hardie-board siding -cutting, and other lessons learned

I have read comments that scoring hardie board siding does not make for a good cut, but I have found that for cross-cutting, scoring by far makes the straightest, cleanest edge. The secret is to score it several times on each side using a utility knife. To break the board after scoring, just bend the shorter side up, unless it is very short, in which case a sharp rap with a hammer usually does it. Then, take a few strokes with a rasp to clean up any debris left hanging on the edge. No muss, no fuss, and - no dust! Otherwise, a circular saw with a hardi-blade will work, but it generates sufficient dust to obscure any marking you are trying to follow. The utility knife blades do wear so have plenty of spares. For long diagonal cuts this method doesn't work as the board wants to break cross-wise, so a mechanized shear is the best. The "Whipper-Snapper" shear is great because it will also let you make medium radius curved cuts suitable for electrical lighting fixtures, etc. For small details a small portable sabre saw with a tungsten carbide blade worked the best. Finally, for ripping, a diamond hardi-blade in my table saw worked very nicely - just make sure you are up-wind, or wear a dust mask. For setting the siding in place, I used two or three loops of ~1" wide straps marked 1 1/4" up from the bottom. Screw the straps to the wall with the marks at the top of the previous course, and slip your siding in. For attaching the siding, cement board screws (Grabber and Marker are two brands) worked very well for me - no need to lug a nailer up ladders, just a small battery powered drill/driver. Plus you can back out the screws to release the mounting straps. I used pre-painted hardi-board and had the local hardware store mix paint to match. I got the Create-a-Color caulk kit from Red Devil and used the paint to make matching caulk. The neighbors say the job looks good and I am happy with it as well.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The pros use a circular saw, air gun, and a tape measure with excellent results. No fancy cutter, no straps, no drill, etc.
Another clueless weekend warrior. Enough said.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Riiight - No doubt you can explain to the clueless how the "pros" cut circular holes with a circular saw. ----------------------------------- Internet quantum mechanics: For every group, there is a Bozon occupying the lowest energy level.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My lessons learned. Did my Hardiboard horizontal lap siding alone. All siding was pre-primed retail siding. Used: Diamond tipped masonary blade on an inexpensive circular saw, and a router. All cuts were supported with 2X12 beneath the siding. This included cross cuts, diagonal cuts, and ripping. The router was used for holes for conduit entry, and external electrical outlets. Again, a 2X12 supported the siding during hole cutout with support mods for hole area like 2X4s. The only cuts that are somewhat critical are outside corners for accuracy to give a good appearance. The remainder, caulking can fill any short or jagged cuts. The method I used for cutting was: Always cut outdoors, wind left to right, adjust the height of the circular saw to just barely score the 2X12, use unventilated goggles when actually cutting. The mark or line made for cutting reference will be just to the left of the blade. If too much dust accumulates in the air while cutting, stop paying attention to not let the saw wander, let air dissipate, begin again. Cut slower to cut down on dust, depends on wind conditions. Wear coveralls. Run the starter strip on the wall per Hardie guidance. Measure up at corners to properly start the first run of siding, pop a chalk line. At the outside corner, make a butt stop from the wall around the corner. Measure properly for the first piece of siding, cut to length. Double up exterior wall studs to accomodate siding joints. Butt the siding to the butt stop, nail or screw the siding somewhere in the middle. Do not let go of siding yet. Nail or screw siding to the adjoining stud as well. Afterwards, check both ends for proper alignment. Then nail or screw siding remainder if correct. I used galvanized box nails.
Always use the bottom of the first run of siding for reference. Pop another chalkline for the next run of siding etc.
A router does holes very well in Hardie horizontal siding. The dust is worse than cutting with a circular saw. Consider both the unventilated goggles, coveralls, and a dust mask. Siding must be supported to allow clearance of router bit. You may have to turn the siding to accomodate wind direction as you go. Seeing cutting lines is difficult at best due to dust. Very windy day is a plus.
Painting: Caulk with appropriate caulk. Smooth overflow as needed. Liberally prime all corners,joints, other type cuts as you cut this area, no priming present. Caulking does not have to color match, but has to take primer and paint well. Two coats of paint is what I did. Used paint formula referenced at Hardie for this type siding.
Used similar techniques on Hardie ventilated soffit as well. "Helpers" can be made to assist in this. A person assistant is best I found when applying.
--
Jonny
<wrkg snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
we use just regular power shears like for metal , clean cut and precise.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

And best of all, not dust...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.