DIY Hardie Siding

22 Replies

My new house needs siding. I am pretty handy but I have never had any experience with Hardie lap siding. Is this something a non professional can take on? I have done a bit of cedar lap siding and once you got the hang of it things went fast and smoothly.

Also do you put the trim down first and butt the siding up to it or does it matter? The other house I own has wood siding and the trim was installed on top of the siding.

super easy to install but heavy and awkward to carry and maneuver. 

have a helper and there are strips that go on er the butt joints to protect the edges.  

not that cheaper than siding,  that's the downfall. II just go withsiding by hiring someone. 

The trim goes first 1/8 of a gap between trim and siding.  There needs to be a drip edge at the bottom or a starter strip for run off.  Never nail on the sides and one inch from the top.  You need to stagger you lap at least 3 rows.  Use a finishing nailer and a lap siding gun.  Anything else will destroy the siding.  A level of 4ft or longer, chalk line, lap clamp, joint flashing, hardie saw blade, and a good saw for professional cuts.  James hardie has a web site hopefully the video will help.

P.S.  a vapor barrier is a must behind the lap siding.


@Michael McCartney You can certainly do it yourself but you'll find it easier to have a helper because the planks are somewhat fragile. 

It can be difficult to cut without having the right tools. You can use a circular saw with a special blade but that creates a lot of dust so I prefer to use Hardie shears. There are also special Hardie plank hangers that hold and space the siding for you.  I highly recommend getting a pair. 

Corner trim usually goes up first and the siding butts up to it with a 1/8" gap. You could put the corner trim over the siding but I wouldn't do it that way, for a lot of reasons. 

Like most things, it's not hard but it does require attention to detail. 

Originally posted by @Michael McCartney :

Thanks @George P. @Rod Sanford and @Art Allen. I for sure will have a helper and I have been looking at those siding clamps that help the spacing and also holds the board for you. I have read about the flashing and have seen several videos. Do you know if they make joint flashing or will I have to buy a roll of thin metal and make my own?

 There are several kinds of siding gauges made.  I've used them all and think these are the best:

Don't use metal flashing at the joints; it will corrode from being in contact with the cement in the siding.  You can use a roll of flashing tape to make splines or even just use strips of felt paper.  Make sure you use the proper nails and place them correctly.

 Have fun!

The fiber cement siding can be installed first, then you can put your corner boards over the siding. It depends on the application and the complexity of the area you're working on. If you buy the custom colors, make sure you get the color matched caulking and primer and prime all the cuts.

Check out the installation instructions on any of the products, you will void the warranty if you put the siding within 2 in. Of any roofs or decks. Be sure to use bigger flashing or trim against any of those surfaces.

......also. Do not buy the shears, unless you want to have a hard time making the finished product look nice. They are hard to use and make horrible cuts. A skill saw or mitre box with a hardi blade is best to use. Also, you can get hardi jig saw blades for notches, which makes better looking out for the dust also. Tenants might complain and file law suits for airborne pollutants.

......also. Never use a finish nailer to install fiber cement, unless you want it to end up on the ground. Someone in an earlier post suggested that. Ring shank siding gun nails work the best!!!

I agree with Michael. The shears are expensive and hard to use. Mine is a paper weight now. The dust is also a problem. Thats why I have started using the smart siding which has the same guarantee. If you are in SA look at the McCoys on the north loop and they will have both products in stock. Let them help you compare the two products. If you are not in a hurry I will be doing a job in New Braunfels next month (hopefully) and maybe I can offer some free advice on the project.

Best of luck

Ever thought about J P Smart siding,,,more diy friendly,,,much lighter and better product I am told.  Havent used it myself but will instead of stupid vinyl that gets hailed off the wall.

@Michael Letarte No way! I actually might take you up on that offer. I could even swing a hammer or help out for a few hours at no cost to you! I was also wondering where they sold the siding, it is a pain to find if you're not a contractor or installer. They have some at home depot but I was looking to not go with the cedarmill cut but something a little more architecturally friendly like the colonial smooth or the beaded smooth.

@Beau Romstedt do you know where a diyer can purchase different types of hardie siding? I am not a fan of the cedarmill cut that is only offered at home depot or lowes. Is there a way for me to order directly from James Hardie?

@Don Meinke I will check it out. I am pretty particular about that profile I want so I will see if they offer different options.

I'm not sure why some of you guys don't like the shears. I think they work great and it's nice having no dust. Sometimes it's necessary to clean up the cuts a bit with a surform plane but that only takes a second.  My shears cost $180.00 and are worth every penny.  I would never go back to the dust and rapidly dulled, expensive saw blades.  Everyone has their own methods though.   :)

I agree that you should not use finish nails though sometimes I will if it's a column of very narrow pieces, e.g. between a corner and a door, where a full-size nail would split the piece. 

I have not used the relatively new pre-finished Hardie but I want to and might on my next house.  Has anyone here used it?  What were your impressions?

@Account Closed

I must admit it may have been operator error on my part on the shears. I am a bit old school and its hard to change my ways. Other people I know and respect in the trade love them too and others like me don't. They may work real good for him. Mostly I just use the Smart Siding now unless asked to use Hardi. 

@Account Closed

Forgot to mention that one time I did use the prefinished scalloped "shingles". I thought it worked fine with the color matched caulk. The problem I had was the customer was very picky and we ended up painting it anyway. Oh well, I guess the owner and archy didnt agree on that one. But it did turn out nice. 

I would try a Menards, ABC Supply, or Sutherlands. I believe they will have one of those in your area and usually can order in other Hardie products they may not stock on a daily basis. 

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