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Problems With James Hardie Siding Installations

By In James Hardie Siding On August 25, 2009

James Hardie lap siding is great product, but it only performs as well as it’s installed.  I’ve heard several complaints about this product from various home buyers, mostly anecdotal evidence about how the material deteriorates, but I’ve found improper installations on every damaged section of siding I’ve ever seen.  James Hardie siding is a fiber-cement product that comes with a 30 or 50 year warranty, but any warranty will be void if the product is improperly installed.  James Hardie isn’t the only manufacturer of fiber cement siding, but it’s certainly the most popular.

Listed below are a few of the most common installation defects that I find.  The funny thing about these installation defects is that the installation instructions are very clear and very specific – the diagrams below all come directly from James Hardie.  The other manufacturers of fiber cement siding have nearly identical installation instructions.

Improper Clearances

  • Must be kept 2″ away from roof surfaces, decks, driveways, steps, and other similar hard surfaces.
  • Must be kept 6″ above the finished grade.
  • Gutters must be kept 1″ away from the siding, and kickout flashing needs to be installed.
  • Must be kept 1/4″ above flashing above windows, and not caulked here.

Hardiboard clearance to roofHardiboard clearance to deckClearance to stepsHardiboard clearance at gutter end capHardiboard caulked at window flashing

Improperly Attached
  • Must be blind nailed or face nailed, but not both.  The photos below show blind nails and face nails used together, and clearly shows what happens.
  • The proper size nails must be used (6d or siding nails).  Framing nails (16d) were used in the photos below.
  • The nails must be driven in straight, and must not be over-driven or under-driven.  The nails pictured were driven at an angle or driven in too far.
Blind Nailed and Face Nailed

Blind Nailed and Face Nailed

Hardiboard wrong nails

Wrong nails, Face Nailed and Blind Nailed, Nailed at an angle

Hardiboard overdriven nail

Overdriven nails

Hardiboard angled nail

Angled nail

What Do These Defects Mean?

If you’re buying a house with improperly installed James Hardie siding, be aware that damage caused by an improper installation will not be covered by their warranty, and your siding will be subject to premature damage and deterioration. If the proper clearances haven’t been met, they can often be fixed.  If the siding has been improperly attached to the house, there isn’t any practical way to fix this.  You’ll have to take your chances and hope it doesn’t turn out like the photos above, or you’ll need to have the siding redone.  For a full list of current installation requirements for the HZ5 plank, click here.

If you have an existing installation and you want to know if it was properly installed, you can view some of their older installation manuals here:

There may be other editions of installation instructions published in-between these dates, but I don’t have records of them.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Minneapolis Home Inspector


About the Author


Reuben is a second generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben has worked for Structure Tech since it was purchased by Neil in 1997, and is now co-owner and President of the company.



    As Reuben said at the very top of this page..."I’ve found improper installations on every damaged section of siding I’ve ever seen." Though now that I've read all the horror stories on service from Hardie, I'm considering insulated vinyl instead, Heartland CedarMAX to be specific. Slight cost savings, a bit more because I am self-installing. I really like the look and concept of fiber-cement, and especially the details provided in the JH Best Practices guide. But FC siding still seems to me to be just as risky as in the 1990s when I saw mushrooms growing from it.

  • Louis Patrick 3 YEARS AGO

    Brian, If you are in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area I can provide a great JW dealer.

  • Brian Serle 3 YEARS AGO

    Griffith, where are you located? Who was your installer? We are considering Hardie for our new house.

  • NGriffith 3 YEARS AGO

    I had Hardie ColorPlus lap siding installed on my home in February 2011; that's nearly 2 years ago. It was installed by a certified and approved James Hardie ColorPlus installer. I also had the JH wrap, flashing and trims installed with the siding. At first, I thought that the sidings were missing caulking where the cut ends of boards met but I learned that they should NOT be caulked for ColorPlus. About 2 months after the installation, James Hardie inspectors came to inspect the work done by the installer. They said it was done properly and looked good. The only pointer they gave me was that, to avoid discoloration, I needed to wash off or brush off any dirt on the lower boards from mud splashed onto them during rains. I do that regularly. I am quite happy with the installation and the follow-up inspection by James Hardie inspectors.

  • Laura McCracken 3 YEARS AGO

    I left above question and to add on the rest of the siding that I don't want to replace is also been installed wrong and does have a lot of problems with it don't get me wrong! It just isn't falling off like the frount and dosnt need immediate attention ! It has been calked around all the windows and calking is turning black ! They realy did a poor job of installation ! Truly I'm not sure I who installed it! And just recalling our home was built 16 yrs ago we moved in 13 yrs ago!

  • Laura McCracken 3 YEARS AGO

    I am a home owner and we have this siding on our home. The siding is 13 years old but the only place we are having a BIG problem is the frount of the house. It is awful! We (neighborhood ) have sump pumps that run all the time due to natural spring under homes ! Bad idea to build over! The frount stays damp and shaded. Our siding is falling off in peices it's molded, black mold, as well as coming away from the nails! It's soft and mushy. After reading this article it was realy installed improperly as well calked around window that leaks horribly ! I don't want to have to replace siding on whole house tho . And don't want to put it back on frount and have same problem either! Will my homeowners cover replacement and if so will they allow replacement of another product ? Desperate because it is affecting the way the house looks from the street ! It's awful !

  • susan susan 3 YEARS AGO

    We had JH siding installed a couple years ago by their own people and are still fighting to get defects taken care of. Dealing directly with the company has been a severe pain in my ass!!!! It's as difficult as pulling teeth, the old fashion way!!! I would sincerely recommend looking for another product or company who can give you better service and doesn't have as many negative reviews online as this company. DO NOT GET JH !!!! They bow, warp, peel.... need I go on? Their field reps tell you they'll have someone out, call back, take care of it.... then they forget about you until you call them again, and again, and again.... then not answer your calls or reply at all !!! Call the main office, file ANOTHER report, same shit, same shit, same shit!!! DO NOT GET JH SIDING !!!!!! Once they have the money, you're f'd !!!

  • Louis Patrick 3 YEARS AGO

    If James Hardie representatives declare siding problems are due to incorrect installation by the contractor thus not covered by the James Hardie warranty what recourse does the homeowner have? What actions should be taken by the homeowner?

  • Art Palmer 3 YEARS AGO

    I'm looking for the installation specifications for Hardie Panel siding from time period of 2005 / 2006. I can see they are available for Hardie Plank, but not Panel. Any idea where I can locate them?

  • Alex 3 YEARS AGO

    We use James Hardie siding on most of our projects and did not find any difficulties with it. As author mentioned, problems start only when it is installed in not a proper way.

  • Marge 4 YEARS AGO

    We are purchasing a new home, still under construction, but in the final stages...we recently noticed the siding (JP hardiplank) on both sides of the house is bowed and appears to have a "rippled" effect. Can someone advise the possible causes of this? Water? Improper framing? The on-site sales agent said the house was "wrapped" before the siding was installed-therefore caulking was not needed. We were surprised the seams were not caulked and thinking maybe rain has caused this? Any suggestions on how to fix this-we meet with the construction mgr. Monday am. Thanks.

  • Lou Ann 4 YEARS AGO

    I am taking bids, now, to repair wood rot on our 21 year old home. All are bidding with James Hardie except one, a well-known contractor with a great resume, who uses Smart. He is not impressed with Hardie. Comments on Smart, please...


    I self installed Hardie Colonial Roughsawn on my house in 2001. I now have built a garage and can't get matching product up here in the north without a "Product Exception" which says I can get it, but it carries no warranty due to JH having their 'zones'. Would have to be trucked up her from South Carolina adding tremendous costs to it. Siding, properly installed, blind nailed,using stainless steel screws using the specs they had at the time lasts at least 12 years. No complaints, no problems. But a real hassle and slow down to get more to do the garage. I'd caution homeowners to buy a different brand due to the moving target that JH has put in place.

  • Clint 4 YEARS AGO

    Our home was finished and we took possession December 2011. We have a one year warranty. We have cemplank which I believe is Hardie board planking. I noticed that the seams where boards met were at 16" spacing from one another. Ok BUT the studs are at 24" spacing. I brought this up to the builder and they at the time last winter before the year had run out said they would re-side. Now they have come back and are saying that siding was blind nailed on the studs with blind nails to the underlying plywood between the studs. They say that falls within Hardie guidelines. they also surface nailed using finishing nails at the bottom of some of the joints. The builder is coming next week and will pull selected boards so we can see the nailing pattern. Do you agree with their assessment? How many boards would you suggest we pull to find the real nailing patter. I would prefer not to remove all the siding then reside the house.

  • Sandra 4 YEARS AGO

    Hello, I am a homeowner who purchased a house in Virginia. There is Colonial Blue Hardie Plank on the house. It was prepainted. It is peeling in 2 areas. One spot above the garage and another on the second story next to a window. I am wondering how to deal with this. The construction was finished and we purchased the house in December of 2006. I was not expecting to have to paint or replace siding for a long time and am disappointed. If this siding only fails when istalled incorrectly, and the guidelines for installation have changed since 2006- then how does JH determine if they will honor a warranty? And if they do not, is the homeowner simply out of luck or is the installer liable?

  • Sarah 4 YEARS AGO

    Billy C., don't be passive aggressive. Reuben has done a great job on this site. Cut him slack. Who knows what has happened.

  • Billy C 4 YEARS AGO

    To bad Reuben Saltzman has gone underground.

  • Ken 4 YEARS AGO

    There seems to be "chalking" or leaching on some of the planks. The work was completed in July/August 2012 and I noticed the chalking about two months ago. What would cause this and is there a solution?

  • Roland 4 YEARS AGO

    How do you install Hardie on round structures, waht is the minimum radius it can be applied onto I wonder.

  • Bill King 4 YEARS AGO

    Recently bought a house built in 2005. The house has hardie siding, but the 1x4 trim around the windows is wood. The trim wood is rotted and needs to be replaced. I want to replace the trim with hardie trim, but the original installers ran the siding all the way to the window frame, and the wood trim boards were placed on top of the siding. According to the hardie trim installation instructions, the siding should not run under the trim boards but should butt to the trim board with a minimum of 1/8" gap. Can instill use hardie trim boards with this? Thanks and please advise

  • Larry Rogers 4 YEARS AGO

    I have Hardie Siding on my manufactured home (7 years, so far no problems). I would like to attach a trellis to the back of my home. Is screwing or nailing something to hardie siding asking for trouble?

  • Janine Consiglio 4 YEARS AGO

    The builder asked If I want the "fixing" (attachment of planks) to be 1 nail at the top (which will be concealed) or 1 nail top and 1 nail at the bottom. The lower nails will be visable. Which is best? I would think one at the top and bottom would be stronger. But would not look as nice..

  • Siding Seattle 4 YEARS AGO

    Wow! Lots of good discussion generated from this blog post. I'm a siding contractor and for the most part like JH siding but regard it as the lower end of what is desirable. JH is a difficult company to deal with but their products if installed right are an attractive and relatively inexpensive option. Thanks for the thought provoking post and discussion. Lots of good info here. Siding Seattle

  • Canadian Contractor 4 YEARS AGO

    I was doing some research on potential siding options for my shed company in Quebec. This blog has been a real eye opener! Just read the 85 comments that began in Aug 2009! I have to say, I understand the many benefits of a fiber cement siding, but I now know the risks in a poor installation. More importantly however I try to make ethical decisions on the products I sell and install. Based on the history of this company and the immoral practices read about here and elsewhere on the net I can't in good conscience use this companies products. The final nail in the coffin was based on the book that was mentioned by 'KillBill' above on the nasty corporate past of James Hardie in regards to it's beginnings in the Asbestos industry in Australia. Wow. Just wow. Check out this short interview with the author. http://youtu.be/s55tyQmF0wM Thanks for the great blog Reuben!

  • Billy C 4 YEARS AGO

    I have just started the process for having my home resided. I thought Hardie was going to be the best product, now I not sure. Can anyone comment on a product called Celect by Royal Building Products. Thanks.

  • michelle 4 YEARS AGO

    We have pretty big gaps between our hardiplank siding and our roof. It looks awful because all you see is this huge line of silver flashing. We are trying to get our builder (Horrible DR Hortong) to do something about it, but they claim that they are backed by the hardi instructions even though NO other home in any of their developments have the amount of flashing that our home has showing. I call it our space ship house. HELP!

    • Reuben Saltzman 4 YEARS AGO

      Hi Michelle, it's a very simple cosmetic fix - a piece of bent-up aluminum or other trim at the bottom of the siding would make it look nice. The next time I come across this, I'll take a photo and post it here.

  • Sean 4 YEARS AGO

    I wish that I had come across this before. I recently had Titan Siding and Exteriors (www.titansiding.com) install James Hardie Siding at my home in Austin. They were very nice guys and seemed to do a great job, when I go out and look at it I don't see any of the issues above. I also don't really know anything about this. Would it be a good idea to pay a professional to come out and take a look at it now? I have only had it for a few months and so far have I have been very happy, but I don't want any nasty surprises 10 years down the line.

    • Reuben Saltzman 4 YEARS AGO

      Sean - I wouldn't. Take a look through the installation instructions for this product and compare that to what the installers did. If you don't see any issues, good.

  • Hardi Repair Guy 4 YEARS AGO

    I have steel on my home and love it!

  • cindy 4 YEARS AGO

    Wow..... we have been getting bids on a total residing job using HardiPlank and have, thankfully, discovered this blog before going any further. After all the negative comments, I am definitely thinking twice. If this is really the poor product it sounds like it is, what do you all recommend for siding?

  • Debby 4 YEARS AGO

    I am questioning the way Hardi distributes the product to a client. We had a delivery of the siding for our home and when the product showed up there was no Directions or Guide included. Why would they supply a product but no guide on how to install then expect someone to install properly? Is this an issue with Hardi or the supplier we used?

  • Sue 4 YEARS AGO

    DON'T DEAL WITH JAMES HARDIE ! We had the company themselves, not a contractor or other, and they themselves couldn't install the siding correctly. They used so few nails in the boards that the centers have noticeably bowed around all windows. Within in the year and continuing into year 3. Twice the bowing caused the double-paned, gas filled windows to break their seals, leak or crack. The company moved out of the area and now we have to deal with the HQ office which service and warranty follow thru is lacking. Our advise, and a few neighbors as well, AVOID JAMES HARDIE ! ! !

  • Harvey W. Goolsby, Architect 4 YEARS AGO

    I am recently married and my wife has sold her house in the Masonboro Forest part of Wilmington NC. As part of the 'home inspection" requiring address, there was a report of a delaminating (HardiePlank) on four dormers together with deteriorating trim at the vertical corners of these same dormers. (Not all corners, not all base clapboards). Heretofore, (before doing the repairs myself) I should have responded, " Concrete!...isn't affected by water!" I was wrong...and now have site information.. . The Dormers are fake (not leading to any usable interior space-only to truss space). They were installed as follows: 1. Shingles run up to and hard against the "Tyveck" of the dormer sheathing. (NO flashing...and certainly no stepped flashing interlaced with the shingles_) 2. HardiePlank (installation vintage.2000-2001) is within 1/4 to 1/2' of shingles) . The cut, sloping edge apparently absorbs water readily, and lower edge delamination is occuring generally. ( On my replacement bottom planks, I first primed all edges and surfaces and backprimed with alkyd enamel to deter future wicking). 3. "Prefinished, "cornerboards" of composite wood trim generally had turned to thick "stew" below the paint. Paint, actiong in tension held it together. The cut/beveled bottom edge was the source of wicking. (I replaced trim with 'concrete" boards, after sealing the bottom surface with "Bondo". Merging was done with fibered fiberglass paste. 4. The fascia boards of these dormers, returned to meet the main roof shingles. Clearance varied from zero (0) to 1" +-. Where it was close, rot had begun; I had to replace the fascia board (again, priming/backpriming...including cut wood on the sloped-to-match-roof cut edge) I sank two copper roofing nails so Cu SO4 will be generated when wetted...a personal tool gleaned from observing "Nothing grows on copper". (I could not use treated wood, because all being sold was so wet I'd have been a month before painting.) 5. The soffits, inboard of these fascia-returning-to-main roof, were all open at the roof-slope end to 'scoop" the available splash, hence rot. Dry ones were invitations to squirrel nesting...or whatever appreciates an elevated, dry niche...once one moves away from main-roof surface splash). Now I had earlier harbored a distant, but considered respect for this county's building inspectors. After all, it was an Inspector from Wilmington NC (New hanover County) who first stopped Dryvit from installing vapor barriers on the wrong side of foam insulation, hence rotting wood below. (I'd never made sense of their construct...since '74 when their rep first called) Now I suspect that all the "one-page" specs builders submit with plans for building permits include reference to "SMACNA Architectural Sheet Metal"...most do. Men have been bending metal for a long time, and learned how to shed water by gravity- without sealant. It's a history of acumulated success..all written, referenced. in submitted specifications...and ignored. In this entire subdivision-high end houses-there is no evidence of SMACNA's precepts being honored. (flashing shows when hardieplank is held "up' two inches) This means that these houses will experience rot and deterioration far sooner than needed, intended, or promised by documents submitted for construction. Perhaps detailed inspection and enforcement would be locally considered "government meddling...intrusion". Local homeowners will bear the unneeded, unplanned costs. Wilmington is not alone. Shame...and sigh. Respectfully, Harvey W. Goolsby,III, Architect.

  • Gil 4 YEARS AGO

    The City of Sydney, NS, Canada, promoted many downtown buildings to use cement board siding. Many business had it put on their buildings. I heard that it was mostly "Hardie" siding that was used. After about 3 years, you could walk past these buildings and see pealing paint on many buildings. I think most sidings ages, varied between 2 and 5 years. I just did a short walk and survey of the plank composite siding. 10 buildings seem good at this point. 10 buildings had various degrees of peeling, and obvious patch painting. One building in yellow color had some serious delaminating. The remaining yellow paint looked like shreds. Should anyone be in this area, take a walk down Charlotte street and check both the front and rear of buildings with the Hardie siding.

  • Lisa 4 YEARS AGO

    We are going to sign a contract to replace the James haridie siding. But the contractor could not do the job until Oct. After complete the job I need to paint the trim but I was told by painter that it would be too cold to paint in Nov. So we have to paint next Spring. My question is how much will my existing wood trim's paint will be damage during siding replacement (they will not do tough up paint). Can the trim go through the Winter without paint (Michigan)? Also, some of my wood trim needs to replace during siding repalcement. Could the newly wood trims (without paint) go throgh the Winter without paint? Thanks a lot! Lisa

  • Hardi Repair Guy 4 YEARS AGO

    killbill, I would agree. It is very dusty and dirty to work with.

  • KillBill 4 YEARS AGO

    James Hardi was an Australian company that ran off to Holland leaving a bankrupt asbestos litigation fund behind. An ethically challenged company to say the least. Read the book Killer Company: James Hardie Exposed is a 2009 book by Australian journalist Matt Peacock. Personal experience, my father has asbestosis while an uncle has died from mesothelioma. Two family friends have also died from Mesothelioma. While JH was probably not the the cause of the deaths in my circle, their unethical actions and treatment of of former employees is criminal. JH products no longer contain asbestos, but their business practices sound just like their old product—profitable for them, lethal to others.

  • Hardi Repair Guy 5 YEARS AGO

    Hi Steve, Sounds like it was not transported or stocked correctly. Best thing to do is not to use any of it and contact the regional Hardi Rep.

  • steve Sanow 5 YEARS AGO

    Just started siding a house after building a 600 sq. ft.addition. The whole house will be re-sided using 7 1/4 hardie plank with 6 inch exposure. Just opened a new unit and it appears the planks have a "crown" of 1/4 - 3/8" making it difficult to maintain a straight line over a 50 ft. run of siding. Have installed quite a bit of this siding and haven't run into this before. Do I have a "bad" unit of material? Thanks.

  • Rick Ruggles 5 YEARS AGO

    Great to come across this discussion group and topic. Anyone have experience with fiber cement shingles or shakes, by Hardie, Certaineed, or Nichiha? Thinking the individual shingles might not have as much trouble with water entry- no butt joints, less expansion/contraction but would love to hear what folks have to say. Thanks, Rick

  • SWhite 5 YEARS AGO

    Does anyone know who to call in the Dallas area for siding repair. My husband and I have the HardiPlank siding on the entire exterior of our home (purchased in 2001), and over the past year, we've noticed the siding is literally peeling away from the house. I have pending letters into the home builder, James Hardie Corp., and our insurance company - waiting for some kind of answer. But in the meantime, I am not sure if I should be worried about water getting in between the areas that are peeling away. Could that ruin our exterior walls or cause mold issues? I have read enough to know that for their warranty to be good (supposedly a limited 30-year-warranty), everything has to be according their instructions and standards. I am not sure what to do.....have it repaired, or replace everything (which I really cannot afford). We are totally frustrated and confused about where to turn for information. Anyway, if anyone has had feedback from them or results, let me know. I see most of these posts were a year or more ago. Thanks!

  • Jenny 5 YEARS AGO

    My house is seven years old and has hardiplank siding. The paint is peeling in many areas and other areas the siding is covered with midew. Is the a paint problem, installation problem? Should the builder replace the siding? We were told that the painting was does at the manufacturer when we had the house built but was told today by Hardi Plank that the builder had the siding painted. Now what can we do?

  • Reuben Saltzman 5 YEARS AGO

    @Stacy - I don't have copies of the 2003 installation instructions, but I do have 2001. I just posted them online, you can download them here - http://www.structuretech1.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/James-Hardie-2001-Instructions.pdf

  • Stacy Maliszewski 5 YEARS AGO

    I am looking for the 2003 and 2001 Installation Instructions...can I get those sent to me that Old Hardie Guy had? That would be much appreciated!

  • Hinda Rosenberg 5 YEARS AGO

    To CC - post dated 6/18/11 Could you give the name of the new contractor if you are satisfied with his work? I live on Long Island and am thinking of residing with Hardie. Thanks

  • Concerned Parent 5 YEARS AGO

    I have heard the dust from JH material is dangerous for your health, so my question is, Why put this on your home where you raise your children, it's like having asbestos siding on your home!

    • Reuben Saltzman 5 YEARS AGO

      Concerned Parent - many people have asbestos siding on their homes, and this doesn't pose any type of risk to the occupants. The fibers from either types of siding won't be released unless the siding is sanded or cut using a power tool.

  • jimmy mac 6 YEARS AGO

    I am a architectural designer/inspector on the east coast of Canada and was one of the first to design/spec the product in the area. Like any new technology it is a balance of wanting a promising new product to advance but not wanting be one of the first generations to use it. Products improve with use, feed back and re-engineering. I think Hardi has changed it's product/ installation instructions accordingly and in some case's still not enough. Keep your original dated installation specifications staple them to the warranty. When purchasing the product ask If there is a JH inspector "inspecting" your installation. Let them know you want a written site inspection report included on your final installation as a requirement before signing the deal. This is not an attack on the product or the company and applies to any material warranty that is being inspected. Many companies offer this take advantage just have something in hand that stand up in court. Make sure the preferred contractor knows you want the signed documents in hand prior to you making final payment for the installation. If they have a separate contract form have them include it in the agreement. They will make sure it is inspected and will no doubt take better care of your installation. Rain screen principles must be applied in any siding and it should never touch the sheathing membrane (house wrap). You want the venting and pressure equalization and let gravity deal with leaks. All siding leaks or should be thought to. Use proper dammed flashing at opening heads or trim caps, changes in direction at gables etc should have a formed drip and be lapped by the sheathing membrane . I would never spec or use the corner trims again I find solid poly works fine or good old primed all sides and ends wood. I am currently building a garage project for myself and can experiment. I am using Hardi siding above, at and below grade. Below grade I am trying a high end penetrating encapsulation process. I will let you know how it goes more importantly I will let JH. At areas around entry's and o/d doors where you can't keep grade down I have installed a ceder clapboard, it will take the abuse and stained to match can't be seen. All cladding needs maintenance and I recommend re-staining within the first 2 years of installation and it last many more before needing to be done again. Safety has not been mentioned on this blog and should. Cement cladding usually contains silica and can cause http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicosis It should not be cut with power tools but one can't score and break it in any fashion that is suitable to my taste. I cut mine with a hand saw holding my breath outside on a windy day. Installers be concerned of long term exposure in confine areas using power tools. It is an inert product otherwise so should not be a problem to home owners but then again we heard that of asbestos and urea formaldehyde.

    • Reuben Saltzman 6 YEARS AGO

      Jimmy - thanks for the comments. I'm interested to hear what happens with your garage experiment. You're completely right about the safety issues when cutting this product, but I didn't mention it in my list of installation defects because, well, it doesn't belong. If you're going to cut the product, the best way is to use a respirator. Maybe I'm being a little overly cautious, but with the amount of warning labels that James Hardie puts on their products about cutting, I won't cut the stuff without a respirator, windy day or not.

  • Siding Repair Guy 6 YEARS AGO

    JT, This is common practice to use shims made of cardboard on all types of siding, you should feel good that they used shims because some installers don't bother putting them in.


    Okay, siding is completed, other than caulking and painting. I noticed when the lap was being put up the installers used strips of cardboard (cut with a box knife off of a cardboard box) attached vertically over the house wrap and under the siding. I asked why this was being done and why they were using strips of cardboard. I was told they had to shim some areas to make sure the lap lays flat and there are no waves when looking down the wall. Makes sense to me, but why the cardboard? I asked if that was okay thinking if it was to get wet it would just deteriorate. I was told it's okay. I asked the contractor who said he talked to the local JH rep, who also said it was okay, however I called JH myself and talked to their tech department. They told me the use of shims is fine however not shims made of cardboard. Has anyone heard of this before? Any thoughts here?


    We live in NE Kansas and are currently in the middle of a JH Colorplus lap siding project with Greenguard Raindrop house wrap and Sturdi Mount's for the spigots, lights, and faucets. The contractor we're using is listed on the JH website as a "preferred contractor". The project got off to a slow start due to an issue with part of the product order not being available on the day we were supposed to begin, as well as a few days the crew which is supposed to work on our job has been finishing up another job, but other than that we're in full swing. It has been a little irritating since I've called the local JH rep a few times requesting he come to our site to inspect as JH states they'll do, however after two voice mails I've yet to receive a call back. After mentioning to our contractor that I had contacted the local JH rep requesting he could look over the installation, the contractor (who knows the local JH rep as I'm sure most who are on the JH web site listed as a JH "preferred contractor" do) told me a couple of days later he spoke to the local JH rep and has it set up for him to show up on site sometime before the project is complete. I thought it a little strange that the local JH rep has not returned my two voice mails I left for him yet he's now available to view the project after the contractor doing our job got a hold of him. Again, just a little frustrating. There are a few things I wanted to make sure with the local JH rep so the warranty would not be void, such as the use of carboard strips installed over the house wrap and under the lap siding in a few areas to have all the lap lay flat, and in several lap pieces securing the bottom of loose lap pieces with small nails. Just wanted to make sure we're not spending all this money only to find out JH will not warranty their product later should be have any issues.

  • Reuben Saltzman 6 YEARS AGO

    CC - thanks for the update.


    Just an update.. regional manager of hardie is still trying to get Old contractor to leave / and get new contractor in to remove what he has done so far which isnt much ( but all not right) and have new contractor take over job .. I also have contacted an inspector from site you gave me to do a report to protect myself as well incase this ends up in court .. will let you know.. thanks again I Love your advice on all and find your other information all great as well .. we changed joists last year under deck and did use joist screws .. the only ones you say can replace nails .. I was happy to see we did it right! You are helping people ..wish you were on Long Island ..lol.. !

  • Reuben Saltzman 6 YEARS AGO

    For an independent home inspector, go to www.ashi.org.


    Can you tell me where to fins and independent inspector ? When the hardie inspectors came out they said the work was sloppy. They agreed they wouldnt want these guys to do their house . At first they said they would throw them off job and even brought another contractor to my house and said these guys would do a great job.. isnt that nice! . But now tell me I have to work it out with these bad installers since I have a contract . I really dont know what to do . This is just awful. Hardie woudnt want them so now hwo do I get money back and get the new crew? I am so mixed up ! please help and thanks

  • Siding Repair Guy 6 YEARS AGO

    You may want to hire a independent inspector to check over the job


    I am currently have James Hardie siding put on my home . The siding seems good. Using a "preferred" installer and basically think the company stuck me the a lemon installer . Had my 1st inspection yesterday and said he didnt do anything critical to warranty but needs to fix some other stuff . I couldnt be at meeting because my son was having surgery . I think this installer is not using Hardie best practices or even good ones. yet HARDIE doesnt seem to care even though they recommended him!

  • Siding Repair Guy 6 YEARS AGO

    Hi Gayle, The company (james hardie) does not want anything touching their product and they will not stand behind their own product if any fasteners petrude through their product, so you will be doing this at your own risk. They will also tell you that the metal artwork will trap water and would not recommend putting it up.

  • Gayle 6 YEARS AGO

    I saw this blog and appreciated all the insight into the product. I wonder if anyone can provide us some information on Hardie Panels. We live in WA state and are looking at residing using the panels -- not planks. We have been told about the trim issues and will be using another option. But we have also been informed once the siding is up, we can not put any external decorations on the home using nails or screws because it will void the panel warranty. I currently have large metal artwork on two sides of my home and want to put it back up so am concerned about this issue. Would it be ok to use screws or nails if caulked to prevent any moisture from getting into the fiber materials of the panel? Any info on the panel product would be most appreciated. Thank you.

  • Siding Distributor 6 YEARS AGO

    Rueben, The chipped edge is a problem and leads to paint failure do to moisture wicking. This is why hardie is changing their board yet agian to another design. I thinke we are now moving to the 8th generation in the past 10 years. As for the install instructions they really do change every year.

  • Stephen Hill 6 YEARS AGO

    Great blog. I am an architect and have done numerous multi-family projects with Hardieplank siding. I did one in 2004. Can anyone email me a copy of the Hardieplank installation instructions that were in force at that time. I would really appreciate it.

  • Siding Repair Guy 6 YEARS AGO

    Hi Tom, Yes I work on homes like your all the time and I do not believe this a good product due to the problems your having, this is very common for hardie to fall apart and crumble.

  • Tom Morgan 6 YEARS AGO

    Had Hardie installed when house was built in spring, 2000. Garage door trim was immediately replaced as it had been recently announced by Hardie that there were moisture retainage issues where Hardie came in contact with the ground, such as a driveway. Three years later, siding over deck replaced. Now, fascia (25 feet off the ground) is severely crumbling. Anyone heard of this? I've read the comments, and instructions, and have heard of my other two issues, but not this one. Shingles overhang properly. I'd appreciate thoughts anyone has. I'm in the process of submitting a warranty claim with a request that the prorated stipulation be waived.

  • old hardie guy 6 YEARS AGO

    RE: Preferred Installer "Fiber Cement Installer" I feel your pain- Our business does a similar volume of fiber cement (and has for a long time)- Hardie will feed you leads IF you ONLY push color plus. As a "Preferred Installer" Some prospective clients will in fact believe you to be an authority on the product. In our market some of the "preferred installers" even take it a step further to say that Hardie will "inspect all their work" or worse yet infer non- preferred installers are not "gauranteed"- The reality is that none of the above is true. As business you have to decide if the "free leads" are worth the sacrifice. As indicated in my previous post- I believe the HZ5 tapered edge to be a real problem on the lap siding. I do agree with Rueben in that the chipped edges are aesthetic BUT most potential fiber cement clients select this product for its superior aesthetics and durability. Edges which easily chip defeat the purpose.... I hope Hardie fixes that issue---? But in the mean time, Hardie can keep its leads. I will continue to give my clients honest product recommendations based on their needs (And let word of mouth/ referrals / reputation take care of the rest). I would not drop Certainteed for Hardie if I were you. I think you will continue to see the market shift towards Certainteed unless JH really starts taking care of its customers (both primed and Colorplus).

  • Siding Repair Guy 6 YEARS AGO

    I have been repairing or fixing James Hardie Siding for many years and I would not recommend this product to anyone.

  • Fiber Cement Installer 6 YEARS AGO

    This blog continues to be the best site on the web about James Hardie. I was recently approached by the Hardie guys about becoming a Preferred Installer. They wanted me to commit to using only their product (stop using CertainTeed Weatherboard) and to move 70% of my business (90-100 homes a year) to JH prefinished. In exchange for this I would receive a Preferred Contractor Badge and get listed on their website. The question I have is... how do you continue to grow your business in a very competitive marketplace by selling a higher priced final product that consumers don't necessarily want to buy? The number of prefinished jobs completed in our market is very small when compared to primed. This is due to my markets professional installers belief that the primed product is actually better. Product handling prior to installation on the wall will always be an issue... even with the big distributors. Prefinished siding isn't about having a better product in the marketplace. Prefinished siding is about additional profit from a line extension. Sales were down 11% from 2009 to 2010, but EBIT margin increased 3.8% during this same time period because of the higher margins in prefinished siding.

  • Hardie Guy 6 YEARS AGO

    It doesnt make sense at all. The smaller reveal has more peices per 100 sq. ft. so it would technically take a bit longer to install. That being said 25% longer is rediculous even if you were installing 4" reveal. The length of time is minimal between sizes.

  • jim 6 YEARS AGO

    We recently installed 7.25 ", 6" reveal smooth Hardie lap siding on an old house. Our installers told us that the 6" reveal Hardie siding took about 25 percent more time to install than 5.5 " or less reveal. Does that make sense to anybody out there please ? Any information will be much appreciated. And---we are not fighting with the installers.

  • Another Old Sider 6 YEARS AGO

    I have 35 years of construction experience with the majority of it spent in exterior finishing. I recently became a desk jockey, but my heart is still outdoors. Interesting blog. I just want to say that if we combine the best of the old ways with the new, we may come up with winning combinations. For example, using a polymer web behind a James Hardie installation in a damper climate might be the best way to avoid the wicking and the moisture related delaminating. This is a similar method to using firring strips, only there is equalised support all the way along the sding panels. We have done this on a number of Hardie jobs to great effect. As Old Hardie Guy pointed out, using the updated techniques and common sense should give an adequate, durable installation - if you add the air flow behind the siding (as has been done for decades with wood siding products) you should get superior performance from the siding. The issue of the trim is an ongoing one. I NEVER recommend the use of Cementinous trim on a building for the reasons pointed out by others - it delaminates fairly quickly and starts to disintegrate. In every instance where I had any influence in the final decision as to a trim for cementinous siding application, the choice I put forward is between Smart Trim (a wood composite trim with a rough grain finish) and natural wood (spruce or cedar). I prefer the Smart Trim beacause 1) it can be pre-finished in colours to match/compliment James Hardie colours, and 2) it does not shrink, expand, twist, or bow and will maintain it's structural appearance for a long time. I am currently in the process of replacing the siding on my own home, and I am installing a pre-finished cementinous siding with Smart trim corners and accents (belly band, gable bands, and window trim). My wife loves it, and I know that I won't need to worry about the exterior finish as an old guy trying to climb up a ladder. Someone asked about Smart Siding. I personally prefer the cementinous siding (James Hardie, or Certainteed) with the Smart trim as above. The cost is not much different in most markets - actually in mine, the cementinous is cheapewr than either Cedar or Smart siding. The performance of the product is comparable, they do look a bit different from each other, and I believe you should choose the one which visibly appeals most to you.

  • zacklineman 6 YEARS AGO

    I wanted to thank everyone for the insight regarding James Hardie fiber cement siding. I was leaning in that direction because I think it looks much better than vinyl siding, but now I have decided to steer clear of it. Good info, thanks again!

  • Al Rippman 6 YEARS AGO

    RE: Old Hardi Guy or Reuben, Looking for copies of install guides from 2002/2003 to make sure our contractor installed it correctly. Thank You, Al

    • Reuben Saltzman 6 YEARS AGO

      Hi Al, I'm quite certain that the 2001 installation instructions would still apply; they don't change the installation manual every year.

  • big 1 6 YEARS AGO

    I am building a new house and has anyone heard of Hardie siding retaining moisture on the back side and making the paint blister and peel off in 4-6 years?

  • big k 6 YEARS AGO

    On the post about home inspectors paying to be on Edina Realtys preferred list--- it is sooooo true! I got suckered into using ***EDITED*** inspection service and that guy did not know his head from a hole in the ground! He just skipped over things he should have inspected and then wrote up many things and when i brought them to the attention of the city building inspector, He laugh and said that nothing was really incorrect about the items and felt bad for me that i was suckered into using ***EDITED***! The inspector from ***EDITED*** never checked my furnance, said i didnt have a garbage disposal( shoulda made him stick his hand in the little round hole in the right side of the sink while i flipped the switch) and never even checked the foundation. He did write up i had some scratches on my window sill(from the darn cat) the overflow pipe off the T&P valve on the water heater which is copper,should have been galvanized pipe????, etc.. Im in St. Paul and these guys are Morons, same category as the ***EDITED*** Realtors i HAD from the ***EDITED*** Office. Watch out for ***EDITED*** Realty Co. They are not to be trusted, period....

  • Granny Lin 6 YEARS AGO

    I live in NE Kansas where it's humid & moistureis always a problem. My place has some of the old ...don't know what it's call ...looks like pressed wood that I understand the manufacture actually rebated back $$ on. I'm not original owner so never knew anything about the lawsuit. I must re-side with something...I was all sold on Hardie prefinished but now I'm having second thoughts. Is this a good product for this area? Neighbors around the corner had something called "Smart Siding" put on & said it was like Hardie board only more reasonable in price. Any comments, guidance or suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks.

  • DeDe Wylie 6 YEARS AGO

    I just got the Hardie bomb dropped on me. our house is covered with efflorescence that they claim is a "storage" problem not a finish problem. We have Color Plus prefinished on our house. the insist that this is an exclusion but if you read the exclusions, it is ambiguously worded. I have a feeling we are in for a fight. They say contact installer and the installer, if they didn't let it get WET will have to fight it out with the supplier. that is ridiculous. Does anyone else have efflorescence issues or can shed light? thanks and if wetness causes this, then should this product be outside in the RAIN? Duh!

  • Tom Tamlyn 6 YEARS AGO

    Very interesting blog. Without being too commercial, Tamlyn makes recommended trim for James Hardie (flashing, corners, etc) in all the ColorPlus options. We have worked closely with James Hardie since 1995. We look forward to hearing comments good and bad on our products and how we can improve to make the overall jobs longer lasting and aesthetically attractive.

  • NS-Boo 6 YEARS AGO

    RE: Old Hardie Guy- Would very much like the Hardie Install PDF's showing the inconsistencies in installation instructions, especially those for Aug 2004 and later. Thx, NS-Boo

  • Paul 6 YEARS AGO

    Reuben, I'm also looking for installation instructions from the 2001 to 2004 time frame. If you have them I'd appreciate it if you could send me any install manuals for Hardie siding during that period. Thanks in advance. Paul

  • 2001 install instructions- HELP ! 6 YEARS AGO

    My comment is to "old hardi guy" Do you have 2001 installation instructions ? we have a libility claim from a multi familly project we did 10 years ago. I have been scouring the internet trying to get a copy. Please respond if you have them. Thanks, Scott

    • Reuben Saltzman 6 YEARS AGO

      He did, and he sent them to me. I'll send them to you.

  • Mark 6 YEARS AGO

    Considering installing Hardie siding, but sales rep for installation company cautioned me that Hardie will require repainting every 7 years. He said the Hardie looks pretty bad after that timeframe. Can anyone confirm this? Seems to be a major drawback, potentially offsetting the benefits Hardie has to offer.

  • Susan 7 YEARS AGO

    I have Hardi siding and trim on my home. Installed in about 2004, pre-primed and coated with first coat of the recommended surface cover. Second coat applied as instructed. Took only a couple of years for the trim to begin to peel apart. Hardi sent a guy out that said it was due to surface contact. I have trim that in only in contact with other hardi product that is peeling apart and trim on roof lines that is not falling apart. The theory seems incorrect. The offered me a settlement that does not begin to cover the cost of getting this junk off my home and replaced. Any suggestions on how to get a fair settlement and what product to us to replace the trim would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Erin Minder 7 YEARS AGO

    I heard the Hardie siding was fire proof, woodpecker proof and termite proof, also Hail proof, by what I am reading I am wondering how it can be hail proof if it is so fragile, would you say it was better than Vinyl?

    • Reuben Saltzman 7 YEARS AGO

      Erin - it's really just a tapered edge that ends up getting chipped. These chips don't compromise the performance of the product, they're just cosmetic. In my humble opinion, James Hardie siding is superior to vinyl siding in almost every aspect.

  • old hardie guy 7 YEARS AGO

    My market has Hardie HZ5 which has a sharp tapered edge at the bottom of the lap- This edge is extremley fragile (unlike the "old" squared edge). It has only been out for 6-7 months and we are already hearing complaints at "traffic areas" such as decks, entries, and flower beds. The edge on the new HZ5 product is so fragile you can chip the product with your finger nail. If you are considering the HardiePanel- I would stay away from the prefinished panel UNLESS you will be using their battens every 16" to cover the nail heads as the touchups at the nail heads will be an eyesore. You might consider comparing Certainteeds Fibercement product (primed and then field painted?). They do not have the sharp tapered edge on the lap siding, and carry a 50 year warranty on their siding AND TRIM vs Hardie 30 year siding 10 year trim. I am also a big fan of Traditional Stucco (Properly Applied!*) I would stay away from "acrylic stucco", EIFs, Dryvit, ect.

  • old hardie guy 7 YEARS AGO

    Laurie- If your looking at James Hardie Color Plus (lap?) Make sure you are comfortable with the appearance of the lap seams (but joints)- I have sent Reuben pics (he can forward or post)- The main issue being you cannot caulk the seams (the caulking does not match). Also- you might check what hardie zone product is sold in your market- Hardie made changes to their product fall 2009. These changes are marketed as HARDIEZONE (essentially different My market has James Hardie HZ5 which

  • Laurie Abelman 7 YEARS AGO

    As a private homeowner, looking to replace siding, what would you professionals recommend. I live in Colorado. I am looking at James Hardie Color Plus, and Stucco. Can't make up my mind. Any advice, or other product thoughts?

    • Reuben Saltzman 7 YEARS AGO

      Personally, I'd go with a cement siding product. It holds up well, and I think it looks great.

  • old hardie guy 7 YEARS AGO

    Old installation instructions (2-3 pages) I almost certainly have and will send. "Old Installation Manuals / Old Best Practices" are a different matter as they were not distributed (if they existed at all). It is that lack of specifics (2 Pages VS 30+)which I have an issue with as many of the premature failures homeowners are experiencing could have been avoided with more specific guidance. Of course (before becoming so popular) a 30 page JH installation manual would have "scared off" most "would be" installers, DYI's, and builders. Worst Case scenario they would have sold a few less projects in the short run. Did Hardie really not know the limitations of its product-? Or was the bar simply lowered to increase sales? Its also noteworthy that southern markets (texas) have different guidelines than northern markets. Hardie also sold products in Texas that they would not sell (or did only for a short time) to northern markets (as these products would "catastrophically" fail in freeze/thaw climates). The real problem states border "Hardie Zones" (think Missouri, Kansas, ect) where it gets hot, frozen, wet, and/or dry--- sometimes within the same month! A little trial and error (with other people's $) never hurt anyone right? I'm sure these issues have all been resolved with HardieZone!

  • old hardie guy 7 YEARS AGO

    I'm a former JH preferred contractor (6+ yrs)- In 6 years we had ONE 1/2 day training session. The "preferred remodeler program is, at this point, just a marketing tool to ensure ColorPlus gets sold. Provided you can deal with Hardie's Heavy Handed Politics and sell nothing but James Hardie ColorPlus they will send you a ton of leads. I got off the hardie "bandwagon" once I started seeing the 7/16 trim product totally delaminate within 2 years. This product ( discontinued in my market) was the same composition as the plank and panel product. I too have seen plenty of poor FC installations BUT with respect to "proper installation"--Compare installation guidelines/instructions/ legacy reports (Hardie Panel) of around 2004 to the current? THEY ARE VASTLY DIFFERENT even though the product didn't "change" until last fall. It seems like JH is adapting their standards as they go (probably due to product failures in NORTHERN markets). There is ALOT of product out there "properly" installed under the old installation guidelines during the last 4-6 years that is staring to deliminate / crumble / mildew (Kansas, Missouri, Iowa). My point being, as these failures arise (3-6 years later) is it fair to judge the installation based on 2009/10 provided guidlines??? Or should we look at the information provided to the installer by James Hardie at the time?? I have old installations I know I would have done differently had the "correct" information been available. A previous poster had mentioned Masonite and LP ( I am not a fan of either) BUT I will say that in my market, I am seeing Hardie Failing Faster than those products in the same (or more preferable) applications. It makes me wonder how those products might have done IF installed under the 2010 hardie guidelines--- (2 real coats of paint, 2" rooflines, 6" grade, sealed edges/penetrations, kickout flashings, 1/4" off old all flashings-tapered)

    • Reuben Saltzman 7 YEARS AGO

      Old Hardie Guy - thank you for reading. Your comments echo what other former James Hardie installers have said - they seem to be a difficult partner to work with! If you have any of their older installation manuals, I would be very interested in looking them over to see exactly what has changed. I don't have any of their old manuals. Thanks!

  • joe gargagliano 7 YEARS AGO

    Hello, We are in the Charlotte market and are installers are well familiar with fiber cement products for over 8 years. Our crews are well trained and as in some cases with any installer there are occasional mistakes made which we remedy very quickly. My problem is this: in my area James Hardie has a select group of installers which they like to use(usually because these installers lower the labor rates enough to justify using Color-Plus rather then primed) and James Hardie calls these installers "certified" We have gone through all of James Hardie's training and yet they say we are not certified and will tell our own builders this, and reccomend other "certified installers". James Hardie will not give any documentation whatsoever to us for the training that we have done and they make up the rules as they go along. Case in point, at one time you could not use any product except Hardie trim on James Hardie products or it would void the product warranty. NVR comes along and signs a deal with James Hardie and presto, vinyl corners, all with warranties! Am I the only one who feels this way, that James Hardie plays by no rules and sees that James Hadie will stop at nothing to get a deal passed? Don't get me wrong, James Hardie makes a good product but they are poorly trained in people skills, stretch the truth, and would throw you under the bus for a couple of dollars a square.......anyone want to try to disprove me? Joe Gargagliano

    • Reuben Saltzman 7 YEARS AGO

      Very interesting Joe. You're not the only one that feels this way - check out the rest of the comments below. That's too bad they do this, and that's a crazy story about the vinyl siding corners.

  • Re-side with David Mills 7 YEARS AGO

    This is an interesting blog about James Hardie Siding written by a home inspector. The point that Reuben makes is true with most building products... they are only as good as their installation. It is important to have your James Hardie Siding installed by a contractor that will follow the installation guidelines and has had experience installing fiber cement. Check references and past installations... and don't rely on the James Hardie Preferred Contractor Badge as a guarantee that work will be performed correctly. It's a political reward for contractors that install only their products in most markets. I have installed fiber cement on over 700 homes since 2003 and I am alarmed at the number of bad fiber cement installations that I see. Installations which will not be covered by warranty when they fail. In my opinion… these two manufacturers should create an installation certification program and limit access to their products or they might become the next LP and Masonite.

    • Reuben Saltzman 7 YEARS AGO

      That's an interesting take on the "Preferred Contractor Badge." I had no idea, but I believe you. We have a similar title in my industry, where real estate companies / offices will have "recommended home inspectors". They're "recommended" because they paid to be put on a list - for an example, click here http://www.edinarealty.com/vendorsearch/VendorSearchResults.aspx?Category=500007. A certification program would be a good idea... of course homeowners like myself couldn't buy the stuff then, but at least it would be done right. Maybe something similar to the certification required for PEX? Thanks for reading!

  • gerod 7 YEARS AGO

    Good comment on the Hardiplank installation we have done over 1000 installations in siding seattle homes it works well if you know what you are doing. I would not recomend fiber cement siding for DIY projects. www.siding-seattle.com siding seattle

  • Remodeling Contractors Palatine 7 YEARS AGO

    I think that when you are remodeling you want to be around the project as much as possible! If you can do a lot of it yourself that helps on quality and money. Usually the best job done is the one you do because you know how you want it done and you want it done nicely because you’ll be seeing it everyday - the contracter wont! Thanks for this blog it had a lot of great information!

  • Chad 7 YEARS AGO

    Requirements are very similar to what is required for EIFS installations. Key building fundamental to remember is you want for the building to leak and not to wick (why separation from grade, sidewalks and roofs).

  • Hank 7 YEARS AGO

    Being just a lay-person, this seems like an awful lot of requirements to have it installed properly. Is this normal for other types of siding too?

    • Reuben Saltzman 7 YEARS AGO

      Yes, just about any other type of siding will have similar installation requirements.