One of the most important decisions that you will have to make when building or remodeling your home is, what to cover the Exterior of the house with and what is it going to look like?
Since this was not our first home we had some experience choosing exterior building materials from past experience. This is our 5th home and we have bought some new, and some were... well used. Our experience with the older homes helped us make important decisions when building this one. Let me explain.
Our primary concerns were beauty and longevity. We have always liked the look of siding. Mixed with brick or cultured Stone, it makes for a real Americana look. With this in mind, we set out to find high grade long lasting beautiful siding.
If any of you have owned a home with wooden siding for any length of time you have probably had the same experience as I have. The wooden siding requires regular maintenance and painting or it will deteriorate and need replacing. This of course is very expensive and time consuming if you do it yourself. That ruled out wooden siding and most of the composite wood products do not hold up for the long term either.
Another choice is vinyl siding which I am not too fond of. I am sure they have improved it greatly over the years but my experience with it was not a good one. The vinyl siding we had, disfigured and sagged a little in place making the whole wall look bad.
On the plus side Hardie Board is primarily made of concrete. It is a fibrous concrete board that termites don't eat. This is good news for warmer climates where termites stay active most of the year.
Hardie siding is also impervious to moisture. You can put it in a pail of water and leave it for as long as you like and it will not become saturated. It takes paint very well and comes pre-primed. It comes in many designs and patterns that will compliment any style home.
Go have a look at the James Hardie Website for more details.
On the minus side it is brittle. Unlike wood it does not bend very well. It is heavier than wood in the same proportions (remember it is primarily fibrous concrete).
You have to pre-drill holes to hammer nails into it if you are not using a nail gun or it will crack or shatter. Our cornice carpenters had no problem with it, they made installation look easy.
Hardie board is a great product because of longevity and bugs don't like it. If you are doing your own work you are going to have to acquire a little bit of a new technique to install it but I think it is worth the trouble.
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