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Top Siding FAQs: How long does it last, installation, warranty, and more

May 18th, 2021 | 9 min. read

Top Siding FAQs: How long does it last, installation, warranty, and more

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The front of a house with yellow/orange lap siding and white trim with brown shutters around the windows.

You’ve decided to get your home siding replaced. Amid your research, you realize you have countless questions you’re struggling to find the answers to.

How long does the paint last? Will I see any nails on the outside of my home? How thick is the siding? Do you have to remove my existing siding?

There are many steps in the siding replacement process from the initial consultations to the finishing touches.

Asking questions is important to know what you are getting into, and getting those questions answered will ensure you will make the right decision for you, your home, and your project.

At Southwest Exteriors, our goal is to provide you with all the information you need before you even have to ask a question. We have been a locally established home remodeling company for over 30 years and have seen all there is to see when it comes to siding.

We know that sometimes you have questions that aren’t typically covered with the detailed information given. 

In this article, we will address the top 19 frequently asked questions about siding, some in general and some specific to what we offer at Southwest Exteriors. We will address topics about siding installation, materials, and specifics about James Hardie siding. 

After reading, you will have a better understanding of the aspects of a siding replacement and get some of your questions answered.

1. Do you always have to remove the existing siding?

If there is any deterioration, rotting, or swelling in the siding, it must be removed to place the new siding. 

If your existing siding is in good condition with no damage, it can be used as the substrate, or underneath, the top siding in place of the oriented strand board which is what Southwest Exteriors uses as substrate. 

Horizontal lap siding is a style that no matter the condition must be removed to install the new siding.

Using your existing siding as substrate can save you anywhere between $3,000-5,000 for the cost of lumber. 

2. Can you patch a part of my siding?

With Southwest Exteriors, we only do full-scale siding replacements and do not patch up small areas of damaged siding.

This can be a difficult project to find a contractor that carries the same type of siding you have and match the style and colors, but they are available. 

3. Can you fix my soffit and fascia?

Yes, we can. Hardie makes a special size board for the soffit, fascia, and drip edge which is a component of the roof.

4. Will there be any damage to the inside of my home?

There should be no damage to the interior of your home, however, when working on the walls, sometimes the sheetrock can shift and cause damage to the interior walls. 

If this happens, any good contractor will take care of those repairs. 

With Southwest Exteriors, we ask that you remove all furniture and items off of shelves on the interior of your home to avoid the possibility of items falling, breaking, or being damaged while working on the exterior of the walls.

5. Should I replace my roofing before replacing my siding?

If you are wanting to replace your fascia and drip edge with your siding, you should have your roofing repaired or replaced beforehand.

The reason for this is because the fascia and drip edge are a part of the siding that is on the edge of the roofing. If it were replaced before the roofing, it would just have to be ripped up and redone after the roofing again.

6. Should I replace my windows before replacing my siding?

When replacing windows and siding, there is no difference in which you should replace first. 

It can be easier for the installer to replace them both at the same time, but you will still have a quality installation and seal between the windows and siding if they were done separately.

7. Can you do only part of the project at one time?

Maybe you want to get one wall of siding replaced before you go on vacation or want to start the renovation around the same time your child is moving away to college. 

The answer is yes, we can phase out your project by side if you prefer, however, the soffit and fascia should all be installed at once. 

This is slightly more difficult than if you had the entire project completed at one time, and it will cost a little bit more for the excess labor to haul out the product and tools during each phase. 

8. Will I see any nails on the exterior of my house?

With a proper siding installation, you should not see any nails on your siding or trim. 

The typical installation process when nailing the boards down is to nail them at the top underneath the board above.

9. Do you offer siding materials other than Hardie?

At Southwest Exteriors, we only offer fiber cement siding from James Hardie. 

The reason we only offer this type of siding is that it is one of the top-rated siding manufacturers in North America. We only want to offer our clients the best siding and installation under James Hardie’s best practices. 

10. How thick is HardiePlankⓇ?

In case you were afraid HardiePlankⓇ will add extra bulk to the outside of your home, the siding boards are 5/16 in. thick. The soffit boards are also 5/16 in. thick.

The fascia boards can either be 5/16 in. or ¾ in. thick, and the 1x2 and 1x4 trim boards are about ¾ in. thick. 

11. Is Hardie heavy?

Hardie fiber cement siding is 2.3 lbs. per square foot. This is lighter than brick but heavier than vinyl however more durable.

While it may sound heavy when you think about all your square footage to be covered, it does not cause any structural problems if installed correctly. 

12. How is the siding custom? 

When replacing your siding, there are over a dozen different options to choose from. With most of these, you can customize them by choosing the color, the size of the board, board profile, and board style.

The board style can either be horizontal, vertical, or shake. This refers to how the board is laid. Shake is another term for shingle style. 

Board profile refers to the finish of the board. You can have a smooth or rougher finish and can also choose the size you want the boards to be.

13. Does Hardie offer pre-painted siding?

James Hardie does offer pre-painted siding, however, Southwest Exteriors does not install it.

The Hardie siding we install will always be caulked and painted first with a primer then with a Sherwin Williams top coat. 

The reason we do not install the pre-painted siding is because painting the siding as the final step adds to the quality and longevity of the installation.

14. Does the siding need to be painted?

Yes, the James Hardie siding does need to be painted once installed. 

It does come with a shipping primer coat to protect the siding from the friction of being transported, but that is not a primer durable enough to stand against the wear and weather on the outside of a home.

15. How do I pick my colors?

We offer a 90-minute consultation free of charge with a color specialist to help take your vision and what you are wanting and put it into play. 

Before your siding is painted, the colors you chose for the siding and trim will be swatched on your siding so you can see how they look on the wall.

If you decide you do not like your colors from there, we can get your new colors as soon as 1-2 days, but depending on how long you take to decide, it can set your project back.

16. How long does Hardie fiber cement siding last?

When installed correctly, Hardie fiber cement siding should last 30-50 years on your home.

If installed incorrectly, the siding could fail in as little as a month. 

17. How long does the paint last?

Depending on the siding material, the paint should last 20-30 years on your siding. 

The painting process consists of using a primer and topcoat. The number of coats depends on the millage of the paint. 

Darker colors do not last as long as lighter colors, about 15 years. This is because darker colors absorb sunlight rather than reflecting it, so it will fade and deteriorate quicker.

18. What is the warranty that comes with my siding?

James Hardie offers a 30-year non-prorated warranty for their siding. Non-prorated means that you can get a full replacement during the lifetime of the warranty. This however does not include improper installation. 

Southwest Exteriors offers a lifetime warranty for your siding meaning that if anything comes up, it will be covered for the lifetime of your home. This includes the product, labor, and installation.

Sherwin-Williams, the paint we use, offers a limited lifetime warranty on the paint for the lifetime of your home. This includes chipping, cracking, peeling, and laminating, but does not include fading. 

19. Will replacing my siding make my house more energy efficient?

While replacing your siding with a proper installation will make your home tighter and seal the edges, it will not make much of a difference in energy efficiency. 

A siding replacement is more of a maintenance project to upkeep the exterior and protect your home.

If you are looking for a project that will improve the energy efficiency of your home, window, door, and attic insulation replacements will be the most helpful. 

Are you ready for a siding replacement?

Now you have the answers to the top 19 most frequently asked questions about siding replacements. 

Researching about siding types, installations, and contractors is important to make sure you are getting all of the information you need for your project. 

When your questions are not answered, you are putting yourself at risk to be taken advantage of by a contractor and won’t get the most out of your project.

Communication is one of the most important principles to us at Southwest Exteriors. We will answer any question you have, and if we don’t have the answer, we promise to find someone who does. 

Curious about what all goes into a siding replacement? Check out this article that details the siding installation process with Southwest Exteriors, and leave us a comment with any other questions you have.

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