Fiber cement siding products are recognized for their unmistakable quality and strength. In fact, the term fiber cement is often used interchangeably with the brand James Hardie and its signature Hardie Plank Lap Siding.
Hardie Plank comes in two finishes—smooth and Select CedarMill, a realistic wood grain that mimics cedar. For a little more luxury and definition, Hardie Dream Collection products let you add a beaded edge, and the Artisan collection features thicker boards for a stronger profile and more dramatic depth.
The Hardie manufacturing process is centered on two main ingredients that make its fiber cement products both hard and strong—silica sand and wood pulp.
- Mixing a thick silica sand mixture with an oatmeal-like wood pulp mixture and proprietary additives produces a silica-wood pulp slurry. Giant cylindrical sieves separate out the water content so that the fiber cement can form a film on felt belts that allow vacuums to extract moisture and the film to form into a sheet. Rollers fuse multiple sheets into boards, and another roller embosses sheets that are to carry a wood grain pattern.
- Once high-pressure water jets cut the sheets into the desired board sizes, giant vacuum heads move the still-fragile planks to pallets bound for steel autoclaves that will bake and cure the boards under high steam pressure. Final steps include testing batches for tensile strength and priming and painting proven batches.
James Hardie also makes fiber cement textured panels, shingle siding, vertical siding, trim boards and soffit pre-cut panels as well as Hardie weather barrier and backer board. All Hardie sidings and trims are available primed or already coated in one of the colors from James Hardie’s proprietary baked-on ColorPlus Technology palette. Because James Hardie products are fiber cement, they require specialized masonry tools and skilled installation.