Category Archives: Fiber Cement Siding

LP SmartSide Siding vs. Fiber Cement HardiePlank Siding: Cost, Pros and Cons, ROI 2017-2018

The top two engineered lap siding brands are the defending champion HardiePlank fiber cement and the up-and-coming contender LP SmartSide engineered wood siding. This guide covers the HardiePlank vs. LP SmartSide comparison from all angles that matter to a homeowner – Looks, durability, cost of materials and installation, and more. We’ll uncover the differences between the two and explain which one fits your project requirements better.

LP SmartSide Siding

via Upside to SmartSide

Note: This guide assumes a basic knowledge of fiber cement siding. If you’d like to back up a step, our extensive list of consumer guides on this material can be found by searching for Fiber Cement.

Let’s get to the subject at hand: HardiePlank vs. LP SmartSide siding:

Material Composition

Both materials are engineered rather than naturally occurring.

HardiePlank Construction: The James Hardie company blends cement, fine sand, wood fibers and water to form HardiePlank siding. The cement gives it strength and impact resistance, while the fibers hold the cement together to prevent cracking. The materials are naturally resistant to rot and insects.

LP SmartSide Construction: LP Building Products makes SmartSide siding from wood strands that have been coated with wax for moisture resistance and bonded with resin and other binders.

Zinc-borate SmartGuard solution is added to protect against rot and insect infestation. The coated fibers are compressed for hardness and durability. Planks are finished with a resin-saturated overlay.

Appearance Comparison

These are very attractive siding products made in a range of options.

HardiePlank appearance: There are four series of HardiePlank siding. They are Cedarmill plain and beaded and Smooth plain and beaded. The cedar-style siding has an open-grain finish. Each of the series is available in more than 15 colors, and all are applied with Hardie’s baked-on ColorPlus technology. HardieTrim boards are often used to complete the installation.

via James Hardie

LP SmartSide appearance: This siding if manufactured in six different styles. They are Cedar Texture lap, Cedar Texture shakes, 12” bold double-lap and triple-lap profiles, 16” double/triple/quad profiles, Colonial beaded and Smooth.

LP SmartSide Siding on a house in winter settings

LP has a unique program of selling unfinished siding to qualified prefinishers that put a finish coat on the material for retail sale. As a result, LP SmartSide lap siding is available in dozens of colors. Some of the LP Preferred prefinishers are Diamond Kote, Coastal Coatings, PSPI and Northwest Factory Finishes. Primed LP SmartSide is available at a lower cost and is ready for you to paint.

Continue reading

Fiber Cement Siding Cost, Pros & Cons: HardiePlank Lap, Shingle, & Clapboard Siding in 2017

When you install it on the side of your house it will not rot. It will not burn or melt in a fire. Termites will never eat it. The wind won’t affect it and neither will the cold. Freeze-thaw cycles are a non-issue. It is virtually maintenance free. It will hold paint for over a decade. Strong UV radiation will not undermine its usefulness. Unlike, vinyl, it will never warp or buckle. It does such a good job of mimicking wood and stone and brick and stucco that it is often accepted in historical districts. And it delivers all this at a fraction of the price of other house siding materials. What is this high-tech wonder product? It is actually a version of a building material that has been in use for over 2,000 years — fiber cement.

fiber-cement-siding Image Credits: Kramer Construction

The Castel Sant’Angelo, a mausoleum constructed for the Emperor Hadrian that was the tallest building in Rome when it was finished in 138 AD, was constructed with concrete walls. In 1824 a British stone mason named Joseph Aspdin heated a finely ground mixture of limestone and clay in his kitchen and pulled from his boiling vat a hydraulic cement that would harden with an injection of water. Aspdin called his creation Portland cement since the finished product resembled a stone that was quarried on the Isle of Portland in the British Channel off the south coast of England.

The United States began receiving shipments of Portland cement in 1868. It was mass-produced for the first time in 1871 in Coplay, Pennsylvania. In Austria in 1894 Ludwig Hatschek purchased a factory for the production of rag paper and paperboard. He soon branched out into asbestos board and gaskets. To make his asbestos board rigid Hatschek played around with a number of binding agents, eventually settling on Portland cement. He ran the new product through his cardboard machines to fabricate thin sheets that were a strong and durable.

Hatschek branded his asbestos cement Eternit from the Latin word for “everlasting” and obtained Austrian Patent Number 5970 for its sale. Asbestos cement revolutionized roofing around the world as the product was developed and improved. Eventually it was discovered that asbestos in our interior environment was killing us and the fibers were replaced with wood pulp and fly ash. Today’s fiber cement siding products were introduced about three decades ago by James Hardie and are composed of the wood pulp, the fly ash, water and Portland cement.

Total Average Cost Installed:


On residential retrofit and remodeling projects, installation will involve the removal of existing siding, adding an additional cost to the project. All installation should include a weather-resistant barrier to allow the building to breathe and help prevent mold and mildew growth. With materials and hired installers, the total average cost of fiber cement siding runs between $6.00 and $11.50 per square foot. Installation costs are similar to wood and more expensive than vinyl. Your location and the company you choose to hire will have a major influence on the total cost of your project. For instance, at $1000.00 per square (100 square feet), it will cost about $15,000 to install about 1,500 square ft. or 15 squares of fiber cement siding on an average two-story house.

Material Costs

The price for fiber cement siding will vary depending on thickness of the panels – from 7/16 of an inch to one inch and the finish and styling chosen. Fiber cement siding such as HardiePlank® Lap Siding is sold in panels and traditional clapboards. Clapboards range from 4 inches to 12 inches wide. A standard length is 12 feet. The finish can be smooth, wood-grained or rough-sawn.

Fiber cement can also be shaped like siding shakes and shingles that are produced in strips or individual pieces. For instance, HardieShingle® siding is designed to replicate the look of cedar shingle siding often installed on Cape Cod-style homes, relaxed cottages, or ranch-style homes in a wooded setting. Styles can include wood-grain and hand-split in 4-, 8- and 12-foot strips that are set in straight or staggered courses. Fiber cement in any configuration can be custom-fabricated for climate specificity. Expect to pay from $150 per square (100 square feet) to $300 per square in material costs.

Installation Costs

Installation will cost between $300 and $850 per square depending on the complexity of the job, your location, and the company you choose to hire. Fiber cement siding is heavy – about 2.5 pounds per square foot – and delicate. It is also flexible. Carrying fiber cement siding around a job site is a two-man job so it will not crack and panels should always be transported vertically and not horizontally to again guard against cracking. Toss in specialized tools and fasteners, unique cutting requirements and an expertise in not over-driving the fasteners into the studs, and the installation of fiber cement siding becomes a job best saved for professional installers.

ROI and Recouped Value


Fiber cement siding has achieved an impressive 84% recouped value in 2015, making it one of the best-valued exterior remodeling upgrades of the year.

Continue reading