Friday, April 11, 2014

The Hardi Shakes Have Arrived!

Yesterday the (correct) Hardi shingles were delivered to the site and the carpenters moved back outside and up onto the scaffolding to install them. These shingles- sometimes called "shakes"- are made of cement, like the clapboards, and are in panels that can be installed butted end to end.

Installing shingles in the gables
 I specified shingles up in the gables, because it is pleasing to see a change in material in different areas of the elevation. Shingles lend a classic look that blends well with the neighborhood Victorian-style homes.

If the shingles were "real" ones (made of wood, and installed individually) neat things can be done, such as weaving together an outside corner (so a corner board is not needed, breaking up the field). With any of the Hardi cement siding products, we really need the corner board all around so that the cement material has an edge to butt into. It's fine on this house; I like the crisp design of the white outlines contrasting with the dark grey. But on another style house - like a bungalow or craftsman- the designer might want real cedar shakes that can be stained (these only come painted) and flaired along a curve and woven together at corners.

But fiber cement siding has many positives: it is fire retardant (The codes of some densely developed villages or cities require it instead of wood for this reason), it holds paint well making it easier to maintain, it is rot-proof and can be worked with regular carpentry tools. Sometimes it is called a "green" or environmentally-friendly material- due to it's durability, I think- but I found it discouraging that each piece is covered with a layer of plastic wrap that the installer needs to peel off and discard. (this is to protect the factory-applied paint - so maybe the answer is painting it in the field...)

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