Not exactly woodworking, but close enough. #18: My first experience with Hardi siding products, and power tools...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 04-11-2011 08:54 PM 2446 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Quality time with the epoxy monster... Part 18 of Not exactly woodworking, but close enough. series no next part

One of the home improvement project I have on my plate is to yank off the garbage masonite siding that the builder crippled my home with, and replace it with Hardi panel / trim.

Now my house is equipped with T1-11 type siding, with 1×2 rough cut cedar trim. I am not sure about nationally but locally, Hardi trim ONLY comes in 1×4 and 1×6 variations. 1×2 just doesn’t seem to exist…

Now in preparation for replacing the siding and trim between and around the garage doors, I had to rip some 1×4 Hardi Trim to 1×2 (okay 1.5” but you know…) which was easy enough, install Hardi Blade on circular saw, read instructions from James Hardie with LOTS of warnings about the dust, put on respirator, set out sacrificial board to cut against, set blade depth, set edge guide width to 1.5”, plug in and go to town right?

Did I happen to mention James Hardie’s warnings about the dust?
Have you ever dropped a bag of quickcrete on the floor and busted it open?
The dust cloud from the bag of quickcrete is smaller than the one created when cutting Hardi Trim…

No joke… The plume was impressive…

Now the material cuts, at least reasonably well considering it is made from CONCRETE. But don’t assume your circ saw is going to glide through this stuff like you are ripping wood with a nice sharp new ripping blade… It just doesn’t work like that… A pity too!

So now that I have that done, I now have 2 @ 16’ 1×2 sections of Hardi Trim. I guess I need to get busy with the panel next…

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9 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5736 posts in 3287 days

#1 posted 04-11-2011 10:39 PM

Never heard of using a Diamond blade on Hardi materials, sort of makes sense though… I guess I will see how long this Hardi blade will last…

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Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3220 days

#2 posted 04-12-2011 01:45 AM

No experience with Hardi board, but I may get some. I have a similar situation to you with my vacation home in La Connor, Washington. Inadequate old siding, apparently prior to general Hardi board availability (or just a cheap choice), which when undergoing repairs, has been replaced with Hardi board. You can’t really tell where one starts or stops, except under close scrutiny, meaning less than two feet away. We are having some repairs done now, and over time, we will reside the whole house with Hardi board. Most of the old stuff has held up well. But La Conner is not on a bayou near Houston…...meaning maybe more rain, but less humidity in La Conner.

We have someone doing the work for us, and I am unlikely to do any myself, however you never know. But I will find out soon what he is using for saw blades. I’ll be down there late next week.

In about 4 or 5 years we will also reroof it. Houses are not really investments, they are money sinks.

I don’t think the “money sink” reality is new for you, David, you have put in more than a little time and money into your place, it sounds like.

Have a good one… recovery from a tough weekend.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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5736 posts in 3287 days

#3 posted 04-12-2011 02:35 AM

Wow, that is a lot to digest…

When you talk about Inadequate old siding, apparently prior to general Hardi board availability. my mind SPRINGS IMMEDIATELY to the thoughts of the lousy masonite garbage that was stuck on my house by the builder. The humidity tropical storms, and hurricanes have taken their toll on it…. I missed the class action settlement on this garbage siding by about 6 months. I am sure the previous owner of my house got the money from it… While I am going to do sections at a time, I am not going to start / stop in an area that has siding. My house is siding / brick, I am running up to the brick on each section.

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I must agree that anywhere in Washington is going to be FAR less humid compared to the Gulf Coast, but more rain? Not hardly, it just rains more frequently up there. Down here it makes up for lost time by flipping swimming pools upside down on our heads…

I wouldn’t call this house a money pit, most of the work I have had to do was because of a former roomate during my single years that did a lot of damage, and me wanting to do the labor myself on certain jobs to insure they are done right. Too many contractor nightmares to even want to thnk about…. Top that off with a wife that wants to remodel the whole house to make it hers… I am a busy man for sure!

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Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3220 days

#4 posted 04-12-2011 03:46 AM

Hear it, man. We are thinking about the contractors doing the work. And Sherie, fortunately, will not stand for shoddy workmanship. So she goes on the attack, not me. Oh well, I am sure within the next few years the siding will be replaced, and then the roof.

At least I don’t have to think about previous occupants, and Sherie and I are pretty much in aggrement at all times, after 27 years of marriage. But in any house, there is ongoing maintenance, no matter what you have done before, something comes up.

But if it is the place where you live… is not always about money or value… is about where you live, and we have lived in our current house for 26 years… it is always about what we want, and what works for us.

Unfortunately life is finite…....and many things are done properly for the moment.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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213 posts in 3861 days

#5 posted 04-12-2011 04:13 AM

Have you tried scoring and breaking? That method might save some time (maybe not it a clean cut)

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2886 days

#6 posted 04-12-2011 04:49 AM

Just be sure to prime all cuts. It may not be much of a concern in Texas, but in northern climates all cuts must be sealed just like wood. Freeze thaw cycles will delaminate the Hardie products like flaking slate. You can literaly crumble it apart with your hand. I’ve done many repairs in the last few years. James Hardie has revamped their recommended installation instruction over the last five to eight years.
Basically treat it like wood and seal all cuts. This prevents water from wicking into it. If you have a factory finished product just use a color matched product to prime and seal.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

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3260 posts in 2731 days

#7 posted 04-12-2011 05:11 AM

YES! prime all cuts. I have installed Hadri Plank on several jobs and used the diamond blade. It worked great for me. The first time I installed Hardi type material there was this shear that looked like a giant paper cutter. I think we spent more time fooling with that thing than I would have spent if we had just had a saw with a diamond blade.

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3191 days

#8 posted 04-12-2011 02:27 PM

When I resided my garage several years ago I found that the masonite siding pealed off real easy. It was also very easy to break down into managable pieces for the trash guys. Easy removal is about the only good thing I have to say about that stuff.

But you can keep your Hardie products. I hate working with the stuff. I put up plywood siding. Primed and painted both sides and all edges of each piece before installation. Hopefully it won’t rot too fast. Almost all of the wood rot I’ve seen on my house started from end grain that hadn’t been sealed, so everything I nail up has been primed and painted on all 6 sides.

There is some really expensive trim material that is a plastic product. I’ve got a 2-story house with dormers sticking out of the roof – when the last of the original trim on those suckers needs replacing I’ll probably go with that stuff.

-- Greg D.

View dbhost's profile


5736 posts in 3287 days

#9 posted 04-12-2011 03:31 PM

The Hardie siding is being done for a few reasons, not the least of which are resale value on the house (HUGE plus for reselling around here) and insurance discounts. I get a break for fire, and wind storm coverage by having cement fiber siding…. No idea why, it doesn’t seem THAT much stronger….

Priming is already being done. I am using Kilz primer all the way around even though it is pre-primed. Better safe than sorry. It’s humid here!

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