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Any info on HardiePanel vertical siding?


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By Eric in Adrian, MO on 1/14/2005


I am contemplating using the stucco version of this for my house. We want the stucco look, but since I plan to do this myself I figure that this would be much easier to do than using a masonry stucco when I have no experience doing it. I am just wondering from a cost standpoint what this product costs or just fishing for anyone who has experience with this product to share some more info on it.
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By Mark in Los Angeles, CA on 1/14/2005


I'm not sure if Hardie makes it or not, but, if they do I would not be afraid to jump right in and lay it up! If you  can't find someone who does this with the cement composite such as Hardie makes, I would avoid it and change my house exterior design.

Personally I hate stucco. I live in SoCal and it's all over the place, including my current home. We've had several leaks that we have had to have the builder come out and readdress. What a mess.

OTOH the Hardie siding they put across the front of the house has never been an issue. That's why I am going to use HardiePlanks on my house that I am building.

Good luck!


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By Tom in Yosemite, CA on 1/15/2005


Yes, Hardie makes it. It's called HardiePanel and I think the OP knows that. Comes in stucco, flat, wood grain, and a few others.

I've worked with the HardiePlank a bit. It's brittle and must be handled with care. A contractor told me that's all the more true for the larger panel sheets. She said they worked with it once and try to avoid it henceforth.

The other thing about Hardie products is they tend to show imperfections in the framing. If there are any bowed studs and you nail on HardiePanel, it will look wavy if you stand next to the house and site down.

As for cost, I think it's going to be cheaper than the planks, which take a fair bit of labor to install.

The downside of the panels is you must face-nail and there's no laps at the seams, so you need a design that looks good with the nails showing (8-12" on center depending on what you're nailing to) and some way to make the seams look good (like batten boards or some such thing).

One poster here did Hardie on the sides and back of the house and covered it all with a layer of cementitious stucco-like material and said it was great looking.

One last thing, if you want the Hardie for fire protection reasons, keep in mind that studies after the big CA fires showed that you need a THICK layer of stucco to achieve much good. The HardiePanel is just too thin. Most houses in big fires burn from the inside out. When the temps coming through the walls and windows light the drapes and so on, the whole thing goes. Having a thin layer of fireproof material on the outside doesn't do much good. Log cabins, for example, are considered fire resistant, while a cheap-built house with Hardie would likely not be.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 1/18/2005


I considered this as well, as I originally wanted a stucco look and real stucco is expensive in my locale. The downside to the Hardie stucco panels is that you will see every seam. For the wood panels, the seams fit in the verticals and are not very visible. For the stucco, the pattern does not match and the seams are highly visible.

I took the easy way and am using smooth Colonial lap siding. For a DIY install, this should be easier as the large 4x10 HardiePanels are heavy.


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By Lori in Reno, NV on 2/16/2007


Kenneth,

We are at the siding-deciding point. We know we cannot afford stucco (we are waiting for one more bid we can't afford). So we are looking at both Hardie and wood. The 4x10 HardiePanels are $38 apiece (special order). The 8.25"x12' planks are $5.99 in stock at HD.

If we do plank on the gable ends and panels around the house, it is $3,800 and I just don't want to spend that much (I know I sound cheap). My husband said the planks would be easier to work with and they are cheaper. We would save about $1,400 if my calculations are right.

Have any suggestions on pros and cons?


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/17/2007


You should be able to beat Home Depot price on Hardie materials. Call James Hardie directly using the contact information from the Hardie website (jameshardie.com/contact) and tell them what market you are in and ask for the wholesalers servicing that market. You cannot buy directly from wholesalers, but ask the wholesalers who their largest retail customers are and call them directly.

Home Depot is quite likely not the largest retail customer of James Hardie products in your locale. Remember the largest retailer got that way for a reason, and that is most likely price combined with service, this is who you want to get a material quote on and you will save money over Home Depot. Now then if you really want to be unscrupulous, take this material bid into Home Depot and ask them to price match minus 10%, and then use a 10% off coupon (home_depot_coupon) as you should never go into Home Depot (or Lowe's for that matter - lowes_coupon) without one.

As to Hardie Siding, I used smooth lap siding, 8-1/4" with 7" exposure just like you are looking at. I did much of this myself, the lap siding is manageable with one person. For some of it, I hired a laborer to help. I would say that the ideal crew size would be three people, two people to do the installing and one person to do cutting, moving lap siding around for the installers, and just general prep work. The install job I did looks good (and not just my opinion, several professionals have also said it looks good), and I never worked with Hardie before although I had a couple of hours experience installing vinyl siding on a Habitat for Humanity house (my only siding experience besides an occasional remove-a-rotted-wood-board-for-repair project on my own houses).

Don't just compare the prices on materials though. Hardie takes some specialized tools for cutting. I used a Makita dust collecting circular saw made specifically for Hardie siding. I purchased an older model on closeout and got a killer price, but the newer ones aren't discounted. I then had to buy another blade (the carbide blade that came with the saw didn't last the entire project) and found good luck with a segmented diamond blade for cutting tile (slow, but leaves a very nice edge), and here was another $50. You need the special saws because cutting fiber cement produces a lot of dust, and you do not want to breathe this dust. I also had a set of Pacific International SS204 Snapper Shears, although I didn't use them as much as I didn't like the edge they left (although for Hardie underlayment for tile floors the shears were invaluable).

I also used a set of Malco FCG2 overlap gauges to hold the lap siding while I was screwing it on (the only way Hardie becomes a single person install), but these are only about $20. As a side note, I sold my tools on fleabay when I was done for only about $20 less than when I purchased them so tool price overall was inexpensive, but you still need to lay down the cash to get them in the first place. However if you skimp and buy cheap tools, you won't be able to recover your money, as the quality used tools definitely sell for a premium price compared to made in China knockoffs.

Hardie is very nice to paint and durable - I will never use wood again (use Hardie for the trim too). Hardie looks good, and further qualifies you for an insurance discount as a masonry exterior finish. On my next house, hopefully I will be able to afford real stucco (my preference), but as to trying to save money by DIY and taking out labor costs Hardie cannot be beat. I found bid prices on installed Hardie were actually about the same as bid prices on EIFS (such as Dryvit), but I saved considerable money doing the labor myself and even with the synthetic stuccoes I simply didn't have the ability to DIY.

My old house had wood siding, and after two years in the high sun exposure areas I needed to start touching up paint (and this was Benjamin Moore paint, I didn't scrimp here). Whereas the Hardie after two years (my current house), the paint still looks brand new like it was done yesterday even where the paint gets tremendous sun exposure. As a side note, I put in wood-framed doors, and this spring I will be doing touch-up on the paint on door frames, but not on any siding. I would never use wood siding, EVER.


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By Michael Penn in Dripping Springs, TX on 2/17/2007


Are those 10% off coupons for Home Depot and Lowe's for real?--the sites have that look of spoof sites that makes me nervous to use 'em, including misspellings like sores (for stores). Have you bought coupons from those sites, and found them to work at the stores?
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/18/2007


The 10% off match price at BORG and Lowe's are standard policy. If you are a regular customer and have established a relationship with the contractor desk, they may not even require a written quote from a different outlet. I have had them beat my contractor price from the distributor for glulams. I suspect they lost money, because they had to special-order the beam when the regular lumberyards had it in stock, but I could afford to wait for their four-week delivery.

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/18/2007


I can vouch for the links I provided, I have used them multiple times. You can also get them from eBay (Lowes couponHome Depot coupon).

Alternatively, they give them to their associates from time to time, and if you happen to know one of them (or perhaps worked with their Kitchen Designer and they recognize you), they can use them at their discretion and frequently hand them out to their known customers. And a third route, if you take one of the free Home Depot workshops they offer on weekends (landscaping, hardwood floors, tile floors, laminates, etc.) at the end of the workshop they typically give you a coupon. Considering the workshops may take a couple of hours, I prefer to buy mine over the Internet.

The coupons are different than price match guarantee.


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By Eric in johnson city, TN on 3/9/2007


I used the HardiePanel on my house. I trimmed it out with HardieTrim to cover the nail holes and to get the board and batten look. It looks awesome. But let me say the vertical panels are a pain to deal with and are very easy to chip. They are heavy and floppy so they are hard to move from one place to another. I also had a very hard time finding anyone who had ever installed them before.

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By Lori in Reno, NV on 3/9/2007


Michael,

I went on eBay and bought two Lowe's 10% off coupons. I paid about $4 for both including shipping. I asked HD if they would take them, and I was told yes. So the first one we used saved us $150 and the second one $420. The ones I bought had a limit 10% off any purchase up to $10,000.

I normally wouldn't buy something like this on eBay, but our members seemed to think it was OK and it was. Hope this helps.

Give it a try.

Lori


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