Hardie Board is an upcoming siding in the United States and Canada from James Hardie that provides a very unique and aesthetically pleasing siding. It is known for being highly impact resistant and really making a home stand out among it’s neighbours due to it’s relatively new arrival in the world of building products.
Siding contractors here in Toronto have complained about the weight of the product and difficulty cutting on site and installing. Although the hardie siding isn’t overly thick, it’s dense, cementitious nature makes it incredibly heavy in the long boards that it comes in. This makes not only lifting but also maneuvering it into place so that you can attach it difficult. That being said, once it is finally installed, it is very abrasive and impact resistant – meaning that it will last decades.
But all is not well. There are reports coming out of the states on projects that have been built for a few years about water infiltration, and mould growth due to improper installation procedures. The problem starts with the recommendation to use the outdated building wrap known as Tyvek or Typar to “protect” the plywood substrate, which it does – ineffectively. Next it uses mechanical methods (nails) of adhesive to attach the siding to the wall, creating further water/air penetration issues. One can only hope that they will get their act together faster than the EIFS industry before it’s too late to do so.
Because of the composition of the hardie board material, it is difficult to make elegant shapes for window trim, sills and cornices. The most effective solution to this (should you still wish to use hardie siding) is to use stucco moldings such as the ones found at http://www.decoramould.com/. Decoramould manufactures light weight shapes in any style, that are easy to color to match the hardieboard siding or complement the color scheme.
Typically in Toronto, because of the warm summers and extreme colds of the winter, home owners prefer a siding with insulation. This is where “Synthetic Stucco” or “EIFS” (Exterior Insulation Finish Systems) comes in. By attaching insulation to the entire wall, EIFS decreases heat gained through walls in the summer, and decreases heat lost through the walls during the winter. This can result in a significant – sometimes 40% – saving in heating and cooling bills. It’s primarily for this reason most home owners opt to use EIFS as a siding in lieu of something like hardie board.
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