LP Smartside vs Hardi-plank vs Cedar

  • Avatar of mo-fishn-n-huntn mo-fishn-n-huntn 
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    Posts: 262
    #1262436

    My wife and I are looking into siding for a new building. Does anyone have any experience or expertise in the pros and cons of LP Smartside vs Hardi-plank vs Cedar? In a WI climate, which one will hold up better?
    Thanks in advance

    avatar Roofer 
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    Posts: 79
    #766305

    I don’t have experience with the smartside, but I do with the other two. I would take Cedar over the hardi because it won’t rot. I would take hardi if it was my only option.

    Going from the stats that smart side claims, I would choose that over the both of the others.

    Any of those 3 choices, you are to expect maintenance and will be depending on caulking in the critical areas. I say this because most people out there doing this work have no idea how to do flashing correctly.

    Avatar of bck bck 
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    Posts: 258
    #766309

    I build houses in northeastern Sd and have used all 3 products 100s of times. I seem to use the LP smartside the most because there are more color options. I believe Hardi-plank no longer will warranty custom colors. Both of these products take the weather well. I still love cedar lap siding but with the weather we have out here it needs to be re-stained every 5-7 years, if you are ok with that ,in my opinion you cant beat cedar. Having said that I put smartside on my own home and went with a cedar deck Ive hade to redo my deck twice in 10 years and the siding still looks great. If you go with Hardi or Smartside use a high quality caulk that is color matched like OSI or Vulkem. Reason being the cheaper sealants tend to shrink and crack over time. Good Luck.

    Avatar of jjonsgaard jjonsgaard 
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    Posts: 160
    #766342

    If you looking for a lap siding I would look into fibercement. Most offer a 50 year warranty and you can get it primed and paint it yourself or get it pre-painted in many colors. I have never heard bad things about it and it isnt priced much above the others.

    avatar Roofer 
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    Posts: 79
    #766366

    Fibercement, Hardi……same cr%^, or I mean, same stuff.

    Just give it a few more years. I have seen it bow, break, crack, shrink, discolor, mold, etc. etc. etc.

    It’s really nothing better than the old masonite lap siding. Everything has it’s plus and minuses. Most of the time you hear only the positives on the cement board, so I thought I would throw in some real world negative points.

    Avatar of Randy Wieland Randy Wieland 
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    Posts: 7,067
    #766437

    Just give it a few more years. I have seen it bow, break, crack, shrink, discolor, mold, etc. etc. etc.

    Smart-side and hardi are both great products. I would look at cost on pre-primed and paint myself. Mandatory to use a Vulkem caulk or equivilant. Anything less, is worthless!

    If you experience bows, dips, mold, nail pops, cracks, “waves” or any other problems, it not the fault of the siding product. It is only reflecting the issues that are causing the problem.
    I worked two years for a production builder then got sick of their building practices and walked out the door. Their goal was nothing more than the almighty dollar. They used lowest bid lumber with no quality control. I mean this stuff is less than what I would use for firewood. 2×4 walls with foam sheathing on a 2 story home with a full rear exposure????? Yea its within building code, but why build a home with walls that can compress?? It only leads to other product failures like waves or bows in the siding, seperated cauling, gaps in flashings,drywall repairs, air infiltration, ….. I have driven back through some of the sub-divisions to look at the homes I (hate to admit it) was involved in. Sad to see people spent hard earned dollars on something that now looks like crap because they selected a builder based on price over quality.

    Sorry to have gone a bit of topic, but it is sickening how many builders have built homes to the minimal building code requirements, rather than apply improved standards such as “Building Science”.

    Avatar of shaley shaley 
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    Posts: 2,185
    #766481

    We use Hardi or Cedar, IMO Cedar is the better but will require more maintenance over the years. Stain it before install is the best to get all the edges and every 5-7 years will need re stained. Flashing things correctly will make things last alot longer.

    Avatar of prieser prieser 
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    Posts: 2,176
    #766508

    Quote:


    Just give it a few more years. I have seen it bow, break, crack, shrink, discolor, mold, etc. etc. etc.

    Smart-side and hardi are both great products. I would look at cost on pre-primed and paint myself. Mandatory to use a Vulkem caulk or equivilant. Anything less, is worthless!

    If you experience bows, dips, mold, nail pops, cracks, “waves” or any other problems, it not the fault of the siding product. It is only reflecting the issues that are causing the problem.
    I worked two years for a production builder then got sick of their building practices and walked out the door. Their goal was nothing more than the almighty dollar. They used lowest bid lumber with no quality control. I mean this stuff is less than what I would use for firewood. 2×4 walls with foam sheathing on a 2 story home with a full rear exposure????? Yea its within building code, but why build a home with walls that can compress?? It only leads to other product failures like waves or bows in the siding, seperated cauling, gaps in flashings,drywall repairs, air infiltration, ….. I have driven back through some of the sub-divisions to look at the homes I (hate to admit it) was involved in. Sad to see people spent hard earned dollars on something that now looks like crap because they selected a builder based on price over quality.

    Sorry to have gone a bit of topic, but it is sickening how many builders have built homes to the minimal building code requirements, rather than apply improved standards such as “Building Science”.


    Coming from the Lumber supplier side of it, I totally agree with Randy on this one. If you use inferior products underneath the siding you will see the effects for ever. Cement boards siding (no matter which company) will show every single wave/bow/twist/tweek/ etc. etc in that wall. Vinyl and “some” steel sidings will hide that. If you use a good “straight” 2x product for your walls (preferrably 2×6) you will have a nicely sided house when you are done. All cement board products expand and contract; all though it is minimal. We are seeing more and more contractors putting a painted tin shingle behind the seams instead of caulking the joints (even with a good product like Vulkem) So, back to your original question. Hardi-Plank is the original and in my opinion the best “cement board” siding on the market. Smart-side uses a newer technoligy in using a “treated” OSB product instead of cement. One of the nicer pros with S.S is that it comes in 16′ lengths vs. the 12′ of cement boards. Both come in a wide variety of sizes and style including shakes and sheet goods. Cedar is still the best looking product on the market for all lap sidings. But the rising cost of Cedar with the fact that you have to finish it every 4-8 years depending on the quality of finish you use; more people are leaning towards the man made products. From the factory the prefinished smartside or hardi are both warrentied for 15 years before you have to refinish it. Most will last way longer than that. But most studies find that if your still in your house for that long, you would have had to re-side you house reguardless of which product you used, mostly for just a color change if nothing else. In this generation when has anyone stayed in the same house for 15 years. Good luck, lots of good products out there. And if it is any concillation, I would put Smart Side on my next house. I think it looks absolutely mint.

    avatar Roofer 
    Participant
    Posts: 79
    #766514

    Quote:


    Sad to see people spent hard earned dollars on something that now looks like crap because they selected a builder based on price over quality.


    You answered your own question. You cannot totally blame the contractor because they only have the money that is available to them by the homeowner.

    Quality products usually comes down to how much a person is willing to pay. In business lately we see prices of materials rise, but not the labor. That plays a role also. Usually you get what you pay for, although there are exceptions…….
    Very well built house that we roofed a few years ago….7500 sq ft house, over 2 million for this place to be built. They put on hardi board and the newest cardboard Andersen windows. We went back to the house a year later and nails backed out, the siding cracked around the windows, nails coming out of the soffit (hardi), and the ‘cardboard’ Andersen windows were flaking apart. I know for a fact that the work performed was very good, but the material just isn’t that great. It’s not even as strong as the old masonite siding, IMO.

    Personally I like steel siding, but most crews won’t put it on because it takes a pretty good craftsman to do steel correctly. Hich quality vinyl can be very good also, but not everyone likes that look.

    Avatar of big_g big_g 
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    Posts: 15,921
    #766521

    This thread had me worried 1/2 way through… I just had my brother in law put on Hardi-Board on my garage… it’s 24×60… so thats ALOT of Hardi Board. My bro inlaw has been a sub-contractor for over 20 years, doing high end remodels (West suburbs) and he told me, if he was to reside his house, he would use Hardi-Board, with a 30 year paint and forget about it. BTW, he also insisted that I pick up Vulkem (Home Depot) in a brown color. I am painting brown when it gets nice out.

    big G

    Avatar of Randy Wieland Randy Wieland 
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    Posts: 7,067
    #766580

    You answered your own question. You cannot totally blame the contractor because they only have the money that is available to them by the homeowner.

    Yes you can when the buyer is not educated to ask the right questions or has been our right lied to!

    And yes, 3 years later this is still a very raw sore spot with me. I chose to work for another builder instead of going back to self employment. Guys I work with do it right. NOTHING is minimal standards and everything is over engineered. Yes, we cost 10 to 75K more than others, but thats how we do it. We educate our buyers on what to ask and what to look for. We know we lose a lot of business to other builders that claim to do it the same way. Sad when we get a call after the fact to see if we could fix things…..

    avatar Roofer 
    Participant
    Posts: 79
    #766584

    Awesome Randy! I totally agree with you and you are the kind of guy I like to see out there.

    I really wish the public had the opportunity to be educated on what they pay for when it comes to construction. sadly in most cases, the almighty dollar plays the biggest role.

    avatar reddog 
    Participant
    Posts: 434
    #766588

    If you are building new, or remodeling, look into a vented rainscreen approach to your exterior cladding application, especially cedar products. It will double the life expectancy of the finish from 3 to 5, to 7 to 10, depending on the structure and orientation. It will also decrease any splitting, cracking or warping that happens to cedar siding when it is connected to the structure. It does the same thing for fibre cement products.

    Cavity insulation is the worst thing to happen to exterior claddings.

    avatar buckgehm 
    Participant
    Posts: 2
    #866034

    I have been building in NE, WI. for 19 years and have not seen a worse product ( performance wise ) than fibercement siding. We took training classes from the two leading manufacturers, and still have problems with the product cracking. And if you ask the company for warranty – it all boils down to installation. If the company that sells it can’t train you to put it on correctly – good luck to the do-it-yourselfer.
    We have been using SmartSide for four years now, it has held up good, easy to work with, and looks nice. Again, alot of bad lloking products – come from bad installation.
    Read up on the installation of SmartSide before hand – it is a very neat product.

    avatar craftman 
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    #1182202

    Smartside Vrs Hardie

    Hardie wins.
    I have been a remodeling contractor for 16 years and have used all 3 products extensively. We prefer the Hardie product because it is very tough and more attractive.
    It looks better and doesn’t have the expansion/warping issues that LP Smartside does. LP Smartside calls for a 3/16 inch space to be left at all seams- awful! . Some guys then try to caulk the seam gaps or use a metal seam splice, poor options for discerning homeowners in my opinion. Hardie seams are butted tight and has proved to be a very stable product.
    Also if you look at LP Smartside its just OSB (chipboard) with a textured face, so it’s basically the same old wood composite siding that has been failing for years. The only thing new about Smartside is the name and the flashy new marketing campaign in my opinion.
    Cedar siding looks great and is pretty tough but the high initial cost and the 3-5 year paint cycle gets expensive quick.
    Go with properly installed Hardie fiber cement and be done with siding issues is my Advice.
    Hope that helps,
    Tight lines to all!

    avatar Tom P. 
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    Posts: 2,186
    #1182256

    Not bad except the OP was from 2009 and replies from 2010.

    Avatar of Randy Wieland Randy Wieland 
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    Posts: 7,067
    #1182260

    Quote:


    Not bad except the OP was from 2009 and replies from 2010.



    It’s 2013 and still if you put any siding over a house built with crappy crooked studs, it looks like crap.

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