Chicago Area Homeowner’s Guide to James Hardie Siding
Are you thinking about choosing siding for your soon-to-be-built home? Or, maybe your current siding has started to show its age or has been damaged, and you are planning to start a residing project soon.
At Siding & Windows Group, we know what a big undertaking that is. We understand that you want a siding material that looks great, but is also durable and easy to take care of. You might think that’s a tall order, but it’s not! We have the perfect solution for you: James Hardie siding, the most popular siding in North America.
You may have heard of it referred to by a number of different names, including James Hardie siding, Hardie Board siding; Hardie siding; HardiePlank® siding, or HardiePanel® siding. We’ll get to HardiePlank® and HardiePanel® siding in a bit, but all of these terms are referring to siding made by the James Hardie company, which has been in business for over a century.
We’re excited to tell you all about James Hardie’s products and why they are the right choice for your siding project.
Why Choose James Hardie Siding?
Choosing a siding material for your home can be overwhelming. It’s an investment of time and money, and your siding is going to be the most noticeable feature of your home’s exterior. You won’t be able to change it out in a couple of weeks for something else.
James Hardie knows that, and that’s why they are committed to making a superior product with numerous benefits, which we’ll discuss a bit more in-depth shortly. Hardie siding is durable as well as flame-, mold-, rot-, moisture-, pest-, and fade-resistant. And, it gives homes a classic, refined aesthetic that’s timeless.
A siding material that has all those benefits and more might seem too good to be true, but believe us, it’s real! James Hardie invented fiber cement over 30 years ago, changing the siding industry forever. Hardie fiber cement currently protects over 8 million homes in North America, while making them look fantastic.
So what is fiber cement, you may ask? It’s material that is composed of cement, sand, and cellulose fiber that is then pressed into boards that have a particular pattern, for example, wood grain, or the appearance of cedar shingles. We’ll talk more about various options in a bit.
What are the advantages to James Hardie siding?
We’d like to mention Hardie siding benefits in a bit more detail.
- Durability – Hardie siding will protect your home from the elements all day, every day, year-round. Objects like hailstones and blowing debris are no match for Hardie siding. It resists shrinking, swelling and cracking.
- Superior weather-resistance – Hardie products are Engineered for Climate® and can withstand extreme temperature cycles–both hot and cold. The siding won’t expand and contract. It’s also moisture-resistant, which means it’s also rot-resistant. No matter how much rain, snow, or humidity the Chicago weather brings to your neighborhood, Hardie siding will keep your home protected.
- Fade-resistant – The color you choose for your siding will look its best for years to come, because the siding is fade-resistant.
- Noncombustible – A concern of many homeowners is fire. Hardie siding will not ignite when exposed to a direct flame, and it won’t act as fuel for a fire that is already burning.
- Pest-resistant – The only animals in your home will be the ones you’ve invited in. Whether it’s bugs, woodpeckers, or other critters, they won’t find Hardie siding appealing.
- Superior insulation – Hardie siding also acts as a barrier against unwanted hot or cold air from outside. It prevents air inside your home from leaking out. Your home will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You’ll be comfortable, no matter what the temperature is outside, and your utility bills won’t suddenly spike when the temperature does.
- Superior aesthetics – No matter which option or options you chose for Hardie siding, they will enhance your home’s curb appeal and make it stand out.
- Superior resale value – When you move, you will be able to recoup a large percentage of your investment. Hardie siding enhances your home’s retail value. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 “Cost vs. Value Report,” homeowners nationally were able to recoup 75.6% of the money that they spent on their siding installation.
- Low-maintenance – Soap and water may be all you’ll need to clean most dirt and grime from your Hardie siding. If you use a pressure washer, Hardie recommends that you use a wide fan tip on the washer, keep a minimum of 6 feet from the wall, and keep the pressure below 1500 psi.
- Warranty – Combine that with a fantastic warranty. Hardie siding comes with up to a 30-year limited transferable product warranty, as well as a 15-year finish warranty covering both paint and labor.
- Environmentally friendly – Hardie siding is made from recycled materials and unused scrap wood. Because of its long life, it doesn’t clutter landfills like other housing materials eventually do.
James Hardie Siding Products
Are you already thinking about how you might complete your siding or residing project with Hardie siding? That’s great! We’re excited too! You’re probably curious about the various Hardie siding products and styles that you can choose from. We’re going to discuss them here.
HardiePlank Lap Siding
Not only is this James Hardie’s most popular siding product, it’s also the most popular siding product in North America.
Select Cedarmill© – These siding planks mimic the look of natural wood by featuring a wood-grain pattern.
The following three HardiePlank options are available in our area only on special order in Dream Collection™ products and Primed for Paint options:
Smooth – These planks are smooth, without the wood-grain pattern.
Beaded Cedarmill© and Beaded Smooth – These planks feature a finished rounded beaded edge along the bottom.
This siding mimics the beautiful look of cedar shakes, without any of the downsides of wood. It is available as a Straight Edge Panel or a Staggered Edge Panel, so you can decide which look you prefer—shingles that appear to be uniformly placed in straight lines or at varying heights. You can’t go wrong with either!
HardieShingle Straight Edge
HardieShingle Staggered Edge
HardiePanel® Vertical Siding
Hardie makes beautiful vertical siding planks too. Chances are, most of the homes in your neighborhood have horizontal siding. Maybe you want to do something a bit different, or you want to mix-and-match multiple products.
In the Chicago area, you have a choice of Select Cedarmill© or Smooth HardiePanel siding.
The following two HardiePanel options are available in our area only on special order in Dream Collection products and Primed for Paint options:
Stucco – If you love the look of stucco but want all the benefits of Hardie siding, you’re in luck!
Sierra 8 – This offers a visually pleasing combination of both texture and linear detail.
Finish your look with both HardieTrim® Boards—draw attention to your home’s features like windows, doors, and columns. HardieSoffit® Panels cover the undersides of your home’s roof eaves and your exterior porch ceilings and protect them from moisture and pests.
Explore James Hardie Color Options
Let’s talk about Hardie siding color! That’s the first aspect of your siding that everyone is going to notice, after all. We’ve mentioned the benefits of fiber cement siding, and the 15-year finish warranty that Hardie offers on its siding.
Now, we want to tell you what makes that finish and color superior to other siding options: Most of James Hardie’s siding is made using its ColorPlus® Technology: Multiple coats of finish are applied to the siding and trim, which is 50% more than the average house painter will use. In between coats, the planks are cured to help the finish become even more resistant to chipping, cracking, and peeling. Don’t forget that it’s fade-resistant too. The Hardie Artisan Collection comes primed for paint.
James Hardie’s Artisan Collection
For even more options, take a look at James Hardie’s Artisan Collection. These extra-thick horizontal boards and trim will give you the timeless look of cedar with all of the benefits that fiber cement offers. Your home will definitely stand out from the others on your block should you decide to use this collection in your siding project.
James Hardie Aspyre Collection
The Aspyre Collection combines the Artisan Collection and the Reveal® Panel System, which was specifically developed for multi-family and light commercial construction and offers a panelized look. Architects and builders can create even more attention-grabbing designs, whether traditional or ultra-modern thanks to the Aspyre Collection.
Discover Ideas & Inspiration
We hope that what you’ve read so far has gotten you excited by the possibilities that using James Hardie siding offers. No matter what look you’re going for—classic, modern, funky, elegant—James Hardie siding products will allow you to choose the perfect home exterior.
You can mix and match the different options of planking and Hardie siding colors created using James Hardie’s proprietary ColorPlus Technology to create a look that is yours and yours alone.
James Hardie wants to help you discover it. Check out the House Siding Ideas Gallery to get some inspiration. The Exterior Home Design Ideas section of the James Hardie website offers articles with tips and ideas about how to find and use the right color (or colors) on your home and how to enhance curb appeal!
Play around with the Hardie Exterior House Color Visualizer: Choose a siding color to start, and then select the style of your home. You’ll get to see what the color looks like on a home built in your particular style. Next, you can choose a trim color.
Finally, select your own door, window, and roof colors from a palette that allows you a selection beyond the Hardie catalogue so you can find the perfect overall combination for your home’s exterior.
What are some tips for Hardie siding installation?
Installing siding on a home is a project for professionals. They are familiar with the process and all its ins-and-outs. (Having a professional install your home’s siding also ensures that you won’t accidentally void the manufacturer’s warranty.) Not all contractors are trained in Hardie siding installation. If you choose Hardie siding for your home, you want to make sure that you choose a company that understands the Hardie siding installation process.
James Hardie has several tips for you as you embark on your siding project.
- Get inspiration: Check out those links above, and also look around as you drive around your neighborhood or town. What aspects of other homes’ exteriors continually jump out at you? Search the web and save images that appeal to you. James Hardie has a Pinterest account that you’ll definitely want to look at.
- Figure out your budget: How much do you want to spend on your siding project? How much can you spend? When you begin talking with contractors, they will also be able to help you figure out a realistic budget. We’ll talk more about cost in a bit.
- Create a plan: Once you know what your budget is, you can talk with contractors to get quotes.
- Finalize your project’s scope: Having a budget and chatting with a couple of contractors will make it easier to figure out the next steps to take: Maybe you realize that you’ll be able to side your house this year, but will worry about updating trim next year, along with getting new shutters and a new front door.
- Choose your contractor: You want to make sure to find the right contractor for your project, so don’t rush this process. Contractors understand the time and thought that go into making a decision, and a reliable contractor won’t pressure you to make a quick choice.
What’s the typical installation process like?
After you’ve chosen your contractor, you’ll need to prepare for the installation process.
First, it’s important to know that the installation process is impacted by the answers to these questions:
- How many stories does your home have?
- What is your home’s total square footage?
- Is there sharply sloping terrain immediately around your home’s foundation?
- Do you have trees, bushes, or other landscaping features right next to your home?
- Which Hardie siding are you having installed?
- Do you need to have your existing siding removed?
- If you are having primed Hardie siding installed, do you want it painted?
Remember that we said James Hardie pays attention to climate when designing its products? They have divided the United States and Canada into two areas: HardieZone® 5 and HardieZone® 10. We’re in HardieZone® 5, and all of James Hardie’s products can easily stand up to our temperature extremes and occasionally nasty weather.
Since HardiePlank® siding is the most commonly used, let’s take a look at that installation process:
According to the HardiePlank Best Practice Guide for HardieZone 5:
- A starter strip needs to be installed beneath the first course of siding to set it on the proper angle and to create a proper drip edge at the bottom of the siding.
- The first course of planking is installed at the lowest point of the home. The contractor will ensure that it’s straight and level. “Blind nailing” is used, and so each subsequent course of planks cover the nails on the course below.
- After your contractor has secured the first course of planking, installation continues with full 12′ pieces until a door, window, or other feature interrupts the placement. Your contractor will notch these planks as needed.
How much to install James Hardie siding?
We understand that homeowners are both curious and naturally cautious about the cost of siding, and so you’re probably asking, “What does Hardie siding cost?” Home Advisor notes a national average of $11,548. The typical range in price for installation is $5,531–$17,808. The reported low end and high end of the range are $1,500 and $30,000.
This data is based on the reports of 1,210 Home Advisor members. Keep in mind that a variety of factors, including those we mentioned above, will impact the price of your project, including the square footage of your home, the number of stories, and whether you want old siding removed.
But, remember what you’re getting for that total cost: phenomenal warranties—up to a 30-year limited transferable product warranty, as well as a 15-year finish warranty covering both paint and labor. You’re also getting the benefit of Hardie’s expertise and the company’s longevity: They have created a product with benefits that surpass the typical siding choices of vinyl, wood, or wood composite. You can get the beautiful look of wood without any of the potential drawbacks. Vinyl and wood are more susceptible to damage from the elements, temperature swings, and pests, and both are combustible. With Hardie siding, you don’t need to worry about those potential problems, and can instead sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful new home.
Why choose a James Hardie Elite Preferred Contractor?
We mentioned that siding or residing your home is not a great DIY project, though choosing your preferred type of siding, color, and other visual accents is! You want to leave this project to the pros. Not only that, you want to find a Hardie Elite Preferred siding contractor.
What does that mean?
- We excel at installing a wide range of James Hardie color profiles
- We excel at installing a wide range of James Hardie product profiles so we can ensure our customers will have their dream homes once installation is complete
- We install Hardie siding and trim together, so customers know that their home’s exterior will stand the test of time
- We’ve earned the highest level of homeowner recommendations based on customer satisfaction data from GuildQuality, the industry leader in third-party surveying
- We’ve been partners with James Hardie for 7 years
- We have completed James Hardie’s annual training program pertaining to general installation requirements, critical to quality requirements, and a review of current best practices
To wrap up
Siding & Windows Group is proud to offer Chicago-area homeowners James Hardie siding for their next siding or residing project. The company developed its fiber cement siding over 30 years ago, and has gone to great lengths to make sure that it is the perfect choice for homeowners across the country, no matter where they live.
Beyond being available in a variety of beautiful colors and styles, its benefits are unmatched by other siding materials. It’s designed to look fantastic for decades, but it’s also designed to do the important job of protecting your home at the same time—Mother Nature (and all of her critters) are no match for it.
James Hardie siding is resistant to rotting, warping, cracking, and fading. Most importantly, it’s noncombustible. It also provides great insulation, so no matter the time of year, your home’s indoor temperature will always be comfortable and your utility bills won’t jump up unexpectedly.
Are you excited to get started on your project? We hope so. Contact us to get your free Hardie siding quote.