Moisture Problems You May Face
with Hardie Siding

Golden Group Roofing specializes in James Hardie fiber cement siding installation for homes throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. James Hardie is a recognized leader in the siding industry, with quality products that offer lifetime value, curb appeal, performance and durability, and sustainability.

Proper installation is key for Hardie Siding

We are proud to install James Hardie products for any home style, from classic Colonials to contemporary designs. James Hardie siding stands as one of the sturdiest siding choices available; however, incorrect installation can cause moisture problems with Hardie siding and significantly reduce its lifespan.

Golden Group Roofing exterior of home with hardie siding.

What causes moisture problems with Hardie siding?

Here are 7 Reasons Why moisture problems with Hardie siding can occur during incorrect installation:

1. Insufficient preparation of the work area

Often underestimated in its significance, the initial step of preparing the work area is pivotal in siding installation.

This stage involves verifying the stability of the underlying wall structure, ensuring a completely dry surface, and clearing away any remnants of prior siding or debris. Neglecting proper preparation may lead to an uneven surface, resulting in misaligned siding panels.

Moisture trapped beneath the siding can infiltrate the material, causing swelling, distortion, or potential mold growth. Additionally, ignoring minor cracks or wall damage can escalate into major issues post-installation.

How does this impact the outcome? A poorly prepared surface jeopardizes the siding’s durability and functionality, heightening the risk of moisture-related damage, structural concerns like rot and mold, and a diminished aesthetic appeal.

This not only compromises the building’s defense against the elements but could also incur substantial expense for future repairs and upkeep.

2. Incorrect measuring and cutting

Precision in measurement and cutting holds paramount importance in James Hardie siding installation. Errors in measurement can lead to unattractive gaps, overlaps, or ill-fitting pieces, disrupting the siding’s uniformity.

Inaccurate cuts, often resulting from the use of dull or unsuitable tools, can cause rough edges or cracks in the siding, compromising its structural integrity.

Misjudgments in the cutting process may also result in wasted material, elevating the overall project cost. Furthermore, imprecise cuts can impact the proper placement of nails and joints, further jeopardizing the installation.

How does this affect the result? Measurement and cutting inaccuracies yield more than just cosmetic flaws. Gaps and overlaps undermine the siding’s ability to insulate and shield the home effectively from external elements, increasing energy expenditures and susceptibility to weather-induced damage.

Any spaces between boards can heighten the risk of water penetration and pest intrusion, compromising the home’s internal structure. 

Improperly cut siding is also more prone to cracking and breakage, especially in areas exposed to frequent temperature fluctuations.

Golden Group Roofing exterior of home with hardie siding.

3. Improper nailing methods

The correct nailing technique is pivotal for the stability of James Hardie siding. Nails driven too deeply can fracture the siding, while shallow nailing leaves panels inadequately secured. Using incorrect nails, such as those that are too short, also fails to provide adequate security for the siding boards.

Incorrect nailing patterns, spacing, or the use of non-corrosion-resistant nails can lead to loosening of the siding and eventual corrosion. Insufficient nailing can also hinder the siding’s ability to expand and contract with temperature changes, resulting in warping or buckling.

Using too few nails compromises the holding strength, whereas an excess of nails can compromise the siding’s integrity.

How does this impact the outcome? Incorrect nailing results in either immediate damage or a gradual decline in siding stability, escalating the risk of damage from environmental factors. Loose or completely detached siding poses hazards to both the structure and its occupants.

Over time, improper nailing can lead to costly repairs and replacements, as well as potential safety risks.

4. Poorly executed flashing and caulking

Adequate flashing and caulking play a crucial role in moisture management during siding installations. Errors in these areas, such as uneven or excessive caulking, result in unsightly bulges or ineffective sealing.

Improperly installed flashing, particularly around windows, doors, and corners, can permit water to seep behind the siding. Excessive caulking traps moisture, while inadequate caulking leaves vulnerable gaps.

Mistakes in flashing and caulking are often not immediately apparent, making them insidious and potentially damaging over time.

How does this affect the result? Ineffective flashing and caulking can lead to water damage within the walls, resulting in costly repairs, potential structural issues, and problems like mold and mildew, which can have negative health repercussions.

Water infiltration can also undermine the walls’ insulation properties, increasing heating and cooling expenses.

Golden Group Roofing exterior of home with hardie siding.

5. Ignoring manufacturer’s installation guidelines

James Hardie provides specific guidelines that are frequently disregarded during installation of their fiber cement siding. These guidelines encompass various aspects, including storage conditions to prevent warping before installation, correct techniques for handling and fastening the siding, and proper methods for finishing the edges for durability.

Disregarding these recommendations can lead to improper installation techniques, such as incorrect panel overlapping, inadequate clearance from the ground, and improper joint treatments.

These guidelines aim to optimize the siding’s performance and longevity. Disregarding them can result in subpar outcomes.

How does this affect the result? Failure to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines can accelerate fiber cement siding’s premature deterioration. This not only diminishes the product’s aesthetic and protective qualities but might also void the manufacturer’s warranty, leaving homeowners without recourse for defects.

It can also result in an installation less resistant to weather conditions, hastening wear and tear.

6. Neglecting future expansion and contraction

Over time, homes naturally expand and contract due to changing weather and foundation settling.

Failing to accommodate the siding’s thermal expansion and contraction can lead to detrimental consequences. Overly tight installation in hot conditions can cause panels to buckle.

Conversely, excessive space left for contraction in colder weather can create unsightly gaps. Failing to allow for movement can result in panels rubbing against each other, causing noise and friction damage.

Inconsistent gap spacing can also result in an uneven appearance, detracting from the siding’s curb appeal.

How does this affect the outcome? Structural deformities such as buckling and warping compromise the siding’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. Over time, this can lead to cracks and gaps, reducing the siding’s effectiveness in insulation and weather protection.

Issues with paint adherence can also arise, resulting in peeling and the need for more frequent maintenance.

Golden Group Roofing exterior of home.

7. Inexperienced installation 

The complexity of James Hardie fiber cement siding installation is often underestimated by inexperienced installers. The material demands specific tools and knowledge for proper installation.

Inexperienced installation can lead to a range of errors, including improper gap spacing, incorrect flashing and caulking, and inaccurate cutting and measuring.

Lack of experience can also result in overlooking crucial safety considerations, such as proper handling to prevent injury or damage.

How does this affect the result? Inexperienced installation can result in a multitude of problems—from cosmetic flaws to significant structural damage. This not only diminishes the home’s curb appeal but can also lead to increased maintenance costs, reduced property value, and potentially hazardous conditions.

In the long term, these errors can significantly shorten the siding’s lifespan, necessitating premature replacements and repairs.

Finding the right James Hardie installer

Now that you’re acquainted with the top seven most common mistakes inexperienced installers make when working with James Hardie siding, you can better identify a reputable company for your home.

Installing James Hardie siding is a meticulous process requiring a high level of expertise and attention to detail. Being aware of the problems with Hardie siding is crucial to ensure the siding’s longevity and effectiveness.

Choosing James Hardie siding and executing proper installation isn’t just about appearances. It is an essential investment in your home’s future.

When seeking the right Hardie installer, conducting thorough research and asking pertinent questions are key to finding a reliable company with the necessary expertise. Look no further than Golden Group. You may know us for our exceptional history of providing top-notch residential roofing. We take that same dedication and craftsmanship and apply it to our siding installation as well.

The Golden Group Roofing Process

Our Golden Group four-step process includes an intensive discovery session, an initial and final design, and the siding installation.

Once the project is complete, we’ll do a final walkthrough with the project manager, take care of the entire cleanup, and begin the permit closing process to finalize everything with your town or city.

Then, we’ll review all of your warranty information, close out the final invoice, and share how to reach the team at Golden Group roofing with any questions going forward. 

If you are thinking of a home siding project and want to get your questions answered and the process underway, call Golden Group at 508-873-1884 or use our Contact Us form.