Hardie Siding

Cement Board Siding

Many people wonder, what is the difference between cement board siding and hardie board siding. Well to make a long story short, cement board siding and Hardie board siding are basically the same thing. Hardy board siding is a brand of cement board siding. Since the invention of cement board siding over 100 years ago, there are several different companies now manufacturing different kinds of cement board siding.

Cement board siding has all the same pluses and negatives that a Hardie siding would have. In most cases, you can find a cement board siding that is made with a simulated wood grain, a stucco look, or can be very smooth and plain. Cement board siding is waterproof, and can withstand extremely strong winds, rain, hail, salt air and is extremely fire resistant.

If you install a fiber cement siding on your home, you can expect it to last the entire lifetime of your home. The best part about cement siding, is it’s low maintenance. Unlike a wood or vinyl siding, Hardie siding will resist mold and mildew. As with a wood or vinyl siding, you will notice that every other month or so you must clean the exterior of your home to avoid the growth of mold and mildew.

Cement board siding comes pre-primed and ready to paint. You can even find pre-painted, or pre-colored cement board siding. This saves you the time and hassle of having to paint the cement board siding after it is installed. Simply install the cement board siding, caulk it with a clear caulking, touch up any unpainted areas and you are done. If you do buy a pre-primed cement board siding and paint it yourself, paint will likely never peel or chip from the surface of the fiber cement board.

Cement board siding may be a little more costly than that of a traditional wood or most vinyl siding. However, if you take into account that a cement siding will last longer, and have less maintenance, you might come to the conclusion that paying a little more upfront will be worth it in the long run. Remember that the exterior of your home is the first thing that people see when they pull into your driveway, so choosing a tough, good looking exterior siding such as cement board, is a great way to make that first impression.

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Hardie Board Siding

Hardie board siding is an ideal long lasting siding for any home.  Hardie board comes in many sizes including 4×8 sheets, 3×5 sheets, 4×4 sheets, and also in planks.  Hardie board siding also comes with designs to give the appearance of brick, wood, and vinyl siding.  It has been proven to last 30 plus years in harsh weather of all kinds.  Cold, heat, snow, rain…etc.  It has the awesome ability to stay submerged in water yet keep its shape and strength, without molding or falling apart.

Hardie Board siding takes paint and caulk very well.  It is priced comparable to wood siding, but will long outlast it.  If you are going for ease of installation by all means choose the hardie board siding over the planks, but for that unique look of planks, you dont have much choice but to use the planks.  Planks take more time to install and are long and bulky, making them hard to handle by yourself.  Special hardie screws have been made to make sure your hardie does not out last your screws.

Hardie can be hung with nails, or screws, but if using nails make sure to use a ring shank nail that will not easily be pulled from the surface it is nailed to.  I prefer using a senco screw gun when installing hardie board siding, it has almost the speed of a nail gun, with the strength of a screw.

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Installing Hardie Board

Installing Hardie board over a subfloor, is fairly easy, and can be done by only one person. A lot of people do not know that they are supposed to use a modified thinset underneath hardy board when installing it on the ground. Hardie board was not designed to go over a concrete or cement subfloor. Hardie board was designed to go over a plywood subfloor. The subfloor needs to be at least a 5/8 inch thick exterior grade plywood.

Many people ask, why do I have to use thinset between Hardie board in the subfloor? The reason consent is required between Hardie board of the subfloor, is to eliminate any deviations between the backer board itself and the subfloor. This decreases the probability that tile will crack, or that the grout lines will crack, causing the tile to pop up in the future.

A lot of people also wonder, can I use liquid nails to glue the Hardie board to the ground? The answer is simple, no you cannot. Hardy board requires a bonding order to ensure that the Hardie is getting a good grout to the subfloor. Liquid nails is just a general adhesive, and is not strong enough, and just will simply not bond correctly.

After the thinset has been applied to the ground and the Hardie board is laid on top, nails or screws should be applied 8 inches apart all way around the exterior edges of the Hardie board.
Then nails or screws should be applied every 8 inches apart everyhwere on the Hardie board. Do not get too close to the edges as the Hardie board will crack or break. It is important to hit the floor towards running underneath the plywood at all possible, with screws or nails.

After the Hardie board has been installed on the ground, the next step is to apply a 2 inch fiberglass mesh tape on the seams. Apply the fiberglass mesh tape on the seams, the exact same way you would do with drywall tape. But instead of using a drywall mud to float the seams, you use the modified thinset as your float. Using the fiberglass mesh tape and thinset is required, and will greatly strengthen your subfloor.

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Installing Hardiplank

In most cases, you can find a cement board siding that is made with a simulated wood grain, a stucco look, or can be very smooth and plain, similar to wood siding or vinyl siding styles. Regardless of the style that you choose to install, Hardiplank should be installed after the trim for your doors and windows. When installing hardiplank, your first row is your most important.  Using a level, a water level will work the best for long runs, and a 4 ft level will work in shorter spans, level off your first line.  Chalk a line for your first row. It is important that your hardiplank hangs down past the top of your foundation about 1/2″.  This allows rain and water to run down, and not run in the house.

Using your level chalked line, install your first row of hardiplank.   Go from left to right, or right to left. Do not start in the middle and work out both directions. On the top of the hardiplank there is an area with no texture, this area is about 2-3″ wide. This is the area that you will nail or screw into. This un textured area of Hardie Plank is also where the next peice will over lap. So make sure your screws and nails stay within the designated area.

The fastest way to install hardie is with a spacer. If your hardiplanks are going to be spaced 6″ apart, then build a 6″ spacer that will catch on the bottom of the lower hardie board and allow the next piece to lay on top of it and rest on the spacer.  You need two of these spacers, one for each end.  The best way to describe a spacer without a picture is with the letter “L”.

Using Hardie Sheers, or a circular saw, cut the hardiplank to the right lengths and work your way up each wall of your house. It is good to check every row for level. Spacers will help keep the hardiplank level, but it is still a good idea to stop and check every so often. Make sure that each row of hardiplank from one wall matches all walls that it touches, to give your house a uniform look all the way around.

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Best Way to Cut Hardie Board Siding

Many people often wonder, what is the most effective way, or what is the best way to cut Hardie Siding. Many people also wonder where the best tools for cutting Hardie plank siding. When working with any Hardie product it is good to remember that it produces a lot of dust when cut improperly. Using a high-speed power saw is probably the worst way that you can cut Hardie plank siding. Fast spinning saw blades tear through the Hardie board causing an extreme dust cloud that you will breathe in.

The absolute best method for cutting Hardie board siding is, with a pair of Hardie shears. There are many brands of Hardie shares on the market, such as Hilti Hardie Shears along with many attachments that can be added to a normal drill. Hardie shears are quick and virtually dustless. However you do need to be careful when cutting along the edge of Hardie board, because it can cause it to crumble.

If you are using a thinner Hardie board like quarter inch hardie used for an underlayment, you can get away with using a utility knife to score and snap the Hardie board. It is best to use a straight edge to push the utility knife against to ensure that you do not cut yourself, while keeping your cuts in a straight line.

Many companies have come out with dust reducing saw blades. These blades can be purchased from Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware among other hardware stores. These blades can be used on a normal circular saw, table saw, or a chop saw. These blades do not completely get rid of the dust caused by cutting Hardie board siding, however they do reduce it drastically. If you really want to cut down on the dust while using a circular saw, it is a good idea to have someone holding a shop vac, to suck up the dust as it is shot into the air.

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