House Siding Options – Stucco vs. Hardie

By
Home Builder with Javic Homes

It’s not like these are the only siding options available.  There are plenty of brick, stone and other options, but most Tampa home builders offer these two options. 

Now for many people, this isn’t really much of a decision.  The style they want drives the siding.  Mediterranean homes require stucco and bungalow and craftsman homes need hardie.

For those who can’t make up their mind on the architectural style, this is a topic of interest.

So what is stucco and hardie?  Neither are structural elements of a home.  They are the material that is placed on the exterior walls of the home.

Stucco is usually a mixture of sand, Portland cement, lime and water.  Many manufacturers today use a variety of additives to provide greater flexibility and strength.  The mixture is applied wet and when it dries, it becomes hard and dense.   It can be applied over both frame and block exterior walls.  It is done in multiple layers.  The positive for stucco is its durability and low maintenance.  The negative is that it needs to be mixed and applied properly or it can become brittle and crack over time.

Hardie siding has become a default name for fiber cement siding.  In reality, James Hardie is the manufacturer for one brand of fiber cement siding and there are plenty of other manufacturers.  Hardie and others make fiber cement siding in a variety of shapes – 1) lap siding, the traditional long horizontal boards, 2) shingle, the ones that look like cedar shakes, and 3) panels, more of a vertical board and batten look.  The positive for hardie is that bugs and termites hate it and it’s impervious to moisture.  Both are great attributes for Florida.  The negative is that it is brittle and heavy (remember it’s fiberous concrete), so installation can be tricky. 

From a cost standpoint, stucco does cost less than hardie.  If you do go with stucco and choose the Mediterranean style, these savings will likely be eliminated due to the tile vs. shingle roofing.  Maybe a topic for another day.

As a Tampa builder, I believe both stucco and hardie are great products and well suited for our area.  So if you can’t decide on a style to drive the decision, you won’t lose with a good flip of the coin.

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Rainmaker
233,922
Anne M. Costello
Weidel Realtors - Yardley, PA

Jon: What a well written and informative post. I have seen hardie used up here on a very few buildings and have seen the actual Hardie display at our annual home show. Do you have a picture of one piece up close? 

Sep 27, 2011 05:51 AM #1
Ambassador
1,469,653
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Jon, We're considering Hardie as a replacement for our existing vinyl siding some day down the road, but it is more of a nice to than a have to.  But it will certainly add to the curb appeal.  How do the different sidings rate for energy efficiency/insulation?  Is one better than the rest?

Sep 27, 2011 06:17 AM #2
Rainmaker
64,076
Amy Shair
Cary Durham NC Referrals - RE/MAX United - Search Durham Homes - Duke University, NC
Award Winning Agent 20+ Years

Here in NC we had some of the synthetic stucco so many people building don't consider real stucco. Our main materials are brick, vinyl and fiber cement (hardi). Good post to inform your market on the differences between stucco and hardi.

Sep 27, 2011 07:25 AM #3
Rainer
113,476
Jon Solomon
Javic Homes - Tampa, FL

Anne - Thanks for the positive feedback.  Here's the link to James Hardie who has some great photos of the different materials up close.

http://www.jameshardie.com/

Liz/Bill - Actually stucco and hardie don't really provide much insulating value so I'd say it's really a non-factor from that standpoint.  The big issues is the rest of the wall system like whether the wall is frame or block and the insulation used on those walls.  Hope that helps.

Sep 27, 2011 07:51 AM #4
Ambassador
1,469,653
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.265.3004 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Oh well, I was hoping the siding change might help our energy bill, but probably not :)

Sep 27, 2011 10:56 AM #5
Rainmaker
421,248
Mike Young
203kOnLine.com, covering California & most other states - Fairfield, CA
FHA 203k Consultant 707-812-7668

Siding is always a challenge. On the west coast many of the higher end homes are migrating towards the siding vs stucco (stucco like material) lol. I think allot depends on the flavor of the finished product and the buyer's or owner's desire. Nice post.

Nov 02, 2011 09:05 AM #6
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Rainer
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Jon Solomon

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