How to install HardiePlank siding

Written by becky lower
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How to install HardiePlank siding
HardiePlank siding is composed of cellulose fibres and cement. (house siding 3 image by Psycience from

HardiePlank is a brand name given to the fibre cement exterior lap siding that was invented by James Hardie Building Products. It is now the most popular brand of siding in America, showing up on more than 4 million homes, and it also sold in the UK. It combines the classic look of wood siding with a 30-year warranty and comes in both a smooth and textured finish. While the installation process is similar to that of traditional wood lap siding, you will need special tools to cut the cement fibre boards.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ladder
  • Furring strips
  • Hammer
  • Foam insulation
  • Roofing felt
  • Stapler
  • Staples
  • Stud finder
  • Water table trim board
  • Starter strip
  • Power shears
  • Circular saw with carbide-tipped or diamond blade
  • Power nailer or drill
  • Scrap wood
  • Carpenter's square
  • Stainless steel ring-shank nails
  • Chalk line
  • Level
  • Caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Paint
  • Paint brush

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  1. 1

    Remove any old siding and check the wall for evenness. Smooth out any indentations or dips in the walls by attaching furring strips.

  2. 2

    Install a layer of exterior foam insulation following manufacturer's directions.

  3. 3

    Add a layer of roofing felt over the insulation, stapling the felt over the insulation. Locate the studs on the walls, using a stud finder if necessary, and mark their locations on the felt.

  4. 4

    Install a bottom row of water table trim on the bottom of the wall at least 20 cm (8 inches) off the ground. The Hardie Company recommends using an Azek board rather than wood for durability. Level the board before nailing it up completely.

  5. 5

    Nail up a starter strip board on top of the trim piece.


  1. 1

    Cut the fibre cement boards to fit and begin installing them using stainless steel ring-shank nails. Plan for a minimum of 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) overlap from row to row and place the nails so the next row of HardiePlank will cover the nails. Leave a 3 mm (1/8 inch) gap at the end of each row for expansion. Check to make sure it is level.

  2. 2

    Create a story pole from a scrap piece of 2.5 cm by 5 cm (1 by 2 inch) lumber. Mark the locations for each course of siding on this pole using a carpenter's square once you determine the correct amount of reveal for each course of siding. This will vary depending on the size of the boards you have purchased. The story pole will indicate where the top of each course of siding will be placed. Attach this pole to an outside corner of the wall and snap horizontal chalk lines on the roofing felt.

  3. 3

    Install the siding one row at a time following the chalk lines. Notch the siding to go around windows and doors and to fit the gables. If using a hammer instead of a power nailer, you must pre-drill the holes. Check each row for consistency in the amount of reveal and level as you go, even when using a story pole.

  4. 4

    Stagger any joints that you create by butting two pieces of siding together along the wall. Try to place these joints as far from the wall's focal point as possible. Add an extra piece of roofing felt behind each joint.

  5. 5

    Caulk all joints and around doors and windows. Paint the siding if desired.

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