This week Hawthorn Builders hosted a learning session with local representatives from James Hardie, makers of cement board exterior siding and trim products. Given the recent interest in James Hardie products as an alternative to traditional clapboard siding and cedar shingles, it made sense for us to gather as much additional information as we could in order to educate our customers.
To summarize, James Hardie is fiber cement siding composed of high quality raw materials with proprietary additives that enhance this material in ways that make it ideal for exterior application. What sets them apart from other forms of siding is its ability to withstand the elements. The cement composition makes it durable to endure storms and harsh weather, protecting it from swelling, warping, cracking and mold damage – all potential issues for wood siding and trim. We learned that James Hardie manufactures its product specifically for the climate where it will be installed. This means that we Northerners have a selection of product that is engineered to withstand our tough winters and steamy summers. Due to this resiliency to climate and moisture, the overall maintenance of the product is far less than any other kind of siding. Another perk is that it is insect proof!
If you are thinking of using James Hardie products for your home, there are a few styles to choose from. Previously it was limited to their standard alternative for clapboard, HardiePlank Lap Siding, which you can see in a few of Hawthorn Builders newly constructed homes, however James Hardie has now introduced HardieShingle siding and HardiePanel Vertical siding. All of these are available in multiple finishes from beaded to stucco. More recently, the company has been trying to incorporate their exterior trim package, HardieTrim and Fascia and HardieSoffit, into their mainstream products. At Hawthorn Builders, we were interested in learning more about their exterior trim which includes: moulding, sills, crown and caps; all of which are offered in a multitude of appealing trim colors.
Speaking of color, another huge advantage of using a cement based siding, is its color retention. The unique fiber cement material creates a base for color that withstands heat, which ultimately can lead to fading in vinyl and painted wood siding. In fact, it’s been proven that the color lasts 30-40% longer than painted wood siding. With a 15 year warranty, the James Hardie color also withstands cracking, peeling and chipping. With a current average of 15 – 20 colors, the company anticipates bringing on much more color customization in the near future.
While James Hardie is one of several options for exterior siding in the market, we were impressed with the quality of product, presentation and customer service that James Hardie represents. Stay tuned for updates on upcoming products that feature James Hardie products.