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sf_limey 12-23-2009 12:13 PM

Using Hardie Panel siding as finish flooring
Hi all:

Just found this site and wondered if I can tap into your collective knowledge. I recently came accross a reference in a "Dwell" article to using Hardie panel exterior siding as finish flooring and was intrigued. I assume it was one of the pre-colored siding panels since it didn't mention any other finish altho' there was reference to it "looking like concrete". My interest comes from the fact that I own some Class "C" apartments which I am trying to upgrade. It's hard to find "C" tenants who take good care of carpeting (which is the norm in units like this) and buying acres of new carpet is getting old so I'm gradually switching to laminate. In a couple of years I'll know if this has solved the problem - but laminate ain't cheap and installation isn't fast. And my back aches ! The article said that the Hardie Board worked out to $1:00 sq foot which sure got my interest but my question is, how durable is the product used in a way for which it wasn't designed ? I'm all for thinking outside the box (so other durable flooring suggestions welcome) but want to be as informed as possible before I do a trial unit. By the way, some of the units are on slab, most have plywood subfloors. Thanks !!

JazMan 12-23-2009 12:43 PM

That would be a very, very bad thing to do. If Hardie siding is anything like their backer board it is made with silica which is a carcinogen. Do you think your class "C" tenants would be able to find a lawyer in a NY minute? Maybe faster? I wonder why anyone would suggest doing any thing like putting siding on a floor? What is this Dwell anyway? I'll have to check it out I guess?

You say laminate is not cheap. Excuse me, but there are many laminates that are dirt cheap, well that's what they're worth too, but....... I agree that carpeting is the worst kind of flooring there is. But it's warm. You have to change it with every new tenant is all.

Actually the best AND cheapest type of flooring is ceramic tiles. Yes ceramic tiles are the cheapest to own over their lifetime.


rusty baker 12-23-2009 02:58 PM

Most of the landlords here have dumped laminate and gone back to carpet. They are both temporary floors in rentals.

jbraun 12-28-2009 08:40 PM

I have rentals to collage students who are the hardest tenants I have ever seen.

First off, would not use siding on the floor, for all the reason stated already.

second, products that work well are:
Armstrong Linolem. Stuff is tough as nails, but it must be install properly. It looks really nice if you do a checker board pattern
Porcelain tiles - very durable and keep the color even if scratched and Home Depot has some nice ones that are cheep.
"Pergo" type floor has worked well in the bedrooms

I would stay away from carpet and the self adhesive linoleum. The carpet gets dirty really easily and unless you make a huge effort to keep it clean it will be runined quickly and it is not that cheap. The self sticking linoleum comes up easlly and looses its "shine" quickly.

Personally have tried several products. I think you have to determine how long you plan to keep the properties. If you are in it for 5+ years then spend the money on commercial grade. it is worth it in the end.

Hope that help. Any other Landlord question feel free to ask

pottercycles 01-22-2010 06:32 PM

The panels might contain silica, but so does drywall. Silica is only a carcinogen in dust form and as long as it is contained within the panels, and they aren't sawing through the floors, it shouldn't be a problem.

JazMan 01-22-2010 06:40 PM

Sawing through the floor? Is that the only way to make dust? I don't think so. Just walking on it makes dust. Don't even consider it.:no:


Scuba_Dave 01-22-2010 07:12 PM

It's not's actually fairly soft
It will not hold up to traffic
It was never made to be walked on

Tom Struble 01-22-2010 09:22 PM

agreed this is a very dumb idea

palazzino 04-05-2010 01:11 PM

Some important new information
I plan to use this for decking material.

Here are a couple of things to consider that shed some more light and are contrary to some opinions expressed here:

#1 On the jameshardie website, you will find the following under their FAQs

Does the silica in James Hardie products pose a danger after the product is installed?
No. The silica in James Hardie products does not pose any danger during handling or to the homeowner once the product is installed. Respirable silica only poses a potential hazard from James Hardie products during certain activities that create dust (e.g., cutting, grinding, drilling, sanding, or otherwise abrading) and only if excessive amounts of respirable silica are present in the userīs immediate breathing area. James Hardie products in their intact state do not emit dust.
#2 In Australia and New Zealand, James Harie sells HardiePanel is for sub and finished flooring.

Scuba_Dave 04-05-2010 02:11 PM


Originally Posted by palazzino (Post 424321)
I plan to use this for decking material.

The OP is located in the US & you are too
As far as using as a floor it doesn't really matter, it was never intended for use as a floor & will not hold up
And walking on it will wear it down, creating dust
and since the dust will be in the house It will find its way into your lungs
Especially bad if you have forced hot air

"in their intact state".....on your house as siding...undisturbed

As long as you can obtain the correct material from James Hardi then not a problem
I still wouldn't use it myself
I couldn't find one pic of it being used as final flooring/decking, only as an underlayment

JazMan 04-05-2010 09:21 PM


Which product are you planning to use and where? What light are you shedding which is contrary to some of the opinions here?

Nothing has changed. You do not use these products as the wearing surface on a floor.

The products mentioned in your first reference are made for siding and for a substrate under tile. you do not walk on any of them.

Same for the second reference, the Hardie Panel Compressed sheets. It clearly tells you what it's for.


gmarriott 06-17-2013 12:21 PM

Seems the consensus here is that nobody knows if this will work for flooring.
I note that some responses are from professional flooring folks who seem to gasp at the thought of using anything out of the ordinary.
I plan to do just what was suggested, use Hardie Board for flooring on part of my deck where the BBQ sits. I plan to paint it with deck paint. I will let you know how it works out not how I guess it will or will not work.
By the way, I am a commercially rated construction analyst for the Federal Government.

joecaption 06-17-2013 03:13 PM

Well that would explain your ansewer.
Just trying to get Hardee to a job site from the store without breaking it is a challange.
What do you plan on doing about all the exposed nails and seams?
It's very brittle, even a scrub pad will scratch the finish off of it, what do you think walking on it's going to do?
Anything dropped on it will shatter or stain it.
Think the other types of flooring are expencive wait until you have to replace all of it and deal with the tenents having to have a place to live while your doing it.

DannyT 06-17-2013 03:33 PM

all the certificates and degrees and ratings are not given out for common sense.
using something out of the ordinary is not the same as taking a product manufactured for siding and using it as flooring. might as well use drywall for flooring, its cheaper than hardie board.

gmarriott 06-17-2013 03:53 PM


Originally Posted by DannyT (Post 1202788)
all the certificates and degrees and ratings are not given out for common sense.
using something out of the ordinary is not the same as taking a product manufactured for siding and using it as flooring. might as well use drywall for flooring, its cheaper than hardie board.

Hardie board and drywall -- hardly the same, and having observed what happens to drywall when it gets wet in a flood, I wouldn't recommend it at all, even though it's been the standard for unteen years.
Even plywood was not originally developed as siding...if you never try new applications, you'll never know.
The construction industry is full of examples of using items successfully not as intended.
All I stated is that I am willing to try something new. I did not come close to suggesting that it will work or that others should try it.
Are you telling me not to try it?
I put a piece of this on the ground in my backyard a couple of years ago and have walked on it many, many times, and it seems just fine.
At least I am willing to experiment rather than suppose.
Oh, and just what would you suggest for the area under a BBQ on a wood deck that resists burning?

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