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Hardie Board Fence (Benefits & Design Styles)

Are you considering a Hardie board fence? Here’s our guide about what this material is, different uses, fencing styles, cost, and if fiber cement is susceptible to rotting.
Series of houses enclosed inside a Hardie board fenceFencing in your yard has a lot of benefits from offering extra privacy to giving you an enclosed space for kids and pets to play in. You have a lot of options when it comes to fencing but one material that offers a wide range of benefits that you’ll want to consider is Hardie Board fencing.

What Is A Hardie Board? 

A series of Hardie board panels put together to form a fenceHardie Board is a brand-specific product. It got its name from the company that sells the material, James Hardie. 

The biggest benefit to Hardie Board is how durable it is. The material is actually a strong mixture of sand, cellulose fibers, and cement. The result is something that not only looks good but will last a long time as well. After all, cement isn’t something that’s known to break easily. 

There are some off-brand options when it comes to Hardie Board. While Hardie Board specifically refers to the James Hardie product, fiber cement materials have nearly the same makeup.

However, they aren’t all quite the same. For example, James Hardie adds additives aside from the main ingredients to help improve the durability of Hardie Board past the average fiber cement material.

Can Hardie Board Be Used for Fencing? 

Hardie board fence with horizontal planksYes! In fact, not only can you use Hardie Board for fencing but it offers a lot of benefits. For one, it’s durable. This means that not only will they last a while but they’ll offer additional privacy too.

Since most Hardie Board fences create a solid wall, you don’t have to worry about gaps between the slats either. And because Hardie Board uses concrete, it has a higher fire-resistance rating than a traditional wood fence.

Backyard area with raised garden bed, small tree, and Hardie board fence This can really come in handy if you experience a housefire or live somewhere where wildfires often occur, a little extra fire resistance can offer real peace of mind.

Finally, Hardie Board is often praised for its modern appeal. It’s a great way to bring a love of contemporary decor outside. For more ideas, see our gallery of fence designs with different materials here.

Hardie Board Privacy Fence

Outdoor walkway with Hardie board fence surrounding a private propertySome fences trace a border but they don’t offer a lot of privacy. When you look at them, you can easily see what’s on the other side. Privacy fences don’t have this same problem. They’re made to be solid and block out the visuals on the other side of the fence. 

To qualify as a privacy fence, the fence needs to be at least four feet tall. However, they typically cap the height at six feet tall. Hardie Board fencing is a great choice when searching for privacy fence ideas. It’s easy to make it into a solid wall and, given the material’s opaque nature, it’ll protect your privacy from anyone on the other side of the fence. 

The only thing to note about Hardie Board privacy fences is that they shouldn’t sit directly on the ground. Rather, you should keep the Hardie Board material six inches off the ground but this shouldn’t affect the privacy of those within the yard. 

Hardie Board Picket Fence

House design with brown Hardie board fence, pitched roof, and windowsAs opposed to a privacy fence, picket fence designs are easy to see over because they’re made up of slats rather than a solid board. In addition, they’re often shorter, usually only reaching three or four feet high on average. They’re great if you want to set a perimeter for your home without necessarily blocking out the view as much as a privacy fence.

Typically, picket fences are made with wooden slats connected by a pair of horizontal rails. Technically, you could pull this look off by swapping out those wooden slats for shaped Hardie Board fencing. Another similar concept that is often seen in Hardie Board fencing is a fence made up of horizontal slats, rather than vertical ones like in a picket fence. 

By opting for a Hardie Board picket fence over a traditional wooden one, you have more protection against common problems like rotting and you can even take advantage of a higher rate of fire resistance. 

Hardie Board Fence Cost

Backyard area with raised garden beds, and Hardie board fenceThe cost of your Hardie Board Fence will depend on factors such as how large the fenced-in area is and how tall the fence will be. Both of these factors play into how much material you’ll need to fence in your yard. Since fencing is often measured in linear feet, the higher your fence, the higher your estimate will be. 

For instance, if you have a shorter fence around four or five feet tall, you can expect a starting price of $50 per linear foot. That measurement raises to $55 or more per linear foot if your fence is six feet tall. At seven feet, you’ll spend a starting price of around $64 per linear foot and an eight-foot fence costs about $74 per linear foot.

Can Hardie Plank Rot? 

House design with Hardie board fence, front door, and various plantsSince your fence is an outdoor feature, it’s important that it can hold up to different weather conditions, including damp or humid conditions. If a fence can’t stand up to moisture from sources like the rain, it’ll start to rot, leading to a shorter lifespan. 

Luckily, you see this problem more commonly with wood or vinyl fencing and it isn’t a concern with Hardie Board. Not only that but you won’t have to worry about the fencing warping or burning in the heat.

This comes from the fact that Hardie Board is moisture-resistant, in general. This doesn’t allow the material to become saturated enough to start rotting.

Is Hardie Board Rated For Ground Contact? 

White and gray Hardie board fence composed of horizontal planksGround contact refers specifically to the ability of a material to stand up and not rot if it’s installed where it won’t dry out completely, like below the soil. If a material isn’t board-rated for ground contact, you increase the risk of rot by not giving the material a chance to dry out and recover before introducing a new wave of moisture. 

While Hardie Board is rot-resistant, it and other types of fiber cement aren’t highly recommended to bury in soil that will keep it damp. It’s recommended to install cement fiber fences at least six inches off the ground so it doesn’t absorb water through contact with the bottom of the fence.

See more related content in our article about the different types of wire fences on this page.

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