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Why James Hardie?
Hardie® Plank fibre cement cladding is our best-selling product, and with good reason: it’s a versatile, low maintenance weatherboard available in a selection of 21 colours and two textures.
It can be installed horizontally, vertically or diagonally as well as offering finishing in traditional ship lap, open joint or hit and miss styles.
Hardie® VL Plank cladding is an easy to fit interlock weatherboard and ushers in a new era of contemporary exterior solutions. Its chic, distinctive design and timeless flat finish epitomises modern, durable beauty, perfect for both horizontal and vertical installation.
Available in natural cedar texture, Hardie® VL Plank cladding comes in a palette of clean, fresh colours from graphical monochrome and pastels to muted greys.
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Product Data Sheet: HardiePlank fibre cement
Product Data Sheet: HardiePlank VL interlock weatherboard
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+ Hardie® Plank
Create a classic finish with Hardie® Plank weatherboard in horizontal lap, vertical hit and miss or open joint styles.
Hardie® Plank vertical hit and miss
Hardie® Plank horizontal overlap
C+ Hardie® VL Plank
The seamless interlock of
Hardie® VL Plank cladding epitomises architectural modern design perfect for both horizontal and vertical installation.The clip-less system is 20% faster to install than comparable interlock solutions.
Hardie® VL Plank horizontal installation
Hardie® VL Plank vertical installation
Most natural look with premium colour range
Low maintenance thanks to unique ColorPlus™ Technologie
Up to 20% faster installation
Whereas wood is the most traditional product, uPVC and fibre cement cladding offer a more contemporary choice.
Here you can find out more about the strengths and characteristics of all three materials and make an educated decision about which is the right facade for your home.
With each cladding type, there are options aplenty; textures, colours, sizes, finishes and installation methods. From horizontal ship-lapped fibre cement weatherboards or vertically installed painted wood, through to diagonally installed uPVC cladding, below we aim to guide you through the choices, being as unbiased as we feel we can be. After consulting with many homeowners, architects and builders, we think that ultimately, the choice of exterior cladding type will come down to the following variables:
Wood cladding (most often made from western red cedar wood or Siberian larch) can be painted with stain, oils, or even left untreated for a totally natural look. Planks are available in several different styles, including chamfered channel cladding, bevelled edge cladding, tongue and groove interlocked or ship-lapped effect. This allows for both traditional and modern design aesthetics. You can achieve a modern, seamless look with tongue-and-groove panels, or a rural look with board-and-batten.
PVC cladding, also known as uPVC, Vinyl or Plasic cladding, comes in a variety of colours and sizes and offers both smooth and wood grain effect finishes. Despite the variety of more traditional effect finishes on offer, uPVC cladding is best used for a modern design as in our view, the wood effect and more natural finishes are easily seen through even when inspected from a curb-side distance. Up close, wood effect vinyl is fooling no-one.
A unique combination of cellulose fibre and cementitious material, fibre cement cladding comes in long, horizontal strips, just like wood cladding planks. It is available in a wide range of colours – James Hardie offers 21 shades to choose from, for example – and typically two textures, from a modern smooth finish to a more rustic rough-hewn look.
Fibre cement does an extremely good job of replicating the look of painted wood. It cannot really replace a natural unpainted wood finish convincingly, as if you examine it very closely, you may notice that the grain is perhaps a little too even and perfect to be real wood.
So decision wise on aesthetics, your choice of material really should come down to the look you want to achieve. Do you have your heart set on natural, untreated, unpainted wood? If so, there is really no substitute for cedar wood cladding. It can look very beautiful immediately after installation, although you should take into consideration the way the facade will date, and the likely maintenance and repair issues that will arise.
If however you love the idea of a traditional or contemporary painted wood finish, but would rather pass on the ongoing heavy maintenance, a convincingly realistic fibre cement cladding such as Hardie®Plank weatherboard, just might be the solution for you.
All three types of cladding form part of what’s known as a ventilated rainscreen facade. Rainscreen systems are designed to protect your home by offering a ‘double defence’ against the elements.
Typically, houses are built using either timber frame or blockwork construction, and typically weatherboard cladding is mechanically fixed – with either nails, screws or clips – to timber battens over the substructure. Cladding allows rainwater to permeate the system but is ventilated to dry out after adverse weather conditions.
The installation of fibre cement, wood and uPVC cladding is similar. Feedback from our installers confirm installation of fibre cement is 20% faster and given there’s no need to repaint fibre cement, there is very little maintenance required long term. Labour costs are approximately the same per square metre.
Cladding installation can be made simpler and more efficient though through use of specialist tools; in the case of our Hardie® Plank weatherboard, the gecko gauge tool allows for an easier one person installation.
With proper maintenance, wood cladding can last for many years. Cedar in particular is a very durable species of wood that resists rot and pests much better than other type of wood.
With wood, the most important thing is to minimize exposure to moisture which can cause rot. This means you should maintain a finish coat of either paint or stain to seal the wood against the elements. Painted wood will need to be prepared and repainted every 5 years, while stain needs to be re-applied every 3 years. It’s important to upkeep maintenance on wood cladding as moisture movement can cause paint to crack and peel, leading to deterioration of the planks underneath.
Fibre cement is extremely low-maintenance and requires (only if and when needed) a simple washing with a hose and soapy water. The ColourPlus™ Technology paint finish on JamesHardie® cladding is guaranteed not to crack, peel or chip for 15 years, and the weatherboard itself is BBA certified with a life expectance of 60 plus years.
Fibre cement is also very durable. Because of its cement content, it is impervious to termites, woodpeckers and other pests. It resists rotting, warping, and cracking and will withstand extreme weather including rain, snow, hail, hot sun, and even hurricane-force winds.
uPVC cladding, like fibre cement, is also low maintenance and has a similar life expectancy. Aesthetically, the finish tends to look more pristine for longer than natural wood, although unlike fibre cement, it can be susceptible to fading, warping, cracking and sagging over time. It also becomes brittle and susceptible to cracking in very cold weather conditions.
For even more information about PVC, uPVC or vinyl cladding we made a page comparing PVC cladding to Fibre cement cladding as well as a page comparing timber cladding with fibre cement cladding for more information about timber or wood cladding.