For siding for home construction, builders have several choices available.
The quality, workability, and cost of these materials vary greatly.
The final choice is often contingent on the structural, weather resistance, and budgetary requirements.
Siding options considered high-end are stone, brick, stone veneer, wood, fiber cement siding, and engineered wood. The least expensive side of the spectrum is vinyl, stucco, aluminum siding, and steel. The composite board is roughly in the middle of the price range of siding material.
But the product considered to be traditional hardboard siding is a fairly inexpensive material and easy to install. Compared to wood siding, a hardboard is harder, making it more durable and flexible. In addition, it only costs between 25% to 50% more than vinyl but costs less than wood.
Interested in outfitting your home with hardboard siding? Elysian offers residential siding services. Don’t hesitate to contact us for your siding needs!
How Is Hardboard Siding Manufactured?
Hardboard siding is otherwise known as pressboard and masonite siding. In some cases, hardboard is facetiously called cardboard siding. The pressboard variety is made from processed wood and adhesives pressed together to form a wood-like composite. On the other hand, masonite hardboards consist of wood chips steamed into a board form.
In many cases, hardboard siding is stained and textured to look like wood. From a distance, it is similar to wood siding. Hardboard is often found in horizontal designs.
Bear in mind that this hardboard material should not be confused with OSB (oriented strand board) and plywood or fiber cement siding. These products are often mistaken for hardboards because they look similar.
But they have different maintenance requirements and levels of durability. For example, fiber cement siding products combine cement and cellulose and are more durable than hardboard.
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What Is the Issue with Hardboard?
Hardboard is an excellent siding and gives a remarkable appearance to a house. But the major issue with this material is that it absorbs water and causes the board to swell, buckle, warp, blister, rot, soften, and ultimately deteriorate.
These damages lower the siding’s toughness. But this occurrence cannot be entirely blamed on manufacturing. Regular maintenance of the hardboard will give you better performance and durability.
How to Identify if Your Siding Is a Pressboard or Hardboard
Because maintenance is crucial to hardboard, you must know whether or not the house you bought is built with hardboard so you can take the necessary preventive maintenance.
Identifying the type of siding in your property can sometimes be challenging, especially if everything is still intact. But areas like the attic usually have some unfinished parts, and you can quickly identify the exact material.
Hardboards or pressboards usually have an AHA code written behind the siding. Check for the tar paper that conceals it and peel it away. You will find the manufacturer’s company name that you can verify online to know if they deal with hardboards. Otherwise, you might see the AHA code itself, the American Hardboard Association.
Is Hardboard Siding Right for You?
According to building experts, a hardboard is not recommended for rainy areas. This material requires a lot of care which may cost you.
If you live in an area with heavy downpours, hardboard siding would mean more costs for your home maintenance.
But if you want to use hardboard siding, treated hardboard or choosing a high-quality piece may be a better option.
11 Advantages of Using Hardboard Siding
Hardboard siding is manufactured from hardboard, an engineered wood product that mimics the look of wood without the high sticker price.
Hardboard siding is durable and often comes with several years warranty. This siding material can last for years with the proper care and maintenance.
The following are some of the main benefits of hardboard siding.
It comes in Different Colors and Textures.
One of the best benefits of HDF fiberboard is that it comes in a wide range of textures and colors.
Homeowners want to make their property unique and distinct from other homes in the neighborhood.
For this reason, they want their home to have an exterior appearance and color scheme that matches their aesthetic.
Choosing a siding available in various colors and textures allows homeowners to get a home that truly reflects their personality.
Homeowners can choose a board that looks and feels like wood.
Or, if they prefer, a board that has color to it and replicates the look of cement or stucco siding.
The colors and textures that particle boards are available in are nearly endless. This material is a terrific choice for homeowners who want their property to stand out.
Topcoats and Layers Can Be Applied to the Hardboard
One of the best benefits of utilizing high-density fiberboards is that topcoats can be painted onto the hardboard.
Various topcoats serve different purposes. Some are engineered to decrease the frequency of cleaning and maintenance.
Other topcoats are meant to uplift the sheen or shine of the board.
Other topcoats keep water from rain away or sprinklers from penetrating the hardboard.
The right coat type can be applied on the hardboard and give it a look and benefit you are after.
Hardboard Is Considered an Eco-Friendly Product
Another fantastic benefit of hardboard siding is considered a greenwood composite board.
In other words, it is eco-friendly. Hardboard siding is manufactured from eucalyptus wood and water.
Eucalyptus is a sustainable fast-growing and widely available tree. It can be replanted quickly and grow without needing too much water. In addition, hardboard releases low formaldehyde emissions and only leaves a small carbon footprint.
More and more consumers are factoring in the impact of their choices on the environment. As such, they are choosing to purchase environmentally friendly products. Hardboard is a product that fits this bill.
Hardboard Is Recyclable
Another excellent benefit of a hardboard is that it is 100% recyclable.
Once the product has served its lifespan as a siding on your house, it can be removed and recycled.
This is crucial because most siding materials such as stucco, stone, cement, and brick are not recyclable. Hardboard has an eco-friendly advantage that not many other siding products have.
Choose a Hardboard for Dry Conditions
Homeowners choosing a siding material for their property must be cautious if they live in a humid area.
Humidity and dampness can damage wood-based siding material. These elements cause wood to warp, rot, and eventually deteriorate.
But wood fiberboard painted with water-based paints and sealed with the UV topcoat performs well in dry conditions.
HDF board has a better capacity to protect against moisture than other engineered wood panels, making it an excellent option for those who want a low-cost wood base siding in locations with low rainfall or areas under porches.
Hardboard siding is more affordable than sidings made from wood or metal.
It is cost-effective and can withstand harsh weather conditions for many years as long as the protective finish remains intact.
You can get many years from your hardboard siding with regular inspection and maintenance.
Delivers the Look and Feel of Real Wood
It can be tricky to distinguish between hardboard and real wood.
Only an expert eye can distinguish the difference between the texture and grain.
Vinyl or plastic that replicates the look of wood is not as pretty to look at.
But for a much lower price, you can get the performance and look of original wood siding with hardboards.
Easy to Install
Hardboard siding is manufactured to be uniform in density and weight.
It is available in any required size. Besides being a lower-cost option, hardboard lap siding involves less labor.
The process of installing this siding is unproblematic. In some cases, homeowners may find the installation easy enough and DIY the entire process.
Hardboard siding is sturdy and durable.
But it would be best to steer clear of using power washers on them because it can cause dents on the siding surface and allow moisture to infiltrate.
As long as you keep an eye on cracks and openings and make the necessary repairs, the siding will remain sturdy.
Also, make sure that loose or wobbly nails and missing sealants are replaced at once.
In contrast to metal siding, hardboards are rust-resistant. It can also withstand temperature fluctuations, dents, and scratches.
Resistant to Insects
Hardboard siding provides remarkable resistance to insect pests such as termites and bugs. But make sure the siding has no gaps or holes to provide a solid cover.
Caring for Old Hardboard Siding
If you buy a house with hardboard siding, you should negotiate a lower price to account for the siding maintenance or replacement with more durable material like fiber cement cladding.
Before agreeing to anything, check the siding for signs of moisture or deterioration, including swelling, softening, warping, or blistering.
Be vigilant of siding near the foundation. This area is likely to deteriorate first.
Ideally, a home inspection company must perform a moisture test to determine if the exterior wall sheathing has water damage.
If there are signs of damage, the siding must be replaced.
In some cases, only minor repairs are needed.
A section of the damaged hardboard can be cut away and switched with different materials such as vinyl siding, fiber cement, or similar design.
However, if vast sections are damaged, you need to have the entire siding replaced.
But hardboard siding still in peak condition can be kept in good shape for years with regular and cautious maintenance.
Inspect your siding at least a couple of times a year. Check for cracks, paints, sealing, cracked or missing caulk, loose flashes, holes, and other signs of damage.
Make Repairs Quickly
To stop water from infiltrating into the siding, repair any damage at once. Completing repairs can distinguish between a quick touch up or a complete siding replacement.
Optimize Your Property’s Drainage
To prevent water from pooling near your house’s foundation, the ground surrounding your home must slope away from the foundation at a level of at least 5% or 6 inches over 10 feet.
Make sure your downspout is 4 feet away from the foundation at the very least. Install splash blocks to steer the runoff further away from the house.
Embark on regular gutter maintenance to prevent leaks and overflows.
Clear Away Obstructions
Obstructions near your home’s foundation, such as plants, mulch, and soil, retain moisture that could leach into the siding. To mitigate this problem, maintain a clear area of at least 6 inches between the siding and the ground or foliage, trees and shrubs.
Never train climbing vines on the sides of your house.
Treat Your Sidings with Care
Position lawn sprinklers so that the water jet will not hit the siding.
When cleaning the siding, avoid using a power washer.
Instead, utilize a mold house wash detergent and a soft sponge and manually wipe the siding. Afterwards, rinse it with water via a garden hose.
What Are the Alternatives to Hardboard Siding?
Most homeowners are clueless about the pros and cons of different siding options and which considerations are most crucial for their particular needs.
In this case, consulting a homebuilder contractor or architect can help you make the best decision.
This section explores some of the best alternatives to hardboard siding.
Wood is easy to work with. But it can be expensive, contingent on the grade of the wood you choose.
This material is revered for its natural beauty. In addition, wood can last for generations as long as you maintain it well.
But this dedicated maintenance can add up in costs and investment of time.
For example, clear finishes to wood must be reapplied every couple of years, whereas semi-transparent stains every three years. Paint, on the other hand, must be reapplied every five years. In addition, because wood is an environment for termites, you will need to factor in the cost of annual pest control services.
Fiber Cement Siding or Cement Fiber Siding
Fiber cement siding has many disadvantages and relatively few drawbacks.
It is a concrete siding of wood pulp, cement, clay, and sand. Fiber cement is resistant to fire, wind, and insect damage. Portland cement is one good example of a fiber cement proprietary blend.
This siding material is durable and low maintenance.
In addition, fiber cement siding is highly versatile and can be made to resemble most other types of siding, such as wood stucco and stone.
Because fiber cement is easy to paint, you can select any color you like.
If you change your mind, do a repainting job on the cement fiber siding.
Fiber cement siding is an excellent exterior siding for a range of climatic conditions because of its resistance to expansion and contractions due to temperature and humidity fluctuations.
This feature further enhances the suitability of fiber cement siding for application in many regions.
The best thing about vinyl siding is it is easy to install and relatively inexpensive. It is low maintenance. Vinyl never needs a paint job and can withstand cold, wet climates and even coastal air.
While vinyl resembles traditional clapboard at a distance, up close, it is not as striking as wood.
Vinyl’s flexibility means it will follow the contours of the exterior wall and can rattle in strong winds.
Insulated vinyl siding is conventional vinyl incorporated with a form-fitting rigid foam backing and performs better. It is much stiffer and installs flatter than hollow back vinyl. But this version comes with a hefty cost increase.
Engineered Wood Siding
If you are convinced of wood’s many benefits but want to mitigate the negatives associated with this material, engineered wood is worth considering.
This siding material is made from wood fibers incorporated with exterior-grade resin.
It is available in various styles, making it even more versatile than the wood itself.
Some engineered wood pieces were designed for painting, whereas other types feature a ready-made artistic exterior.
Another benefit to this material is that it is far more affordable and usually costs half the price of real wood.
It is manufactured in regular-sized lightweight planks that feature uniform patterning making it excellent to work with.
It doesn’t release dust when cut making it a more convenient option.
Engineered wood siding is an ecological option and requires less maintenance than regular wood.
Moreover, it is naturally resistant to termites, further reducing the amount you will need to spend on upkeep.
But the main downside to engineered wood is that it is less resistant to water than wood. However, modern engineered wood developments that outperform past versions make this notion a little dated now.
Some might also criticize that although this material creates the same classic style as genuine wood, it cannot match the natural elegance of the real thing.
But for all the advantages of engineered wood, there must be a compromise people are willing to accept.
While hardboard is affordable and looks attractive when installed, it is also unusually high maintenance than more modern siding products.
If you consider installing new hardboard siding, it is recommended to apply it only on sheltered areas such as a covered porch to help this material last longer.
If your home has older hardboard siding that can still be repaired, you can keep it looking beautiful and new by staying on top of maintenance requirements and protecting it from damage. However, vast areas of deterioration could mean it is time for an upgrade.
It is best to leave siding installation to the professionals.
Although you can DIY the entire process, siding installation requires a unique technique. Moreover, siding material can be heavy and can crack if mishandled.
Hence, when it comes to nailing and hammering your sidings, hire trained experts to take care of everything.