Can You Put Hardie Board Over Stucco? Yes (Do This!)

Maybe you’re tired of your stucco and want to renovate the exterior of your home by installing Hardie board siding, but you’ve realized that completely removing the stucco before installing the Hardie board is a huge undertaking. 

Is it possible to install the Hardie board over the stucco instead?

You can put Hardie board over stucco in most situations, but there are some exceptions. You may need to remove the stucco if:

  • The framing underneath the stucco is rotting.
  • The stucco’s surface is uneven.
  • You have older stucco with modern soffits installed on top.
  • Your windows project less than 1 ¾ inches past the stucco.
  • You have knockdown-style stucco.

Keep reading to learn about situations where it’s better to remove your stucco before installing Hardie board siding. We’ll also talk about the various siding options you can put over stucco, as well as their pros and cons.

Can You Install Hardie Siding Over Stucco?

You can usually install Hardie board over stucco. This generally consists of adding wood framing to the existing stucco and then nailing the Hardie board to it. 

However, there are several exceptions in which you’ll want to remove the stucco instead.

1. Rotting Framing Or Sheathing

Although stucco is highly durable, it sometimes traps moisture against the sheathing. Because the stucco is so thick, it’s difficult for the sheathing to dry out after getting wet. This is how rot and water damage can occur.

If the stucco’s framing or sheathing is rotting, then it’ll be necessary to remove the stucco and address the issue before installing Hardie board. 

2. Uneven Surface

Another reason to remove the stucco is if it bulges or appears wavy. You’ll need a completely even surface to fasten the Hardie board to.

3. Soffit Issues

Depending on the type of soffits you have, you may need to remove the stucco before installing the Hardie board. Older soffits are typically made from painted plywood, while modern ones are made from painted aluminum. 

In the case that you have older stucco with modern aluminum soffits on top, it’s usually best to replace the soffit and remove the stucco before going ahead with your Hardie board installation.

It’s nearly impossible to remove the stucco without damaging the soffits.

4. Windows With Insufficient Depth

Another reason you may need to remove your stucco before installing Hardie board is if the windows project less than 1¾ inches past the stucco.

This is because you will typically need to install wood strapping with a depth of ¾ inch, plus Hardie board with a depth of one inch.

If the windows don’t project at least 1¾ inches from the stucco, it may be necessary to remove it before installing your new siding. 

Sometimes, you’ll be able to build out the window trim to avoid removing the stucco altogether. This is referred to as capping the windows, and you might need to do this for your doors as well.

5. Certain Types Of Stucco

Some types of stucco, like glass rock stucco, are perfect for adding wood framing and then installing Hardie board. 

But other types of stucco, such as the knockdown style, make it extremely difficult to add the wood framing.

This is because they have complicated wood buildouts underneath the finish, which were originally added to create an interesting architectural appearance. 

If you have knockdown-style stucco, it’ll likely need to be removed before the Hardie board is installed.


What Siding Can You Put Over Stucco?

There are four main siding options that you can put over stucco: Hardie board siding, metal siding, wood siding, and vinyl siding.

Hardie Board Siding

Hardie board is a kind of fiber cement siding. One of its main advantages over stucco is that it doesn’t rot. This makes it an ideal siding material for areas with damp and humid weather.

Plus, Hardie board can last around 50 years, is low-maintenance and impact-resistant, provides aesthetic value with lasting color, and can even replicate the look of wood. It’s very customizable as well.

In addition, Hardie board is highly sustainable, and has even been named the “Greenest Siding Brand.” Another benefit is that it’s very fire-resistant since it’s not combustible.

Hardie board does come with some downsides. It’s more expensive than some of the other siding options, and it requires professional installation as it can be difficult to handle. 

Metal Siding

Metal siding is a good choice for homeowners in humid climates because it doesn’t absorb moisture or swell due to water retention. It provides great insulation, is resistant to pests and bugs, and isn’t affected by cold temperatures.

There are some drawbacks to consider. Metal siding can have a lifespan of up to 40 years, but it requires regular maintenance, including routine repainting and addressing any dings and dents. 

It can also be challenging to color-match metal siding, making it hard to replace damaged sections.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is another option if you’d like to install siding over your stucco. One thing to note is that it’s prone to rotting quickly in moist climates and requires priming to prevent bubbling and peeling.

Still, wood siding has multiple benefits. It can last as long as 25 years when properly maintained. It can also be primed, painted, or stained for a customizable look.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is made from engineered plastic that replicates the look of wood. It’s an excellent option for those who have a smaller budget.

However, there are some drawbacks to vinyl siding. One is that it’s not as impact-resistant or insulating as other siding choices.

Another is that it’s not as weather-resistant or strong as other types of siding, so it tends to need more repairs and have a shorter lifespan.


Conclusion

For many homes with stucco exteriors, it’s possible to simply install Hardie board on top of the stucco. However, there are some cases in which it’s a better choice to remove the stucco altogether before installing the Hardie board.

If the framing or sheathing underneath the stucco is rotting or otherwise has water damage, it’s best to remove the stucco and handle the issue before installing Hardie board.

Hardie board needs to be installed on an even surface, so if your stucco appears wavy or bulges in some areas, you might need to remove it.

Older stucco paired with modern soffits may need to be removed before installing Hardie board siding. In addition, certain types of stucco like knockdown-style stucco should be removed as well.

Finally, if your windows project less than 1¾ inches past the stucco, you’ll need to either cap the windows or remove the stucco before installing your new Hardie board siding.