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Home | Our Blog | How to Install Fiber Cement Siding

How to Install Fiber Cement Siding

posted on Nov 28,2018

How to Install Fiber Cement Siding

Installing Fiber Cement Siding (FCS)— such as HardiePlank® is not as easy as one might imagine. There are some notable differences from traditional wood siding. Each installation guide depends on the methods of the manufacturer as well as the price and quality of the materials used. It is also imperative to consult your local building inspector for standards, regulations, and code requirements.

Prepare the wall surface properly before installing Fiber Cement Siding

Before commencing the fiber cement siding installation, ensure that the wall is prepped correctly, to avoid encountering operational snags. You need to consider some physical factors that are crucial for a successful installation, such as whether there are huge impediments that you need to discard; how correctly flashed the house is around the windows, doors, and other apertures; if the manufacturer recommends a weather-resistive protection. Consult your manufacturer’s guide to ensure that all the installation procedures are adhered to.

Safety First

Ensure to comply with these safety measures when performing a Fiber Cement Siding installation:

  • Wear protective safety equipment such as goggles, cut-resistant gloves, NIOSH-approved dispensable dust mask or respirator when operating electromechanical tools to drill, saw or cut siding

  • Use protective ear gear when using a circular saw to cut the siding.

  • Using a circular saw to cut siding generates copious amounts of dust, which might lead to lung diseases. Endeavor to cut siding outdoors and use a dust-collecting saw to fasten it to a shop vac.

Storage and Handling

  • Scrutinize siding for damage upon arrival.

  • Keep siding covered and in a clean, flat, firm elevated storage.

  • Protect from direct exposure to the weather until installation is complete.

  • Carry pieces by its narrow edge to avoid breakage.

  • When cutting, align siding along its length.

  • Sheath FCS over plywood, OSB, foam, or comparable sheathing.

  • Cover sheathing adequately with house wrap or vapor barriers, etc.

  • Snap chalk line to label the stud locations.


Use the recommended installation tools and materials


For a hitch-free, high-quality job, all the materials of a siding installation need to work in tandem with one another. The properties of the nails, boards, blades, etc. that are used can affect the fiber cement siding in relation to the nature materials of the concrete and stucco used. Ensure that any alternative materials deployed, complies with the installation rules stipulated by your manufacturer.


Cutting Siding

  • Circular Saw:

  • This method of cutting is commonplace but generates dust. For best results, a circular saw with a polycrystalline diamond-tooth blade should be used to cut siding. Cut from the posterior, guided by a rafter square for perpendicular cuts. Separate chunks may be lumped and cut simultaneously.

  • Fiber Cement Shears: smooth, easy one-hand operated electric shears are used to create straight and curve-pattern cuts. The appendage, TurboShear transforms an electric drill into fiber cement shears. To apply shears, clip with the siding’s posterior facing frontally.

  • Jigsaw: when equipped with a carbide-coated blade, a jigsaw can be used to cut service openings, curves, or radii. Incise from the posterior of the siding.

  • Scoring: It is easy to score and snap a HardiPlank Fiber cement siding. However, this does not result in neat incisions. Score the face of the siding and drag to break. A carbide-tipped scoring knife is more durable than a conventional utility knife blade.

Fastening Siding

Fiber cement siding can be nailed on HardiPlank by hand or by the use of a pneumatic nailer. Corrosion-defying screws can be used to batten it. Here are some essential tips on how to screw siding:

  • Hot-dipped galvanized, or stainless steel nails are preferred.

  • Nails must permeate into the sheathing and no less than 1” into studs.

  • Nails must be placed ¾” to 1” from the boundary of the siding.

  • Blind-nailed siding at the top or face-nailed siding at the bottom can be 1-5/8” long.

  • Roofing nails are best for blind nailing while siding nails is suitable for face nailing.

Installing Trim

Start by installing the interior and exterior edges on the wall. Wood, vinyl, or sturdier fiber cement brands such as hardietrim® can be applied. Edges should be no less than ¼” thicker than two lumped layers of siding to accommodate caulking.

Installing Siding

Fiber cement siding is suitable for installation at 6” or more above the home’s base level with a space of 1”– 2” separating horizontal surfaces such as decks, steps, or adjacent roofs. Flash around doors and windows, ensuring to provide ¼” clearance between the flashing and HardiPlank siding. When working alone, use overlap gauges to support the siding as you nail it.

Level the wall with a siding insulation product to and align each siding panel


Every house has inconsistencies in its walls as a result of frames and foundations adjusting against time. These imperfections in the wall manifest via new Nichiha siding. By including a siding insulation product behind your new siding as well as possiblle energy cutbacks, you can normalize the wall and create a harmonized foundation for installation.

FullbackFC and Linebacker are siding insulation products that are innovative in providing essential installation guides. These ridges in the insulation provide a pathway for installing each siding panel impeccably, bypassing the need to measure and perform chalk lining, used in the speculative, old-fashioned, and inefficient way of siding installation.

To start, hang a 1¼” starter strip of FCS 1/8” above the bottom of the first row to give the right inclination for the siding. Next, nail the first row of siding into the studs in vertical fashion, leaving 1/8” gaps at the corner boards to provide clearance for caulking. Blind nailing should be favorited over face nailing because the nail heads are obscured by the next row of siding. Predrilling of nails is not required unless at the near ends.

Center joints are favored over studs except when unique metal off stud joiners are applied. Joints should be butted moderately with a 4” wide strip of 30-pound felt placed at the back of each joint. Ensure that the felt extends over the previous siding row to prevent water from flowing behind should the caulking collapse.

Each siding row should overlap by at least 1¼”. Make simple alignments by placing a spacer stick with a nick cutting the length of the conspicuous segment of the siding.

With a square or level, ensure that the rows align at the edges. To notch the siding over doors and windows, mark each end after holding it firmly. Get the depth of the notch by hooking the spacer stick on the previous row of siding and gauging from the top of the stick to the window or door.

To cut angles on gables, clip a piece of scrap siding to the right angle, using it to label each portion. To gauge the top row of siding on horizontal eaves, hang the spacer stick on the previous row and measure up to the eave, before ripping the siding to width.



Factory primed siding can last six months without painting. Painting should be done on a dry surface. Caulk joints and ends first with a high-quality latex material. Prep bare siding and any outcropping cuts then overcoat with 100% acrylic latex paint.

Follow your fiber cement manufacturer's instructions!


So far, your manufacturer’s instruction is the most important tip, and this depends on their unique methods. Violating their guidelines may nullify your warranty. HardiePlank®; CemPlank®; CertainTeed; MaxiPlank; Nichih.

Posted on Nov 28,2018 in Roof

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