James Hardie’s ColorPlus® Technology offers a beautiful array of warm, cool and neutral colors, engineered to last, and designed to compliment 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 install:

  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 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.

Resources

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.

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North East Remodeling Group: We are a team of interior and exterior specialists, versed in all phases of construction. From renovations and additions, to home building from the ground up. We also happen to be one of the select few James Hardie Certified Remodelers in the Hudson Valley.   Have a question? Just ask me in the comments below and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.

Comments

  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,
    Tim

    • 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. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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