Re-Siding Our Home with James Hardie Shake and Plank Panels

Since the day we first looked at our house in June 2022, the shake siding stood out as a unique and charming architectural feature. Most houses we looked at are either brick rowhomes, vinyl siding, or stucco. This was special.

It wasn’t until we moved in that we realized how bad of shape the siding actually was in. We bought in the seller’s market frenzy and waived all our contingencies knowing that we were going to put a lot of work into the house anyways. It wouldn’t have changed our opinion but it may have prepared us better for the costs we would need to spend to fix it.

Here are some photos of what bad cedar shingle siding looks like. The pieces are breaking apart, flaring up at the bottom and splintering. We even had a bird making a nest in the bottom corner.

Product Selection

We knew we wanted to keep the “shake” style in the front of the house to keep the look consistent with our twin neighbor’s front. There was really only one brand that I felt confident could deliver a high quality long lasting material. James Hardie has been known to develop beautiful and durable materials. They offer a variety of patterns and colors so the possibilities are endless.

The products must be carefully installed by certified contractors which undergo a special training by the manufacturer’s representatives. I interviewed several local contractors and decided to go with Porter Family Contracting. They were always on time, professional, and delivered amazing service leading up to the job. They even created a 3D model of our house to show us what the different options could look like.

They also brought physical samples of the material to the meeting so we could look at the range of color options in person.

I was torn between Iron Gray, Mountain Sage, Light Mist and Arctic White (all shown below).

Our scope of replacement was originally limited to strictly replacing the failing cedar shake siding which included the entire second floor and the front third floor. We decided since we were already replacing most of the front, we might as well improve the entire front. That meant replacing the first floor siding and 6 windows.

It took about 8 weeks for the new windows to arrive. We decided on ProVia windows that were black on the outside, white on the inside, with a cottage style grid 1V in the the upper and lower panes. The window grids are decorative pieces that are installed in between the glass panels so they are easier to clean.


Porter Family Contracting did a fantastic job communicating with us throughout the entire process. About a week before the project they called to give us a heads up and schedule the start date.

Day 1

The first day had rain in the forecast, so the team delivered the materials, a dumpster, portable toilet and set up the scaffolding.

Day 2

This was the first day we saw an incredible amount of change. They removed about 2/3rds of the cedar shake siding and immediately wrapped the house with the James Hardie Wrap. It instantly looked like a new house!

There were 6 guys on site working in pairs on different pieces. One group was removing siding, one group was installing the wrap, and the last installed 6 new windows! They were able to keep all the existing window trim on the inside of the house and installed new flashing with azek trim on the outside.

Day 3

They finished up taking down the existing cedar shake siding and wrapping the rest of the house. Before installing any of the plank they have to install all the trim pieces and blocking for fixtures. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out the best layout for our mailbox, light, and doorbell only to settle on the exact location everything originally was. 🙂

By the end of the day the Hardie plank on the first floor was completely finished. After that section got installed my heart was fluttering, utterly obsessed with how the Arctic white was looking with the black windows!

Day 4

*Squeals with excitement*!! The front was almost finished and looking amazing. We decided only to use the Hardie Shake on the front since there was a bit of an up-charge for the decorative grooves. We’re so happy we did because it turned out beautiful and fits perfectly with our neighbor’s homes. I mean, the shingle size is nearly identical!

Day 5

This was the last and final day! They finished wrapping the hardie plank around the side and back of the house. It’s really hard to get photos of the side since our yard is quite narrow, but here she is! They were careful to trim and waterproof around all the existing windows and perforations. They installed our rain gutters, lights, and vents in the same locations as well.

If you are in the Philadelphia regional area and are looking for a high quality, professional contractor to replace your siding or roof, contact Porter Family Contracting and let them know I sent you!

I can not say enough great things about how nice it was to work with them. From the first day they arrived on site to the final day and even after, communicating with them was so easy. We had a couple punch-list items to complete and they came back within the next week to wrap everything up.

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Hi! I’m Kristy Pedersen. I’m renovating houses in Philadelphia and sharing the process one step at a time.

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