Like a well-kept lawn or an inviting front porch, the style and quality of your home’s siding has a significant impact on its visual appeal, not to mention its energy efficiency, weather resistance, and maintenance requirements.

It goes without saying that siding is an important part of your home’s structure, and few organizations understand that importance better than James Hardie Building Products, a global purveyor of fiber cement and other state-of-the-art construction products.

Since James Hardie introduced fiber cement siding to American markets in the early ’90s, it quickly became a favorite of contractors and homeowners alike—and for good reason.

Below, we’ll take a look at the advantages of fiber cement compared to other cladding materials, as well as James Hardie’s popular line of products. If your home’s siding is due for an upgrade, keep reading—this article is for you!

Advantages of Fiber Cement Siding

close-up image of hardieplank

Whether building a home or renovating an existing exterior, you’ll want to choose a siding material that’s attractive, durable, easy to keep looking clean and new, and competitively priced. But given the choice between traditional construction materials, you’ll likely have to compromise somewhere.

Masonry is handsome and durable, but expensive; wood is also a good-looking option, but difficult to maintain; and vinyl, while economical, is not as aesthetically pleasing as other materials.

Enter fiber cement.

Fiber cement combines longevity and performance—it’s weather resistant, low maintenance, and impervious to termites, rot, and fire—with the look of real wood and characteristics of brick or stone. It can emulate natural materials so well that builders often use it to renovate historic homes. Yet compared to these materials, it’s more affordable, more sustainable, and more versatile.

Here’s another look at how fiber cement stacks up:

siding comparison infographic
Created with the help of James Hardie Building Products.

Check out more information on the benefits of and best maintenance practices for fiber cement siding.

James Hardie Fiber Cement Products

James Hardie can trace its roots back to 1888, when Scottish immigrant Alexander Hardie left his home for Melbourne, Australia, to start a company in the tanning trade. By the mid-twentieth century, the company had shifted its focus to construction materials, and in the 1980s, James Hardie became one of the first successful manufacturers of fiber cement products.

Today, the company deals exclusively in fiber cement and has come to dominate the market. Due to its popularity, “Hardie board” has become interchangeable with the generic term, like Kleenex to tissues and Coke to soda (at least here in the south).

Beyond siding, James Hardie offers a wide selection of products, including:

  • Trim
  • Soffits
  • Flashing
  • Weather barriers
  • Cement backerboard

HardiePlank® and other siding styles

HardiePlank® Lap Siding is one of—if not the—most popular siding brand/s in North America. It can be pressed to mimic natural cedar clapboards, making it ideal for traditional-style or historic homes; left smooth; and/or beaded.

HardiePanel® Vertical Siding can imitate wood as well as stucco, and it also comes smooth in a variety of widths. A versatile choice for modern construction, HardiePanel® varieties lend to both classic design and clean, contemporary aesthetic.

close-up image of hardieshingleHardieShingle® Siding was designed to emulate the distinct exterior style of Cape Cod homes. Homeowners can choose between rustic staggered shingles or straight-edge panels for a more tailored look.

ColorPlus® Technology

All siding styles come primed for field painting or are available in a variety of colors applied during manufacturing using James Hardie’s ColorPlus® Technology.

Paint applied in this manner is cured to combat chipping, peeling, or cracking and is more resistant to UV rays than traditionally painted or vinyl siding, so it looks newer for longer, and it comes backed by a 15-year limited warranty for materials and labor.

HardieZone® System

While it resists expanding, shrinking, and cracking better than wood and vinyl, fiber cement is still susceptible to extreme weather conditions and seasonal transitions.

In response to this issue, James Hardie introduced the HardieZone® System. Engineered to resist wet, freezing conditions, HZ5® products are distributed throughout the northern US. HZ10® products use a different formula to protect southern homes from heat, humidity, and harsh sun.

Ready to Install HardiePlank®?

Fiber cement siding is heavy—100 square feet weighs about 300 pounds, while the same amount of vinyl fetches 60-70—and cutting it is, perhaps obviously, like cutting through cement. Because of this, HardiePlank® begets a labor-intensive installation process that is best left to a professional crew.

As with any construction project, hiring an experienced siding contractor is important, because improper installation can end up costing you more for repairs down the line. Best Pick siding companies are tried-and-true experts in exteriors, and the vast majority offer James Hardie products.

Building your dream home, or renovating the one in which you already live? Contact a Best Pick today, and ask about James Hardie fiber cement siding.