Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

Exterior Material Overload, Part Deux November 12, 2007

Filed under: Exterior,Green Rehab — budint @ 2:39 am
Tags: , , ,

When I last reported on exterior materials, some 5 months ago, we were looking at the products Cembonit, Trespa and Paperstone.  Today, we’ve narrowed down our needs, but still haven’t narrowed down the product selection.

Per the design drawings you can see that we’ll be using planks on one side and panels on another.  The planks will be installed in a rain-screen application, while the panels are applied directed to the substrate (due to firewall requirements from the city of st louis).

We’d also be needing certain sizes, a smooth finish, a manufacturer who supports a rain-screen application and someone who can pre-paint all the materials so that we don’t have to paint on-site.

The latest list of products is:

1. James Hardie – most mainstream cement board available, also known and hardi-plank. You can find this at your local Home Depot in some styles. Presumably the least expensive, if its at the HD. This manufacturer does not recommend or warranty against a rain-screen application. Hardie has a section on why they are green and sustainable.

2. Certainteed –  another large materials conglomerate.  Limited color offerings and unclear whether they warranty against a rain-screen application.

3. Nichiha – Japanese manufacturer who sells out of Georgia. Product can be pre-painted in any color. Product is supposedly autoclaved, meaning that it can withstand much more wear than any non-autoclaved product because of the intense pressure and temperature which it was manufactured at.

4. Cemplank – an smaller supplier who my architect thinks has been purchased by James Hardie. This company produces a smooth plank in the right size which can also be painted any color.

In terms of sustainability, it’s so difficult to tell anymore since every manufacturer claims to be sustainable. Cement board is definitely a product which is difficult to distinguish the green washing vs. the true green advocates.

Stay tuned to see how this difficult decision plays out.

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6 Responses to “Exterior Material Overload, Part Deux”

  1. Chris B Says:

    Coincidentally enough, I just returned to St. Louis last week after building and installing two freeze/thaw environmental test chambers for James Hardie in Fontana, CA. They conduct a test on their siding products that continuosly sprays water, freezes, thaws, and then repeats for long periods of time. Their R+D lab showed numerous ongoing tests on their products (both present and future) that was quite impressive. I saw many different versions of Hardie Plank siding — stucco, different species of wood-grain, smooth, simulated brick, a flawless looking repro of stone/grout, among others. I don’t know if all of these types are available locally, but if I were you, I would check out more than just the Homer Depot. As far as I could tell, James Hardie does not sell any products other than cementious boards — usually a good sign that they know what they are doing.

    • Luis Says:

      Hey. Neat post. There is a problem with your wetbise in firefox, and you might want to check this The browser is the market chief and a big part of other people will omit your great writing because of this problem.

  2. Diana Says:

    Hi – Love to know what product you went with for the exterior on your home! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  3. Lori Bork Says:

    I like the design drawings. I’m looking at a similar system for my own house design…….a rainscreen system with “planks”, as you called them. I’m wondering what hardie product you’re considering for the planks? I was orginally going to use natural wood boards on my rainscreen, but due to budget & maintainance concerns, changed my thinking to fiber-cement. I was finally resigned to using hardie’s 3/4×11-1/4″ trim boards as my rainscreen. I would run them horizontally with 1/4″ open joints between boards. I have since talked to a hardie technical rep, and they told me they don’t recommend using their trim as siding at all. It’s also not under the same warranties. I’m just wondering what you’re thinking about for your application. Are you just planning on using their bevelled siding boards? Or would you be ripping down the large 4×8 sheets? I’m kind of at a loss here, and any insight from someone else looking at similar systems would be much appreciated. Good luck with your completion! Looks like a great house.

  4. […] be when you’re still well out from it actually being installed. The exterior is something we brain-stormed over for quite some time and had such high expectations for. I guess back then (in 2007) when we were young and idealistic, […]

  5. Chong Says:

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    that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
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