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Ideal Siding Applications LP vs HardiePlank

Are you trying to decipher the best siding option for your home? In your search, you most likely have come across HardiePlank Siding or LP SmartSide – two of the leading products in most markets. Of the two products, you may wonder which manufacturer offers the ideal siding catalog for your home?  

We understand, with so many advertised claims, marketing efforts, and mixed opinions, the information that you find can be flat-out, convoluted, and misleading. That is why, in this article, we will breakdown the overall best siding based on the pros and cons of each brand. 

James Hardie and LP, An Appearance Comparison 

Both James Hardie and LP offer appealing and natural siding options that come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures. Patterns and textures range from smooth, smooth with a bead, cedar mill, shakes, panels, and so much more. 

From a mere aesthetic standpoint, both brands subjectively offer similar profiles and reveal. However, a keen eye may see a very subtle variation between similarly specified products. Some siding contractors may even prefer one brand’s profile over the other. But we will deem the appearance between the two yields a wash. 

James Hardie Color Plus, The Added Costs

We will throw it out there, directly! As it pertains to siding, be prepared to pay more for a quality product. Proper installation of James Hardie Color Plus Siding involves added steps resulting in additional labor and added waste, making it a more expensive siding application by comparison. The product itself also costs about 40% more than the pre-primed version.

Once consumers understand the added longevity of Color Plus, it quickly becomes more advantageous and less costly long-term. James Hardie’s Color Plus siding is versatile, offers an excellent warranty, and is advantageously durable in many ways. Below is a list of just a few!

James Hardie, Fire Resistance

Durability should be at the top of any siding shoppers list. You want your exterior walls fortified to withstand harsh weather, light moisture, insects, rodents, and the most threatening of all, fire. Obtaining just a couple of these characteristics will likely supersede the durability of your pre-existing siding. Yet fiber cement siding contains all these features.   

On the other hand, LP SmartSide is primarily a wood-based product that is flammable. And it’s well known that wood is capable of burning rather quickly. Some homeowners have accidentally burned wood siding by grilling too close to exterior walls. Compared to LP, Fiber cement siding being flame resistant is exceptionally advantageous and should not be overlooked.

Vinyl Siding, Water-Resistance 

Rain and humidity are subject to almost all regions, so it is crucial to have water-resistant siding. Adequately installed house wrap behind the siding will help prevent water from entering exterior walls, but the siding is the first defense again water. 

As confusing as it may sound, neither LP nor Hardie siding options are considered the “most” resilient to moisture. That title is held by vinyl siding. Unfortunately, water-resistance is the only category in which vinyl siding excels. 

LP Water Resistance & Structural Integrity 

LP ranks as one of the lowest in terms of moisture-resistant siding. LP Siding has a reputation for water damage problems, including rotting, mold, and algae growth. It is also important to note that wet areas like Hawaii and Northern California are specifically excluded from LP Siding’s warranty.

On a better note, OBS is renowned for its rigidity and low cost. Natively, LP Siding has greater lateral strength than most all versions of fiber cement siding. For that reason alone, LP would likely excel in an arid climate. 

Siding Delamination & Failures

All wood products assembled by glue share inevitable moisture failures. This process is accelerated if wood fibers are left exposed and untreated. To some degree, moisture will potentially collect between the siding and sheathing on almost all homes. Conclusively, glued wood fibers left exposed on the backside of any siding will inevitably fail. The process of failure typically involves swelling first, followed by delamination, and finally complete decay. 

Simply put, such products are notorious for constant maintenance and future repairs. We do not recommend using medium-density fiber or particleboards for any exterior application. Do you recall the Masonite Siding and Miratec Trim issues? If not, it also is worth researching!

The unspoken truth is that all siding can delaminate, even James Hardie. However, some siding materials are subject to delamination faster than others. For proper application, both James Hardie and LP require priming all exposed cut edges. The main advantage of Color Plus is that appropriate installation leaves only factory edges exposed of which contain a heavy coat of paint baked on from the factory. So, properly treating a cut edge is a big deal! 

Siding & Termite Damages

We all know that termites can be incredibly destructive to wood substrates. Containing concrete, all fiber cement siding resists termite damages exceptionally well! For this reason, fiber cement is an excellent option for basements and other ground-level applications. However, it’s worth mentioning that we recommend Color Plus over the regular primed version of HardiePlank in these applications. 

 LP SafeSide is made from wood but has a protective layer that LP claims prevent termite damages. Although LP Siding markets themselves as safe from termites, they exclude termite damage from their warranty, which we find misleading. When it comes to termites and the potential severe structural damage they can cause to your home, Hardie siding wins this comparison.

LP Ease of Installation

LP SmartSide offers a relatively fast installation process and has become increasingly popular among siding contractors. LP installation does not require special tools or additional precautions while cutting it either. 

Although Hardie requires a few special tools and skills, it is a straightforward installation process as well. However, we would not recommend any non-dedicated installer to attempt either application.

Local Siding Installation Services

With nearly 20 years of experience, A Touch of Color most commonly installs fiber cement siding. We purchase more HardiePlank siding than any other brand. 

Are you interested in re-siding your home? Our expert siding installations include the greater Triangle area, including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, and Knightdale. Schedule a free siding quote or, give us a call at 919-426-4928.

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