Hardie board (also known as cement fiber board) is a leading alternative to wood siding that does a great job of keeping wood’s appearance without the usual drawbacks of the natural material. Hardie board comes with many different options for replicating and replacing natural wood such as different style shingles and planks, with different textures that convincingly look like real wood but with much greater durability and longevity.
Why would you want it?
It's low-maintenance and long-lasting:
Hardie board can be attached to almost any surface and it lasts very long. Most manufacturers provide it with a 50-year warranty and it lasts for decades practically unchanged. Over time it just requires a few repaints (about once every 10-15 years), not as much as conventional wood siding. It's also very fire-resistant and has the same fire rating as brick and stone, so not only will it last long, it gives added safety to your home.
It's very durable:
Hardie board is made up of a mixture of wood fibers, cement, and sand. These additives make Hardie board immune to insects and water damage and much stronger than natural wood. It's particularly useful in areas where high winds or hurricanes are common because it can absorb the impact of hail or projectiles and while remaining solid. The material doesn't expand much in heat and does not warp either, which makes it dimensionally stable and quite popular in humid environments (where it does not rot) and ocean areas because it is salt-resistant.
The wood cellulose fiber used in the material quite often comes from recycled wood and reduces the use of forest lumber in the process. Hardie board does not release toxins into landfills or the environment either. The product has great thermal resistance and, when combined with enough house wrapping and insulation behind it, the wall assembly reduces heat transfer to save enormously on energy use and utility bills.
Hardie board comes just about as close as you can get to natural wood. It can be entirely smooth and flat or be given highly realistic wood grain patterns that make it difficult to distinguish between the two. The touch is also similar to natural grains. There's practically no limit to what it can replicate. Hardie board can create the same aesthetic applications of the material with cement fiber lap siding, batten board, shingles, and shakes that look virtually the same as their natural cousins.