Tips on Maintaining James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

If you recently made the wise decision to replace your siding with James Hardie Fiber Cement siding, we’re confident you are enjoying the benefits of this premium and low-maintenance siding material. However, you may notice that the siding is accumulating dust and debris from the widespread pollen and inclement weather in St. Louis.

Even though James Hardie Fiber Cement siding and products are very low maintenance, occasional cleaning will help in keeping it aesthetically pleasing.  After all, the exterior of your home forms the first impression of visitors and siding is a large part of that exterior. Fortunately, the cleaning process is easy and requires products and equipment that you probably already have around the house.

Caring for Your James Hardie Siding

In addition to displaying a clean and maintained exterior appearance, maintaining your siding is important to sustaining the home’s value. Specific care and maintenance of your siding will depend on your geographic location, the exposure of the building, and whether your product is a primed or ColorPlus product. The paint on James Hardie ColorPlus products is baked in so it lasts much longer and is more durable than if you just had it primed then painted afterward. For the purposes of this article, we’ve concentrated on maintaining James Hardie ColorPlus products.

1. Washing

Gentle washing will remove dirt, dust, chalking, oil, grease, organic contaminants, or mold that has built up on the surface over time. Use a garden hose every 6-12 months at low pressure. You may use a soft brush to loosen dust and minor debris. For any stubborn stains, add a small amount of a mild dishwashing detergent to the water. Remove mold or mildew using a commercial remover.

Avoid using power or pressure washers on your siding. The high impact of the water pressure can loosen and damage the siding. Use brushes with soft non-metal bristles to avoid scratching. Never use acid wash products for cleaning James Hardie products.

2. Caulking

Caulk is used to hold the seams of siding together and seal it from moisture. It can be used in flashings, plank and trim connections, and between plank joints. 

Over time, it can flake or disintegrate so you should inspect it for possible replacement. Make sure to use caulks and sealants that are flexible and pliable.

3. Repair or Patching

If you notice small dents, cracks, or other minor damage in James Hardie products, you can fill them with cementitious patching compound. If you have loose planks or soffits, secure them with corrosion-resistant nails appropriate in size for the area

4. Keep Your Gutters Clean

Keeping your gutters free of debris, leaves, twigs helps to keep the water flowing through them and the downspouts away from the house foundation. If gutters become clogged, water will overflow down the side of the house, staining the siding.  

5. Landscaping

Don’t plant shrubs and trees too close to the house. If they are touching the siding, it could cause discoloration on the siding. Allow some clearance between the siding and landscaping. Keep drainage slopes well maintained.

6. Repainting

James Hardie fiber cement products are available pre-painted with the paint baked in. It is the recommended way to buy the products because it can remain beautiful for up to 15 years. If you repaint ColorPlus products before the 15-year limited ColorPlus warranty is expired, it will void the warranty on the finish.

If you decide to repaint, make sure to use paints recommended by James Hardie. If your siding was originally primed when installed and painted afterward, you should check the original painters and paint manufacturers’ instructions for repainting. they recommend repainting using specific products and processes

If your siding came pre-painted with ColorPlus® technology, you can order touch-up kits to cover nicks, scrapes, and nail holes that may occur over time. However, if the area is larger than a dime, it’s recommended that the entire panel of siding be replaced because patching would be too obvious.

It is never advisable to apply stain on fiber cement siding. 

7. De-Icing Areas around Siding

Take caution when using de-icing products that come in contact with James Hardie fiber cement products. They can damage the finish. Instead, use sand or gravel to treat the areas around the siding. 

Types of James Hardie Siding and Products

James Hardie makes several different styles of siding. Whether your preference is Colonial,  Victorian, or Craftsman, they offer the siding to match your architectural style. No matter which style you choose, the cleaning process and products are the same.

Hardie® Plank Lap Siding

The plank lap style is the traditional type of siding that is James Hardie’s best-selling product. It fits most architectural designs and is available in three different finishes: Select Cedarmill, Smooth, and Beaded Cedarmill. 

Hardieplank lap siding

Hardie® Architectural Panel

Hardie architectural panel

Consider this style for a contemporary look. Available in several styles and three finishes (sand, fine sand grooved, and mounded sand), making it appropriate for traditional to ultramodern looks.

Hardie® Shingle Siding

HardieShingle siding

Also referred to as shake siding, Hardie Shing Siding is typically used on Cape Cod-style homes but could work on other styles as well.  It’s available in straight-edged or staggered edge styles. 

Hardie® Panel Vertical Siding

HardiePanel vertical siding

Far from ordinary, this vertical plank type of siding works on almost any style. You can choose from a Select Cedarmill or Smooth finish. 

Hardie® Trim Boards

Hardie trim boards

Finish off the look with the right trim to bring it all together. Accentuate corners, columns, fascia, doors, windows, and more with Hardie® Trim boards. Available in five different finishes, you’re sure to find one that completes the look.

Hardie® Soffit Panels

Hardie soffit panels

Last, but not least, soffits made from fiber cement seal the deal. Since some areas require vented soffits, Hardie makes them in both vented and unvented styles. Either way, they will finish the overall aesthetics of your home.

Installing James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

Are you considering installing James Hardie Fiber Cement siding yourself or with a little help from friends? Or maybe you’re thinking of hiring the local handyman who claims he’ll do a great job. One word of advice: DON’T!

James Hardie products are superior in quality and durability, and with the proper professional installation, they will last for decades. In fact, the warranty on them covers up to 30 years. However, there are stipulations and restrictions on the warranty that you must be aware of.

One of the warranty’s conditions is that “The Product must be installed according to James Hardie’s printed installation requirements and must comply with all building codes adopted by federal, state or local governments or government agencies applicable to the installation.”

Fiber cement siding is heavier than other materials like vinyl and metal and cutting the boards requires special tools and skills. That’s why James Hardie offers training to companies to certify them in James Hardie Fiber Cement siding installation. 

Choose a Preferred James Hardie Contractor for Your Siding Installation

When you’re looking for the right contractor to install your James Hardie Fiber Cement siding and products, you’d be wise to do some research. Some tips for vetting contractors include:

  1. Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Find out why they chose the company and what they thought of the job they did.

  2. Get at least three estimates, making sure you consider the same criteria for all companies. 

  3. Ask for proof of license and insurance. You don’t want to be liable for damages or injuries caused by the contractor on the job.

  4. Check online reviews and ratings. Google, Yelp, Home Advisor, Angi – these are all good sites to check on the company’s reputation. Look for any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau. 

  5. Are they local or one of those “storm chasers” who only knock on your door after severe weather? Local companies who have been in business for a while are more trustworthy. You’ll know where to find them, should you have an issue.

  6. What are their certifications and affiliations? 

  7. How many years have they been in business, specifically, installing fiber cement siding?

Banner Construction is a James Hardie Preferred Contractor. This manufacturer certification is one of the strongest quality guarantees on the market today. It means that your siding products will be installed expertly by experienced remodelers who are factory-trained and background-checked.

Siding replacement installation isn’t for DIY’ers. It’s a dedicated project that requires skill, experience, and the right kind of high-quality materials for the best possible outcome. To avoid a costly disaster that you’ll wind up regretting for years to come, hire Banner Construction to install it for you. 

Contact Banner Construction to find out more about the chief benefits of James Hardie fiber cement siding and products. We can answer all your questions and give you recommendations on the products available that are right for you and your home. Call today and request a free consultation.