Hardie board is a name brand of fiber cement siding. This type of siding comes from the mixing of cement, sand and cellulose fibers that are then bonded under high temperatures. The resulting layers are strong enough to last many years without buckling, warping or fading. The exterior surface can display a wood grain imprint, and the boards require painting every seven years for maximum durability.
Unlike wood and vinyl siding, Hardie board is impervious to flame and offers a 30-year warranty. It resists rot and termites like vinyl siding, but does not melt under a heat source, which is true of wood siding. It comes in several types such as planks, panels, shingles and trim, all with either smooth or wood-textured surfaces, in several colors. It even boasts an artisan variety with deep shadow lines, tongue-and-groove joints for a tight fit, and a beveled back to allow a more stable flat position against a wall.
The material alone averages about $3 to $4 a square foot, according to Contractors Connect, with prices accurate at the time of publication. Though skilled do-it-yourselfers can tackle other siding installation, the company recommends only professional installation for their products. This is because the planks are heavy, requiring at least two people for proper handling. They are also difficult to cut and require a specialized cutting tool. Finally, cutting and installation generates unpleasant amounts of dust. Incorrect installation can produce mold, which is expensive to correct.
Costs for materials and professional installation runs from $5 to $6 a square foot for the low end, $6 to $8 a square foot for the middle range and $9 to $12 at the high end. Examples of completed projects include a 2,500-square-foot home in Missouri. The homeowners hired professional contractors who specialized in Hardie plan installation and spent $22,000 in 2011. In South Carolina, a 2,900-square-foot home cost only $13,500 when completed in 2009. This was because the customer bought all the materials, tools and scaffolding and hired local labor to complete the process.
Because labor costs vary across the country, the cost of adding Hardie board siding to a home depends on location. The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that as of May 2010, installers made a mean $21.10 per hour, with lows of $11.85 and highs of $34.45. The highest mean wages were in Hawaii at $31.81 per hour and Alaska at $29.14 per hour. Both states' high costs of living pushed up all salaries. Lower-than-average rates appeared in South Dakota at a mean $14.81 per hour and Texas at a mean $15.59 per hour.