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hardiplank vs. cedar

mj_alldian's picture

We are building a new home and are trying to decide what siding to use. Our hearts say cedar...our pocketbooks say hardiplank might be a better way to go. Our builder and others we have talked to said hardiplank looks great and is much easier to maintain. I don't want to cheapen the look of the home and am concerned that hardiplank might do that, besides the fact that I love the look of cedar. Does anyone have any experience or opinions on this type of siding?

(post #171393, reply #5 of 22)

These guys are right. Between Hardi and Cedar it is a no brainer to go Hardi. There is another choice for you that many don't know about yet. SmartSystem siding. It is a cedar text. siding that is a treated and engineered wood siding. It has all of the benefits of Hardi without any of the hassles. (Special cutting tools, handling,dust, nailing,painting or install. issues.) It will resist rotting, and insects and even the Formosan termite on the Southern coast won't mess with it. It offers several benefits that Hardi doesn't. If you want some info on it call their custs. svc. at 1-888-822-8899

(post #171393, reply #10 of 22)

I've got cedar on my house since 1987, and have restained the it four times already, and will do again this summer. Is it fun? NO! Since I'm a painter, I do not like doing this. I'm seriously thinking of going Hardie plank, since I've painted a number of homes installed with Hardie, and it is beautiful.

(post #171393, reply #11 of 22)

Hearing all the positives about Hardi has been reassuring since we are about to get our house resided with it. Our contractor does have a reservation, however. He said that his firm has found water behind the Hardi and that it doesn't seem related another problem (i.e., flashing). He thinks the water is somehow coming through the siding itself. I'd like to know if anyone else has seen water of unknown origin behind Hardi.

(post #171393, reply #17 of 22)

Well, you folks have answered a whole lot of the questions I needed answered. I live in an 1850s farmhouse near the Chesapeake Bay in MD which is a county-registered historic district. Both we and the former owners have used non-historic materials with the historic district commission's blessing, but I'm not gonna put something on the house that doesn't look like wood. Number one, my plans right now are to replace the siding on one whole gable end only, so there will be a mix of siding visible. There already is a mix of styles, thanks to the previous owners' taste for "country", so that in itself isn't the issue. But the fiberboard mixed in with the (failing) cedar looks pretty crappy, and I'm not gonna make that same mistake.

A whole lot of words just to ask "Does hardiplank look like cedar would?"


(post #171393, reply #18 of 22)

Here's another question on hardiplank: How does it handle the heating and scraping required when repainting? I suppose the larger question is: What's in the literature about later-life maintenance on all of these new products?

Geez, this is much more fun than real work.

(post #171393, reply #20 of 22)

I really love the warm look of cedar also. I'm a commercial builder who will be building myself a house in the spring. So, its been something that I have been weighing also. If you have a house with cedar next to a house with cement board siding the difference is obvious. Wood just takes the paint differently. The difference probably isn't as bad as
lucky aluminum............
I think my house will be Hardiplank, only because I spend way too much time working on everyone else's stuff that I really don't want to spend too much time on my own.

(post #171393, reply #22 of 22)

We are building a new home and are trying to decide what siding to use. Our hearts say cedar...our pocketbooks say hardiplank might be a better way to go. Our builder and others we have talked to said hardiplank looks great and is much easier to maintain. I don't want to cheapen the look of the home and am concerned that hardiplank might do that, besides the fact that I love the look of cedar. Does anyone have any experience or opinions on this type of siding?

(post #171393, reply #1 of 22)

Painted fibercement siding looks much nicer than cedar to start out and is supposed to look that nice forever...Today's thin cedar claps will look very rustic within just afew years....Do you want rustic or that new perfect look...that is your real question...I would only hang cedar if I planned on clear coating so as to see the beautiful wood itself.

near the stream,


(post #171393, reply #2 of 22)

We used Hardiboard cedar pattern material for our facia and Hardiplank siding and smooth surface Hardi Soffit sheet material under our eaves and porches. It looks great. Nothing cheap about it at all. The local supplier has brought a number of folks by to look at it. I was describing my house to a carpenter working on another project and he said "Oh, the Hardiboard house." The only reason I would consider cedar is if I wanted a natural finish. I don't, because natural finish cedar is a maintenance nightmare.

(post #171393, reply #3 of 22)

I agree with Jack on this. If you are going to paint the siding, then hardi-plank is absolutly the only way to go. However, if it is the wood look you want ( clear coat or stain) then go with cedar and resign yourself to a lifetime of having to re-seal it often.

(post #171393, reply #4 of 22)

A.J. is dead on. The only drawbacks i saw were that it seems to magnify any framing boo-boos, but the only one that knows where to look is me. The stuff is pretty much bulletproof, and once you get over the fact that it's Not Wood, it looks pretty darn good.And will continue to.
I think maybe it makes the house a little quieter too, but that could just be me.

(post #171393, reply #6 of 22)

To me one of the most attractive features of cement board sidings are that they don't burn. I don't know how much of a fire rating they generally have when used in the normal fashion, but it certainly has to be better than normal or engineered wood. Most of the information I have found on engineered wood indicates that while they require more heat to get started to burn, once started they release significantly more heat than does an equivalent amount of wood.

I will be building in an area given to period brush fires, so I would be leaning toward using cement board siding even if it didn't have other advantates over wood. If the SmartSystem that you mention is fire rated, I would interested in hearing about it.

(post #171393, reply #7 of 22)

That was my main reason for using it Casey. My house is midslope in a chimney full of brush and oak trees. All of my extirior choices were made with an eye toward fire safety. I do remember seeng a fire spread rating for hardie. I think it was I think the stuff is anlmost nuke-proof.

(post #171393, reply #8 of 22)

We have several neighbors with cedar. Included in the mentioned maintenance are problems caused by squirrels, woodpeckers and other birds. One just converted to vinyl.
They love to chew and peck their way thru soft cedar. I have heard of softball size holes and nests being built in walls and attics. I have observed one neighbor who had some sort of small bird that had made four or five holes in the side of his house to nest in. His response was to place painted metal pieces over the holes. The birds somehow managed to pull them off and continued nesting. This house was located in a subdivision.

(post #171393, reply #9 of 22)

How expensive is the house? Where do you live? Do you want a "class" house, even if it costs a bit more to maintain? If you live in an area where there aren't a lot of cedar pests and the answers to the other questions are "yes", go with cedar. If not go with hardie.

Personally, I like the look and feel of wood over the synthetics and am willing to pay the minimal price difference.

(post #171393, reply #12 of 22)

TJ, if water can get behind a properly installed hardi, it will get behind cedar. Water behind any siding will ruin a house.

Before you hire the contractor for cedar or hardi, make sure he and you agree that the siding will be installed in stricty accordance with the manufacturer's reccomendations to preserve the warranty. Make sure the agreed upon price reflects the extra effort needed to do the job right.

I'm going to be sidind some of my house with hardi, and a little LP siding (using up leftovers). I wouldn't use cedar lap siding unless someone gave it to me for free. It is too thin! In the good old days, the small end of the butt was 3/8", but now the thick end is about that! The thin portion of the cedar is so thin that it's difficult to nail it without splitting it. The cheap cedar is now so thin, I usually make most cuts with my utility knife!

The last few times I was forced to install the thin cedar, I had too many service calls due to splittage during the drying process. I now figure a hefty built in service bill for "real" cedar.

NOw that I think of it, I probably wouldn't install it if someone gave it to me free.

LP loving,


Ps I prefer LP siding because they come in 16' lengths.

(post #171393, reply #13 of 22)

I would love to have cedar but agree with everyone that the quality is not there anymore and it is soooo thin compared to the olden days. I would take hardi over L.P since I have had to pull off so much of the warranty L.P for people. If you want a richer look and you are going to use hardi or L.P I think yhou can get it by using the wider styles with the wider revel. We just hardied a place with a 8+" revel and it looks so nice I think Ill push it when I can. As far as mositure behind it, it was either not installed right or a problem is elsewhere, maybe the b8ilder is reluctant to use it because of the extra tools and differnt techniques needed. I know I was reluctant to use it at first, now it is my number one choice. Will it hold up as long as advertised ? I hope so. We have put it on three houses this spring so far and will be putting it on my own house this fall ( time permitting, I hear my wife laughing at me again)

(post #171393, reply #14 of 22)


I'm quite familiar with cedar, but can you give me some backround info on hardiplank and LP? What about mahogany (yes it is available)
or eastern white pine? What is the best clapboard to use? Also in the northeast?


(post #171393, reply #15 of 22)


Don't leave us hanging! Let us know what you decided.

(post #171393, reply #16 of 22)

It would be interesting to know if anyone has had experience with the radially-saw vertical grain clapboards from Ward or others. I think that they are only available in pine, though.

b Been there, done that, can't remember

(post #171393, reply #19 of 22)

Tom, Buy Hardie pre-primed and coat with a quality acrylic latex. You won't have to worry about "later-life maintenance" for a long time. Dh

(post #171393, reply #21 of 22)

check out the hardi that simulates shingles. break up the continuous horizontal lines of the lap siding with some "flavor".