rapidly become one of the most popular siding options available to consumers in recent years.
Despite the increasing popularity of James Hardie siding installations since the 1980s, fiber cement siding and its distinct characteristics are still largely misunderstood compared to other material options. Understanding the products that are available to you is key to getting started with a successful siding project. To help you learn as much as you can about this option, our team at Smart Exteriors will answer some of the most frequently asked questions our customers in Kansas City have had about James Hardie fiber cement siding.
What is HardiePlank Siding?
HardiePlank siding is made up of a blend of cellulose fibers and cement-like materials. In the case of HardiePlank siding, this is fiber-cement siding that is installed in long, horizontal strips similar to wood lap siding.
Does HardiePlank Siding Resemble Wood?
The answer is yes, James Hardie siding closely resembles real wood siding. However, the natural wood components that make up the consistency of the HardiePlank siding aren’t responsible for its distinctive, wood-grain appearance. Instead, the wood aesthetic of this fiber cement siding is due to James Hardie’s embossed texturing process.
The embossing process is important for two specific reasons. The first reason is its natural ability to simulate wood grain, a huge perk for homeowners that seek the natural look of real wood without high maintenance requirements. The other reason is to keep the siding from having a visually “flat” appearance. The texturing adds an extra dimension to make the look seem more real, especially when compared to cheaper vinyl options. However, this siding is also available in a smooth finish as well.
Is James Hardie Siding Affordable?
In general, fiber cement siding from James Hardie is an affordable choice for most homeowners. However, when compared to the cost of traditional vinyl siding, fiber cement siding is more expensive.
Ultimately, when comparing costs, it’s more important to consider the benefits you expect to receive with James Hardie siding. Most importantly, considering how long the material will last once installed, maintenance requirements over the years, and other long-term factors will give a better idea of how affordable the product is compared to other options.
Is James Hardie Siding a Good Long-Term Investment?
For homeowners, any investment made to improve the home should come with excellent future benefits, including a high return when it’s time to sell. According to recent surveys, fiber cement siding is considered an excellent home improvement choice.
James Hardie siding, in particular, is considered a high-end product. Proper installations are known for offering a very high return in comparison to other projects or siding installations using lower-quality materials.
In some estimates, James Hardie siding products offer homeowners a return of up to 78% or more, a solid return that offers many benefits over the long-run.
What are the Benefits?
When deciding between siding options, the benefits always have to be considered before making your choice. Fortunately, if there’s one thing James Hardie siding offers, it’s a wealth of benefits. Some of the top benefits include:
- Fire resistance: While this siding material isn’t fireproof like steel, it is fire-resistant. This means that it performs well in fire tests, standing stronger and longer when compared to other materials like vinyl and wood. In all, fiber cement is considered to be a neutral material that won’t feed the flames like vinyl or wood.
- Pest resistance: Despite its cellulose fibers, this is a great option for those concerned about pests such as termites or vermin. The reason for this is due to the number of cellulose fibers being too low to attract these pests. It also helps that it’s much more difficult to get to those fibers.
- Green Material: Many homeowners are concerned about going green, and James Hardie siding fits the bill for energy-efficiency and its recyclable and renewable qualities. The siding is made of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers that are available in abundance. Plus, no toxic materials are used to produce this siding, unlike other siding materials. Another reason why this siding is considered green is that it lasts a long time. For example, James Hardie offers a 50-year warranty, and the material has been known to last longer than that.
- Weather resistance: In the Midwest, homeowners need to be concerned about inclement weather all year. James Hardie siding products are designed to stand strong in all weather conditions, with materials engineered according to the climate where they’re to be installed. Products are designed based on the company’s HardieZone System, which identifies the unique weather patterns in different areas of the country. The result is a product that is customized to work in the area of the country where you live. In Kansas City, the HardieZone is identified as HZ5, and homeowners can take advantage of HZ5 products for maximum efficiency and top-quality performance.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Ultimately, choosing your next siding material is a decision that should be made after close consideration of your budget, aesthetic preferences, long-term goals, and climate conditions—among other factors. If the budget is of utmost concern, there are cheaper siding options like vinyl that are known for lower upfront costs. However, higher-quality installations, including James Hardie fiber cement products will offer much greater long-term value, lower maintenance requirements, and other serious benefits.
The best thing to do before deciding on your next siding material is to consult with professional siding contractors for assistance. A reliable contractor will be able to match the appropriate siding to your needs and budget. They will also be in a position to advise if additional concerns exist, such as needing to reinforce the home before installation of heavy siding.
If you’d like to learn more about James Hardie siding or other siding options for your home, contact us today at Smart Exteriors. Give us a call to speak with one of our agents about our siding installation services now, or fill out our online form to schedule your free, in-home assessment.