WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CERTAINTEED AND JAMES HARDIE FIBER CEMENT SIDING PRODUCTS?

Fiber cement is Fiber cement, right? So what is the difference from one brand to another?

Well, Certainteed Weatherboard and James Hardie fiber cement siding have some things in common. Both are very durable, rot proof, fire rated and impervious to wood boring insects. They are priced about the same and both come in an array of shapes, pre-finished colors and textures. They are manufactured by reputable companies who have been around for a long time. Now here’s where they differ:

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  1. Warranty: James Hardie offers a 30 year limited warranty on their primed lap siding.  Certainteed offers a 50 year limited transferrable warranty.
  2. Appearance: CertainTeed, in my opinion, does the best job in the industry of duplicating the look of real wood.  The pattern is a deeper, more authentic wood-grain pattern than James Hardie.  You will find far fewer boards with duplicated wood grain patterns with Certainteed than with James Hardie.
  3. Pre Finished Stained siding: CertainTeed offers pre-finished stained siding available in 6 Premium colors.  “Get the beauty of stained Cedar without the drawbacks of wood.”
  4. Environmental Friendliness: Certainteed is committed to “Green Building”.  Certainteed uses 30% recycled fly ash as a binder in their boards.  Fly ash is a material that would otherwise be disposed of in landfills. They also manufacture using recycled water, recycle their waste verses filling landfills, and are recognized by ENERGY STAR for achievements towards reducing greenhouse emissions through energy efficiency.
  5. Health Factors: James Hardie siding is largely composed of silica. When cut a fine dust containing this silica is released into the air.  Breathing silica dust can cause silicosis, a disease affecting the lungs and respiratory system.
  6. Durability: Certainteed better resists the effects of heavy rain, high humidity and extreme cold temperatures.  It has a 60% higher interlaminate bond strength compared to James Hardie meaning it will not delaminate.  This feature is guaranteed in Certainteed’s warranty.
  7. Impact Resistance: Certainteed siding has been proven to be less likely to fracture upon impact than James Hardie siding.
  8. Primer Finish: Certainteed uses FiberTect sealant which actually penetrates into the boards and bonds with the fiber cement material, protecting the siding from unwanted moister.  The FiberTect also bonds better with paint giving you a longer lasting finish.  You can wait up to 2 years before painting new CertainTeed siding versus 6 months with James Hardie.
  9. Over 100 years of building products leadership: CertainTeed is one of the nation’s largest and most respected building products manufactures.

Fiber Cement siding is an excellent investment for your home regardless of the brand you choose.

 

29 thoughts on “WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CERTAINTEED AND JAMES HARDIE FIBER CEMENT SIDING PRODUCTS?

  1. In 1995 I bought and had James Hardi plank installed on my house.
    I paid to have one coat of primer and one coat of paint applied to the front and back of the boards at a local pre stain/paint company.
    The boards were painted with one more coat after install.
    I just repainted for the first time since 1995 in 2014.
    They look as good as new and have so far stood up very well no cracking or delamination.
    House is on the west coast with a 20″ overhang.
    The house does not have a rain screen.

  2. Our contractor recommended Certain Teed siding for our home that we were renovating 5 years ago. We love the look and prefer it over vinyl siding. But, over the last few years, the siding has cracked in MANY areas.
    I would not use this product again. I plan to contact Certain Teed and discuss this with them, but it sounds like our problem will only be blamed on the installation!

    • Allen – I’m sorry to hear you are having issues with your siding. I would suggest you contact your contractor. He should contact the supplier (which he still does business with) and the supplier should contact the manufacturer (who is still selling the product). Between the 3 of them, they should be able to work out getting your defects resolved, regardless of who is at fault, if they have any pride in customer service at all. Keep us posted.

    • Being a contractor for over 26 years I have had experience with every type of siding that has been on the market in that time. I went through the Georgia Pacific debacle and had issues years ago with James Hardie. As a contractor concerned with providing the safest, most maintenance free home for my customers, I switched to all premium vinyl siding in 2002. In 2004 my siding distributor really started to push Certainteed Weatherboards hard. Guaranteed there would be no quality issues especially if I went with the factory pre-finished product. Well I found out later it was not factory pre-finished rather contracted 3rd party. I was very skeptical however my supplier alleviated those fears by providing a factory certified installer and invoicing me for product and labor so I could be assured of proper installation. The material was warehoused at my supplier, delivered on the day installation began, and was completely installed before any precipitation. Three years in and it started to show very serious issues. Contacted the distributor and they stated improper installation. Showed them the original invoice from them for material and labor and questioned how installation could be improper when I used an authorized dealers installers. Shrinking, sagging, cracking, checked and peeling finish. From the product to the finish it is not worth the risk. I understand all of the disclaimers and legalize in the warranty. But really, a building material that goes on the outside of a structure that can’t get wet before installation and if it does needs to be completely dry before being installed. Has anyone at Certainteed ever been on job site or actually built a home? Not only is this an unrealistic expectation it is completely negligent on the part of Certainteed to ignore reality and in turn knowingly place everyone of their customers in harms way. I believe this was all proven out in the result of the class action. Incredibly in light of insurmountable evidence to the contrary, Certainteed still claims innocence and states they are settling only to move on. Maybe they went to the same class on quality control and customer service as General Motors.

      • Ralph – Thank you for your comments. Just to clarify, the installation requirements you refer to apply to all fiber cement siding products, not just Certainteed. I would hope the vendor who supplied and installed your product is owning up to their warranty.

  3. Hi Folks,

    I’m a bit late to this discussion but I can make a few points. As an amateur DIYer I have used James Hardie products both in sheds I have built and on the outside of my former home in Texas. I used 4×8 panels on the sheds and boy are those puppies heavy and unwieldy. But once installed, they are nearly bulletproof. The issue in Texas is the intense sunlight which really takes a toll on wood. I also used Hardie products as fascia. That said, I am considering use of CertainTeed Cedar lap siding on a project in TN where I now live. In doing researd, I downloaded the 64 page Certainteed lap siding installation manual. http://www.certainteed.com/resources/FC017.pdf As a former software engineer, I can vouch for the value of the phrase RTFM (read the fine manual). All of the issues which cause problems in substandard installations are covered in that manual. I feel certain that properly installed CertainTeed and/or Hardie products are durable and effective for longterm use….longer in fact than modern houses typically last.

  4. We are currently using James Hardie on the construction of new homes in the subdivision. Nichiha has approached us to use their product. I’ve seen a lot of pros and cons on Nichiha, but would like to get your opinion please. We build approximately 100 homes a year, so we are looking at all factors, warranty, cost, durability etc., in making this decision.
    Thank you for your time.

    • Chris –
      James Hardie Building Products is by far the market leader in residential fiber cement siding and trim products. Their brand awareness with consumers due to their tremendous marketing efforts brings great value to any contractor offering their product. Nichiha has been manufacturing fiber cement products since the 1970′s so they are no newcomer to the product. Their major focus has been with commercial fiber cement cladding products up until the late 1990′s when they began manufacturing residential products. Nichiha is the highest rated residential siding by Consumer Reports, but not many people know that due their lack of consumer marketing. Both products will perform equally well as long as they are stored, handled and installed per the manufacturer guidelines. I hope this helps.

  5. The CertainTeed settlement weighs greatly on market share and installed product in the market. Further research on this matter will show that James Hardie will be hard-pressed to settle based on the amount of fiber cement they have in the marketplace. Remember, Weatherboards represented a very small portion of the total CertainTeed building products portfolio in the US.

  6. This site is BS.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/certainteed-corporation-settles-class-action-lawsuits-regarding-fiber-cement-siding-230570291.html

    CertainTeed just settled for over $100 million, and that’s just for starters. Every single person who’s ever had this siding installed is capable of getting in on this lawsuit.

    I for one have already filed on this. The boards do not work up north, I’m told the fly ash that they put in the board causes the board to fail. CertainTeed and Nichiha fiber cements use fly ash in their board, apparently its delivered free from coal plants, and they get a tax break for going “green” using toxic waste in their products.

    I wish I didn’t try to save a buck going with this product, but at least they have to pay for it in the end.

    Don’t be swayed by the stuff this guy writes. Just pay the extra for the hardi and be done with it. Knock offs come back to bite you.

    • Rob – Thank you for the information. To clarify your post, the class action suit was settled with Certainteed funding an account to pay for any product deemed to be defective due to manufacturing. Quote from the press release “CertainTeed will pay $103.9 million to fund the settlement, which includes attorneys’ fees and costs….The availability of the remedy under the settlement depends upon a number of factors such as (1) the extent of the Qualifying Damage; (2) the proportion of the wall with Qualifying Damage; (3) the size of the wall; (4) the length of time the siding has been installed; and (5) whether the Qualifying Damage was caused by a third party or as a result of improper installation or storage”. The only people who won in this case are the attorneys.

      We have installed fiber cement siding on tens of thousands of homes over the past 17 years both James Hardie and Certainteed as well as Nichiha. All fiber cement siding products have a very large warning regarding Storage and Handling which states: “Store flat and keep dry and covered prior to installation. Installing siding wet or saturated may result in shrinkage at butt joints. Carry planks on edge. (James Hardie/Certainteed) is not responsible for damage caused by improper storage and handling of the product”. We have experienced this issue with both products. Many of the distributors store these products outdoors which allows them to absorb moisture. This wont hurt the product UNLESS it is installed while it is still wet. The product must dry completely prior to installation to perform properly. As you can see from the quote in the press release, this is specifically covered. Should the product be more tolerant? Possibly. But this lack of tolerance would apply to all fiber cement products.

      While I understand your perceived bias on my part toward Certainteed, we sell just as much James Hardie siding product. We encourage our customers to do their own research and to make sure the contractor they choose is qualified not only in proper installation practices but proper handling techniques.

      James Hardie, Certainteed, and Nichiha, in my opionion, make great products. The benefits of fiber cement siding far out weigh any negatives.

  7. My question is in regards to repainting or restaining certainteed fiber cement in the future. We want to start with pre-stained but need to know what we can do with it in say 10 to 15 years. Can you stain it again or would it need to be painted the 2nd time around? Is there more prep work involved than if you are repainting or staining wood shingles?
    We also are having trouble deciding on which of the 6 stain colors as each time we see a sample the colors are different. We are really interested in Maple or Mahogany stain. Thanks for any info.

  8. It is really shameful that companies today (i.e. Certainteed and JH) really publicize the fact that their products have 30 or 50 year warranties, but when you try to use such a warranty they do not stand behind it and in a majority of cases blame installation or something other than the product. This is evidence by the individuals above that both seem to have incurred a similar issue but received a duplicate answer….. I would really like to see data on how many warranty claims they have paid vs.how many were filed. Since you work for neither can you share that Roone??????/

    • Mike – That is a good question. Unfortunately neither manufacturer is going to share that data. All manufacturers have warranty claims filed against their product. Product performance is attributed to manufacturing quality, storage, installation, and maintenance. The last three storage, installation, and maintenance cannot be controlled by the manufacturer. And based on my experience, those are the three that lead to product performance failures more than manufacturing quality.

  9. This is the most silly post I have ever seen. I expecially love the fact that you say you are not for one or the other but this is obviously a pro CertainTeed forum. Let’s talk this through:

    1) Warranty – You make it look like CertainTeed has a better warranty. James Hardie offers a 30 year non-prorated tranferrable warranty while Certainteed offers a 50 year PRORATED warranty (ie marketing warranty)
    2)Apperance – True many people prefer the rough look of CertainTeed over James Hardie’s Cedarmill – This is why James Hardie offers MANY different kinds of planks including a Rustic grain
    3) Prefinished – You dont even mention James Hardie here. CertainTeed uses a 3rd party pre-finishing company utilizing a paint that is not formulated for fiber cement. James Hardie offers 21 colors and uses a propritary formula that is forumlated to chemically bond with fiber cement. BIG differences in quality here
    4) Environmentally friendly – Your are talking about a very hazardous material called fly ash (FYI Wikipedia fly ash). When you are done go to the James Hardie Green Facts page on their website.
    5) Silica dust – True Silica is hazardous to your health which is why they recommend fiber cement saw blades and masks. Very interesting that the EPA is more worriedd about fly ash than Silica dust. FYI James Hardie does not use fly ash in any of their prodcuts
    6) Durability – REALLY only a CertainTeed shout out here. Very interesting and goes back to the fact of this being a CertainTeed love fest. I would really question this contractor knowledge of fiber cement if they believe CertainTeed is more durable than James Hardie.
    7) Fracture – Where do you get this stuff? Less likely to fracture. Do you have any data to back this up. Not sure the guys at the James Hardie R&D facility where they employ 110 cement PHD’s would agree with you. Use of Fly Ash as a cheap filler decrease the stability of the product and increase the brittleness which is why James Hardie does not use this as a filler.
    8) Again you make it look like CertainTeed has the upper hand here. The warranty on James Hardie primed board hanging is 6 months which is not a question if the primer will last longer. If a homeowner is really going to leave a board up and not paint the home for two years it is most likely because the couldn’t afford it in the first place and should have put up T-111 instead. Where do you get your data from about FiberTect? I see you are putting out what looks like facts without any validity. Might want to back up your statement with FACTS!
    9) This real issue with CertainTeed is they manufacture a TON of building products making them the largest building manufacturer in the world. James Hardie only manufactures fiber cement and spend $30 million every year in R&D ensuring they have the best product. CertainTeed knows if they mess up fiber cement that it accounts for less than 2% of world wide sales and they have other products to fall back on; while James Hardie would be out of business since they only manufacture fiber cement. So at the end of the day you tell me who has a more vested interest in their fiber cement products?

    Also do a little reseach on CertainTeed Class Action lawsuites before you try to rebute that there are not any. You will find quit a few in litigation right now.

    • John – Thank you for your opinion. Its flattering that our competitors read our posts. I would suggest you do your own research versus repeating what you’ve been told. I will just address a few of your comments where we, lets just say disagree.

      The Certainteed Warranty is prorated after the first 2 years. However, during the first 2 years (the time a defect is most likely to occur) material and the labor to replace any defective product is covered. James Hardie only offers the replacement product and the customer gets to pay for the labor. And after the 30 year period, Certainteed still offers 44% of their warranty coverage versus James Hardie 0%.

      James Hardie uses Sherwin Williams paint for their pre-finishing. Proprietary? Talk about marketing!

      Wikipedia is hardly factually based and I’m little surprised anyone would use it as a reference. However, here is part of the post: “In the past, fly ash was generally released into the atmosphere, but pollution control equipment mandated in recent decades now require that it be captured prior to release. In the US, fly ash is generally stored at coal power plants or placed in landfills. About 43% is recycled,[3] often used to supplement Portland cement in concrete production.” Hardly a hazardous material.

      Why don’t you Wikipedia James Hardie and then tell me what you think about the company?

    • CertainTeed has been named in several class action lawsuits for its fiber cement siding. These lawsuits have been consolidated in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. There is no certified class action. The plaintiffs need to demonstrate to the court that the cases are suitable to be treated as class actions. So far that has not happened and the court has not ruled that these cases have merit to be treated as class actions. CertainTeed is vigorously defending itself and its fiber cement siding in the consolidated case. The nature of these types of lawsuits is that they can take a long time to get resolved. In the meantime, CertainTeed stands by its warranty and responds to each claim that it may receive on an individual basis by following the terms and conditions of the applicable warranty. We might add that CertainTeed is the only manufacturer of fiber cement siding that offers payment for replacement labor for two years from the date of installation along with providing replacement material should the siding be determined to have a manufacturing defect during that time.

  10. Are you aware that Certainteed is currently involved in a multimillion dollar class action lawsuit regarding its fiber cement siding? A huge percentage of the boards are defective. They crack, warp and separate within a couple of years of being installed. Their so-called “warranty”, should they choose to honor it, only provides replacement boards. They do NOT pay any labor costs associated with changing out the bad siding. I paid over $10,000 3 years ago to have my home resided and painted. Now I have cracked boards. The repair estimate is $9000. CertainTeed offered me an $1800 settlement. Please do not consider using CertainTeed as they do not stand behind their product. This is not just my issue. There are thousands of their customers in the same situation.

    • Laura –
      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry that you are having problems with the siding on your home. Your reference to a multi million dollar class action lawsuit is not accurate. And that “a huge percentage of the boards are defective” is not accurate either.
      When you perform an internet search for “Certainteed siding lawsuits” (or any other manufacturer for that matter) you will find several law firms that appear to have a class action suit. If you dig deeper you will find that these are firms are looking for people to join a suit against several manufacturers of many different products. While it gives the appearance that there are suits pending, none have been filed in court under the class action status that I can find.
      I believe the issue with your siding is related to the installation and proper storage. If fiber cement siding (from any manufacturer) is installed while it is wet or contains moisture, it will contract as it dries. This will cause the cracking and warping you refer to. The product can be stored outside and get wet, however, it must dry before installation. Here is the link to both James Hardie and Certainteed installation instructions referencing this: http://www.jameshardie.com/pdf/install/hardiepanel-hz10.pdf, http://www.certainteed.com/resources/fc017.pdf – see the notes under storage and handling. We require our distributors to store these products indoors.
      Your contractor should be involved with your claim. He should be working with Certainteed and the local distributor of the product to get your claim resolved to your satisfaction. If you have not contacted them, I would recommend doing so. We have never had a problem resolving a product performance complaint to the customer’s satisfaction working with either of these manufacturers’ and the local distributors.

      • This is NOT a fair or balanced list of similar aspects of competing products. Only CertainTeed is mentioned for the positives and James Hardie is mentioned on negatives. Unclear and misleading, your article does not provide a helpful buyers guide and, in my opinion, speaks volumes of a cheaper product to maximize profits.

        • Joe – Thank you for your comment. The article merely states the facts in comparison of products and warranties. And in fact Certainteed is not less expensive than James Hardie Building Products.

          • I’m having a major problem with CertainTeed boards on my house which was new in 2004. Reading many reports of people just like me who find their boards cracking, warping and gapping. I’m having trouble getting a warranty out of CertainTeed because I don’t have the original receipt that the material was got with. I bought the house new – the contractor bought the material. He gave me the receipt but it doesn’t call out CertainTeed on it. CertainTeed wants me to take a piece off the house to send back for a warranty that will only give me new boards – doesn’t cover replacing and painting!

          • Ray – Im sorry to hear you are having problems with your siding. Unfortunately I believe, based on your description, that your issues is the same as Laura who commented. Please see my response to her above. As far the warranty, providing replacement product for defective product is standard for the building material industry, so Certainteed is no different than any other manufacturer for remedy. As I recommended to Laura, you should be working with your contractor and supplier as this is a storage and installation issue. If you can confirm that you have Certainteed siding on your home, then maybe you can get them to supply the product and your contractor to supply the labor.

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