James HardiePlank™ cementboard siding product information.
This article describes the composition, installation, inspection & maintenance or repair of HardiePlank fiber cement board siding. We include discussion of complaints of paint or coating failures and shrinkage gap concerns.
On the James HardiePlank cement board siding shown at the top of this page stain was found flaking off of the siding - a subject of consumer complaint about this home located in central Nebraska. Building paper was installed below the siding, there was no evidence of delamination or water damage, and the siding was delivered to the builder (Wardcraft) already stained.
James HardiePlank™cement board siding is a cementious product that has been installed on more than 5 million homes. This material is NOT the same composition as hardboard siding products sold by Abatibi Corp, Masonite Corp., Boise Cascade, and Georgia Pacific Corp, all of which experience failures of delamination, swelling, softening, and general deterioration when exposed to water and weather, depending on the quality of installation, exterior coatings, and maintenance.
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Reader Marie Carr provided the page top photograph along with the following case history as part of a an investigation into the most-likely cause of a stain flaking problem observed on this building's siding: (See PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION for a detailed paint and stain failure analysis guide.)
We have James HardiePlank siding that was stained. When we tried to make a claim against the company, they indicated that they recommended their siding not be stained. So then we are trying to make a claim against the company that stained the product, and they indicate that it was moisture in the board that is causing the siding to flake.
So as you can see, we are going in circles at this time. The stain company suggests we paint over the siding as a correction and we would like your opinion on that corrective measure. We would like an independent company determine, if possible, what is actually causing the siding to flake off.
We are looking for independent lab to test siding to see why stain is lifting from the cement board siding.
It is also spider web cracking. Here is the picture of the area we removed the siding from. We are not sure how the stain was applied. From what we know, the siding was delivered to Wardcraft stained. We purchased additional siding from them when we completed our garage and it was wrapped with packing material between the pieces.
The home was assembled in doors at their factory in Minden, NE, siding was placed on the home there, for the most part in Feb 2005, with the remaining siding placed on the home once it was set at our site, March 2005. The only siding that was put on the home at the site was the top peak on the north side. Weather, from what I can remember, was sunny. As I indicated, the siding was stained when they placed it on the home.
When we picked up the siding we bought for the garage from Wardcraft, we asked for some stain at that time, and they told us that we could use stain that we purchased from a local supplier, they didn't have any stain there.
Note: James HardiePlank™cement board siding is a cementious product that has been installed on more than 5 million homes. This material is NOT the same composition as hardboard siding products sold by Abatibi Corp, Masonite Corp., Boise Cascade, and Georgia Pacific Corp, all of which experience failures of delamination, swelling, softening, and general deterioration when exposed to water and weather, depending on the quality of installation, exterior coatings, and maintenance.
Also see SIDING, ASBESTOS CEMENT.
We also want to inspect or otherwise see photos of all sides of the home, showing distant and closeup images of the failures. We want to know how the peeling varies by location.
We will also want to know the age and leak history of the home – any leaks of any kind that have ever occurred, and where water passed.
HardiePlank® siding instructions require that the surface be painted; they recommend a combination of factory primer and an acrylic topcoat. They are within their rights to object to coating with a stain.
Once a siding coating failure has been observed, we would not paint over the stain before we have some confidence that we know the cause of the failure, and further, that we have some assurance that the paint-over coating will bond with the surface adequately (special prep may be needed) and that it is chemically compatible with the existing stain. Else you may have a new failure.
A very careful collection of surface samples of peeling material as well as some tape samples of the surface right under where a fresh peeled stain has just come off might be diagnostic.
In the forensic laboratory we can examine, and dissect a short piece of siding that is representative of the failure. To examine a failure such as that described above we would need to study a sample in the lab using several methods including by stereo microscope.
Then we would need to prepare a sample of the peeled-off surface, collecting several samples of the peeling material. Those paint chip samples are then examined in cross-section forensically using high powered microscopy – that can tell us whether or not the stain was coming off due to moisture or from another cause. The fee for that level of analysis was (2010) typically around $500. and of course includes a written report and photographic documentation as well as discussion if you have questions about the report and its findings.
A detailed examination of paint or stain thickness on the siding may tell us if the siding was sprayed, and if it was pre-coated before assembly on the home – that might explain, for example, why the stain is very thin on the upper ridges of the material and thicker between them in the simulated wood grain.
The company offers the following recommendation for paint maintenance:
Remove any damaged, chipped, or cracked paint. Prior to repainting make sure that the surface area is properly cleaned and prepared. Repaint immediately using 100% acrylic paint. Note: for best results please refer to your paint manufacturer's written specifications for application rates and required topcoats or refer to James Hardie's Technical Bulletin No. S-100. 
See PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION for a detailed series of diagnostic steps in paint or stain failure analysis.
If you have additional siding product failure examples or questions that are not found addressed at InspectAPedia.com you are welcome to contact the author to provide additional field photos or information that may assist others in identifying and repairing siding failures.
Currently (effective in 2011) the company notes that HardiePlank® lap siding comes with a 30-year non prorated, transferable, limited warranty. The company provides two different warranty documents depending on the product designation as HardiePlank® HZ5® or HZ10® Lap Siding. HZ5® describes HardiePlank siding installed in northern U.S. & Canada while HZ10® describes lap siding installed in the Southern portion of the U.S. The following excerpt is from the HZ5 warranty (additional terms and conditions apply - see the company's complete warranty documents).:
James Hardie Building Products
Inc. (“Hardie”) warrants, for a period of thirty (30) years (the
“Limited Warranty Period”) from the date of purchase of Hardie
Fiber-Cement HARDIEPLANK® HZ5®, HARDIEPANEL® HZ5®, HARDIESHINGLE® HZ5® and HARDIESOFFIT® HZ5®
products (each, the “Product”) for installation within the U.S. (except
Alaska), Puerto Rico and Canada (except Yukon Territory, Northwest
Territories, Nunavut, New Foundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia,
Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick) that such purchased
Product complies with ASTM C1186, will resist damage caused
by hail or termite attacks, and is free from defects in material and
workmanship. This Limited Warranty extends only to (i) the first
retail purchaser of the Product;
(ii) the first owner of the structure to which the Product is applied and
(iii) the first transferee (each a “Covered Person”).- 
Siding installers should take careful note that the siding must have been stored, handled, and installed according to the company's instructions. Other exclusions include:
This Limited Warranty does not cover damage or defects resulting from or in any way attributable to:
(a) The improper storage, shipping, handling or installation of the Product, including, without limitation, failure of the Product to be installed in strict compliance with the Conditions of Limited Warranty set forth in Section 3 of this Limited Warranty and/ or improper installation of studs or other accessories);
(b) Further processing, modification or alteration of the Product after shipping from Hardie;
(c) Neglect, abuse, or misuse;
(d) Repair or alteration;
(e) Settlement or structural movement and/or movement of materials to which the Product is attached;
(f) Damage from incorrect design of the structure;
(g) Exceeding the maximum designed wind loads;
(h) Acts of God including, but not limited to, tornados, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, severe weather or other natural phenomena, (including, but not limited to, unusual climate conditions);
(i) Efflorescence, peeling or performance of any third party paints, stains and/or coatings;
(j) Growth of mold, mildew, fungi, bacteria, or any organism on any surface of the Product (whether on the exposed or unexposed surfaces);
(k) Lack of proper maintenance. or
(l) Any cause other than defects in material and workmanship attributable to Hardie.- 
Building owners should take careful note that paint & coating failures, mold growth, problems due to lack of proper maintenance will void the warranty as may "repair or alteration".
Re-posting reader question rec'd by private email:
I have ask a few times on some of the websites with no answers. we were wondering what year the code is for having a house wrapped before using Hardy plank, and what kind of issues it can cause thru the years with no wrap. We are looking to buy a home built in 2004 in Eastern, Or. and just found out it wasn't wrapped. We are very concerned now, and what should the sellers do now that it has been disclosed to us to make this right? Thank you, RJH 2016/10/14
I've looked at this question and while I don't know specific dates of Oregon codes, at https://www.oregon.gov/bcd/codes-stand/Pages/adopted-codes.aspx you can find both current Oregon code and contact with the state's code authority who can answer technical questions about current and prior codes. It seems almost certain that in 2005 codes would have specified that the home must be built to the manufacturer's siding specs.
Here's a current installation guide for James Hardie's Hardieplank siding:
If you're asking in anticipation of a future dispute about building leaks blamed on the omission of the housewrap, I'm doubtful that "code" or "not code" is going to be sufficient to settle an argument about a home's use of housewrap.
As we also noted at SIDING HARDBOARD, fiber cement building siding (like James Hardie Products (HardiePlank®)) may indeed be a more durable alternative to wood-fiber-based hardboard siding, though certainly some fiber-cement products have been the subject of failures and class actions see AMERICAN CEMWOOD ROOFING. Other fiber cement siding product lines include Maxi-Panel, Maxi-Plank, Cemplank, & FortaFiber.
James Hardie Building Products is a Melbourne Australia company founded in 1888. Hardie mined and distributed asbestos as well as asbestos-containing products including asbestos material referred to in some products as "Fibro" that ultimately led to significant litigation and mesothelioma claims. Hardie began labeling asbestos-containing products with a warning notice in 1978 and ceased using asbestos in its products in 1987.
Hardie manufactured asbestos-cement building products (Hardie's Fibrolite Asbestos Cement Building Sheets" (until March 1987)) and other fiber cement products.
In Australia, driveways and garage floors of certain homes built in the 1970's contained asbestos waste from James Hardie.
Also see Asbestos in Carpet Padding? at CARPETING & INDOOR AIR QUALITY for other asbestos materials from Hardie.
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(July 23, 2011) Danny Page said:
I bought my 2 year old home in Summerville , sc.
The previous owner was a hardiplank rep. I have at least 30 cracked panels
On the corners , In the middle . Not even near a nail and it's cracked
I hate it!
(May 9, 2012) James Hardie Siding said:
where can I buy james Hardie stucco fiber cement panel siding in Ontario Canada
Try contacting James Hardie directly to find your closest distributor:
1-888 542-7343 or by email to info@JamesHardie.com
(Sept 9, 2014) Colleen said:
I am thinking of buying a home on the Oregon coast that was built in 2008 (don't know the month). There is no flashing behind some gaps (up to 5/16ths in.)
in the siding. The builder says the moisture barrier is bullet proof (he used 15 lb. felt paper) and that flashing is not needed. Can you advise me. Thank you.
Perhaps the builder can show you (and us) an authoritative source for his opinion. I think his installation is
1. not using modern housewrap materials
2. not in keeping with specificaitions from siding manufacturers that require flashing at windows, doors, and other penetrations
3. opinion not fact
(Oct 25, 2014) Anonymous said:
I found that Hardie cement products can shrink a lot. The 5/16 gap that you are seeing is larger than I have experienced, however the but joints should have been flashed with copper or some other metal that will not react with the cement product. I personally would never depend on the building wrap to prevent leaks. If you consider that water can get behind the siding due to the large openinig at the butt joints you can imagine that it is just a matter of time before there are problems.
Thanks anon; there can be little question that the range of siding butt joint or end joint gaps will vary considerably in dimension depending on a wide range of conditions. S
(Mar 31, 2015) Tim van der Pol said:
I have a question regarding how high to start installation of hardi siding over concrete slab, in order for it to be spaced and breath from the first coarse on up
Tim maybe I need to see a sketch to see what you mean - see our CONTACT link at page bottom. We don't install siding on slabs. And if you meant that the bottom course of siding touches the slab, that too would be a poor practice in most climates.
Generally I like 6-8" minimum vertical clearance between the bottom edge of any siding and a patio, slab, deck, or the ground. More is better.
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