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James Hardie Siding: The New, Improved, and Revolutionary Siding Option

More than 30 years ago, James Hardie Building Products invented a material that would prove to be revolutionary for the siding market. The product was James Hardie fiber-cement siding.

Because James Hardie has invested in excess of $100 million in research and development, their product is roughly five years ahead of regular fiber-cement siding in technology advancements. Before you settle for less, take the time to assess the benefits of James Hardie siding and give your home the advantage.

Fiber-Cement Siding Development

Fiber-cement siding is a composite material developed from cement, sand, and cellulose fibers that are pressed together to create a shingle. Because fiber-cement siding is not produced from a single piece of wood, it can take any shape or size required for your home or commercial building.

Many large commercial buildings have begun to use fiber-cement siding for its ability to be manufactured in large sheets. It can be produced in any number of colors and shingle styles, similar to wood or vinyl.

Fiber-cement can also be manufactured to look like board-and-batten, lap, or clapboard. In addition, the wood grain for your cement shingle can be any adapted to any aesthetic you prefer, whether smooth, polished wood or a rough-hewn look.

In many designated historic areas around the country, it has been prohibited to replace shingles with anything but natural, old-fashioned wooden shingle. However, the physical appearance of Hardie siding has become so similar to natural wood, that it is now approved for installation in historic districts.

Diverse Color Options

Though it’s clear that James Hardie siding can mimic a variety of different wood grains, some have questioned how well it can hold various colors. Hardie siding functions similar to regular wooden shingles, which means it can be painted and stripped in a similar manner.

Some have even argued that fiber-cement siding will hold a paint job longer than natural wood options, but this has not been firmly established for all climates.

If you don’t wish to deal with the hassle of painting your home after installation, it’s possible to purchase your shingles pre-painted and treated. Alternatively, you can do your own painting after installation, if you wish to take a more traditional approach.

The only area where fiber-cement shingles cannot stand up to wood is when you try to replicate a natural, untreated wood appeal. Many homeowners love the look of untreated cedar as it turns a pale gray after prolonged exposure to the elements.
Fiber cement can never achieve that level of natural wood look. It can only replicate a painted wood aesthetic.


The primary reason many homeowners likely choose James Hardie cement siding is its durability and longevity. Fiber-cement shingles have been proven to stand up to even the harshest of inclement weather across the U.S.

These shingles have proven to hang tough through hurricane seasons as well as in tornado-prone areas. Also, many homeowners in exceedingly hot climates have found that fiber-cement shingles hold up much better to the summer sun and heat than vinyl or wood.

Wood may crack under extreme temperatures, and vinyl may melt or warp. Fiber cement seems undisturbed by extreme heat and able to withstand long periods of sun exposure.

For those who live in termite-infested areas, the fear of having your home eaten from the inside out can be quite real. Fortunately, termites and other pests do not consume fiber-cement siding, so your home will be impervious to their attacks.

Though fiber cement clearly seems to be the best option for durability, have you considered how it could make your family home safer? Fiber-cement siding is the only kind that is fire-resistant.

In one instance, a home was burning while a neighboring structure made of fiber-cement siding stood only 30 feet away. As the first house burned hotter and brighter, the fiber-cement siding remained un-ignited, so it protected the family inside.

Installation Tips

Perhaps the trickiest aspect of fiber-cement siding is the challenge in installation. Fiber-cement siding is much heavier than any other siding option: It weighs in at about 300 pounds per 100 square feet, as opposed to 60-to-70 pounds per 100 square feet of vinyl.

This increased weight means installation takes longer and must adhere to greater safety precautions. Whenever you see a home with fiber-cement siding that is cracking, flaking, or failing in general, you can usually trace the reason back to improper installation.

If you don’t use proper installation methods, the right screws, the proper supports, and clearances, as well as pay attention to blind and face nailing, the longevity and beauty of fiber cement siding may be negated.

James Hardie siding can last an incredibly long time, provided it is installed properly. However, if it is installed improperly, it will fail after only a short period and the warranty will be voided. James Hardie will not stand behind an independent contractor’s poor workmanship, so this is something you need to consider before you hire someone.


For the cheapest option in home siding, the choice is vinyl all the way. Unfortunately, many homeowners feel that vinyl can appear cheap or fake, so they prefer a wood-grain aesthetic for their homes. If you’re going for a genuine cedar shake, you will be forking over about $5 to $7 per square foot.

As an alternative, buying fiber cement will cost you around $3 to $4 per square foot. Keep in mind, the low-maintenance properties of fiber cement enable you to save thousands of dollars over the life of the siding.

Cedar shingles will need to be repainted or stained every 3 to 5 years, and damaged shingles must be replaced regularly. Think carefully about the cost of maintenance before you choose your shingle option.

Contact American Home Contractors

If you’ve decided to pursue a fiber-cement siding option for your home, you should give serious consideration to calling in the professionals. Select a company that offers a full warranty behind all of the work it does, to ensure your investment is long-lasting.

Contact American Home Contractors today to get a quote for your project and give your home a facelift.