Pre-painted ColorPlus Hardie Siding?? HELP!

whidbeyJuly 15, 2008

Hello all,

I have been poking around this forum for the past few months... this is my first post. :)

We just broke ground a few weeks ago and I have so many questions. First, does anyone have experience/opinions about Hardie pre-painted siding (ColorPlus technology)?? Apparently, the color is baked on and has a 15-year warranty. I was completely sold on it until our siding guy said he doesn't like to use it.

Personally, I think he doesn't like to use it because it means he has to be extra careful with the finish during the install. His reasoning is that it has to be special-ordered and sometimes you end up with too much/too little...

Does anyone here have this product?? If so, what is your opinion??

Thanks so much!! :)

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We put the regular primed-but-not-painted Hardie when we resided our house a couple years ago. I stayed away from the prepainted/ColorPlus for a couple reasons. The first is, after talking to several installers and the regional Hardie rep (who was the husband of one of my friends), I learned that no matter how careful the installers are, there are bound to be some nicks, dents, scratches, etc. I was told that the Hardie touch-up paint that they sell wasn't an exact match for the siding, so that touching up any of those gouges is very noticeable. (Even if the installers are perfect, things can happen once you've moved in -- like, oh, say some neighbor kids throw those little snapper firecrackers up against the side of your house on July 4th and leave big stains that don't come off so the only way to fix them is to paint over them....not that that's ever happened to me or anything!) I also think it looks better when you can paint over the caulk and make nice clean edges between the siding and the trim after it's all up - to me that looks more finished.

Also, I didn't particularly like any of the colorPlus colors...and I wasn't sure what color I wanted (I'm a big procrastinator/waverer when it comes to big decisions) so choosing the primed gave me more time to decide.

In our area, you can also have the hardie ordered from Hardie, shipped to a painting factory, and painted any color and paint brand you want. This solved the "I don't like the colors" and "The touch up paint doesn't match" problems, but did nothing for the "painting over the caulk", "the paint might get damaged during install" and the "I don't know what color I want yet" issues. Also, it was very expensive - for not all that much more, I had it painted professionally after it was installed. And at the time we did this, there was a long lead time (it all depends on how backed up the painting shop is) - having it prepainted would have delayed getting our siding by 1-2 months. And like your installer said, once it's painted, it's yours - you'll have to order extra to be sure you don't run out (because otherwise you'll be waiting months for the painting shop again) and you won't be able to return it since it's been painted a custom color.

And finally, some of the installers I talked to said if you use good paint and do a good job with the initial paint job (and you make sure the installers prime all the cut ends), you can expect your paint job to last at least 12 years. The one guy said his first Hardie house was done 12 years ago and the paint job is still perfect. And indeed, we used 2 coats of Sherwin Williams duration and our paint still looks brand new after 3 years or so (the paint on the wood gables that we didn't reside is already peeling again...)

Good luck deciding!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 7:18AM
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a 15 year warranty doesn't mean the paint will last 15 years. and if it fades after 10 years, they won't paint your house for free. the best you can hope for is a prorated discount on some paint.

after watching our guys put up primed hardy, I can't imagine how you could do it without banging it up a little. Even in delivery - unless they put in a seperator for every piece - the prepainted finish is going to get dinged or scratched. and how do you know that the color you pick is the right color? it is so hard to pick out paint color off of small chips or on-line. It really is best to put a sample up on a potrion of the house and see if you like it.

We used the SW Duration, it is the best. Costs a lot - but well worth it.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 9:56AM
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We have the ColorPlus hardie. We did not get any flak from our builder or siding guy about choosing it. I think the siding guy wanted us to choose the ColorPlus stuff because those color are in stock. We also could have picked our own "special order" color to be applied at the "factory location" but it would have delayed the job. We have a few left over boards just hanging out in our garage. I imagine the "dye lot" is special to the time our siding was produced so perhaps, if needed, we'll have to use those boards as replacement (I cannot imagine ever needing that -- our carpenter has hardie on his house and he said he's hit golf balls into the siding and it has not been damaged.).

We are very pleased with our siding (countrylane red) It's only been one year but it shows no sign of wear or fading. My husband was very concerned about the red color fading.

Regarding what others have said about the painted stuff getting nicked up in shipping. I think there's some truth to that. Menards (building supply store) sells certainteed fiber cement and when we were building I inquired about the certainteed stock colors. They said they only stock the primed stuff because the colored boards get damaged during shipping. I think the real reason would be that it's just a nightmare to stock every color. I notice that now they are selling the pre-painted boards so their policy has changed.

I think you are right. The siding guy just doesn't want to use it and he's trying to convince you with a good reason not to. It's difficult to get people to try new ways or new things. The most important thing here is that your siding guy is experienced in installing fiber cement siding. He is right? In my experience, working with a builder and sub contractors requires A LOT of compromise. You think it won't because you are footing the bill but time and time again we had to compromise and do it "their way."

It's a lot like being married. You have to pick your battles. I imagine the cost of painting the primed stuff on site will be expensive. So your counter argument might be that painting on site is not in your budget.

good luck!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:20PM
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Wow! Thank you so much for all the responses. Very helpful! I'm going to have the hubby read this when he gets home. :)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:08PM
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We're extremely happy with our ColorPlus Hardie, but I think it's because we lucked out with a good installer. They practically handled it with kid gloves and it didn't need any touch-ups.

If your siding guy doesn't want to install the pre-painted, then don't. If you are set on the pre-painted, get someone who likes to work with it, and who takes pride in the finished product.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:40PM
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janbanks' carpenter says his golf balls didn't damage his hardie. Everyone else says with prepainted, nicks etc will happen, even during shipment. Something doesn't add up there! Maybe we need to know just which hardie the carpenter used?!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 2:40PM
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Janbanks is so right about compromise except that the GC and subs often FORCE you to do things their way by procrastinating or screwing things up if you insist on having your house built your way - which IMHO isn't compromise, its a form of extortion!

I had wanted to go with Certainteed's pre-painted because I liked their colors, liked the way the baked on finish looks compared to an on-site finish, and because Certainteed's paint warranty is better than Hardie's. Both are theoretically 15 year warranties but Hardie prorates both the cost of the paint and the cost of the labor to repaint while Certainteed has what they call a 2-year Sure Start program under which both the paint and labor are 100% covered for the first two years, then for years 3 thru 15 the labor is prorated by the paint remains 100% covered for the full 15 years. Certainteed also protects every length of their pre-painted siding with a plastic sheet that is supposed to be removed after the siding is hung. So, unless your subs are pretty careless, there shouldn't be too many nicks/scratches to be fixed.

Plus, when I was trying to get information about the two products a year ago, Certainteed was totally helpful and even sent me a whole box full of samples so I could see exactly what the paint colors would look like rather than having to judge from colors on a brochure or paint chip cards. The people at Hardie weren't at all helpful once they found out that I was not a builder and was still in the planning stages.

Unfortunately, despite telling my GC when we hired him that I wanted to use Certainteed's pre-painted siding unless it was going to be significantly more expensive than the cost of Hardie plus on-site painting and telling him that if it was a little more expensive I would pay the extra and hearing him promise - not once but about ten times - that he would look into it, he never bothered to do so. When the framing on my house was almost complete, he started talking about needing to place the order of the Hardie siding. At that point I asked him again about the price of the pre-painted Certainteed and found out he had never even contacted the company or any of its distributors. I insisted then that he find out about their price before ordering Hardie.

At that point we learned that Certainteed's pre-painted would actually have cost about $700 LESS than Hardie plus on-site painting, but that it was going take at least 5 weeks to get the materials in. Thus I had to choose between letting the house sit wrapped in Tyvek for over month or go ahead and use Hardie.

Hardie has certain colors that are available in certain parts of the country and, if you like a color that is available on the West Coast but you happen to live on the east coast, too bad, you can't get it. Around here, the Hardie distributors only bother carrying about 6 shades (white, cream and various grayish brown tones) and that is all you can get unless, again, you want to wait for a special order... which of course, if your GC hasn't bothered to place the order until he is in the process of Tyvek wrapping, doesn't leave that as a very viable option.

Certainteed would have delivered any color I wanted (they don't limit color options by area of the country) and I could have also gotten my trim in any of the colors Certainteed has. (BTW, if you decide to go with Hardie pre-painted, their trim color palette is even more limited than their siding colors.) Certainteed will also allow you to mix colors and styles of siding to make up a load so, if you're building a painted lady Victorian, you can have lap siding in one color, half-rounds or octogon shapes in another color or two, and trim in a couple of more colors if that is what you want.

Since I don't like any of the Hardie colors immediately available in my area, due to my GC's delay, I am stuck with using unpainted Hardie and having it painted on-site... which means the only warranty I have will will be the state's statutory 1 year warranty... and good luck with making sure the subs prime and paint all the cut ends unless you can be on site thru the entire process to watch every step!

I'm a bit p.o.ed to say the least. Ah, the joys of building a home...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 3:56PM
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bevangel, thank you so much for taking the time for that detailed response! I just read all of the responses to my hubby... thank you!!

I am going to order the Certainteed samples and go from there. I really WANT the pre-painted as we live in a wet climate. By the time we're ready for paint (if we went with unpainted siding) it will be winter. The painters won't paint until we have a few weeks of dry weather... which wouldn't be until summer. :(

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:03PM
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We used HardiShingles and our lumber yard had them pre-painted by Weiss, which gives a 25-year warranty. We ordered matching paint and caulk. The shingles arrived in great shape and our builder was careful installing them. We used the paint for some Azek on which we mounted exterior lanterns, and it matches the shingles perfectly. If you're by chance on Whidbey Island (just guessing by your name!), Weiss is in your geographic area too.

I can understanding your wanting the pre-painted. We did too, especially since we used the individual shingles. We've been very pleased.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:43AM
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We installed prepainted hardi plank two years ago. I live in upstate NY where the weather is extreme. Ours had no nicks or chips that I have noticed and the color looks brand new today. It is difficult to install and an inexperienced installer will probably do a horrible job. Go with someone who has done it before and ask to see his work. Take close looks at the seams for smooth edges, not jagged.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 9:18AM
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whidbey, check into MaxTile. Lifetime warranty on baked-on finish. You may get any color Sherwin-Williams makes baked onto it. Comes with plastic sheets on every piece. Ours was shipped from out of Indiana. Make shakes also. We used Miratex on corners, facia board and trim around the windows. This was also Sherwin-Williams colors also. All came on same shipment from our supplier, ABC Supply. Fraction of cost of Hardee Board. Check it out. I can add a pic of our Craftsman home under constructon, if anyone wants it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:54PM
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routey......just did a google search on the maxtile and the only thing came up was something that glued on. Can you provide a web site? Is maxtile the same thing as hardie and certainteed?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:40PM
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You guys are GREAT!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! ;)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 1:36AM
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home nw, did you pick one of the Hardi ColorPlus colors or can you have Weiss do ANY color? I'm kind of confused as to what Weiss actually sells. I know they do coating, but do they sell siding as well?
If you don't mind me asking, do you know about what the cost was? Meaning, did you save by not having to paint on site?

Thank you in advance. :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 1:48AM
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whidbey, Weiss can do any color. We selected three of their standard colors and then asked for pre-painted sample boards for each. Picking a color from a brochure was just too risky for us! We really liked one of the three, and went with it. Ironically, it turned out that our sample had been mis-marked, and it was actually someone else's custom color. We love it. Fortunately for us, those other people really picked a nice custom color! :-)

We didn't deal with Weiss directly (except to get samples), but went through the local lumber yard that sold us the HardiShingles. I believe the division of Weiss we dealt with was called Weiss Cascade. Our lumber yard had Hardie send our shingles to Weiss, who then painted them and delivered them to our job site. I should mention we had a small problem with Weiss (confusion over custom vs non-custom color), but their customer service was excellent. They fixed the problem immediately with no defensive back-talk, excuses, or additional charges. We felt that said a lot about them.

I'm not sure if Weiss sells siding too. We didn't look into that since we'd already decided on HardiShingles. We'd seen HardiShingles at a home show and the look just appealed to us.

We never actually compared costs of painted vs unpainted because we really wanted the shingles to be pre-painted with that factory-applied, 25-year-warranty paint. Our house is two stories (three on the side with the walk-out basement) and we have a whole lot of angles and trimwork, so we think painters would have charged extra for all the high, detailed work. Also, we liked the idea that the entire face of the shingle would be painted, even the part that was overlapped by the shingle above, since we felt that offered extra protection and a nice appearance. We didn't want to paint that many shingles on the ground ahead of time, especially with the risk of weather delays (rain!). We felt in the long run it would be a savings in both time and money based on labor. Of course, our crystal ball doesn't come with a guarantee, so only time will tell if we made the right decision! There are pros and cons of each way, so each of us just has to decide what works best for our own circumstances.

Although we didn't do a cost comparison of pre-painted vs site-painted, we did compare shingle panels vs individual shingles. Bottom line: individual shingles cost less to buy but more to install. However, panels result in a lot more waste if you have a lot of cuts to make due to angles, etc., like we did.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 3:34AM
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home nw, thank you! This is great info. With all this wonderful insight we have decided to got he same route. Thank you! :-)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 11:48AM
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robin0919- MaxiTile, the name of the fiber-cement board we used. whidbey, please check it out. Our contractor installed it. You can order it pre-stained if you want. We used the woodgrain painted and staggered shakes. It comes with color matched chalking also.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 11:43PM
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routey, I would love to see pictures of your home. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 10:29PM
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Hardie plank color plus comes on a pallet with a slip sheet in between each piece of siding. It does not come allready damaged.
If the siding installer nicks and damages it, he is a hack! get rid of him! Seriously hardie has to be put up carefully but it is done everyday by quality contractors.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 1:17AM
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Thanks routey!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 7:37PM
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Anyone with paint peeling/cracking on HardiePlank Colorplus lap siding [the pre-painted stuff] please email me. Particularly interested in Canadian and the Northern States.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2008 at 6:36PM
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I didn't see any prices discussed here.
Can anybody tell me the typical price for the colorplus boards?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 4:10PM
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We were quoted $83/sq for Certainteed primed, $124/sq for Certainteed ColorMax, $94/sq Hardie primed, and $134/sq for Hardie Color Plus. This is for 8 1/4 Cedar lap. We live in Maryland. We are in the same situation as the OP. We like a Hardie color on the Certainteed product (better woodgrain). Any special colors require a 4 wk lead time. Home NW...what was the lead time on the Weiss paint job?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2008 at 3:24AM
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sturdy, lead time is about two to three weeks BUT you need to make sure they have you on the schedule. :)

I posted updated info in the other thread you had going too. :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 8:26PM
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Read through the string of emails and found them very interesting...some facts and some experiences; I own a factory finish company ( I also field painted for 20 years prior to factory finishing. James Hardie sure did put fiber cement on the 'map' and they really helped my business by promoting factory finished siding (They call Color plus); and the fact is there is no way when I painted in the field I could equal or even come close to the quality, uniformity and 'total' board paint coverage a factory can provide. I certainly would not get caught up on the drying process; ACI has done both and a 'baked' on finish is simply for the manufacture to dry quicker, pack quicker and sell you quicker...the saying '... I don't get paid to watch paint dry' is very true. Air dry is the best, just takes longer; air dry allows the paint to penetrate the surface much better providing a deeper first coat base. Color plus is also sprayed on...ok but not the best; flood coat brushes the coating into the pores and specific to our process we have 6 brushes moving and pushing paint into the siding pores; in addition we 'wrap' around the back side edge of the board this further insures back side pressure from your home does not 'push' or 'pop' the coating, just more quality at no extra charge that most will never see or know about. Color should never be an issue though unfortunately a National company can not have every color in stock... locals like ACI can...over 1001 colors. If you are looking for fiber cement there are 4 brands to choose from; again Hardie is very well marketed though we found quality improvements in other brands, lower costs and better warranties. Really splitting hairs if 'we' beat on any one brand...they all have issues and benefits; I recommend looking closely at the texture grain, choose one and then do your research on warranty, price etc. Lastly, someone mentioned installers liking or not liking the installation process of factory finished - red flag if they don't like; our coatings are hard, our touch up comes from the exact batch we painted all your siding with...move on to the next contractor; at the end of day your getting the best coating process when factory finished. This should cost you less and your the one that will be living in your home and YOU should enjoy a long term coating with out having any maintenance concerns for 25 years (with ACI)less with the nationals. Good luck...believe in the process! Tim C President.

Here is a link that might be useful: Architectural Coatings Inc.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:30PM
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I know this is an old post but I have personal installation experience that might help someone form their opinion.

Since 2007, I have resided 3 houses with HardiePlank ColorPlus pre-painted siding. I did the work myself with a small amount of help from a couple of other people. I resided my own house, which we sold last year, and am currently residing the house we moved into last year. I also did my son's house. All with pre-painted boards.

Painting pre-primed after installing would cost much more than the cost of pre-painted and would not be as durable.

Nicks can be touched up easily with the touch-up kit.

I am a big believer in Hardie Plank, and pre-painted in particular.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:49PM
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