How to Install Hardie Siding Panels

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Hardie panels are one way of covering the exterior of your home.
Hardie panels are one way of covering the exterior of your home. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Fiber cement board panel siding is one of the preferred methods of covering the exterior of a home. It is extremely durable, cannot catch on fire, does not change color and will last a lifetime when installed properly. James Hardie manufactures a variety of exterior products along with their tile backer board products for interior use, and while the installation methods are fairly straightforward, they do require physical effort and general construction knowledge with regard to tools. The end result is an exterior finish that will stand up to the elements and enhance the beauty and value of your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Felt paper
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer tacker
  • Electric cutting shears
  • Air compressor
  • Nail gun
  • Stainless steel nails
  • Z flashing
  • Ladder
  • Caulking

Cover the plywood or OSB sheeting that is already installed on top of the wall studs with a layer of felt paper to act as a moisture barrier for the paneling. Cut the pieces down to size with a utility knife. Tack them onto the face of the wood with a hammer tacker. Work your way up from the bottom, so the top pieces overlap the bottom pieces.

Install your first row of paneling across the bottom section of your wall. If you are installing on top of a deck or patio, leave at least 2 inches of clearance between the bottom of the plank and the deck surface. Install each panel so that the vertical edges line up with the wall studs, and split the studs so that two pieces can be nailed to the same stud as it goes up the wall. Leave a gap of at least one-sixteenth to one-eighth of an inch between the pieces for seasonal movement.

Nail the panels in place with a nail gun. Adjust your air pressure so that the nails sink flush with the finish face of the paneling. Test your nail gun along the bottom section of the wall where it is least visible, to ensure your depth is correct. Place the nails three-eighths of an inch from the edges but no closer than 2 inches away from the corner sections. Nail every few inches up the vertical seams.

Install Z flashing on top of the first row of paneling, so that the flashing is attached to the wall and hangs down over the edge of the first row of paneling. Add a second layer of paneling on top of the first and work your way up the wall from the bottom. Caulk all of the vertical seams with caulking to finish the installation and make it waterproof.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cut the pieces down to size where necessary with a pair of electric shears. Use a ladder to reach the higher sections of the wall. For best results, work with a partner to avoid accidents.
  • Wear safety gear when working on home improvement projects.

References

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