James Hardie vs. Allura Fiber Cement Siding Cost 2017-2018

James Hardie brought HardiePlank fiber cement siding to the world in the 1980s and was unchallenged as the market leader for nearly a decade.

Deep Ocean, HardiePlank lap siding, HardieShingle staggered edge panel siding

Once homeowners realized that fiber cement siding is a legitimate alternative to wood siding, without some of the wood’s hassles, the demand for fiber cement has increased and spurred competition among brands.

Allura fiber cement siding is a top challenger to HardiePlank. Our comparison guide is a one-stop pricing and pros and cons reference for homeowners:

  • Prices for materials including soffit, trim and accessories for both brands
  • Installation costs — Total Cost Installed (Materials, Labor, Warranty) Per Sq. ft.
  • Examples of Total Job Costs to Expect to Install Fiber Cement on A Typical House
  • Expected Return on Investment (ROI) or Cost to Value Return
  • Allura vs. HardiePlank Pros and Cons — Product Styles and Options Compared Side by Side
  • Alternative Fiber Cement and Engineered Wood Siding Brands

Allura Fiber Cement vs. HardiePlank Lap Siding

Allura was originally made by CertainTeed under another name. That explains the marketing strategy behind it.

Rather than come in at a lower cost to compete with HardiePlank, Allura is marketed as premium building material that is worth paying more for.

Allura’s 50-year warranty vs. HardiePlank’s 30-year warranty gives that claim credibility.

Allura vs. James Hardie Pricing

Here is a breakdown of costs for plank siding and shingle/shake siding plus accessories and installation for both brands.

The range of costs for each line is due to differences in product pricing and the variety of sellers. Examples of complete materials and installation pricing for typical homes are found below:

Allura prices per square foot:

HardiePlank fiber cement siding prices per square foot:

  • HardiePlank siding planks and panels: $1.15-$2.00
  • HardieShingle shingle/shake siding: $3.35-$5.00
  • HardieSoffit and trim: $1.75-$3.25
  • Average total cost for James Hardie siding materials and installation supplies: $3.35

Did you Know?

HardiePlank makes a premium fiber cement product called Artisan Luxury fiber cement lap siding.

Hardie artisan lap siding

It is available in limited areas and in a limited range of colors and styles. It is 5/8” thick, twice as thick as 5/16” standard HardiePlank and Allura siding. The cost is $6.00-$9.00 per square foot for the siding and trim. Installed costs range from $14-$20 per square foot.

Pro Tip:

James Hardie uses a slightly different formulation for products sold in climates where freezing is possible. Additives protect the material from freeze/thaw expansion and contraction cycles that can cause cement to crack.

Products for northern climates are labeled HZ5. Southern-climate and West Coast materials are labeled HZ10. Not surprisingly, this is called the HardieZone System.

The look, feel and performance of the boards are the same. If you’re buying locally, the seller should only have products appropriate for your climate, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Total Cost to Install (Materials, Labor, Permitting, and Warranty):

Allura costs slightly more to install because it is heavier and thicker. Fiber cement installation cost has become more competitive in recent years as more siding contractors become familiar with fiber cement and offer installation.

Expect to pay $7.00-$11.50 per square foot for the installation based on the level of expertise of the installing crew and the complexity of the job.

All fiber cement manufacturers recommend installation by a licensed siding contractor using a crew that is experienced installing its products.

You can always find cheaper installation in the $6.50-$7.50 per square foot installed range, but your results might suffer.

  • Average fiber cement total installation cost: $8.00-$9.50 per square foot

Did you know? If installing house wrap is part of your home siding project, the installed cost of house wrap will be $1.15 to $1.50 per square foot based on the installation factors discussed above. — This cost is normally included as part of total cost in all professional and warrantied high-end installations

4 Typical Homes — Total Pricing Examples

These total installed cost examples will allow you to narrow your cost estimates for your project.

All homes in these examples have 2,000 square feet of siding (homes of 1,800-2,000 square feet depending on their configuration).

Easy: Single-story, 4 corners, planks in gables

  • HardiePlank: $9,300 to $12,700
  • Allura: $12,100 to $15,000

Moderate: Single-story, 6 corners, shingles in gables

  • HardiePlank: $11,700 to $14,700
  • Allura: $14,300 to $18,700

Moderate: Two-story, 4 corners, shingles in gables

  • HardiePlank: $12,500 to $17,800
  • Allura: $16,000 to $21,700

Difficult: Two-story/Multi-story, 6+ corners, shingles in gables

  • HardiePlank: $18,300 to $23,300
  • Allura: $22,900 to $26,000

Pro Tip: To calculate the amount of siding you’ll need, multiply the height times the width of all exterior wall sections, and add the totals. For gables, multiply the base times the height and divide by 2.

  • Rectangular sections: H x W = Area
  • Triangle sections (gables): H x W / 2 = Area

Did you Know?

Where you live is also a factor in fiber cement installation costs, just as it is in prices for homes, food and other necessities.

The fiber cement costs listed above are for “average” cities – those with a Cost of Living Index of about 80. Prices in the rural South and Midwest are lower than average; prices on the upper East Coast and Pacific Coast are higher than average.

This Cost of Living Index chart for North America shows how your city or closest metropolitan area compares nationally. Adjust the prices up or down, if necessary, for your location.

For example:

  • Seattle, WA (Index of about 90): Multiply the costs by 1.10, since the index is about 10% above average
  • Hartford, CT (Index of about 80): Costs here are average, so no adjustment is needed
  • Gainesville, FL (Index of about 70): Multiply the costs by .90, since the index is about 10% below average

Return on Investment or Cost to Value Return

According to home remodeling data compiled annually, replacing your home’s siding with fiber cement siding yields a return on investment of 80% to 85%.

HardiePlank lap siding, HardieShingle straight edge panel siding.

The ROI is also called cost to value. This means that if you spend $20,000 on fiber cement siding, your home’s resale value will increase by $16,000 to $17,500.

Allura vs. Hardie Pros and Cons

These brands share pros and cons common to fiber cement products. On the plus side, they have a Class A fire rating, resist insects, don’t warp or crack with age like wood can and have transferable warranties.

Fiber cement can be repainted, so you have unlimited color options. Both products use some recycled wood material.

On the downside, the material is heavy and harder to work with than vinyl.

If dropped or carried without proper support, it can break. It might also crack if installed too tightly. The paint finish must be kept in good condition to prevent moisture from soaking into the wood fibers.

A cement blade is required to cut fiber cement, and safety glasses and a dust mask or respirator should be worn to prevent inhaling silica, a known cause of respiratory disease.

While technically recyclable, most fiber cement is disposed of in landfills because finding a recycler is difficult in most regions of the country.

Now here are features and benefits and drawbacks specific to each brand.

What we like about Allura

  • Plank siding: Traditional lap and smooth lap siding in 7 widths: 5 1/4″, 6 1/4″, 7 1/4″, 8 1/4″, 9 1/4″and 12″, all 12’ long
  • Shingles and shakes: Straight-edge panels with 5” exposure and 7” exposure choices, staggered-edge panels with 7” exposure, half-round and octagon panels with 7” exposure and individual shakes with 8” exposure
  • Architectural panels: Stucco vertical, smooth vertical, traditional 8” groove and traditional no-groove panels in 4’x8, 4’x9 and 4’x10’ sizes
  • Thickness: 5/16 or .3125 inches
  • Accessories: Soffit plus Plycem brand trim
  • Colors: Up to 28 siding choices including both paint and stain colors
  • Primed: Ready-to-paint finish is an option
  • Allura warranty: 50 years

What we don’t like about Allura

  • Cost: Prices are 15% to 30% more than James Hardie materials (except for Hardie’s Artisan Luxury) depending on the specific product
  • Weight: Because Allura is thicker than Hardie products, it weighs more (2.5lbs per square foot) and is more challenging to work with

What we like about James Hardie

  • HardiePlank: Cedar, cedar beaded, smooth and smooth beaded options in 5 widths: 5 1/4″, 6 1/4″, 7 1/4″, 8 1/4″, 9 1/4″, all 12’ long
  • HardieShingle: Staggered-edge panels with 6” exposure and straight-edge panels with 7” exposure
  • HardiePanel: Architectural, vertical panels in cedar, smooth, stucco and grooved (primed only) in 4’x8, 4’x9 and 4’x10’ sizes
  • Accessories: Trim boards and soffit
  • Colors: Up to 26 color options for most materials
  • Primed: Ready to paint option
  • Artisan Luxury siding and trim: Hardie’s premium line of 5/8” (.625-inch) lap siding

What we don’t like about James Hardie

  • Thickness: Just 1/4″, or .25 inches, thick
  • Warranty: Just 30 years

Alternatives to James Hardie and Allura Fiber Cement Siding

Here are the major competitors in fiber cement siding and engineered wood siding, which is often compared with fiber cement because both used wood fibers.

GAF WeatherSide fiber cement: Just three shingle products – no lap siding styles – are available from GAF. Products are backed by a 25-year warranty.

Nichiha fiber cement: This is a premium fiber cement product typically used on commercial buildings, but also available in residential lines.

Nichiha uses a proprietary, built-in moisture barrier. It offers outstanding durability and is coated to hold paint better than most fiber cement products.

Panels, including those with ledgestone design, lap siding and shingle/shake styles are available from Nichiha.

Some Nichiha styles have only limited distribution. Prices are competitive with other brands, but some installers are unfamiliar with Nichiha, so won’t install it.

Cemboard: This brand makes Cemplank lap siding and Cempanel vertical siding. Both fiber cement products are primed only. It’s backed by a 25-year transferable warranty.

LP SmartSide: This siding is produced with wax-coated wood strands but no cement or sand/silica. Instead, the fibers are bonded with resins and treated with zinc borate to resist rot and insects.

Six styles of lap siding are available. Materials are sold to preferred finishers like Diamond Kote and Coastal Coatings. Primed LP SmartSide is also available.

CertainTeed: CertainTeed makes a thermoset and polymer composite woodgrain siding called ICON. It comes primed and paintable, not pre-finished.

KWP: This engineered wood siding brand makes two lines. Both are made from 100% pre-consumer recycled wood material. Naturetech is available in 8 styles of lap siding and vertical siding. Eco-Side is made in 3 siding styles and 1 staggered shake style.

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