James Hardie shingles are expensive, but they look much nicer than lap siding! I was originally thinking cedar shake shingles because I like the look of them. And they are cheaper. But thanks to the carpenter bees in my area, cedar shakes are not an option. I fought these bees for three seasons and I have had enough. A non-wood product was what I wanted and Hardie shingles seemed like the best solution for my bee problem.
Let me start off by saying that if you can buy the Hardie shingles, then buy them. Yes they are extremely expensive. Given the time it takes, however, you don’t want to make your own shingles unless you have no other choice. But there are several reasons why you might want to make your own.
1. Quantity: I needed 50 square feet at most. The minimum order at most places such as Home Depot or Lowes is a pallet which is 2 square or 200 square feet. This means you are going to have to fork out about $1,000 at a minimum for your order.
2. Cost: Given the minimum quantities for an order, it is much cheaper to make your own ($110 for the lap siding).
3. Application: My application was above my front porch which has arches, soffits, and guttering to work around. I was going to be doing a lot of cutting no matter what.
4. Color: You can order shingles already primed and painted. But unless you have the matching paint, having them painted won’t do you much good if you have significant cutting like me. You have to prime and paint all of your cut edges. It is also not likely that you can install without dinging a piece or getting a dirty smudge. So you are going to have to do a bunch of painting and touchup anyway.
5. Help: I am a one-man show who usually cannot find anybody to help. I originally thought I’d get the 4-ft shingle panels but there is no way I could have easily handled these, holding them straight as I tried to nail them. Working with small individual shingles was what I needed. There are single shingles available for order; so this is probably what I would have ordered if I could have done so in smaller quantities.
(Caution: always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and best safety practices.)
Next time: sharing my custom pattern