Skip to Content

Can You Drill & Screw into Hardie Board Siding? (Answered)

Named after the manufacturer James Hardie, Hardie board siding is a composite siding material. It can be used as a protective exterior option for your home.

It is so popular because of its amazing durability, outstanding curb appeal, low maintenance, and unbeatable warranty. Hardie board siding is carefully engineered to withstand climate change and stand up to damage.

Can you drill & screw into Hardie board siding?

You can drill and screw into Hardie board siding. However, it’s imperative that proper drills and corrosion-resistant fasteners are used in the installation. Even though it comes with a huge warranty, the right tools and methods can help the product to last long.

Hardie board siding is a combination of cellulose fibers, cement, water, and sand. It has a unique appearance that can give a stylish and modern outlook to your place. The strong build of the product makes it ideal for exterior use.

With some basic understanding and the usage of proper tools, installing Hardie board siding can become easy and fun. The fasteners used in the installation have to be corrosion-resistant screws or galvanized or stainless steel nails.

While you can also use electro-galvanized nails, they may display premature corrosion which is absolutely unwanted.

James Hardie recommends the use of top-notch, hot-dipped galvanized nails or high-quality corrosion-resistant screws for the best outcome. Another great way is to trust the manufacturer’s instructions.

The manufacturer offers a warranty of 30 years. But with proper care and maintenance, Hardie board siding can outlive the 30 years warranty and last as long as 50 years.

Do you need to pre-drill the Hardie board?

Pre-drilling Hardie board siding is not always necessary but in some cases, it can simplify the installation process to some extent.

Hardie board is quite hard and brittle, therefore, if you put too much pressure, it can break or split. This can be avoided by pre-drilling holes beforehand especially near the edges where it is easier to break.

How to drill through Hardie plank siding

Drilling through Hardie plank siding is not at all a tough job if dealt with care and attention. By following the steps below, you can successfully drill through the siding.

Measuring and marking the holes:

Let’s start with measuring and marking the holes first. Carefully analyze the product and then measure and mark the areas where you are about the drill the holes.

This step needs accuracy so make sure to use a professional-grade marker for the job.

Taking protective measures beforehand:

It is wise to put on safety goggles as you drill through Hardie plank siding. Hardie boards emit toxic dust when they are cut or drilled that are quite bad for the respiratory system.

Therefore, it is also imperative that you also put on a dust mask or a respirator.

Placing supports for the siding:

As Hardie boards are prone to snapping, they need to be supported properly. You should support the sawhorses with proper wood supports so they can carry the siding well.

Place the siding carefully over the sawhorses in a way so that the marked holes fall in the gaps between supports. This way it gets easier to create the perfect holes by drilling through the siding.

Prepping the tools for drilling:

You need to prepare the right tools to get the perfect holes. Firstly, prepare a power drill with the masonry drill bit to use for drilling the small holes.

For larger holes, use a carbide hole saw. It will be best to use s saw that is designed for fiber cement siding.

Drilling through the siding:

Finally, it’s time to drill the holes. You need to line up the drill bit with the marking of a hole and drill through the siding.

Repeat this step until you are done with drilling all the holes. Make sure that you don’t apply too much pressure as it can split the siding.

Can I use deck screws for the Hardie board?

You may be able to use deck screws that are galvanized or made of stainless steel for the Hardie board. Anything with a tendency to corrode at one point is considered inappropriate for Hardie board siding.

Since Hardie boards are used for enhancing exteriors, they need accessories that are corrosion-resistant.

Regular drywall screws are not suitable as they don’t have corrosion-resistant properties. These can break down the edges of the boards.

So you can use galvanized deck screws as they are specially designed to resist corrosion in any type of environmental condition.

What kind of screws do you use for Hardie board siding?

Being a composite material, Hardie board siding is quite hard and needs to be dealt with in certain ways. The right screws or nails can make the installation process smoother and the results more long-lasting.

Depending on the nailing method, the following screws are used:

Roofing nails:

Roofing nails are small nails with large flat heads and jagged shanks. These are mostly made of stainless steel so they can be used on Hardie board siding.

A 1-1/4-inches long galvanized or stainless steel roofing nail (0.121” shank x 3/8” HD) is recommended by James Hardie to use for Hardie board siding.

Ribbed wafer-head screw:

A number 8, 1-1/4-inches long by 0.375-inches wide (HD) ribbed wafer-head (or an equivalent screw) screw can be used on steel studs while installing Hardie board siding. It is the most used screw for Hardie board siding.

This screw is used for blind nailing, the most preferred and recommended method for installing Hardie board siding. In this method, the screws or nails are hidden behind the joints so that the outcome looks clean.

Ribbed bugle-head screw:

A number 8-18, 1-5/8-inches long by 0.323-inches wide (HD) ribbed bugle-head (or equivalent screw) screw can be used on Hardie board siding where at least three threads are required to penetrate the steel studs.

This screw is used for the face nailing method where the nails or screws are in the front where they can be seen.

It’s not like you cannot use other types of screws or nails for installing Hardie board siding but those can fail big time in the long run. These are the ones recommended by James Hardie himself and these work best for Hardie board siding.

Does Hardie board siding need to be nailed to studs?

Hardie board siding needs to be nailed to steel studs. Along with steel studs, you can also install them over supported woods or sturdy sheathing.

While installing Hardie board siding, you should be aware of the building codes and consider them. Usually, the codes require the installation of the siding over water-repellent barriers that are nailed to the steel studs.

This will guarantee solid attachment that won’t break easily even after long-term use.

Can you hammer a nail into a Hardie board?

You can hammer a nail into a Hardie board, but as the Hardie board is very hard it’s going to be a tough job. Therefore, the easiest way to do this is by pre-drilling holes in the siding.

Also, avoid driving nails into the siding from angles. Most of the time, they won’t go through and damage the board instead. The nail or screw heads are supposed to be concealed against the board

Do you need plywood behind the Hardie board?

Hardie boards can be installed over plywood. As James Hardie recommended, the fibre cement siding can be installed over steel studs or braced wood, or it can be installed directly over OSB, plywood, or sheathing.

So, plywood definitely makes a good underlayment for the Hardie board siding but it is certainly not the only option. Many people prefer OSB over plywood due to its shear values.

Final Thoughts

So to cut it short, you can drill and screw into Hardie board siding with the help of a proper drill, and the right screws or nails. It is great for giving your place a modern outlook. By following proper techniques and using all the right tools, you can make the best use of Hardie board siding.