Cement lap board - Score and snap?

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Old 08-18-05, 07:54 AM
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Cement lap board - Score and snap?

I am currently thinking of installing either Hardiplank or WeatherBoard on my house. My question is: has anybody ever used this method to cut either of these products? The James Hardie website states that Score and snap is one of the best ways to cut their board. If so, what type of scoring tool or cutter do you use? Is it a hand held tool (like a utility knife or some other type)? Any help would be appreciated. Also, is their a certain kind of handheld shear that could be purchased?


Thanks............
 
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Old 08-18-05, 08:05 AM
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Put Hardi on a playhouse and replaced some boards on house with Hardi. I tried using one of those circular saw blades made for cutting fiber cement but it kicks up a ton of dust and is loud as,,, well you know. Never could find one of those cutting shears they say to use anywhere. I just used a utility knife scored it using a metal T-Square as a guide and snaped it pretty easy, I scored on both sides. Never used it but from what I hear Weatherboards may be better than Hardie. Both are made of cement fiber but Hardi is constructed in compressed layers and Weather is solid ?
 
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Old 08-18-05, 10:22 AM
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I'm putting Weatherboards on my house right now actually. It's a great product and from I've read (the reason I'm using it) it's a better maufactured product. Hardie is a stamped/laminated product and Weatherboard are a solid stamped product. Although both are the same fiber cement, the way they are put together is different. Don't know if it's true, time will tell, but the Hardie has the potential to "seperate" where the weatherboards do not. May be a marketing ploy but all things being equal, I'd choose weatherboards. And I've looked at the grain patterns and the Weatherboards are more random and natural looking, not as repetative as Hardie. I'm talking about the cedarmill finish on both.

The Weatherboards are about 25% less expensive than Hardie, at least in Grand Rapids, MI. I buy from a roofing/siding company where I get builders prices. I'm paying $3.31 ea. for a 5.25"x12' for a 4" exposure and it's being blind nailed. With tax it's like $85/sq. Pretty inexpensive.

Trim - I'm using 5/4 Miratech composite trim for the windows and freeze trim, great stuff, check into it. Fiber cement trim is difficult to work with, expecially if you have to rip it lengthwise, lots of dust, blades etc. Miratech is the same a wood to machine, and you can route it for architectual details. Try that with fiber cement!

Caulking - Be sure to use the best caulking out there made for fiber cement. It has to remain flexible. I use DAP Sidewinder. GE makes a great siding caulk too (I think they just call it siding caulk). About $5 a tube.

Shears - I got the Pacific International Tool & Shear SS404 SteelHead Fiber Cement Cutting Shear from amazon.com. Great tool. Portal cable makes a shear too but the Pacific Internationl is actually a Milwaukee drill, better than the PC in my opinion. For as much cutting that you'll do, I would recommend the shears. Cut a snap is good but it get's old after a while. The shears are about $200 but worth every penny to me.

Fastening - I'm using a pnematic Hitachi nailer with 2.5" ring shank double dipped galv. nails. I'm going over 1" foam. Don't try to nail this stuff by hand! Pre-drill at corners and hand nail there to prevent breaking.

Guages - I've been using the Malco FCG2 Fiber Cement Siding Plank Gauges from amazon.com. You can hang a 12' piece by yourself and it's accutate.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Good luck.
 

Last edited by simpsonb; 08-18-05 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 08-18-05, 12:29 PM
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simpsonb is the man.... do those shears thingys cut straight?
 
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Old 08-18-05, 03:07 PM
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Score and snap (with a knife) is fastest, but isn't the best way to make exact cuts. Score and snap is often used on outside corners, where pieces are nailed up long, then you score and snap at the corner, where it doesn't have to be exact. Then trim boards are installed right over the top of the lap siding. I think that's a poor way to install. But it's fast and a lot of production contractors do it that way. I prefer to install the 5/4 corners and butt up to them, maintaining an 1/8" gap for caulk.

Hitachi makes a nice saw with a vac port that can be hooked up to a shop vac to control dust. You can set up a cutting table and its the next fastest way to cut, while still doing a quality job with getting exact cuts.

The cement siding shears work OK, but they're slow.
 
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Old 08-18-05, 05:26 PM
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I'd make a cutoff jig and use a circ saw with the proper blade.
 
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Old 08-19-05, 10:56 AM
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The cement shears are actually very quick. I can cut through a 5.25" x 5/16" siding piece in about 3 seconds. I set up a jig where the shears are guided through a slot, very straight cut and efficent. Freehand you can follow a line pretty straight but I prefer the jig. I also have a tape measure on the jig so all I have to do is place the siding end at the required measurement and run the shears throught the slot, don't even have to pull my tape! Note: be sure to cut the siding from the back side because the top of the shear cut can be a little rough, bottom is very clean.
 
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Old 08-19-05, 11:09 AM
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What's your jig look like? just a couple strips of wood that keep the shears square as you push it through? maybe my shears suck- they're Porter Cable. Never used any others.
 
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Old 08-19-05, 11:20 AM
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I have the Porter Cable shears and they work great, just like simpsonb described. Maybe your blades are getting dull?? Would never, ever go back to cutting with a skilsaw; what a mess!

What I do to cut off the pieces of siding is just markthe pieces individually and use a framing square or speed square as a guide for the shear. The use of a jig with a tape measure on it really sounds like a good idea, though. May have to try that when I get started next week.

Bruce
 
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Old 08-19-05, 11:22 AM
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Jig - a piece of plywood about 8" wide with with a back stop (where the tape measure is placed. A front edge and two boards across the front edge and back stop to guide the shears, pretty tight to the width of the shear head. The height of the jig is just enought to let the siding slide through so the shears have as much of the guide as possible. The jig lenght is about 11' long.

This type of jig is very similar to any siding cuttoff jig except the method of cutting is different.

I believe in jigs and templates, a little work up front saves a lot of time on the project. My father is a builder and I was brought up in the trades although it's not what I do for a living.
 
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Old 08-19-05, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by XSleeper
What's your jig look like? just a couple strips of wood that keep the shears square as you push it through? maybe my shears suck- they're Porter Cable. Never used any others.

Maybe you bought the left handed shears?
 
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Old 08-23-05, 09:13 AM
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According to the manuf. The blades on the siding shears should last 4-5 houses worth of cutting. Pretty cheap compared to buying cement siding blades at $60 a pop. And they will last maybe half a house. Shear replacement blades cost about $45.
 
 

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