Wood Siding vs. Hardie Board: Understanding the Differences
Your neighbors’ first impressions of your home are made within a matter of seconds. From landscaping to exterior decor, these details tell a story about your home to everyone who sees it. While small details help to elevate your home’s exterior design, a major factor to consider is siding — it’s the biggest and most obvious feature people notice about a home.
With that in mind, it may be time to upgrade your siding. If you are a homeowner looking for wood siding, you’ve likely come across wood alternatives like Hardie Board in your research. Hardie Board has gained popularity in recent years and has become a competitor to natural wood-siding, but does its popularity mean it’s a superior material?
Let’s take a closer look at the aesthetics, durability, maintenance, insulation value and cost of each material. Whatever you decide, let’s make sure your home’s first impression is exactly what you want it to be.
Wood Siding for Custom Homes
Wood siding can easily deliver the unique look that you want for your home. If you are looking for an exterior design that matches your personal style and stands out, wood siding is an excellent option.
To get a full picture of how wood performs as a siding material, it’s important to look at functional qualities as well. Let’s dig deeper into all of the features wood siding brings to the table — aesthetics and beyond.
Wood is a very durable material, which is why it has maintained popularity in the design world for years. Although many engineered materials often claim superior durability to wood, natural wood stands the test of time when properly maintained and sealed.
When it comes to wood siding, choosing the right species is key. Cedar, for example, is often the go-to selection as it is naturally rot-resistant and pest-resistant , characteristics that are typically the top concerns when working with wood.
Western Red Cedar, in particular, is noted for this characteristic. It’s also known as a natural thermal and acoustic insulator, thanks to its unique cellular structure. Western Red Cedar has long been nature’s gift to construction as it maximizes durability while creating a unique finished look. In addition, Western Red Cedar often has greater rot resistance characteristics than other species of cedar.
Another option you may want to consider is Thermory Modified Cladding which provides superior durability and potentially lower maintenance costs. Thermory is essentially siding that has been treated to withstand the rigors of the elements.
Each board is thermally modified using only heat and steam, then meticulously milled to ensure it arrives ready to install. The modification process doesn’t add any chemicals, additives or foreign materials to the wood —– it simply enhances the wood fibers to leave each board more durable than before. As a result of this process, Thermory offers unequaled rot resistance and dimensional stability.
In addition, you don’t have to sacrifice style for this increased durability because Thermory is offered in a wide variety of species, like Benchmark Ash and Pine, as well as numerous textures and finishes. Thermory provides homeowners with both beauty and peace of mind.
Customization and Aesthetics
One of wood siding’s greatest attributes is how easy it is to work with. Wood siding can take many shapes and forms, especially in the hands of a skilled craftsman. Being a pliable material, wood siding can be easily customized to various sizes and designs without specialized tools.
Eastern White Pine is particularly customizable and is one of the most well-loved wood species available. Its uniform texture makes it a great option for a variety of finishes, and with proper finishing it adds a warm, rustic look to your exterior walls.
Additionally, wood can be readily stained or painted in virtually limitless finishes and colors, making it an excellent choice when aesthetics are a priority. While the best wood species need only a proper sealant to let their natural beauty shine, such as Western Red Cedar, staining is a great way to alter the color to match your personal taste.
The authenticity of wood continues to be the go-to look for high-end residential construction. In many ways, the material that was once considered a common necessity is now the luxurious option. Natural wood has become—–and likely will continue to be——a material that signals refinement, quality and grace.
Perhaps the main downside to wood is its required maintenance. That being said, maintaining wood is a matter of homeowner due diligence that, with a small amount of effort, will keep wood strong and aesthetically pleasing for decades.
Wood and moisture do not mix well, so verifying that the home is well-insulated and properly sealed — such as around windows and doors — will go a long way to ensuring successful wood siding. Pests as well as rot can be a problem, which is why selecting the right species with rot and pest-resistant qualities, like Western Red Cedar, pays off in the long run. Wood siding also tends to collect dust and grime, but this problem affects all siding to a degree and is corrected by routine annual washing, so this isn’t a major concern.
Wood siding comes in a spectrum of costs, depending on the species. A big benefit to wood, no matter the species, is its lower cost of installation. Most installers are used to working with wood siding and do not require much skilled labor. Wood siding is also lighter than the big siding competitors, further helping to lower labor costs.
Hardie Board Characteristics
Hardie Board is a fiber cement siding option composed of cement, sand and cellulose fibers. It is durable and long-lasting with classic aesthetics and is resistant to environmental factors.
Hardie Board is often chosen for its resistance to moisture penetration. With Hardie Board, homeowners do not have to deal with the rotting, swelling and warping issues that other siding products may experience. This resistance extends to pests, as well. While durable, it can become brittle and break, unlike wood.
Customization and Aesthetics
Because Hardie Board has a variety of colors and finish options, it’s become a popular competitor to both wood siding and non-wood options like metal and vinyl.
When compared with wood siding, Hardie Board elicits more of a manufactured, plasticky look. While the aesthetics are certainly better than something like vinyl, homeowners looking for natural beauty or a high-end look will likely prefer wood.
Due to the nature of its engineering, Hardie Board is both durable and inherently low-maintenance. Simple cleaning with a power washer is often all that is required to get a Hardie Board siding looking new again.
However, heavier maintenance will be needed down the road, as it will need to be repainted when its luster begins to fade about every 10 years. While both wood and Hardie Board siding will fade over time, the aesthetics of wood—– even when weathered—- are easier to maintain.
Select the Best Wood Siding Materials From Russin
Deciding on the right siding for your home can be difficult, so it’s important to choose the one that will give you peace of mind, durability, and outstanding aesthetics throughout the life of your home. While modern materials like Hardie Board are popular, they tend to fall short when it comes to creating a custom, polished look.
At Russin, we offer the best wood siding products, such as the classic beauty of Western Red Cedar, Eastern White Pine, Thermory and White Fir. Reach out to our experts today to discover the ideal wood product for your siding project.