How to Install Hardy Board Siding on a Stud Framed Wall

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Manufactured by James Hardie Technology Limited, Hardie Board siding is one of many cement and fiber products available on the market. While the company first made a name for itself with its underlayment boards for use in tile installations around the world, they also sell a number of exterior products ranging from paneling to siding. While the preferred method is installation on top of a sheet of OSB or plywood, you can also install Hardie Board directly onto a stud-framed wall. The process is physically demanding and requires a basic working knowledge of construction tools and methods.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Felt paper
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer tacker
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Electric cutting shears
  • Air compressor
  • Nail gun
  • Stainless steel nails
  • Ladder
  • Flashing strips
  • Layer your studs with the felt paper to provide a moisture barrier for the siding. Unroll a roll of felt paper across the length of the wall and cut it with a utility knife. Use a hammer tacker to staple the row of felt paper to the bottom section of wall along the studs. Add another row on top of that and overlap it by at least two inches. Work your way up from the bottom, repeating the process until you cover the wall.

  • Install your first row of siding along the bottom of your wall. For installations on top of decks or patios, leave at least two inches of spacing between the bottom row and the deck floor. Nail a “kicker” strip along the bottom edge of your installation, which forces the siding to angle outwards and down. Fasten a strip of the cement siding on top of this, with the bottom edge of the siding kicked out. Nail the siding to the studs along the nail line inscribed on the siding.

  • Work your way across the first row until you have completed the entire row. Measure your cuts with a tape measure and pencil. Cut the boards by scoring them with a razor knife along the line and then snapping the waste piece upwards to separate them. You can also use electric cutting shears to cut the boards down to size.

  • Place flashing strips behind all vertical joints. You can either use flashing strips purchased from your local home improvement store, or you can use scraps of the felt paper that are cut down to size with the utility knife. The goal is to have an extra layer of protection behind all of the vertical joints to force any moisture to run down to the drip lines that are part of the top section of each board.

  • Layer the wall row by row and work your way up from the bottom to the top. Each row needs to overhang the row below by at least one and one-quarter of an inch. For best results, only nail the boards along the nail line that is inscribed in the face, with the overlapping piece covering the nails for the piece below.

Tips & Warnings

  • Adjust the air pressure in your air compressor so that the nails flush out with the surface of the siding. You do not want the nails to sink beyond the face of the siding.
  • Wear safety gear when working on home projects.

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  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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