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Question DetailsAsked on 6/20/2011

Is Hardie Plank worth the cost?

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions on installing Hardie Plank siding. I have 20 year old aluminum and am considering replacement with Hardie Plak. It seems like a good choice because of durability and lack of maintenance. I am just starting to try to get estimates and contractor but hope Angie can help.

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19 Answers


I have no experience with the siding (either that sort of siding or that brand) but I'll toss out a few suggestions for you to consider.

First, you might get a broader response from folks if you refer to it as fiber-cement siding unless you want feedback just on James Hardie brand.

Second, there is a pretty fair analysis of that sort of siding at . One point I noticed in their assessment is that the level of maintenance free that you get (paint-wise) depends on whether you have it finished at the factory or on site. Reads to me that the factory coloring lasts far longer but is repaintable by you after installation. If you have it painted as or after installed, you should expect to re-paint in a few (five or so) years.

Third, the above link has a tab to show you various manufacturers---each has a web page that you may want to read. I would expect that all are like the James Hardie site and will provide the names of dealers/installers in your area.

Finally, if there is a manufacturer you prefer, get a list of contractors or dealers in your area from them and compare that list with Angie's List to see how others in your area have reported on any of them. That approach could get you the best of the best.

Wonder how much I would type if it was something I'm familiar with?


Answered 9 years ago by Old Grouch



Why not paint the Aluminum Siding? Its been up for how many years now? If you replace it with James Hardie you will be painting every 5 years anyway. There are better alteratives that are out there. Composite Cladding which is a mix of Insulation and very thick PVC that guarantees 20% energy savings. It's in Heartland's No Paint or Stain CedarMax Panel. Much Much better than fiber cement because it comes in 16' panels and there is no health issues when they install it. You should also Google "James Hardie Illness" and see what's up with that before you decide!

Answered 9 years ago by Sharkfinn


For the first time I am using vinyl siding, on new construction. I live in the NW and am building on a lake. I have had hardie plank and always dealt with the painting challenges. Again this project is new construction, you might investigate alternatives and pricing - research showed that vinyl has become a more credible choice, as long as you stick with common colors (to match in the future) - and the installer does clean up and removal - as vinyl is not meant for land fill[Y]

Answered 9 years ago by ramona


We own a remodeling company and have used James Hardie siding for several jobs. The customer has always been happy with this product and it is easy to install. For more information, visit

Bishop Home Improvement, Inc.

Answered 9 years ago by BHI


I had Hardi-Plank installed about 3 years ago by They did a pretty good job. I did quite a bit of research on the product and found it to be better than wood siding (and more durable). Yes you have to paint it (you really don't have to - it does not rot like wood). It looks and has the same texture as wood and can be filled in case of damage (something that you cannot do with aluminum or vinyl siding). All in all my choice came down to the Hardi-Board or Stucco. I chose Hardi-Board because it was slightly cheaper and was easier to install. Personally, I would not buy a home that had aluminum, steel, or vinyl siding. It looks cheap, wears cheap, and makes the neighborhood look bad (just my opinion)

Answered 9 years ago by ETCH Engineer


When I built our house a few years ago, my brother said I should use hardie planks. I didn't and he did. His heating bill for almost the same house in the same general area is almost 30% less than mine! Now that I was laid off and am pinching pennies to pay the COBRA Medical insurance/Short term health insurance. Those bills are high. Anyway, his house is so much warmer and actually quieter than mine because if the siding. I say go for it.

Pat J.

Answered 9 years ago by PatJewett


Yes, if prepared correctly, it is. But there is a right way to go after this. First; did you know you must wear a respirator when working the product? What cuts the material best? I personally like Hardie Plank. But I know I have to strip back the old LP siding wherever it is bad. You really need to take an honest look what you want to do. A lot of things, few of them beneficial, can be happening under that rotting siding. At least, peel back a corner gently and carefully. Use a flashlight to look down in. Dont be afraid to drill a 1/8 hole about two inches deep. If it comes back full of bug products. . . better now than later. Cheer up, if it's aluminum, it may be worth more junk than as siding.
Another vital expense is Sika-Flex. It's around $20.00/tube. Average 1500ft.sq. would use up over a box or cartriges. So, read the label. The Hardi Plank needs a slight gap at every intersection, and at the ends. The Sika flows (hah!) into the cracks and crevices, seaaling the entire product.

Further vital expense; Paint, ladders, buckets, brushes. I don't care what the mfg says, I want a coat of sealer primer on the back of the plank before it goes up. As far as a cheap fix, have you looked at the T-111 type paney they sell? But it's way more for the Sika. the important goal here is to encapsulate a large object in a wind and moiosture proof place to live.

Answered 8 years ago by Richard


I have had it on my house for 14 years and I am very happy with its performance. I have not needed to repaint it yet.

Answered 7 years ago by fredamato


Hardie can be purchased pre painted and has a warranty. Its a great product, even know it can be costly vs alternatives.
Compare siding cost -

Hardie is crack, insect, and fire resistant. Most common alternative is high end vinyl siding.


Answered 7 years ago by bmwm5


Our 20-year-old home was built using fiberboard for soffits, fascia and siding, and when we have the house painted, we plan to have most of the fiberboard replaced with Hardie board.

There are three reasons:

1. The fiberboard absorbs moisture, the paint flakes off. Nail heads and staples eventually pop up as well and leave rust stains. Hardie Board appears to aborb very little moisture.

2. The siding has taken on a wavy appearance, due to its flexibilty. There a dip in each panel between the studs.Hardie board is dimensionally much more rigid.

3. Fiberboard is soft and easy for squirrels to gnaw through and take up residence in the attic. I ripped out all the fiberboard soffits where squirrels gnawed holes and replaced it with Hardie board, which has the consistency of concrete, and the squirrels are long gone.

I'm also the president of a condominium association, and as part of an exterior renovation in 2007, the owners decided to replace all fascia and trim with painted Hardie board, primarily to extend the life of the paint job. I am hopeful that the using Hardie board will double the life of the paint job, thereby saving us about $20,000.

Answered 7 years ago by Guest_9161369


Yes. We are very happy with the quality and appearance.

Note that the pre-painted siding may be less expensive than buying the unfinished board and paying to paint it. Ask your contractor to give you quotes for both (this saved me $300 bucks). The pre-painted boards allegedly keep their color longer than Sherwin-will Duration paint that is often applied by contractors.

If you have Woodpeckers pecking on your siding (not a problem with Aluminum of course), they will never try again once the Hardy board is installed :-)

Answered 7 years ago by Guest_9946275


We replaced our asbestos siding with Hardie Plank and have been very pleased. We like the look, the fire safety (neighbors' have melted from too-close heat sources), dent resistance, that it doesn't sag like many aluminum or vinyl products and no styrofoam. We painted it with a very highly rated paint more than 7 years ago in taupe. It still looks great and, with highly rated fade-resistent taupe, doubt that we will have to do it for looks for a while even if it does begin to fade a bit. The painting may be something you wish to consider, though.

Answered 6 years ago by Bookworm



Are durability and maintenance the two deciding factors?

Hardie does come at a premium as compared to some of the other substrates (most popular being vinyl) but does give a more realistic look and certainly has some improved fire resistance if you are in an area where wildfires are a potential.

If you are not looking for improved fire resistance or the more realistic look, typically vinyl will be just as solid and a bit better on the durability and lack of maintenance.

The other option was to paint your aluminum as mentioned previously.

Be sure whatever contractor you use addresses the envelope layer of the home as you will never have a better opportunity than when the siding is off.


Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


We've had it for nearly 10 years now and like it. We have the horizontal woodgrain-look panels. It was suggested to us back then to paint it after it was put on rather than using pre-painted boards. The issue had been that boards can get scuffed or have striped etchings on them as boards are pulled off the stack of others. We chose an excellent rated outdoor paint in Alcoa wicker color (neutral) and did the painting ourselves. It has worked nicely and held up well and needed no additional maintenance.

Neighbor children did thump a few baseballs into it and the paint there broke and flaked so we did reprime those spots and touched up the paint. It's fine.

We went with it after watching so many other sidings sag, dent, paint look horrible in just a few years and saw some melt a few rows when different neighbors had a bbq/fire pit too close and another who transferred fire ashes into a plastic can a touch too soon.

It looks very nice, has been through high winds and hail, and the baseballs, and looks great.

Answered 6 years ago by Bookworm


We replaced all of our external wood siding, eaves and trim with Hardie Plank a little over 3 years ago. It's very important that the installer you use is qualified to work with Hardie Plank. We used Hardie Plank factory painted boards for the siding and "unpainted" eaves planks to replace our eaves. In a nutshell, it looks like it was installed yesterday, despite the incredibly hot summers and freezing winters that we've had since the installation. We had to paint the eaves and other sections that weren't pre-painted at the factory, but we found a great painter on Angie's List. Since our installation, I learned that our City, a Washington DC suburb, uses Hardie Plank on all of its subsidized townhouses that have exterior siding (presumably to reduce repeated exterior maintenance costs). I just wish Hardie made other home features like shutters, flower planters, etc.

Answered 6 years ago by Guest_99337351


Hardie is a very low maintaince material. Is the number one choice on the market right now, if you get the prepainted hardie can last 15 years with out panting it again I would defenatley recommended. Vinyl siding will be a little cheeper but it doesn't last very long after 5 years of installation you can see the difference on the texture of so much sun and cold exposure.


Answered 5 years ago by ajglobal


If new construction, YES

... fire resistant better than even redwood

.... nothing hold paint longer that a toothy "masonry" texture like this

factory priming WILL add yeras to repainting ... often 7 years (like brick), even longer when protected (covered porch, soffits)

.... ONLY the experienced should put up the siding or gaps/warps can results, the panels should be easier to install (ala most plywood siding)

That said, you might have better choices out there that could USE the benefits of your aluminum investment, rather than flush it all.

Insulated vinyl

+ covers up alum dents/blemishes

+ saves energy

+ no painting

+ could be installed OVER the alum.

- fire chiefs consider this to be solid form of kerosene


+ covers up alum dents/blemishes

+ sames tons of energy

+ no painting

+ stucco like durability on residences (not so much at commercial abuse)

+ installs over alum

- needs good drainage ... either your alum will do or Tyvek makes a house wrap that drains for this/stucco

+/- some critics may pick at fire vs insulation backing employed


+ covers up alum dents/blemishes

+ lasts forever ... think ... concrete

+ fireproof

+ myriad of colors

+ no painting

- maintenance ... if any, only a bleach garden hose spray wash on North sides

If this project is already completed, please send report

Answered 5 years ago by StoneCutterHou


We just had Hardie Plank Evening Blue installed on our house. The contractor put the siding up and then the matching caulking. It look great ONLY for a few months.

Now each and every seem is discoloring and the house looks like it has bird poo all over.

Neither Hardie Plank or the caulking rep are standing behing their product. They have told us that discoloring sometimes it happens but it is not covered.

So, I have a brand new siding that looks completely horrible and I am left with the option of repainting a brand new siding out of my pocket.

Not recommending Hardie Plank ever again.

Answered 4 years ago by Homeowner10


Best way to see how good are the Hardie Planks is to review the court decision against James Hardie. JH lost the court case in a class action law suit. In shot it is not good in cold weather climates.

Source: U.S. District court, District of Minnesota

Answered 4 years ago by mastersarge

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