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James Hardie Siding vs. LP SmartSide Siding: Which is right for you?

May 5th, 2022 | 11 min. read

James Hardie Siding vs. LP SmartSide Siding: Which is right for you?

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So, you’re in the market to replace your home siding. Finding the right siding type for you and your home is challenging enough. 

If you’ve found yourself reading this article, we know that you are looking for durable siding that has the look of real wood and offers elegant style. 

James Hardie siding and LP SmartSide are two popular names in the siding replacement industry. They both seem to provide a similar look and feel on the outside. They appear to have the same benefits.

However, like with many things, it can be difficult to identify their differences when looking at a surface level. You need a deep dive into the qualities of each of these siding types, beyond just looks, to determine if either siding is what you’re looking for. 

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this article. 

As a San Antonio siding replacement contractor since 1989, Southwest Exteriors has become familiar with many siding types on the market today.  While we only install James Hardie siding, we know LP siding products are close competitors.  

Now, we’re not here to argue why James Hardie siding is better than LP siding just because that’s what we offer. 

We’re here to provide you with an unbiased comparison of both products to help guide you to the right siding solution for your project. 

This article will compare James Hardie and LP SmartSide siding in their material, performance, aesthetics, and more. 

After reading, you will know more about both products and how they compare. Then, you’ll be able to take one step closer to finding the right siding solution for you and can confidently move forward with your project. 

About James Hardie Industries

James Hardie is the world’s leading producer of fiber cement products for building and construction. The corporation was first founded by importing oils and creating animal hide tanning products by James Hardie in 1888. 

From 1911 onward, the company expanded to finally innovate fiber cement building products in the 80s. Now, Hardie continues to provide homeowners with sustainable, long-term siding solutions that will last on their homes. 

About LP Building Solutions

LP is a construction material corporation specializing in engineered wood siding. They also offer sheds and concrete edge form molds for concrete laying. 

The company is founded to provide homeowners with durable siding solutions that are also sustainable. For over 40 years now, LP has continued to improve its products and practices under its campaign to build a better world. 

James Hardie vs. LP SmartSide: What are they made of, and what are some pros and cons?

When looking at two products against each other, one of the first things you want to compare is their material. The material of a siding product will affect its durability, what maintenance is required, and how it looks. 

So, let’s look at the material of James Hardie and LP SmartSide to see how their benefits and drawbacks compare. 

What is James Hardie siding made of? 

James Hardie siding is made of fiber cement. Their products are specifically made with a blend of Portland cement, sand, water, and cellulose fibers. 

Fiber cement siding is one of the most durable types of siding available. It has numerous benefits that make it a long-lasting solution for homeowners. 

What are some of the benefits of James Hardie siding? 

Because of its fiber cement material, Hardie siding is highly durable, weather-resistant, and made to last 40 to 50 years on your home. 

Some other major benefits of James Hardie siding are: 

  • Minimal maintenance
  • Rot-resistant
  • Non-combustible (fire-resistant)
  • Not appealing to critters and termites
  • Does not bend, bow, or become misshapen

As you can see, Hardie siding is made with many performance additives that make it strong and resistant to many threats other siding types fall prey to. 

What are some of the drawbacks of James Hardie siding? 

While there are many benefits to Hardie siding, it is not susceptible to a few drawbacks. Depending on your goals for your project, these drawbacks may or may not be a large deciding factor for you. 

Some of the potential drawbacks of Hardie siding are: 

  • It’s more expensive than other siding types
  • Must be installed properly to perform as it should
  • Can crack or break when exposed to extreme impact

When it comes to Hardie siding, the benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks. The greatest potential drawback of Hardie siding is that it must be installed properly. This means you must find a contractor that knows how to install Hardie siding for you to enjoy the benefits. 

If it is not installed properly, you risk potential rotting into your home’s frame, critter infestation, and it overall not lasting. 

What is LP SmartSide siding made of? 

LP SmartSide siding is made of engineered wood. This means that wood strands are broken down and mixed with resins and waxes to improve its strength and performance. 

Their siding is almost made with zinc borate. This additive helps the wood resist rot, fungal decay, and termite damage. 

What are some benefits of LP SmartSide Siding? 

Because LP SmartSide is made with engineered wood, it has the benefits of wood siding plus more. On top of the added strength and durability, their siding is also flexible and gives the look of real wood to your home. 

Some of the major benefits of LP SmartSide siding are: 

  • Impact-resistant
  • Weather-resistant (hail damage, wind, moisture)
  • Protection against rotting and termites
  • Can be installed quickly
  • Flexible with temperature changes

LP SmartSide siding has many benefits that make it durable and long-lasting for long-term homeowners. 

What are some of the potential drawbacks of LP SmartSide siding?

Like James Hardie siding, LP SmartSide siding is not immune to potential drawbacks. Although it is highly durable, it is still made of mostly wood, which has its cons. 

Some potential drawbacks of LP SmartSide siding are: 

  • Wood can still rot 
  • Water and termite infiltration, if not installed properly
  • Wood fibers are flammable

While engineered wood siding has many advantages in durability and aesthetics, its disadvantages are similar to wood siding. 

How do James Hardie and LP SmartSide siding compare in material and performance?

Overall, both Hardie and LP siding have similar benefits, like being highly durable, impact-resistant, and repelling to termites and critters. If you’re considering each of these siding options, it is important to understand how their pros and cons compare. 

Both siding types are an investment. Hardie’s fiber cement siding is made with performance additives that make it flame-retardant and weather resistant. LP SmartSide is also made to be impact-resistant and has antifungal properties. 

The biggest thing to consider between these two siding types is what they are made of. Although they are both durable and long-lasting siding options, Hardie is made of fiber cement, and LP SmartSide is made with engineered wood. 

While, yes, LP siding is made to resist common problems that come with wood siding, like rot and termite infestation, it is still a wood-based siding. This means you can still risk experiencing these common problems that come with wood siding. 

So, depending on your climate, you will want to consider how each of these siding types will perform and last on your home. 

James Hardie vs. LP SmartSide: What do they look like? 

Understanding how the material of each siding type performs is the first and foremost important thing to look at to choose the right siding for you. 

Secondly, you want to know if either of these sidings will give you a look you want for your home. Let’s look at what kind of design options James Hardie and LP SmartSide have. 

What kind of design options does James Hardie offer? 

James Hardie siding is available in traditional horizontal lap, vertical, and shingle/shake siding styles. Their boards are designed to either come with a real-wood look or smooth to cater to various styles. 

Hardie siding can come with a premade color, and they have 15 options to choose from. They can also be painted. This further expands your design options for Hardie siding, whether you’re looking for an East Coast or classic Texas look.   

James Hardie siding colors

What kind of design options does LP SmartSide offer? 

LP SmartSide is also available in horizontal lap, vertical, and shingle/shake siding styles, similar to Hardie. Because they are made with engineered wood, their siding panels have a more authentic, real-wood look. But, they also offer a smooth board option. 

Their siding also comes in 16 prefinished color options and a primed option to be painted any custom color you like. 

LP SmartSide siding color options

How do James Hardie and LP SmartSide compare in design? 

Overall, Hardie and LP siding have very similar design options. Both have textured wood-looking and smooth panel options with numerous prefinished colors and the option to paint the panels. 

If you want siding with a more realistic wood look, then LP SmartSide may be better. But, Hardie siding also provides you with the look of wood, minus the maintenance and upkeep required for it. 

A side by side of James Hardie and LP SmartSide homes.

James Hardie vs. LP SmartSide: What kind of warranties do they offer? 

Before investing in high-quality siding, you want to understand what kind of coverage their warranty offers. 

The warranty of your new siding ensures the manufacturer will cover potential costs for materials if any damages happen. But, not all warranties are created equal. 

The product’s warranty will also tell you how long the product is made to last and how durable it is. So, let’s look into what kind of warranty James Hardie and LP offer. 

James Hardie Warranty

James Hardie offers a 30-year warranty on their siding boards. If any damages occur due to the material or workmanship of the product, Hardie will provide a refund or replacement of the product. 

All warranties have bounds to their coverage, and certain exclusions void the warranty coverage. For example, some of these exclusions are damages or defects from improper storage, handling, or installation, damage from water infiltration, lack of proper maintenance, and Acts of God. 

Any damages that occur under any exclusions will not be covered under warranty. 

LP SmartSide Warranty 

LP SmartSide siding has a 50-year limited product warranty. This covers substrate and hail damage. For substrate damage, LP will cover the cost of the replacement product and installation from the first through the fifth year the product is installed. For the sixth through 50th years, they will provide a discounted cost of the product for replacement. 

For hail damage, LP will provide a replacement product, no labor, for the damaged portion of the siding. 

Similar to Hardie siding, LP has exclusions to their warranty. Some of their exclusions are misuse of the product, minor surface grazing from termites, improper installation, and alterations to the product. 

How do James Hardie and LP SmartSide warranties compare? 

Both James Hardie and LP offer long-term warranties for their siding boards. When comparing them on a surface level, you see that LP has a longer warranty lifetime than James Hardie. However, length is not the only quality to analyze. 

You want to pay attention to what the manufacturer will do if damages occur under warranty and what is part of the coverage. While we looked at each of these warranties briefly, you’ll want to make sure you understand the details of the warranty of your new siding. 

Warranties can be like contracts. They are lengthy, wordy, and sometimes a bit confusing. If you get new siding, you hope you never need to file a warranty claim. 

But, if any damages do happen to your new siding, you want to know what kind of coverage the warranty will provide. 

James Hardie vs. LP SmartSide siding: Which is better for you? 

Now that you know how James Hardie and LP SmartSide siding compare in their material, design, and warranties, you have a better idea if either siding is right for you. 

Both siding types are made of a durable material with numerous benefits. 

James Hardie siding is made of fiber cement and is rot-resistant, non-combustible, and unappealing to various critters. LP SmartSide siding is made of engineered wood and is made with additives that aid it to resist rot and moisture and protect against termites. 

Both siding types also offer designs with a wood-like look or smooth finish. So, how do you choose which is a better fit for you? 

If you live in a moist climate with high humidity and rain, Hardie siding may be the better option for you. Although LP SmartSide siding is made to be protected against moisture, it is still a wood-based siding, which can still be susceptible to potential rotting. 

Now, if you like the detailed, real-wood look, LP SmartSide siding may be the better choice for you. James Hardie siding also offers you that real-wood look, but because LP Smartside siding is made with real wood, it can give you a more authentic look. 

All in all, both siding types perform similarly in their durability and offer many different design options to build the siding you love. 

As you’re still researching and considering your options for your siding replacement project, one thing you’re probably wondering is how much it’s going to cost. 

The cost of a siding replacement varies on many factors, like square footage, recommended additions, siding type, and so much more. Read more about how much a siding replacement can cost in this article

Ready to invest in James Hardie siding for your home? 

After comparing James Hardie and LP SmartSide siding, maybe you’ve decided Hardie siding is the right option for you. 

Southwest Exteriors offers professional James Hardie siding replacements for San Antonio homeowners. Our expert installation teams are trained on Hardie’s best practices to ensure your siding will last a lifetime on your home.  

We recommend Hardie siding for South Texas homeowners because of its proven durability and ability to withstand the unpredictable climate. 

So, are you ready to invest in James Hardie siding? Schedule your free, in-home consultation with a design consultant today!


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