Lotus leaves. Bird feathers. Nature created these completely waterproof materials, according to Scientific American. The lowly lotus leaf even inspired the development of a waterproofing polypropylene coating which may soon be suitable for commercial applications. You do not have to wait for technology to catch up, however, when you take advantage of the tough, water-resistant barrier available with HardiePlank siding

Water Resistant or Waterproof?

A material is water-resistant if it moves water off its surface rather than allowing it to soak in over a given time. The material does not have to prevent water from absorbing; it just delays absorption long enough that very little water makes its way through the material. Many homeowners are surprised to learn the materials protecting their home, such as siding, are not waterproof but water-resistant.

Few building materials are genuinely waterproof.  The vapor barrier beneath nearly all siding products is water-resistant, not waterproof. Wood siding products are only water-resistant when painted. They absorb and release moisture, leading to rot. Vinyl siding may be waterproof but it is prone to warping and deforming under the strong sun. 

A technologically advanced product like James Hardie siding — made from fiber cement — is waterproof, even without its factory-applied multiple coats of paint. 

Ideally, you want your home to “breathe,” allowing gaseous water vapor to move through walls into the outside. You do not want water vapor trapped beneath siding, behind drywall, or in insulation. A properly manufactured and applied water-resistant barrier can accomplish this. 

Integrated System

The wise folks at James Hardie designed a complete system to ensure your house is snug, cozy, and climate-controlled. Some manufacturers make siding. Some make vapor barriers. Few manufacturers work from the sheathing outward to design an integrated system for protecting your home. James Hardie does, with these fine products:

  • Weather Barrier — James Hardie HardieWrap® weather barrier gives your Des Moines-area home breathability and water resistance. It keeps the space between exterior and interior walls dry. It helps prevent mildew, mold, and energy loss too. 
  • Pro-Flashing — HardieWrap® Pro-Flashing, a self-adhesive butyl rubber that peels and sticks around windows and doors, prevents water invasion and air infiltration. It self-seals around fasteners driven through it.
  • Flex Flashing — HardieWrap® Flex Flashing stretches easily and seals around hard-to-fit shapes like custom, bay, or bow windows and door sills. Flex Flashing prevents water and air from entering your home.
  • Seam Tape —  The perfect adhesive for Weather Barrier and Flex Flashing, HardieWrap® Seam Tape keeps your home’s building envelope impervious to air and water, even at the seams. 

Depending on your local building authority having jurisdiction (the AHJ) over your building codes, vapor barriers are almost always required, whether your builder uses James Hardie products or some other, inferior product.

Rolled out vertically and adhered to your home’s sheathing, this vapor barrier is water-resistant, the same way a shingle roof is. It still allows water molecules in a gas state to move out from the sheathing and into the atmosphere. It allows a limited transfer of gaseous water molecules to move from the atmosphere into the sheathing. It prevents liquid water from ruining the sheathing.  

The water-resistant barrier is the foundation for whatever siding you and your builder or remodeler select. As part of the James Hardie integrated system of materials, HardieWrap®  forms the perfect complement to HardiePlank siding expertly installed by your local contractor

HardiePlank Siding

James Hardie offers many choices in fiber cement siding:

  • HardiePanel® Vertical siding
  • HardieShingle® siding
  • HardiePlank Select Cedarmill©

All these fine products are supported with HardieTrim boards for exterior molding, plus HardieSoffitt panels for eaves.

It is the HardiePlank Select Cedarmill© siding that really makes your Des Moines-area home stand out, so let’s take a closer look. 

This fiber cement siding product is available in 20 stunning, updated colors, plus primed but unpainted (ideal for matching existing home colors when remodeling with an addition). The tough paint is applied in multiple coats at the James Hardie factory, then baked on for durability.

The HardiePlank siding is made with a human-made mix of strong materials and wood fiber for years of worry-free, maintenance-free service. Fiber cement siding is waterproof, fire-resistant, and insectproof. 

You may wonder, “Is a water-resistant barrier required behind HardiePlank siding?” That is a question your remodeler or builder must have answered by your local AHJ. Whatever building code says (and usually it says the barrier is required), that is what you need. 

Questions about building codes, vapor barriers, and siding are all in a day’s work for the professionals at VanWeelden Company. We offer complete exterior siding and roofing services. For expert installation of beautiful James Hardie products or questions about siding, contact us today!