Hardie board, or plank, siding is an exterior building material made from sand, cement and cellulose fibers. It needs little maintenance and is durable and sturdy. The siding was developed by the James Hardie company in Australia, but it is available worldwide.
Hardie board comes in a variety of finishes, including stucco, wood clapboards and cedar shingles. It stands up well to the elements and is fire resistant. In general, Hardie board is less expensive than wood shingles but more costly than vinyl siding, as of 2015. Though Hardie board is available pre-finished with a 15-year warranty, consumers also have the option of painting the siding after purchase.
Like other fiber cement siding, Hardie board weighs more than vinyl or engineered wood. However, it is not as heavy as actual wood or stone. Because fiber cement siding is more difficult to cut than real wood, installers must use pneumatic or handheld shears, a dust-reducing circular saw or a diamond-tip miter saw. The cutting process produces silica dust, so during this stage of installation workers should wear protective masks.
Hardie board should be kept dry. If installed wet, or even damp, the ends shrink as they dry out, marring the appearance of the project. Therefore, fiber cement siding should be kept dry before use, such as in a storage shelter.