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New Siding on 1900 Victorian - Cedar or HardiePlank?

Hi everyone! My family and I live in Atlanta, GA where we own a 1900's eclectic Victorian.  It's got the original cedar siding which is really starting to show its age.  Of course there's no insulation behind it.  Since the home is in need of painting and insulating, we've been thinking about having the home resided - which we'd have to do if we decided to insulate the walls.  Here's the problem:  Do we replace the old cedar siding with new, primed cedar siding or install HardiePlank?

My wife and I are preservationists and are leading towards installing new cedar siding.  The cost is almost identical between the new cedar and the Hardie.

We really don’t want to change the look of the home and have looked at older homes with the Hardie product (both the plain and the textured) and we feel it does change the look.  The plain Hardie looks very sterile to us and the textured just looks fake.  Also, there’s a size difference.  The Hardie product is thinner that cedar.  Our contractor explained that the ‘reveal’ or the shadow that the wood (or Hardie) creates, will be different. Since the Hardie is thinner it creates a smaller reveal.

Of course there’s a big difference in the maintenance.  The Hardie product is guaranteed for 30 years (material) from James Hardie and a lifetime labor warranty from the installer (who is a certified Hardie Installer). The primed cedar comes with only a 10 year labor warranty from the installer.  Then there’s the painting issue.  We understand that the Hardie product won’t need painting for 10-12 years vs 7-8 years for the next cedar paint job. 

So, what do you think?  Should we install the HardiePlank or a primed cedar wood?  We’ve been thinking about this for months and can’t make a decision. On one had it seems crazy to pay the same amount for a product with much more maintenance.  On the other hand we really want to be true to the home and maintain the originally intended appearance.

Thanks for everybody’s input!  It’s greatly appreciated,


Re: New Siding on 1900 Victorian - Cedar or HardiePlank?

Check with the local Historical Society to see if it would affect the resale value. Than check with the preservation Society and see if you may get a tax break if you stay with the Wood Cedar?

Also talk to the local realtor who deal with Historical Home Sales for an opinion. I think in the long run the wood may be the best replace for resale.

Re: New Siding on 1900 Victorian - Cedar or HardiePlank?

I look at it this way. How long has the current cedar siding been on the house? I would go with that. The cedar siding has been on our house for 126 years. Nothing in that time has ever failed. It is easy to replace if needed. Cement board is not. It is real wood that with proper maintenance will last more than a lifetime. Even is you order it pre-primed, I would prime it again once it is on the structure. And then a couple coats of a good oil based paint, or marine grade paint if you do not want to have to worry about painting it for a while.

Truth is that insulation in the walls wil not give very much resistance to the cold. I would put my money into covering the holes, cracks and spaces where I see them. Put the insulation in the basement between the joists on the first floor, and even more in the attic. Cover the space where the wall is sitting on the foundation. Make sure all the windows and doors are sealed properly. After I rebuild all the windows in the house with new brass slides, that ally made a world of difference in the way the cold air did not get in.


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