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Can You Stain Hardie Board? (All You Need to Know)

Wooden surfaces have a certain kind of allure of their own. The theme they set just from being installed on specific locations can be compared to none.

A porch looks more rustic and homey when it is made of wooden planks. Similarly, a kitchen made of wooden floors and panels gives the kitchen a sleek, and polished look.

But wooden surfaces are prone to damage and that setback is tackled when one uses stains to give it a finishing look and protection from damage.

However, wooden surfaces are often not durable enough or too costly. As a result, there are some alternatives that are used to avoid those. Hardie board sidings are one of those.

Hardie boards are made of cement, sand, and cellulose fiber which makes this siding resistant to fire, pests, damage due to weather, and being chipped or flaked away, unlike wood, which is prone to all of the above.

But, these sidings come with their own setback, and one of them is that they are concrete-based, which makes the staining procedure a feat to conquer.

Now, let us know if the Hardie board can be stained and learn more interesting facts regarding stains and their procedures.

Staining hardie board

No, the Hardie board cannot be stained. This is because, Hardie board is a concrete-based product that is used as an alternative to wood, is long-lasting, and fore-proof. Concrete-based products are not possible to stain traditionally. Therefore, Hardie boards cannot be stained either.

Stain is applied to wood in the finishing process. It is a type of product applied on wooden surfaces to give it a finishing, which results in the wood staying protected from damage and withholding its aesthetic appearance for a long time.

There are several types and colors of stain and all of them are pigmented to change the appearance, that is, the color of the wood and enhance its grains.

The working procedure for stains is simple. The stain simply enters through the pores of the surface and changes its appearance by bonding with the wood.

But, for the stain to do that, the surface has to be porous, clean, and free of grease, dirt, and anything that might clog the pores and not let the stain do its work.

Stains are mainly three types based on their finishing effect. They are- solid, semi-transparent and transparent.

Solids are like paint and lie on the surface of the wood. That results in the hiding of the wood color and the grains. They do not bond with the wood.

Semi-transparent stains bond with wood and change the appearance of the wood for durability and protection. They let some of the wood and the grains show through.

Transparent stains appear clear but have some pigments in them that protect the wood from getting chipped due to the harshness of the UV ray.

Two widely used stains will be mentioned below.

Solid Stain:

These stains don’t bond with the wood, rather, they form a thin layer on the wood which is opaque and non-penetrating. They have similar features to paints since solid stains also hide the grains. 

They are usually used in the finishing process and used as a wood finish rather than a stain. Solid stains are used to protect the wood from being chipped or damaged.

Duckback Stain:

Duckback is a brand that sells stains starting from solid, semi-translucent to translucent. This company sells stains that are solid, meaning, they will act as a layer of paint on wood.

They also sell semi-transparent and transparent stains which, unlike solid stains, bond with the wood and change its appearance minutely, or not at all, but give them protection from damage.

As seen above, the working procedure of stain works on wood-based surfaces but when it comes to concrete-based surfaces, they do not work, unless someone gets creative with it.

Do you paint or stain Hardie board?

Hardie boards are painted:

Hardie boards are made of sand, cellulose fiber, and cement. As a result, they are durable, fire-proof, and long-lasting. Moreover, due to being concrete-based products, Hardie board is very hard to stain.

That is because, concretes are not adequately porous for the stain to enter and bond with the surface to change the color, or make it more durable.

As a result, traditional staining methods do not work on hardie boards and one has to get creative with the staining process.

On the other hand, it is easier to paint a hardie board since paints don’t need to bond with the wood and can protect the wood from damage.

The only downfall is that it forms a thin layer that obstructs the natural color and grain of the wood from being shown, which might alter the allure of wooden surfaces.

Reasons why Hardie board cannot be stained:

To get a grasp of why it will not stain, we have to know the working procedure of a stain first.

Unlike sealers, wood stains protect the wood deeply. After the wood is freshly sanded, the pores on the wood stand out and let the stain sink in when it is applied.

The stain then goes deep into the layer and bonds with the wood, and due to its pigmented nature, they alter the appearance of the wood, promptly protecting it from harmful UV rays.

Reasons for which the hardie board won’t stain:


Concrete is not known to be porous, as a result, the stain has no place to enter or bond. They remain on the surface and fail to do what they do with a wooden surface.


In many instances, the reason a board won’t stain is because it is old.

Being old makes it prone to accumulation of gunk on the pores the board already has, hence the stains don’t get to enter the pores and do its work.


When a hardie board siding is dirty, that is it has grease, or dirt on it, these form a layer of sorts on the board. That layer prevents the stain from entering the pores.

Using traditional methods:

Due to the traditional working procedure of the stain, the stain does not bond with the board due to its non-wooden characteristics. If a fiber cement stain is not used, the hardie board will not stain.

How to make Hardie board look like stained wood?

To get a hardie board to appear as a stained wooden surface, we have to use non-traditional ways of staining wood.

Choosing the appropriate Product:

There are products that stain fiber-cement sidings. If they’re bought and carefully applied, one can get the desired wooden appearance on the hardie boards. It can replicate that look by enhancing the grains on the board.

Preps before installation:

It is best to stain the boards before they are installed on the house. For that, the planks are laid flat on the ground with their grain side up. This lets the stain pool on the grains equally and replicates the look of real wood.

Prepping the boards:

The hardie boards are then cleaned and made sure there is no dirt, or grease on the surface to obstruct the stain from doing its work. They are dusted and cleaned free from contaminants. This will let the stain seep into the pores and enhance the grains.

Color the board using spray bottle:

To get an even look, a spray bottle is used. The spraying is started from one end and slowly worked down to the other.

Besides, it is to be made sure that the nozzle is adjusted to be wide enough to cover an area more than the width of the plank and that a consistent pattern is followed.


After the initial coat, the planks are re-coated until we end up with a color we are satisfied with. Re-coating will make the stain enhance the grains and make the board appear like wood.

Moreover, the manufacturer’s guide should be used to apply several coats as the drying period differs with different brands.

Final Thoughts

It is not possible to stain hardie boards using stains that are made with the aim of staining wooden surfaces. This is because, hardie boards are concrete-based products that aren’t as porous as wood-based products, making it hard for stains to seep in and bond with the surface.