Stucco vs. Hardie Board

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Old 04-24-08, 11:37 AM
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Question Stucco vs. Hardie Board

I have a two story frame town house on the Florida coast. I currently have t1-11 siding that needs to be replaced and I was looking at my options. I've narrowed it down to hardie board or stucco but can't really figure out which is the better option. I am looking for something that has low maintenance (painting, caulking, patching), resists water intrusion (hurricanes), and has a better chance of being installed correctly.

Does anyone have an opinion?

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Old 04-25-08, 06:42 AM
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I don't think there is a clear answer to your question. It's kind of like saying, which is better, apples or oranges?

It also depends what your goal is. Do you want siding that will be able to withstand high winds with little or no damage? Is cost a factor? And are you referring to a true three coat cementinous stucco, or the more modern EIFS products that look like stucco? I have no idea what is common in Florida.

The biggest problem with stucco is that in order to prevent leakage around windows and doors, flashing techniques must be incorporated into the building envelope when the house is built. Stucco can be installed on preexisting homes, but it is more labor intensive since special attention must be paid to flashing details around existing windows, doors, roofs, fascias that butt into walls, etc. This is even more important in a wet, rainy area- stucco is popular in dry climates, but presents problems in a wet climate if not properly installed. I would just imagine that a good stucco installer in Florida would know what he's doing. Stucco will be VERY expensive, but would never need paint since the color is mixed into the mortar.

Regarding the Hardiboard, I'm not sure if you are referring to hardiplank, or hardipanel. Hardiplank would probably blow off in a hurricane if it was blind nailed, so blind nailing isn't a good idea in a hurricane prone area- it should be face nailed, and would probably work fine. With hurricane-force wind driven rain, the possibility exists of water being driven up between laps, causing problems. Installing the siding on top of a product like Tyvek Stuccowrap would be a wise precaution. Hardiboard is farily inexpensive and is not difficult to install. Hardipanel comes in various styles- one of them being "stucco" and is available in 4x8, 4x9, 4x10 sheets. It would be an inexpensive (although inferior) alternative to stucco or EIFS.
 
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