Hardie siding is the most popular siding in America, and it certainly deserves a review because of its distinct advantages over other products, but what about its disadvantages? No product is without its faults, and Hardie siding is no exception. 

If you’re in the market for new siding and are curious about the pros and cons of Hardie siding, keep reading to learn more about some common Hardie fiber cement siding problems.

What Is Hardie Siding?

Hardie siding is a fiber cement siding product made by James Hardie. It’s highly durable, aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting, and it comes with a great warranty. This siding is most widely used in the United States, protecting millions of homes annually.

HardiePlank, a horizontal lap siding, and HardiePanel, a vertical siding option, are the two most popular Hardie siding products.

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 James Hardie designed this siding with cellulose fibers, sand, and cement. When combined, these high-quality ingredients create an excellent exterior siding material that withstands damage from moisture, pests, fire, and impact, all while mimicking the look of wood siding and providing enhanced durability.

Additionally, Hardie siding is climate-engineered, making Hardie products suitable for a wide range of climates across the country. Overall, Hardie siding provides homeowners with long-lasting curb appeal and protective coverage.

8 Hardie Siding Problems You Might Encounter

While Hardie siding certainly has more pros than cons, no product is perfect. Hardie siding comes with specific considerations, along with its share of potential downsides. Knowing these downsides ahead of time enables homeowners to make fully informed decisions.

Hardie siding requires more maintenance than other popular siding options like vinyl. While fiber cement is quite durable, it still necessitates periodic care and repairs over its life span.

Hardie siding requires almost no maintenance, unlike vinyl siding, which needs regular upkeep. 

The cement boards may require minor repairs and touch-ups over time. Additionally, address any damage quickly to prevent deterioration. Based on my years of experience, I recommend that you don’t attempt DIY repairs on Hardie siding, as improper modifications can void warranties or cause bigger problems later.

The porous texture of fiber cement siding rapidly accumulates dirt and grime. The buildup will be evident without regular cleaning and detract from your home’s curb appeal. 

Annual preventative cleaning helps Hardie siding maintain its good looks over decades.

Despite being promoted as water-resistant, Hardie siding is still at risk of retaining moisture, leading to damage over time.

Hardie siding can absorb and trap moisture over time, causing swelling, cracks, rot, or mold. Excessive moisture also leads to paint peeling, blistering, and cracking. While proper installation per manufacturer specifications helps control moisture, even perfectly installed siding cannot prevent all water issues.

Since fiber cement contains concrete, Hardie siding is heavier than other sidings, making installation more difficult. The dense boards are cumbersome to transport, carry, and cut. Moreover, the precision required for proper Hardie installation is more than most DIY projects. To avoid issues, homeowners should use James Hardie-certified professionals.

Power-cutting tools release fine silica dust particles when cutting Hardie siding during fabrication or installation. When inhaled over time, these cement particles can cause lung disease and respiratory damage. James Hardie provides best practice guidelines, including dust-capturing equipment. However, there are still risks for those handling the fiber cement.

In general, installation costs run up to 20% higher for Hardie versus vinyl siding due to more expensive base materials, specialized tools, added precautions, and required professional expertise for proper application.

The cement composition of fiber cement siding makes Hardie siding less efficient at insulation than other options. As a result, outside temperatures can creep into interior living spaces, increasing homeowners’ heating and cooling expenses.

While James Hardie maintains strict oversight for products from their fiber cement mills, there is still some variability across produced materials. Additionally, each professional installation process slightly influences the final quality. Therefore, homeowners may see slight performance differences from their Hardie siding over the expected Hardie fiber cement siding life span.

Can You Handle The Weighing Hardie Siding Pros and Cons?

While Hardie siding retains its advantages over alternative home sidings, it comes with inherent compromises and installation challenges. Homeowners considering Hardie products should carefully assess if the pros and cons align with their priorities and budget.

Proper installation is critical to avoiding common Hardie issues around water, cracks, and paint damage. Homeowners wanting lower maintenance should consider alternative sidings, like vinyl. However, for homeowners willing to do minor periodic upkeep, Hardie brings unparalleled durability and aesthetics to your home.

So, Is Hardie Siding Worth It?

Hardie siding is worth the investment for most homeowners despite some minor drawbacks. 

When properly installed by certified contractors, Hardie’s molded fiber cement boards provide excellent protection, fire resistance, and visual appeal. By optimizing materials for regional climates, Hardie prevents the swelling, warping, and cracking issues that cheaper vinyl products commonly have.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

Annual cleaning and occasional touch-up repairs address Hardie’s main downsides, like dirt, damaged paint, and cracks.

The installation and upkeep costs pale compared to the added benefits of Hardie siding for owners who want wood-like facades without the hassles of natural timber. Compared to other cement composites, James Hardie backs products with better warranties and contractor networks, further boosting its value.

So, while no home siding is flawless, Hardie’s downsides are forgivable, given fiber cement’s superb performance for most US homeowners. 

FAQs About Hardie Siding

Does Hardie siding need painting?

Yes, repainting siding at least once every 15 years maintains appearance and weatherproofing. Periodic new coats can help combat fading, chalking, and diminished water protection in factory primer/paint over time. Additionally, painting fiber cement siding prevents uneven sun damage on siding sections.

How long does Hardie siding last versus other sidings?

Correctly installed and maintained Hardie siding lasts over twice as long as vinyl counterparts, with a typical life span of around 25 years. Hardie warranties vary, but some cover up to 30 years, including paint and labor. Generally, fiber cement boards offer two to three times the durability of cheaper vinyl, wood, or engineered wood sidings.

Does Hardie siding withstand extreme weather?

Yes, Hardie resists heat, cold, heavy rain, snow, and high winds notably better than vinyl options, which can swell, crack, or warp. The molded fiber cement also withstands temperature fluctuations from freezing to scorching heat and undergoes impact testing to verify wind resistance.

Can you install Hardie siding over your existing siding?

In some cases, Hardie siding can adhere over smooth materials like vinyl or fiber cement if the underlying siding is sound and the structure can bear added weight. However, highly textured sidings require modification or removal first since irregularities can cause issues. Homeowners should consult certified Hardie installers to assess if overlaying existing siding is possible.

Editorial Contributors
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Mitchell Layton

Mitchell Layton is a former professional mover who currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mitchell spent years packing and moving for REAL Rock N Roll Movers, a commercial and residential moving company based in Los Angeles that’s primarily staffed with up-and-coming musicians. That gave him plenty of experience navigating box trucks up and down the winding streets of LA. In addition to moving hundreds of happy customers into new homes and apartments all across Southern California, Mitchell has also performed corporate moves on company lots for Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Paramount, and more. After pouring blood, sweat, and tears into his profession, Mitchell has all the helpful tips you need for your next move.

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