Nichiha siding is appealing to homeowners and contractors because of affordable pricing, superior weather resistance, unique colors and styles, as well as commitment to sustainability.
Nichiha’s extensive line of highly quality fiber cement siding comes in planks, panels and shingle-look options. The company boasts an impressively large selection of products that mimic the look of wood and stone so closely it would be hard to tell the difference.
On average, Nichiha siding is 15-25% cheaper than its closest competitor brand, James Hardie siding, costing $7.95 per square foot installed. Siding a 2,000 sq.ft. home with Nichiha fiber cement siding will cost $15,900.
If you are ready to replace your old siding, contact your local pros for a FREE siding installation quote.
How Much Does Nichiha Cost?
Nichiha siding is more competitively priced than other well-known cement fiber siding companies.
You can expect to spend about $7.50 to $10 per square foot on materials and installation for most Nichiha products.
The average cost of materials and installation for HardiePlank is $9.21 per square foot.
That means for a 1,600 square foot home the cost for Nichiha siding is around $12,750 while HardiePlank siding costs $14,900, about 15% more.
You can use our Siding Cost Calculator to estimate the cost of installing fiber cement siding on your house.
What Is Nichiha Made Of?
Nichiha (pronounced Nee-chee-ha) is one of the major manufacturers of fiber cement siding. The company was founded in the mid-1950s in Japan and sold siding for commercial and residential properties throughout Europe. In 1998, Nichiha entered the U.S. residential siding market and established their U.S. headquarters in Johns Creek, Georgia.
Nichiha fiber cement has its own patented composite of cement, fly ash, silica, recycled materials and wood fibers. Their unique dry process allows them to achieve twice the thickness of a regular cement product while keeping the panel relatively lightweight and workable.
Fiber cement can be manufactured through two different processes; a wet method and a dry method. The wet process creates multiple layers of fiber cement and is used to make thin cement products. The dry method creates one, thicker layer and allows for more design definition and options.
Nichiha applies the cedar texture with heat and over one-million pounds of pressure unlike some competitive brands where the texture is rolled on.
With the dry process, Nichiha is able to achieve twice the thickness of other fiber cement products while keeping the siding relatively lightweight and workable. Siding made with a dry process is also more fitting for cold climates because the weather can pull layers apart.
NichiProducts have crisper, cleaner edges and are dried during two high-heat processes, assuring that the boards are hardened and strengthened to exacting standards. Many fiber cement products are cut wet, giving an edge that is soft and yielding.
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Nichiha Siding Installation
Compared to many other types of residential siding materials, Nichiha siding is fairly fast and simple to install. The simple, clip installation fasteners make it easier to install the Architectural Wall Panels, saving time and money. It’s referred to as a “one-path” system because the pattern for installation is repeated from top to bottom.
Siding pros first install a starter track. Then, they insert the bottom edge of the first panel into the track and attach a clip to the top of the panel. That clip holds the bottom of the next panel and so forth, up to the soffit or parapet until the exterior is covered.
This one-path attachment system requires much less labor, time, and cost than a traditional facade using a third-party grid or batten system. It can even be installed over one inch of exterior continuous foam insulation without additional framing.
Nichiha is not a DIY-friendly siding, like vinyl, because the panels must be handled carefully during installation to prevent bending and cracking prior to installation.
Nichiha Siding Design & Style Options
Nichiha offers three different product lines: Architectural Panels, Premium Plank Siding and NichiProducts. These design series boast many different wood- and stone-look options in a variety of colors, finishes and textures.
Nichiha Architectural Panels
Nichiha’s architectural panels are available in 8 different series of brick, stone- and wood-look panels. Each series emphasizes a different design detail ranging from classic and modern to industrial.
Beautiful finishes for these panels range from distressed and weathered to high-gloss. There are nine texture options in over twenty-five color selections and a large variety of style options. These architectural panels come with a 15-year Limited Warranty.
Panels install simply using Nichiha’s clip fastening system.
Nichiha brick, stone and block panels are resistant to rot, fungus, and termites, will not crack, rot or delaminate and will withstand extreme weather conditions. All Nichiha panels either meet or exceed all industry specifications and testing standards.
Nichiha Premium Plank Siding
The Premium Plank Series presents deep, wood-grain textured planks that look like individual shingles. The textured planks come in 4 different colors. There is also one primed, smooth finish plank with the Craftsman look of lap siding.
Sierra Premium Shake panels are the builders’ and homeowners’ choice for low-maintenance premium siding. The full 1/2” thick panel provides a deeper shadow line, and combined with the deep cedar grooves of the panel, radiates the warmth and charm of real cedar shake.
Able to withstand 150 m.p.h. sustainable winds, Sierra Premium Shake panels are also perfect for coastal areas and regions with high winds.
Sierra Premium Smooth fiber cement panels are also available.
Sierra Premium Shake and Smooth panels are a top choice for a high-end remodel. They are backed by a 30-year Limited Warranty on boards and a 15-year Limited Warranty on finishes. The panels are factory primed and factory sealed on six sides providing a premium siding option for added longevity.
Did You Know? The Architectural Wall Panel and Premium Plank Siding series use a dry process manufactured product that is extremely durable. They can be used for both interior and exterior applications. The fibers used in the cement mixture give it flexibility and reinforced strength.
The third product line is the NichiProducts which include boards, panels, shakes, soffits and trim. These products are factory primed and feature soffits and trim pieces in different wood-look to complement the exterior siding.
There are also 2 stucco finishes offered, as an alternative to expensive and high-maintenance real stucco siding. NichiProducts are resistant to rot, fungus, and termites, will not crack, rot or delaminate and will withstand extreme weather conditions.
NichiBoard allows home builders to recreate the traditional lap siding look, without the cost and high-maintenance associated with wood and avoiding the low-durability of many vinyl options.
This fiber cement product is available in a choice of smooth or deep grain cedar texture. It comes in six widths and twelve-foot length boards for low-maintenance, high-profile curb appeal and easy installation.
NichiShake offers the traditional look of cedar shakes, minus the maintenance hassles. They come with a staggered edge to look like individual shingles.
NichiPanel siding is designed for vertical wall applications; full wall exteriors and the popular board and batten style can be achieved with NichiPanel. The panels are available in 4’x 8’, 4’ x 10’ and 4’ x 12’ panels and in either smooth or cedar texture. The 5/16” panels offer builders and home owners greater design flexibility while still getting the value of long lasting and low-maintenance fiber cement siding.
NichiBoard, NichiShake and NichiPanels come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty NichiTrim and NichiSoffit components come with a 25-year Limited Warranty.
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Create A Custom Exterior Design With Nichiha Siding
When you think of siding, you may think of 12’ long planks in one color, placed horizontally across a house. Nichiha siding lets you do something completely different!
With Nichiha fiber cement siding you can mix styles to architectural details of your home, create contrasts and break up broad expanses. The possibilities for different design looks are endless.
For example, mixing textures will enable you to add more visual appeal to their home so it doesn’t look just like all the other neighboring homes.
Consider combining wood-look shingle style siding on one part of your house with brick- or smooth stone-look panels on another.
Or, contrast materials such as the Nichiha high-gloss, smooth finish to get an industrial vibe side-by-side with a class wood look. You can also add design by varying the width of the Nichiha planks.
Sometimes, the natural siding materials that you may want to use for the exterior of your home are not a good choice for the particular weather patterns in your area.
For example, if you live in a coastal community and want to create a blend of modern and traditional style siding using metal and wood it might not be cost effective in terms of maintenance.
With Nichiha lap siding and shingles you can mimic metal and wood in many different finishes, colors and textures without the maintenance issues.
Fiber cement products address common maintenance and performance issues that impact traditional materials like wood, brick and stucco.
Over time, wood can weather, loose color, warp and split. It’s also susceptible to pests like termites and other insect damage. None of these are problems with fiber cement.
Nichiha Products Are Used Inside the Home, Too!
You can carry the exterior style and colors of your home indoors with Nichiha products, too.
Cedar toned shiplap panels on the outside of your home could be complemented by Nichiha’s sandy earth-toned brick fiber cement siding on an interior wall.
There are endless ways to customize your home by using a mix of Nichiha fiber cement panels!
How Durable Is Nichiha Siding?
Nichiha products have markedly higher durability than other residential fiber cement products. Nichiha makes the thickest and most durable fiber cement siding shingles on the market.
Unlike other fiber cement manufacturers, Nichiha pours the fiber cement into a solid mold. This process helps prevent delamination at the edges from moisture infiltration.
Moreover, every product has three protective coatings. Two coats of primer and one an anti-efflorescence coat, which prevents chalky residue from appearing on the siding. As a result, all Nichiha siding holds paint better and looks as good as new as long as 15 years.
One example of this superior durability is that when hurricane Sandy hit central New Jersey, homeowners who had Nichiha siding reported no damage. All products are resistant to rot, mold, warping, insect infiltration and fire. They also have a proven resistance to snow, hail, rain and temperature fluctuations.
Contractors who have installed both Hardie and Nichiha, report that both Nichiha Panels and Shakes are thicker, stronger, and have a more realistic wood grain impression than Hardie.
Sustainability Is Nichiha’s TOP Priority
Nichiha minimizes their impact on the environment by using over 60% post-industrial by-product and recycled and low-emitting materials. This can help homeowners qualify for LEED or other green building credits.
Nichiha uses 55% Fly Ash, a natural bi-product of coal-burning, electric generating power plants. By using it in its manufacturing process, Nichiha over 66,000 tons of Fly Ash from ending up in landfills.
Nichiha also uses over 3,000 tons annually of post-consumer newspaper waste that would normally end up in landfills. The Nichiha manufacturing facility in Macon, GA, includes an on-site water treatment plant.
This facility not only recycles 95% of the water used in the manufacturing process, it treats the 5% water discharged back into the system. Using local material resources (90% of their materials are less than 200 miles from their facility), reduces the environmental impact and carbon emissions of long-haul transportation.
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James Hardie vs. Nichiha
Both of these fiber cement siding companies offer a large selection of designs, colors and styles. Nichiha’s wood-look and stone patterns and textures look more true-to-life.
The two companies have similar warranties ranging from 15 years to 50 years depending on the product. However, Nichiha is less expensive that the cost of James Hardie siding, as mentioned previously.
The James Hardie name is often used interchangeably with the term “fiber cement”. It has been making fiber cement siding for residential buildings for longer than Nichiha and can be purchased everywhere.
Since Nichiha is relatively new to the U.S. residential siding market, it may be more of a challenge to find a local place to purchase and install Nichiha.
Until recently, James Hardie was the only company that offered a fiber cement architectural panel option. However, contractors report finding Hardie panels challenging to work with because they are very heavy, can crack and put a lot of wear and tear on the tools. By comparison, Nichiha architectural panels offer a very wide array of styles, colors and textures and are much easier to install, as discussed earlier.
Here is a quick summary table between the difference of James Hardie vs Nichiha siding.
|LARGE SELECTION OF STYLES||X||X|
|SIMILAR WARRANTIES||15 years to Limited Lifetime Depending on Product Line||10 years to Limited Lifetime Depending on Product Line|
|HARDER TO FIND||X|
Natural Wood Siding vs. Nichiha
Wood has been the traditional material used in siding houses in the United States. Whether stained or painted, wood siding has a classic look that is very popular among home buyers and builders. It can be used in many types of home design from traditional to contemporary.
Nichiha’s extensive range of siding colors, finishes and textures allow for any type of wood-look design with additional finishes that can be incorporated in the exterior design such as brick- and stone-looks or a smooth, high-gloss surface. These are not available with natural wood siding.
Wood siding is relatively easy to install compared to fiber cement siding, making it less labor intensive.
The average cost of wood siding is $8.50 to $14.50 per square foot installed. The cost will fluctuate depending on several factors including the grade and grain of wood being used.
The average cost of fiber cement siding is the same as wood. However, fiber cement siding may require additional workers because of its weight and the way it has to be carried, resulting in a higher labor cost.
While well-maintained wood siding can last for decades, it can’t just be left to age on its own. There are several maintenance issues to using wood exterior siding which you do not find with Nichiha fiber cement.
Wood is susceptible to being damaged by moisture, animals and insects. Overtime, this can lead to rot, mold and even structural issues. Cedar or pine wood siding also has to be repainted every 5 to 10 years or stained every 4 years. Fiber cement siding needs to be repainted every 10 to 25 years.
Moreover, wood is a highly flammable material. Nichiha fiber cement siding does not ignite nor spread flames. In certain parts of the country where wildfires occur, Nichiha fiber cement siding is a safer and more durable option for protecting a home.
Metal Siding vs. Nichiha
Both metal and fiber cement materials are known for their longevity, toughness and resilience. They are both installed using a track system that the panels clip into.
However, metal panels can be more labor intensive to install as they have dangerous, sharp edges and can dent. If a metal panel is scratched it needs to be repaired immediately or it will rust.
While Nichiha Architectural Wall Panels have a built-in rainscreen, discussed earlier, metal siding does not. This means purchasing and installing a separate rainscreen system.
Metal siding is also more expensive. For aluminum and steel, it’s about $12.50 per square foot and copper is approximately $35 per square foot. The future maintenance cost associated with fixing rust, dealing with corrosion and painting are not issues when it comes to fiber cement.
Top Advantages of Nichiha
If you are debating which fiber cement siding is right for your home, here are the top benefits of going with Nichiha siding:
1. Affordable Cost: Nichiha is priced very competitively compared to top brands such as James Hardie and Allura. On average, it costs 20% less than its competitors, depending on the product you select.
2. Best wood appearance: Nichiha siding has better product characteristics with a more authentic texture and cleaner, crisper edges.
If you want fiber cement siding with the detailed look of real wood, Nichiha siding is by far superior to other brands. To create this natural wood look, Nichiha uses a proprietary technology that puts tremendous pressure on the panels, during the stamping process.
3. Superior durability: all Nichiha products show top notch resistance to severe weather, such as snow, rain, hail, moisture penetration. Nichiha siding is also highly rot and insect resistant and will not fade from UV radiation. It is an ideal siding in you live in area that does not have a mild climate, and you want the peace of mind that the siding will protect your home.
Mix & match panel styles: because there is such a wide range of panel designs, finishes and colors, you can mix and match various Nichiha products to create a completely custom look for the exterior of your home.
3. Rainscreen: all Nichiha architectural wall panels have an integrated rainscreen system. The rain screen is an integrated drained and back-ventilated system. The hidden clip installation system creates the appropriate air channel for the rainscreen. The rainscreen increases the drainage and drying potential to remove water from the wall. The hidden clip system also creates a clean, high-end look.
4. Easy installation: Nichiha uses simple clip installation fasteners and a starter track to speed up the install and make it less complex.
5. Minimal maintenance: compared to other types of siding, such as wood, you will not have to worry about taking care of your Nichiha siding on a regular basis. Power washing a few times a year will keep it looking line new and you can repaint it once ever 10-15 years.
Earth-friendly siding: Nichiha uses over 60% post industrial and recycled products in their manufacturing process.
Limitations of Nichiha
Many residential siding contractors are unfamiliar with Nichiha and will not install it. In general, a reputable siding contractor will only install products with which they have extensive experience. They do not want to risk their reputation installing a siding material that is new to them.
If the benefits of Nichiha siding appeal to you, you can call the Nichiha customer service center and ask to be put in touch with local installers.
The company is working hard to reach out to siding contractors across the US and educate them about their products. As a result, there is a growing number of contractors who are recommending Nichiha to their clients.
Some Nichiha siding products have limited availability across the states. Make sure the specific product styles that interest you are available in your area.
Here is a current list of their residential siding options and where they are available:
All Architectural Wall panels – available across the U.S. and Canada
All Savannah Smooth Premium Plank Lap Siding – available across the U.S.
All Sierra Premium Shake Siding – available across the U.S. except Hawaii and Alaska
All NichiFrontier Shake – available across the U.S. except Hawaii and Alasksa
NichiProducts (NichiBoard, NichiPanel, NichiShake, NichiStaggered, NichiStraight, NichiSoffit, NichiTrim, and Batten Strips) – available in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
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