Fiber Cement Siding & Windows

This was the fourth year of replacing our siding and windows.  We’ve been redoing one side per year.

The back and sides of our house were board and batten, but the front was masonite lap siding.  Lack of gutter maintenance, combined with not painting the masonite siding led to some Major wood rot.  I deemed it “not salvageable” and we considered our siding options.  I preferred to keep the lap-siding look, so that narrowed our choices to:

  1. vinyl
  2. wood
  3. wood-like (smart siding, or composite)
  4. fiber cement.

I’d been reading lots of building articles on fiber cement, and liked the cost performance of it.  It also seemed like a more resilient solution after dealing with so much wood rot.  I chose James Hardie hardieplank HZ5 fiber cement lap siding.  I read as much as I could get my hands on, and watched quite a bit of youtube videos on installing it.

I followed the recommended installation methods and purchased:

  • Hitachi NV75AG Siding Nailer – This nailer shoots 3″ nails, required since I had 1″ of foam insulation behind my siding.
  • Gecko Siding Gauges – These are amazing gadgets that set the correct height of each plank, and holds it in place so that a single person can perform this work.  Simply clamp it on the previously installed plank, lay the next board in place, check for level, and nail (hopefully) hitting the stud behind the foam.
  • 3″ Nails – These are the longest coil siding nails I could find.
  • Electric Fiber Cement Shears – This is the manufacturers recommended method of cutting fiber cement.  It is incredibly faster than using an electric saw, and eliminates breathing cement sawdust.

I replaced 6 windows with Anderson 100 series windows.  I used new construction windows because our original windows were not installed correctly.  For the new window trim, I used 2×4 and similar pressure treated wood.  It’s a bit unconventional, but the wider and deeper profile seemed to best match my home’s architecture.

I also replaced all the fascia with PVC boards made by Royal Trimboard.  These are quite expensive compared to just replacing the original cedar, but I hope that their Lifetime Rot Free Warranty holds true.

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