Well, I thought I had found my dream material in Hardie board but I
guess not. Their web page says it must be painted. I thought since it
was a concrete based product that you could put it up and forget it.
I sheathed my house in clear heart redwood and am pretty happy with
that but it does have some drawbacks and has turned out not to be
maintenance free either. Close, but not close enough.
I could do my (detached) garage in redwood. I like working with it
whereas I don't think I would like working with the Hardie board what
with the dust problem. I could go with metal, already have a metal
building/barn, but would rather not.
So the question is what is the thinking on leaving hardie board
unpainted? What would happen? And more importantly, since I am not in
the profession I could use some input on material options I might not
be aware of.
Finally, when I built my deck (Ipe, or Brazillian Walnut) I considered
using the new (to me) composite decking made out of cedar/plastic
composite material. I picked up a piece of this stuff and left it on
the ground for six years or so and it is still intact. A little
weathered, but not cracked. A piece of pine would be gone in a year
from termites, sun damage, etc. Anybody ever try to adapt this stuff
to siding? As far as I know it only comes in 1 1/2 inch thicknesses.
Cosmetics is not really a concern, by the way. My place is VERY
isolated, a mile from the county road. I just want to put it up and
Hardie siding must be caulked and painted. See the warranty writeup at
their website. Its a Portland cement and glue product, susceptible to water
The only relative maintenance free exterior that I know of is cut limestone.
See Egyptian pyramids. Many homes around here have exterior rock walls from
native stone in the area. One has a factory made log cabin. I'm using the
Hardie siding applied and painted per Hardie's specs. All out in rural
The common tree out here is the juniper ash, misnomered "cedar" by locals.
It has similar resistance to weathering, but burns extremely well. Probably
why its never considered as potential building material. And similarly, why
I would never use wood/plastic composites for building a house.
Except for the ubiquitous stucco, basically no such thing as a
maintenance free siding in the sense you are referring, at least at a
price you are probably willing to pay. I've got both redwood and
hardibacker siding on my house. The hardibacker is certainly more
durable in terms of the UV rays that our home gets during the summer,
and with simply a coat of Kiltz premium exterior primer, I've satisfied
the Hardibacker requirement that it be painted. Hardibacker accepts
paint very well, and the Kiltz primer has lasted for three years now,
as I try to decide what color coat to paint over it. A good paint job
should last for at least 10 years, it seems to me. Hardibacker is
really very close to stucco in terms of durability, but the company
wants to protect itself, I guess. I used redwood on the corners and
underneath the eaves, but that was before the Hardibacker corner
material was available at Home Depot. I had used tung and groove
redwood salvaged from purlins used on roofing, if you can believe it,
and then filled nail holes and other imperfections with an epoxy based
filler. So, I would be inclined to stay with the redwood for areas not
directly exposed to the sun, but it had to be painted too. Unpainted
redwood is fine for fencing, and will last many years in the rain and
sun relative to any other softwood, but because the UV rays and rain do
eventually cause some cracking and deterioration of the surface, I no
longer feel it's appropriate for a sun exposed deck. So redwood siding
must be coated with a penetrating sealer, paint or something, and in
the case of decks, I've seen the natural beauty and appearance of
redwood destroyed by stains and sealers on some decks. For greater
permanency, I installed hardibacker with deck screws, not nails, and
caulked between the lapped Hardibacker siding when installed, and
occasionally, I look around and recaulk any cracks between boards that
I find. Expansion and contraction over a period of years tends to
expose these. Also, under and around the redwood corners, and along
tung and groove joints, I caulked to keep out insects and weather
before painting with Kiltz. Kiltz stainblocking ability is very good,
but with redwood, even the manufacturer recognizes that the tanins tend
to leach through, so two or three coats are required before putting on
a finish color.
My house is sheathed in red wood, horizontal tounge in groove. I did
this in 1986 and sprayed it with creosote which you could easily obtain
back then. Since then I haven't touched it and except for a small
porch, which was done in 2x6, and a south facing dormer wall where I
didn't use "clear heart" it is in my opinion in great shape.
I do. not. paint. Never have, never will. So, I am still tossing
around for a siding option for the garage and tending at this point to
corrugated tin placed horizontally I think. It is 576 S.F. of wall
area not counting the two 9x7 garage doors.
A neighbor has vinyl on a double wide that is full of holes from a hail
storm. I don't know whether there is vinyl that will stand up to large
hail but I might ask at Lowe's when I go in. Maybe someone here knows
the answer. Though I am almost as averse to plastic as paint ....well,
it is just a thought. With vinyl it would be a little easier sealing
the corners, etc.
I also am toying with the idea of using some composite decking material
for the eaves/facia/wall corners/trim. Any thoughts on that?
"Corrugated tin", normally used on a roof, can be used for cladding. It
will eventually rust. Half life is around 12 years. Might try same in
aluminum. Pay attention to use the right fasteners that won't cause
problems with it. "Corrugated tin" is normally applied vertically on walls
as per examples in my area of the woods.
You're right. I put it on my barn back in, say, 1975 and placed it
verically on the sides. The roof has rusted, but that's all, and keep
in mind this is really cheap material from a local chain called McCoys.
As a matter of fact replacing that roof is next on my major project
list after finishing this garage.
My thinking in placing it horizontally is that the corners might be
easier to make as well as easier to seal at the tops and bottoms of
walls, you know, to keep the "critters" out. I'm looking into it.
So, anyhow, this coming Thursday when the trusses are being delivered
the highs here in central Texas are supposed to be in the 70s with a
low that night in the high 40s. Great weather for roofing. I am
really looking forward to that. This two week hiatus waiting for the
trusses has been hell. And by the way, those cost $1082.09. Two gable
end trusses and eleven standard. The span is 22 feet with two foot
overhang. Could have stick built it for that which is what I did the
last time I built a roof. Most likely I would have been done by now.
But it has been in the mid 90s these last several days so that would
definitely not have been that much fun.
For those interested a further breakdown of the cost is $4700 for the
slab (25x22 with a small apron). The walls cost no more than $700 for
a total so far of about $6500. Pretty expensive, huh? I have brought
power into the building and cut in a load center. I can't believe how
much wire costs now. I had to buy a box (100 feet), but I only needed
60', of 10-2 UFB (for underground). It cost $95 plus tax. That shed a
little light on a news item I ran across the other day that the number
of people being electrocuted trying to steal copper has gone way up.
Well, creosote is a type of "paint". The clear Jascoe wood
preservative also works well, but the point is that redwood, as great
as it is relative to any other wood, still dries out and cracks over
time. I salvage old boards, typically 3/4" redwood tung and groove
siding others toss into the garbage, and then use the planer, table
saw, and router to make the finish boards I want. All my baseboards
are redwood, and I have made wainscoting in some rooms, besides the
exterior trim that I mentioned. Since there are holes where old
ungalvanized nails ate away at the wood, I have to fill in and paint.
A clear sealer won't look good. There is some waste though since
boards do crack.
Yeah, but clear heart use defeats some of this bad aspect. As above
with the composite material I left a scrap piece of redwood clear heart
out on the ground. Been there since 1985 or so and it is still intact.
Pretty amazing, huh? It is softer than original, and, of course
redwood is soft anyhow, which in my opinion is a mark against it for
What made me decide to clad my house in it was a lady friend had a
house that I helped do some work on. It was about thirty years old and
the clear heart redwood siding, placed vertically, in a couple of
places at ground level was actually underground. My task involved
excavating around these ageas. I was amazed to find this buried wood
still virtually intact.
So, I resolved to use it on my place and found it a pleasure to work
with and though I made a few mistakes I have been, like you, very happy
with the material. I too used it indoors as window trim.
Finally, one has to admire your frugality with this natural resourse.
And, I never thought of creosote as paint. Rather a preservative.
Can't believe I got tricked into painting a surface. Ugh!
James Hardie regards it as an interior-only product:
Hardibacker is intended as a substrate for tile. Did you really use it
on the exterior of your house?
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