We get a lot of questions about our siding products. How is siding installed? How long does installation take? What effect does weather have on installation? Some homeowners are looking for tips on how to install siding themselves—something we don’t recommend—while others are just curious about our process.
In large part, the answers to these questions depend on the type of siding you choose for your home. Take the popular line of James Hardie fiber cement siding products for example. The versatility, long lifespan, and durability of this siding has made it extremely popular. However, it comes with some particular installation details to consider.
Installing Fiber Cement Siding
Some types of siding actually can be installed by a homeowner, presuming the individual has some solid DIY experience and the right tools. Vinyl siding, for example, is fairly straightforward. Even so, we don’t recommend doing an entire siding replacement on your own. It’s a big job and can involve some safety issues, and you can’t get a workmanship warranty when you do it yourself.
Fiber cement siding such as James Hardie’s HardiePlank® Lap Siding is different. It requires a specialized set of skills to work with and some unique tools to install. Although this siding is incredibly durable once installed, it can be brittle if mishandled.
It also requires some detailed prep work, and a diamond tipped blade for cutting. Nails must be put to the right depth, insulation must be aligned just right, and every cut must be precise. If any step is missed or done sloppily, your siding can fail.
Can Siding be Installed in the Rain?
As a general rule, installing siding in the rain is not ideal. Technically it can be done, but we always do our best to avoid it, and plan on installing siding on clear days. There are a few reasons for this.
First and foremost, the purpose of siding is to protect your house from moisture. When you install siding in the rain, you’re almost certainly going to get some water trapped under the siding. Once it’s in there and the siding is installed, the water really has nowhere to go. It can lead to rot over time, and with vinyl siding may cause bubbling or warping.
When it comes to fiber cement siding, there’s another potential problem with water. Fiber cement siding is a composite material made of, essentially, a type of cement. The process of cutting it to size, which is typically done on-site, creates a lot of cement dust.
When this dust mixes with rain, it becomes wet, and it will stick where it lands. This results in a splatter look on your siding, which is the last thing you or your contractors want.
Can Siding be Installed in the Winter?
Cold weather is another situation in which you technically can install siding, but it’s generally best not to. Except in cases of emergency repairs where the new siding simply must be installed as soon as possible, we typically recommend homeowners have siding installed in fall, before freezing temperatures arrive, or wait until spring.
With James Hardie fiber cement siding, the manufacturer warns against installing the product at temperature below 30 degrees. When it’s this cold, the caulk and touch-up paint may not adhere to the material. As a general rule, it’s best not to install fiber cement siding when it’s under 40 degrees outside, as the materials can sometimes be colder than the air temperature, and it’s not worth risking improper installation.
This being said, vinyl siding has problems of its own in cold conditions. Freezing temperatures make the material more brittle, and it’s all too easy to crack the siding while putting it on. It’s not impossible to install vinyl siding in winter, but it’s difficult.
Many siding materials also expand and contract—as they should—with extreme changes in temperature. For this reason, we prefer not to install siding in winter because the expansion when it warms up again can be extreme. The spring and fall months, which have the most moderate temperatures, are the ideal times for siding installation.
Choosing a Siding Contractor
Installing siding is a complex process which requires an experienced and qualified contractor. This is especially true when it comes to fiber cement siding. James Hardie fiber cement siding can last decades when it’s properly installed, so it’s worth working with an expert.
At Moss Roofing, we’re one of only a handful of contractors in the Indianapolis area trained and qualified to install James Hardie products. Contact us today to learn more about re-siding your house. Rest assured knowing you’re working with a family-owned company with 25 years of local siding experience.