hardie board

Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.

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S Melissa
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Location: Canton Michigan

Re: hardie board

Post by S Melissa »

Smoth. The textured will hold dirt big time and looks fake. Old houses had smooth siding (before 100 yrs of paint!) and so should yours. Next, yes you can use wood trim with Hardi. Some contractors prefer the wood trim b/c the Hardi is a little brittle and hard to work with for trim. We used clear cedar for our trim and turned out fine. Remember the trim has to be thick enough to butt the siding into and still have a reveal (shadow line). My contractors did a lousy job on this and it irks me everytime I see it (iow daily) but what's done is done. So, if necessary, the corner boards and the skirts/window frames/facisa may have to be "bedded out" which means the new trim has to have either enough thickness or has to have some additional backing on it to stand properly "proud" of the siding/frames etc. No biggie - just nag the contractor to do it right. You might consider if you can afford it to have them trim out your bay in a shingle similar to what's there now for the fun details - Hardi has made in the past a few shingle choices - not sure if they still do - but that would be very neat!

Be sure to have contractor prime all the wood back and front before installing. Be sure to have him caulk all the joints properly; Use the highest quality paint you can afford - the Hardi is great with paint - the cedar will hold paint a long time - but use the best - Benj. Moore "Mooreguard" has a great rep. as does SW A-100 as well as Endurance (is that right? I forget)

I have a lot of exp on Hardi - the whole neighborhood across from me (some 300 houses to date) all have hardi plus my own and a few others I've been involved with. Your thinking on the reveal for the siding is also good - and with Hardi you can get most anything you want!
Canton, MI
1860 Italianate - Reuben Huston Home

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Re: hardie board

Post by KatieO »

We have 4 different bids right now, and there is one that has a LOT of experience with Hardie, but NO experience with old houses. He said he would use ours as a "model" to show other old house clients. However, he wants to go with the textured, use shaker style shingles on the bay, and box in the porch posts. Uh, no thanks. I plan on printing out the "pro-smooth" replies and trying to negotiate a better price, in exchange for learning how to do an older house!

I will make a note on the making sure the trim is thick enough. Thanks.

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Re: hardie board

Post by angolito »

i would not use that contractor. use someone who can take you physically to homes which have been done appropriately.

a contractor who would advise you to box in the porch posts will never respect your wishes, even if he had the technical ability to do the work.

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Re: hardie board

Post by foxy01 »

S Melissa ~

Hello There. My first time on this Forum. Someone on GardenWeb Remodeling Forum provided me with a link to this one in response to a post I made there re: Hardie. My dilemma is this... I ordered Smooth Hardie Lap, but what was delivered is Cedar Mill (woodgrain). Contractor is urging me to use the error to my advantage because - he says - I wouldn't want the smooth anyway. Myriad of reasons (excuses?) offered for his opinion: butt joints are more visible; sheen to prefinished paint looks more flat than satin due to lack of texture and how it reflects differently; he's resided another house in the smooth and people ask him what color it's going to be painted because it looks like it's only primed but is in fact topcoated and blah, blah, blah... I have looked and looked and can find no project in my area (Northern NJ) where smooth is used. Every project is done in Cedar Mill. So...what should I do? Is there a reason why nobody around here uses the smooth? Is the contractor correct in his opinion, or simply trying to 'sell' me on the Cedar Mill because that's what's sitting in my driveway? What to do, what to do... I need to make an immediate if not sooner decision regarding this. HELP!!! All opinions welcomed.
BTW...going for a neo-craftsman aesthetic. Wish I had a 'real' one, but maybe in another lifetime I will be so lucky. Shingles on 2nd storey; lap on 1st; stone piers; squared tapered columns, etc., etc., etc.

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Re: hardie board

Post by jsmit »

If it were me, I would insist on getting what you wanted originally. I removed the aluminum siding from my house and replaced it with smooth Hardieplank. The fake wood grain was one of the things I hated about the old aluminum siding, and the wood pattern captured a lot of dirt. Real wood does not have that fake texture, so I think the smooth looks much better. I put up the pre-primed stuff and then painted the finish coat myself, I've never noticed the issue you mentioned with the paint finish.

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Re: hardie board

Post by avjudge »

You know what you want (and we here agree with you)! He either is so used to vinyl siding that he thinks fake wood grain (which real painted wood clapboards NEVER show) or you're right, he's trying to sell you on the Cedar Mill because that's what's sitting in your driveway.

It is possible that the factory finish is flatter than what people are used to, and the fact that it's a factory (pre-installation) finish will make joints more visible (since they're not painted over), which the roughness of the faux woodgrain might help paritally hide. I can't see the prefinished stuff I had put up because it backs up to a retaining wall and the back neighbor's driveway (it's on the back side of my carriage house). But better a few joints than artificial "I'm not real wood!" grain.

And all of his complaints will be fixed if/when it gets a coat of paint (which I understand it holds really well). The graining is there forever.
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Re: hardie board

Post by cs »

I don't know where in North Jersey you are located, but you are welcome to drive by my place across the river from you. We have a mix of smooth Hardie and original siding on our place. It was last painted about six years ago. In the picture below, the siding on the first floor of the main part of the house is original clapboards... the siding on the second story is smooth Hardie.


The "wood grain" Hardie screams fake wood. If you don't want that, don't put it on your house.


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Re: hardie board

Post by oldhouseluvr »

I agree that you should insist on waiting for the correct board style. We used a cement board on our addition and it blends beautifully with the original wood siding on the house.

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Re: hardie board

Post by s.kelly »

I built a garage out back of the house a few years ago. Used the cedar mill. Does not look bad, but I would do it differently now.

Though it has a great warranty, I do not like the prefinished hardie. Way too smooth imo.

I think the smooth boards, when painted by a person with the inherent imperfections, looks most like real wood siding. I have a friend that uses it in restorations as the lowest course or two below real wood. It blends right in.

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Re: hardie board

Post by Texas_Ranger »

Factory/shop finishing seems to be one of the best ways to make something real look fake. I first noticed this with replica doors that were painted by a pro, probably with an airless rig. While the doors are made of solid wood with perfectly matching profiles and everything, they look fake. Why? Because the paint is so perfect it looks like plastic! If we ever get some of our windows replaced with historically correct replicas I'll make absolutely sure I paint them myself with a brush!
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