Hardie Board is by far the most popular high-end siding material, with the average installation cost of $10,800-15,700 for a 1,600 sq.ft. house. This premium price tag keeps many homeowners away from installing Hardie siding, even though they love the way it looks.
In this guide, I will share with you 7 contractor secrets that will help you save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on the cost of new Hardie Plank siding for your home.
How to get the lowest price when installing Hardie Siding
Just like with any remodeling project, finding the best deal on your coveted house siding will require time, research, and a lot of back and forth negotiations with suppliers and contractors. At the end though, you will be rewarded with a gorgeous new Hardie siding, and a few thousand dollars of savings.
Here is how you do it!
1. Get Multiple Hardie Board Price Quotes
Different suppliers will have different prices for essentially the same James Hardie siding products. These companies have no shame in overcharging you, if they can. So you should have no regrets in starting a little bidding war between suppliers (and contractors to some degree).
Besides, salespeople working for building materials suppliers, often get commissions, and will slap a random price increase just because (meaning at different time of the day, same supplier can give you different quotes for material, based on what a salesperson feels like).
This is exactly what happened to me, when I went to get a quote from my local Harvey Branch: I got two quotes with a significant price discrepancy!
First, I went to my local Harvey branch and got a quote just for 5″ exposure Hardy siding in Light Mist color. In the same quote, I included House Wrap, Nails, PVC trim, caulk, and a price for competing ALLURA Composite Siding (basically the same thing as Hardie). My cost for 6.25″ board (5″ exposure) was $9.64 for Hardie, and $9.67 for ALLURA. Essentially these two cost the same.
Here is my original price quote:
$7,903 - $11,267
But then, for “chits and giggles” and for this price guide I wanted to get additional quotes for 4″, 6″ and 7″ profiles, as well as the cost of unpainted Hardie board.
So I called Harvey again, and because all lines were busy I tried a branch in Braintree MA, which is like 20 miles away from Waltham.
There I got quotes that were 15-20% HIGHER, and they use my account for quotes both times.
Here is the second (high) quote:
Notice the same line item in both quotes – JP 6-1/4 CP CEDAR LIGHT MIST. In quote 1, each piece costs $9.64. In quote 2, each piece costs $11.10! These quotes are 6 days apart and are good for 30 days each.
And of course – be sure to get a number of quotes from different suppliers. Don’t take their price as the final answer and make an effort to negotiate. Use our quick and easy Siding Calculator to figure out if you are getting a fair price.
2. Ask a contractor to buy Hardy Board Siding for you
Contractors do a lot of volume, and as a result, they get better pricing. If you know any pro who can do you a favor, ask them to purchase Hardie siding materials for you. If your friend does a significant volume of purchases, a supplier will definitely have better pricing for him, compared to what you would be able to get on your own.
3. Go for the factory-painted siding option
Hardie comes in two options:
- Factory – painted at the factory with one of the 24 stock colors
- Pre – Primed (unpainted), which you have to paint yourself/hire a contractor after the siding is installed.
The initial cost of the factory-painted siding is actually higher. It costs $190/square, while pre-primed (unpainted) costs $160/square.
However, when you factor in the cost of high quality paint and contractor labor to paint your siding, the primed option will cost you at least a few thousand dollars extra.
So, unless you are dead set on a particular custom color that is not available in the factory stock, go for the pre-painted option.
Another perk is that the pre-painted color will keep its original look longer and will not fade as quickly as the majority of painted – on colors (unless you select a very expensive premium paint).
You can play around with the Color Design Tool on the James Hardie website, to get a better sense of the main, accent and trim colors that are available in stock.
4. Source your siding materials separate from labor
This is a little inside secret among remodeling contractors and you can make it work in your favor:) Often when contractors provide both labor and materials, they “magically” build-in an extra 10-20% material surcharge (or whatever markup) into their final price.
As a result, souring materials separate from labor can save you $2,000-3,000 on an average job. However, you should be careful when ordering materials, especially custom special order products. Be sure to not come short or over-order.
When calculating siding for your house, DON’T subtract windows from the total area – this will cover your waste factor. Get a firm price quote for labor from your contractor, and then ask them to help you measure and order the materials. This way you will avoid being short or over-ordering.
5. Go for wider exposure on the siding boards
Wider exposure looks more classy and upscale, but actually costs less! You will save almost 9% in material costs alone by going with 7 inch vs. 4 inch exposure.
Also, since you will have 43% fewer boards to nail, you will realize significant savings in the installation cost.
Considering that a siding crew will charge about $350 per square to install 4 inch exposure boards, you will pay $280-320 per square for 7 inch exposure, because of the significant reduction in labor time.
This is a 10-20% savings in labor costs!
Lastly, premium siding is always wider than narrow siding (6 inch vinyl siding costs 60-100% more than 4 inch siding). By going with 6 or 7 inch exposure on HardiePlank you will make your home appear more high-end. This will significantly increase its curb appeal and resale value.
If you can get $5,000-10,000 extra just for the improved exterior aesthetics when you are selling your home, its a pretty great deal, especially that you have already saved on this siding.
6. Purchase and install Hardie during the slow season for contractors
Typically, in most states, the down season for contractors is during the late fall and early winter. This is the best time to buy and install your siding. You can get very significant price breaks from contractors looking for more work.
7. Save on the cost of Hardie board trim
While Hardie sells their own trim, its more expansive than AZEK or a house brand (cheapest option). Consequently, we recommend that you select a house brand. In the big picture, there is not much of a real difference in terms of quality or visual appeal. At the same time, you are saving 10-20% just by not going with a big brand.
However, if you plan to paint your trim boards, we recommend that you actually get Hardie Pre-painted trim boards, which will save you a lot of money on painting, and the color will last much longer.