James Hardie’s ColorPlus® Technology offers a beautiful array of warm, cool, and neutral colors, engineered to last, and designed to complement your home and your landscape.

In general, we find that most clients do honestly love the factory colors offered by James Hardie, but there are occasions where a client may want a very specific color that just isn’t available through James Hardie.

When the color you want for your Hardie siding isn’t available

The obvious solution is to paint it, but before jumping on that train, it’s important to understand a few things about this product beforehand.

Hardie fiber cement siding is an excellent product but has different properties than typical cedar siding. Fiber cement has a higher PH value (more alkaline), which means it can be very tough on the paint that covers it. So you need to use a paint that’s engineered to work with masonry products.

The best way to paint Hardie siding is to do it in a controlled environment before it’s installed on your home. This is what James Hardie does at the factory and you can have this professionally done for you too.

The key advantages of machine painting Hardie Board prior to installation:

  1. All sides of the Hardie Board are painted (even the edges) and therefore the entire board is completely sealed. (Although Hardie Board comes from the factory without the back of the board primed, according to James Hardie’s support department, they say you can prime and paint the entire board.) 
  2. Paint coat thickness is calibrated and consistently applied according to the manufacturer’s specifications (something that is just not possible when painting by hand.)
  3. You get a completely uniform finish because a machine does all the work AND the boards are placed on the rack horizontally for uniform spray and dry (the paint doesn’t run.)
  4. The environment is controlled, without humidity and temperature concerns, so the results are always optimal (e.g., the sun isn’t baking on your paint faster than it should and the paint has the opportunity to penetrate the surface of the substrate.)
  5. Pre-painting siding before installation is just plain faster and less expensive.

About Priming

James Hardie will ship your siding to you or your contractor, primed and ready to be painted. Although the James Hardie website states that their factory primer can be top-coated within 180 days, most professional painters will tell you that a fresh coat of primer makes everything better because you just never really know how long ago the product was actually primed and how long it was hanging out at the factory before shipping.

Recommended Paint & Primer

We’ve used Sherwin Williams Emerald paint on Hardie Board and had good success. Sherwin Williams “Emerald” is their top-of-the-line acrylic latex exterior paint.

Sherwin-Williams Loxon Masonry Primer can be used to prime Hardie Board before painting. We know that Hardie comes pre-primed and they say you have 180 days to apply your top coat, but we usually opt to prime before painting just in case the primer is older than we think it is. 

Custom Paint Example Using Sherwin Williams Emerald

Hardie Plank - W/ 7” Reveal

Hardie Plank – W/ 7” Reveal – Siding Color: Sherwin Williams, “Sun-Dried Tomato” Trim Color: Sherwin Williams, “Sealskin”

You can find out more about the types of paints recommended by James Hardie here.


If you’re in the Ulster/ Dutchess County area, we recommend Excelsior Wood Products. They handle all of our factory painting and have done a damn fine job of it.


  1. Hello, my house has light mist hardie plank which is a factory colour, but i want to paint over it with the sail cloth paint, another james hardie factory colour is this possible? and can it be done directly, or would you need to paint over it in white first then sail cloth?

    • Great question! The beauty of Hardie fiber cement is that you can paint directly over the existing color. There really isn’t any prep work like wood. The main thing to keep in mind is that the surface is clean of any oil,dirt or dust. Make sure you use an exterior paint and a paint that will work on cement products. Sherwin Williams makes a great paint for this. Best of luck with your project and thank you for the inquiry.

  2. I am having a new house built, they are using hardi board finish on osb for the facia and sauffit. We had one inch of rain and the next morning they painted it. Is my concern legitimate that they should have allowed time for the material to dry before painting. Second, could this compromise the longivity of the paint?

    • Sounds like the contractor was putting their scheduling needs ahead of what’s best for the client. I would of waited a couple of days to paint it. It would concern me if I was in your shoes for sure. I would recommend that you reach out to a good painting company and the paint manufacturer’s to get there take on it. I’m not sure what kind of recourse you actually have at this juncture. If you do get a painting company or the paint manufacturer’s to comment on this in writing, hold on to those documents. This way, if you have a warranty issue down the road, you will at least have some legs to stand on. Good luck with that.

  3. Can Hardi Plank be installed right from the company (like Lowe’s), using just the factory colors on the siding, or does it NEED to be painted.
    Thank you

    • Yes Hardie can be installed with the stock hardie colors.we prefer the Hardie color plus! This is an option that can be utilized if the stock colors aren’t appealing to you. I would recommend staying away from the big box stores when purchasing any hardie materials and or services. You can go tojameshardie.com and find a preferred contractor for your area! Happy cladding.

  4. Hello,

    Thining about the hardie board color+ and or just the primed hardie plank . Issue with this I am only doing one side of my house each year. Will the color+ fade over time? Can i paint over the color+?

    thank you,

    • Yes you can paint over JH color plus products. It’s a lot easier than paint wood because there really won’t be any prep work. Anything exposed to the uv rays will fade over time. I feel in a year’s time you won’t see any fading. Best of luck with your project. Happy Cladding!

  5. We are going to build a “barn house” in Virginia, and are considering using Hardie Board for a board and batten look. Our question is, can we achieve a white washed look? I’m thinking of a wood-colored taupe as the base color, and then diluting a white in the SW paint you recommend for Hardie Board to wash over it.
    Do you think there’s any chance this will work for a white washed look?
    Maybe we’ll just have to try it!

    • Carol,

      Not too sure if that can be done with James Hardie siding, but what you could do is contact James Hardie Product support and ask them or request a sample of Primed Hardie Panel and try it out before Cladding. I would be interested to know how it came out. Please let us know and send pics. I hope this was a help and best of luck!

  6. I installed a competing fiber cement product 17 years ago and gave it two coats of Behr grey in two colors. Still looks great, no flaking issues. ALL paint WILL fade to some extent due to UV exposure.

    • I agree with the fact that all paint is going to fade! Flaking will happen only if the Hardie isn’t install correctly meaning touching water etc. It shouldn’t flake in the middle of a wall. The flaking issue I feel is more likely with cedar, rather than fiber cement. Thanks for your comment.

    • We installed Hardie siding and had it painted after installation many years ago. Still looks great except on the north side of the house where it has some green staining. What would be the best way to clean it without damaging the paint?

      • Hi Margi, honestly, it would be best to ask the painter that painted it and or the manufacturer of the paint! They would be able to give you better guidance considering it’s their product. I would hate to tell you to go ahead and powerwash it only to find out that the paint comes off and the manufacturer specifies a different approach. Make sense?

  7. We have and James Hardie on our condo building that is about 15 years old. It has faded a bit, but appears to still be in good shape. From a functional standpoint, is it necessary to paint it now to maintain its condition ? If so, would washing it be necessary ? If so, should it be dried out before painting since moisture tends to initiate peeling? Thanks for any info and comments.

    • Just going through some old questions that slipped by us. The Hardie factory paint can last a long time. 15 years with the paint still looking good is not uncommon. Much depends on the elements, direct sunlight, etc. Without seeing your siding I couldn’t say if it’s due for a paint job. James Hardie warranties their factory baked-on paint for 15 years. That’s probably because after this 15 year period passes, that’s when you start to see signs of wear such as cracking and then peeling. If your condo association wants to err on the side of caution, I don’t think it would be unreasonable to paint every 15 years. Maybe you could get by doing it after 20 years?

      Any time you paint, you’re going to want to have a clean surface so yes, you’re going to want to get it professionally power washed and it should be thoroughly dried out before you paint.

  8. Hi Anthony,

    Maybe you can help me with this problem. We painted a three-story Church two or maybe three years ago now with dutchboy exterior paint on the Hardie board and it at certain rain runoff spots on the roof (not all the roofs have gutters) It runs perhaps on the Hardie board but it is producing black marks that look like a rain drip spot or something, we asked Menards about it and they said to put some mold prevention primer on it, and it did not have any effect. Do you have any suggestions for a solution?

    2-3 years after painting before and after

    • Looking at your photos, my first suggestion would be to definitely get a gutter on that upper roofline. The mold pattern you are seeing certainly looks like it’s coming from the upper roof stormwater hitting the lower roof and splashing the siding. The soffit also looks like it has some discoloration. That section of the house may not be drying out enough. I would see what could be done about getting more sunlight to the area. There is a tree in the “after” picture. Is that blocking sun exposure? Are there other trees that could be contributing to the problem? The anti-mildew primer was a good suggestion. The fact that you still have the issue makes me think you need a gutter and perhaps more sun exposure. If it were a product or paint issue, you would have this everywhere.

  9. We are in the process of building a new house. We had jh vertical pre-primed installed in February. Unfortunately, before it was painted we learned the elevations are incorrect. Work has stopped until we come to s resolution. Is the integrety of the unpainted hardie & caulking in jeopardy in any way? Is there anything we should do to in the meantime to protect our investment ? Lastly, is there anything specific we should do when the work resumes? We want to ensure no one cuts corners.

    • Have the installed panels been caulked already? I would recommend that the panels be caulked in the interim, while you decide on the next steps.  If you don’t caulk, moisture can get behind the panels, which can create problems with the sheathing and siding. Moving forward, I recommend hiring a contractor that truly understands the product and how to install it to specifications. I know this sounds cliche but it’s true. We have corrected a lot of shoddy Hardie installs. The best bet is to go on jameshardie.com and find a preferred installer in your area. That’s honestly the only way your warranty will ever be valid.

  10. Hi Anthony,
    We are installing fiber cement that has been primed only. We want to paint it before it goes up, but there are some logistical things. Do you have any tricks to painting the boards (we have about 1000 sqft to paint)? Can they be laid flat outside once dry? I am concerned if it rains and they are flat on the ground. I don’t want to stack them again as the paint would likely stick. My plan was to paint about 20 boards a day in the garage, let them dry and move them outside to lay flat. If it rains, can we install damp boards as well?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I do look forward to your expertise!

    • Good day Larin,
      No tricks here on painting, just a little advice… I would agree with you on the panels sticking if stacked. They will stick if you stack them, even with dry paint. Painting and drying in the garage on a low humidity day is the right move. If you have room, you can store the panels almost vertically, leaning against the wall. However, you will want to put small pieces of material between the panels to prevent sticking. Yes, you will likely have some finish damage due to sticking, but your finish damage is isolated to small, specific places as opposed to the whole panel.

      If painted Hardie panels are stored outside, make sure you tarp the material. You don’t want the material to get wet before installation. You do not want to install damp boards. Also, make sure you put material between points on the boards if you do choose to stack them on the ground flat. Again. this will minimize the finish damage.

      FYI, when we send Hardie panels out for professional painting, they come back with protective plastic on the finish side to prevent sticking. As you know, Hardie sends their new panels out with plastic on the finish side as well. I hope this was helpful.

  11. Hi, if the boards are Pacific blue and pearl gray how do I cross the color over for wooden planters that are being made. Would like them to match.

  12. Hi. I’m going to be putting up JM siding in the near future. My question is, can I get Colorplus technology in any of their paint colors? On their website they only give me 15 colors to choose from specific to my zip code. I don’t care for any of them and I know they have hundreds more. If so, can I get them prepainted in their factory?

    • Hi Jackie,

      James Hardie has a new collection called The Dream collection. There are roughly over 700 new colors that would be factory painted from Hardie with their color plus technology. There is a price difference between the dream and stock collections, so I would recommend speaking with a preferred JH local contractor for that information.

  13. Simple question.should flexible caulking be used between joints when some sides of the house will require 2 pieces?

    • Pete,

      There should be no caulking at the butt joints of two pieces of JH siding. What will happen is that the caulk will fade quicker than the siding and you will see that.

  14. We have J Hardie siding on our 15 yr old condo bldg that still looks OK. Other than some slight uniform fading, there are no known functional nor visual problems. Our board says we need to repaint, but some of us can’t see why doing it yet. Is there something unseen that requires it ? After repainting, how long would the repaint last? Peeling problem ? Will it last as long as the original 15 yr original siding?

    • Fading is always going to happen with any painted or unpainted cladding material. If they want to brighten the appearance slightly, that would be the only reason to paint it after 15 years. The James Hardie warranty used to be 15 years on the paint and 15 years on the substrate. They have since changed that to a combined 45 year warranty for there products. I feel that the painting now couldn’t hurt the cladding if done correctly. As far as the length of time the new paint would last, that would depend on the quality of the paint and how well the surface was prepped before the job. A painter should be able to better speak to this topic. We all know that the better the prep, the longer the paint should last. Hopefully this helps. Happy cladding!

  15. Hi. Thanks for your recent reply. I have another question. I’ve had several JH certified contractors give me siding estimates. Seems they all have their own way of doing things. Being a novice, I’m not sure which is best. One contractor puts the siding directly on to old stucco as opposed to new wood backing. Also, one said they prefer primed siding instead of Colorplus technology and to paint the siding and caulking so everything matches. The other said, Colorplus and no caulking.
    This makes it difficult to know who’s right or what’s best for the overall outcome and look of my house. What’s your preference? Stucco or wood backing? Colorplus or primes and painted? Caulking or no? Would you recommend a contractor certified in using JH products? Thank you!

    • Hi Jackie, If we were going to be re-cladding your house, all the existing cladding material would be removed down to the sheathing. Sheathing would then be inspected and repaired if any rot and or delaminating were to be present. Then we would install a vapor barrier over the sheathing. We don’t believe in siding over siding.

      We use color plus from JH and haven’t had an issue in 15 years of working with the product. We also use color-matched caulk for the areas that are supposed to be caulked. I am confident when I say that the contractors that looked at your project aren’t familiar with the proper install procedures of JH siding. You can verify my outline of the propper process on the James Hardie website. A quick search brings up this James Hardie installation pdf, showing how the material is installed. You might have to dig deeper to get more specific info.

      It really is critical to hire a contractor that is well versed in the correct installation process. If you don’t hire a James Hardie “Preferred Contractor” in your area, you run the risk of having the product installed incorrectly. This could cause the product to fail and your warranty would not be honored by JH.

      • Hi. You say to use color matched caulk however I read another comment where you said not to use caulk. If you do In fact use caulk, where specifically would you use it?
        I really appreciate your help and answering all my questions. Thank you.

        • Jackie,

          That’s correct. Caulk isn’t used everywhere. You only use caulk in the areas where siding touches trim but not on any tops of windows, doors, blocks etc. YOU DO NOT CAULK THE BUTT JOINTS on JH plank siding.

  16. As a homeowner for 30+ years I would highly recommend this company based on their knowledge and expertise. I called to ask a question and I received a prompt courteous response. Thank you so much for assistance. J.Medlin

  17. Our home was built with Hardie siding 15 years ago. It was painted on site and after a rain, we see siding areas that are holding moisture. In a few days , theses areas dry out.

    Is this now time to paint the siding?

    Is this moisture damaging the siding?

    Is this allowing moisture to get into the behind the siding wood area?



    • That’s definitely a good sign that the siding needs to be painted. The product is designed differently today than it was 15 years ago. Without seeing it, it’s hard to say if damaged has accrued. I will say that if not addressed you could possibly have bigger issues down the road.

  18. We just built a new house and had Hardie board siding put on it what can I paint it with to make it look more like real wood

    • Benita, I’m not sure what you mean. The James Hardie fiber cement product looks as close to real wood as you can get. One could say that more layers of paint will just diminish the prominence of the grain pattern showing through the paint that’s present now.

  19. My 21 year old house has Hardi plank siding and has been painted approximately twice. It sits on the oceanfront on the Outer Banks of NC. What paint do you suggest for best lasting results? It needs painting once again. Thank you for any advice.

    • Hi Nancy,

      Currently, Hardie is using Sherwin Williams for their color-plus products here in the northeast. When we have Hardie siding professionally painted prior to installation (yes we have it painted prior), our vendor also uses Sherwin Williams, so that’s two votes for SW. However, being on the oceanfront does indeed raise an eyebrow (hmm…) Not being a painter and not living on the coast, I can’t give you a solid answer as to what will hold up best for oceanside applications.

      That said, think Sherwin Williams makes a solid product and I have read that painters do recommend it a lot. Honestly, I would call around and speak to some local painters in the area who have real-world experience with painting in this environment.

      One thing I do know, you will definitely want to make sure the house is power washed beforehand to make sure all salt residue is gone before painting but any good painter worth his salt should know that. 🙂

  20. We are having our Hardy siding repainted after about 19 years. As it starts to get colder in the midwest would you suggest waiting until spring, or is there a suggested temperature that is should not be painted under? It is under 50 during the day and around 35 at night. thanks

    • Thanks for reading my blog post! I think reaching out to a local painter or a reputable paint store could give you the proper guidance. We don’t do painting. When a customer wants their Hardie siding painted before install, we subcontract that out to a company that paints the siding indoors in a climate-controlled setting as mentioned in this article. I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong advice. Good luck with your project. Let us know how it turns out.

  21. We are building a new home and going with a Hardi plank, board n batten for our modern farmhouse. We are purchasing prefinished paint product in white. My question is…do we have to apply a coat of paint after install or are we good to go with just our prefinished painted product.

    Thank you in advance

    • Melanie,

      You are good to go with the factory-painted Hardie. You will need to touch up any nail holes for the battens and cut ends of the panels. Best of luck and Happy Cladding.

  22. If builder installed some factory finished iron gray JH shingles and boards, but window trim, board and Batten, and roof trim was only primed. How many coats of iron gray should they apply? Will it look different from pre- painted ?

    • Hi Barbara,

      When painting, there are external variables to consider that can influence the number of coats needed. Questions like this may be better answered by an experienced painter. Location and weather would be a big one for me. That said, we have painted JH Arctic white trim boards in both dark and light colors and you could not tell the difference between the boards painted onsite compared to the ones painted at the factory. In those instances, we’ve used two coats of paint. I should note that we recommend contacting Hardie for the exact paint code to match it 100%.

      Also, we prefer using the James Hardie color plus trim and siding but we understand that there are different situations that do arise like the one you mentioned.

      You can find more info on painting James Hardie products in the field. For example, James Hardie does say the following:

      “DO NOT use stain, oil/alkyd base paint, or powder coating on James Hardie® products. Factory-primed James Hardie products must be painted within 180 days of installation. 100% acrylic topcoats are recommended. Do not paint when wet. For application rates refer to paint manufacturers specifications. Back-rolling is recommended if the siding is sprayed.”

  23. In October 20, 2021 you andwered Nancy saying that you paint your siding before you install it. Do you paint both sides or just the finished side? I to am painting the siding before I install and wondered if I should put one coat on the back to help seal the siding.

    • Hey Tim, thanks for the question. I only paint the face, top, bottom and the two side edges. That’s how it comes from JH’s factory when it’s color plus siding and trim. Happy painting and cladding!

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