How To Install Hardi Plank Siding?

Hardiplank or Hardiboard is the same as fiber cement siding. It’s proven to be the most sturdy and weather-resistant siding material available these days for residential and commercial applications. It remains unaffected by insects and pests, can bear large temperature variations, and never rots or warps because of moisture or water. Its fire resistant properties further encourage its use as a safe and viable construction material.

When you order Hardiplank siding, it is delivered in standard sheets or in pre-cut strips. The strips are generally used for trim corners, soffits and eave linings. Most of the siding work uses sheets that you can cut to size at home. However, it’s important to use proper tools for cutting fiber cement siding, as the sturdiness of Hardiplank could damage the ordinary tools. You can get the special-purpose tools meant for cutting fiber cement siding from your local hardware store. These tools facilitate the process of cutting and you can save your present cutting tools from getting damaged.

The only difficult part of handling this siding is its cutting. Cutting of fiber cement siding requires a special blade designed for the purpose. Its cutting also releases a fine dust, making it imperative to use safety goggles and a dust mask. Additionally, you’ll also need an industrial vacuum to get rid of the dust and fibers after you have finished cutting.

Compared to vinyl or hardboard siding, installation of Hardie plank siding is very easy. You can easily use self-tapping screws to fix the siding to any flat surface of your home. Always start with the trim pieces, followed by larger sheets. To finish, just seal any gaps with a water resistant sealant and it’s all over.

Installation of Hardi plank siding at home makes your home more fire resistant, offers better insulation and minimum of cleaning and maintenance as compared to any other form of siding. Its natural wood-like appearance adds to the looks and style of your home. Hardy plank is designed to resist rain, snow, wind, hail, and sun. Unlike wood, it doesn’t warp or chip and the best thing is that it’s not at all friendly with termites. Hardy board is available in many attractive wood-grain textures and in a number of colors, enabling you to give a unique look to your place.

You may be aware that vinyl can’t be repainted in a color of your choice. Though you can paint wood in any color, it doesn’t last long on wooden siding. Another advantage of installing Hardie board siding is that it doesn’t require frequent painting like wood. In facet, Hardi siding can retain paint 3-4 times longer than wood.

Fiber cement siding is the most durable siding material available these days. Taking into consideration its long life, minimum maintenance, strength, matchless insulation value, and its capacity to resist fire, moisture and insects, it is without doubt a cost effective investment. Fiber cement is quite easy to install and adds to the appearance and looks of your property.

20 thoughts on “How To Install Hardi Plank Siding?

  1. I am a Realtor. I just had inspections on a property where I represent the Buyer. The property has hardi plank siding on the back side, and it is warped in multiple places. What would this indicate. I see you say that Hardi siding does not warp and is guaranteed for 30 years. This siding has gaps and warping, and one contractor said it was probably installed poorly and too long a piece was forced into position. How likely is it that if one plank is removed, the one above it will be damaged or crack? Ever run into a situation like this?

    • Hi Mary,

      I would agree with the contractor you talked to – poor installation. It’s hard to say what would happen if you try to replace that plank. Experienced person could make a good guess but only if he is able to see the siding and that plank itself, since you can’t conclude anything from a distance.

      I suggest you find someone with experience to take a look at that and try to remove that plank.

      Good luck,
      John

  2. Three years ago, I had Hardi Plank siding installed as part of a remodel. I love the look of it! The contractor installed the siding without caulking between the seams of the boards. I have looked closely at the seams and I believe that all the seams are the butt ends of the planks. The seams are about 1/8 inch and there is weather resistant roofing felt behind the seams. The joint between the planks and the trim has been caulked. I have been told by a couple of contractors and a relator that I need to caulk the seams between the boards. I live just south of Seattle WA, an area with a high level of rainfall, but infrequent freezing weather. What is your recommendation about caulking the seams between the boards? Thanks so much for your thoughts about this.

    • Hi Sue,

      It’s a good thing to caulk the seams, but I personally wouldn’t do it if I don’t have any problems with the current installation setup. Since you haven’t mentioned any, I can’t offer real advice on whether you should or should not do this. If you have trouble with water/rain getting through, then by all means caulk the seams between siding boards.

      Andrew Haze

  3. Contractor was supposed to finish installation of hardie board on my house in November. Now moved to January. Very concerned about installation during wet rain, snow and freezing conditions. Other than difficulty and loss of heat i am concerned that i will hsve problems after installation as no way to totally dry out insulation, cracking of cement bosrd solidity of nails etc. How does winter installation in freezing temperatures affect possible problems during installation and after installation?

    • Hi Rima,

      I wouldn’t install hardie planks during sub-zero temperatures! Once the temperature rises, each and every board will expand to the side. This is a huge force that will buckle the backing board and destroy your installation. I suggest you wait for warm weather before you install your home siding.

      I actually did an experiment and placed one plank inside a freezer on a sub zero temperature. Once I removed the plank and placed it outside (it was around 90 degrees) the plank expanded for one inch! Thats 1″ for you! I think this proves my point on installations during winter and sub-zero temps.

      John

      • Question: if this is the case that the hardie board will expand to its “regular” size above sub-zero temperatures. what happens if you install during the summer months when its warm, and then in the winter (sub-zero temp.) what will happen to the installation (shrink and leave 1″ gaps everywhere)?

    • Rima,
      Your contractor should have installed a waterproof barrier over the insulation such as HardieWrap or Tyvek house wrap. Either of these (and there are others as well) would waterproof the house and protect the insullation as well as the wood framing and interior walls. The insulation should not be covered when wet. This could lead to mold or other problems.
      Properly wrapped, the house can sit until a time when the temperature rises enough to install the siding.
      Sounds like poor planning on the contractors part.

  4. I just need to know about whether the corner and window trim is supposed to be installed first and the horizontal siding run up to it then caulked or if the siding can be installed first with the trim put over it and no caulking used. I live in San Antonio, TX and the contractor swears it is common practice here to do it with the trim over top of the horizontal planks with no caulking and another person who has worked with Hardiplank siding said this is not acceptable and will void the warranty. Insects and lizards are getting behind all this trim but my contractor also swears that they can’t get into my house from behind the trim even without caulk because of the house wrap he supposedly used. Also I just had to have a pest control company out because I suspected rodents in my attic. He confirmed there are large gaps at the roof line where they are getting in and showed me (from the ground I could see this once he pointed it out) that the trim over the siding at the roof pitches was cut too short and doesn’t touch the shingles. This left a gap large enough to put several fingers in and easy access for rodents. They now want $425 to close up all these gaps. The new siding was only completed last March because of an addition we had to have to accommodate my wheelchair bound husband. He has since passed away. What do I do now? I’m trying to get the contractor to admit he should have caulked the siding to the trim and fix it but he claims it is done correctly without it. Is he telling me the truth or is this going to void any warranty and cause future problems? Thank you. Naomi

    • Hi Naomi,

      Trim should not be on top of the siding, period. I don’t want to comment on the type of work your contractor did, but if you check the manual, this is simply not proper installation. I suggest you call the contractor and let him do this right without charging you again. Just check out the manual here and you’ll see how the job is supposed to be done.

      I wish you luck,
      John

  5. Is it standard installation practice to caulk the seams where the hardee plan meet butt up against each other or where the hardee plank touches wood trim around the doors windows and corners.

    • Hi Jackie,

      Its best to caulk everything around windows and doors as well as at the butt joints. You don’t want any leaks so this is actually a standard practice.

      Hope this helps,
      John

  6. We recently purchased a house that was constructed in 2004 using the Hardiplank siding. Our problem is the siding has a “roar” when the wind blows and I assume we have an installation issue with faulty nailing and caulking. What would be the necessary steps to take to resolve this problem? Thanks.

    • Hi Robert,

      Every Hardiplank siding should be under a warranty so the first thing you should do is to check can you use the warranty to get things fixed. If not, then you would have to call a contractor to investigate the problem and tell you what needs to be done.

  7. Hello, I am getting ready to install JH Plank siding and was wondering 2 things. I have seen on some videos that there is a “starter” piece of HB plank or furring strip placed behind the first plank at the bottom where you would start your run up. Others show no starter piece, just the first plank installed 6″ from the bottom and working your way up. What is recommended? and secondly for a woodeframe structure, in sunny/rainy Florida, what would you recommend be placed around the bottom of the structure from the bottom of the first plank to the ground? Currently the wood frame wall covered with water resistant material goes all the way to the ground. I cant leave 6″ uncovered? Thanks for any help!

  8. Several planks of my hardiplank siding have come loose, what is the best method to rejoin as the original screws are still in the plank they have just loosened. One of the planks does not appear to have anything behind it therefore there is nothing to screw it into.

    • Hi Wendy,

      If you can tighten those screws, that would be the best thing to do. If you can’t, you could try caulking those planks, as well as that one plank that can’t be tightened with the screws.

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