James Hardie vs. LP Smartside Siding

by Jan 8, 2019

Which one is right for you? If you’re looking to replace the siding on your house, you’ve probably heard of both of these products and there is a lot of conflicting information about which one is better. In an effort to clear up some of the misinformation out there, as well as help you decide which one is a better fit for you, we will go over the Pro’s and Con’s of each.

LP Smartside:  In the past, LP had some issues with one of their siding products not performing well in certain climates. They had a class-action lawsuit, which has been settled. Now they offer a much improved version, which is treated with waxes, resins and zinc borate to help improve the moisture, fungus and insect resistance. It is a great product for a lot of areas. (Link)

James Hardie Siding:  Hardie had addressed issues with performance in different climates with 2 different formulations, specifically designed for the weather conditions that the siding will be exposed to. In our climate we are in the HZ5 Zone, which incorporates a sloped to edge to improve the flow of moisture, as well as a drip edge on the bottom to keep any moisture moving downward. They also changed the formulation of the siding itself to make is more resistant to freezing temperatures. This product is ideal if you are concerned about termites or woodpeckers being an issue. In some rural areas where wildfires can be more prevalent, the siding may not save your home from direct fire exposure, it can help resist fire/damage from nearby fires. (Link)

Warranties tend to be very important these days, which is where some of the biggest differences come into play between LP Smartside and James Hardie Siding. LP does not cover anything like termite or woodpecker damage to their products. In our area, that can be somewhat of a concern, so that may be something to keep in mind. Smartside, being a wood based product, is also more susceptible to fire damage than the Hardie products, which won’t act as fuel even to a direct flame. Impact resistance for both products is very good compared to vinyl/aluminum/steel siding. LP does not cover any type of hail damage in their warranty though, whereas James Hardie does cover hail damage with material and labor coverage. Finally, the LP Warranty is non-transferable where the James Hardie Warranty can be transferred to a new owner one time. This can be handy if you are planning to sell your home in the near future. (Links to both)

Installation is very important for both products, and this can affect the warranty coverage of both. Due to the silica content in the James Hardie products, there are some special tools required to comply with OSHA standards to protect both the homeowner and the installer. This does cause most installation crews to increase their labor rates to install the Hardie siding. With the market becoming more and more competitive over the past several years, Hardie has been making efforts to keep costs of their products down to help offset some of this. Hardie panels are less flexible than the LP boards are when they are not yet installed. Material handling generally needs to be done by more than one person to insure the product doesn’t crack before installation.

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