Artisan Lap is Available in Smooth or Textured Surface

    Innovative and High Quality, Artisan Delivers Stunning Looks
                       and Structural Integrity

MISSION VIEJO, Calif., Jan. 7, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- James Hardie Building Products (NYSE:JHX), the world's leading manufacturer of fiber cement building materials, announces the availability of Artisan(r) Lap, the only architectural grade exterior design cladding with stunning looks and structural integrity, in the Pacific Northwest regions of Portland and Seattle. The lap is available in the original smooth surface introduced in Atlanta in September and the newly introduced textured surface. Serving as the perfect accent to Artisan Lap, Artisan(tm) Accent Trim is also now available in the Pacific Northwest region.

Consumers have the option of choosing either the smooth lap or textured lap. The new textured surface, which is similar to the look of cedar, will attract homeowners who want a more natural look for their home. Both products arrive ready to be painted.

Backed by 15 years of research and development, Artisan Lap was designed for discriminating homebuyers and builders who seek the highest quality. Artisan Lap delivers distinctively deep shadow lines for premium aesthetics. The product features the patented DuraTech(tm) technology which provides the product with superior structural integrity. Artisan Lap also features tongue-and-groove end joints to fit tightly together for precise fit and finish.

Along with builder-preferred 5/8" thick boards, the lap is manufactured in industry standard 12-foot planks. It is conveniently offered in three widths: 5 1/4", 7 1/4" and 8 1/4" in both smooth and textured surfaces.

Artisan Accent Trim offers a complete cladding solution for the 5/8" thick lap. The trim is 1-1/2" thick delivering deep shadow lines. It is offered in both 4" and 6" widths, and arrives ready to be painted in 10-foot lengths.

Like all other James Hardie(r) products, Artisan Lap and Artisan Accent Trim are resistant to damage from fire, water, insects and harsh weather. Artisan Lap comes complete with a non-prorated 30-year limited warranty and Artisan Accent Trim with a 10-year limited warranty

"We are very excited to be introducing our new textured lap into the Pacific Northwest region because we feel that it will appeal to the consumers in that market for many reasons. The look of the lap is very natural and similar to natural wood, yet it still offers greater protection against rotting, cracking and damage from inclement weather, and all the low maintenance benefits of fiber cement," said P.J. Rosch, Senior Product Manager, Artisan for James Hardie Building Products.

"Through our patented DuraTech technology, Artisan provides a product with both superior structural integrity and beautiful precision, ensuring that builders, architects and homebuyers do not have to compromise on anything -- appearance, materials, quality or durability," said Rosch.

Jade Martin, a homeowner in the Portland area says, "Artisan Lap has given our Craftsman style home a 'detailed and honed look,' which you simply wouldn't get with any other product. The deep shadow lines and texture create an atmosphere of refined sophistication, while exhibiting rugged durability. We are extremely happy with our choice and will enjoy its low maintenance for years to come."

Builders, architects and luxury homebuyers were able to first view Artisan Lap in September of 2007 at the Southern Living Idea House which was located just outside of Atlanta.

Currently Artisan Lap and Artisan Accent Trim are available in the Atlanta, Portland and Seattle markets, with further regional introductions to follow. For more information about Artisan including availability and pricing, call 888-800-7864 or visit For more information about James Hardie, visit

About James Hardie:

James Hardie Building Products (NYSE:JHX) is committed to helping builders by providing innovative solutions that ultimately increase home value. As the world's leading manufacturer of fiber cement building materials, James Hardie has been manufacturing cement-based building products for more than 100 years. It introduced fiber cement products to the U.S. in the early 90s as a durable, low-maintenance alternative to wood and vinyl. Due to their resistance to wind, fire, impact and flood, James Hardie products also have been specified for homes in hurricane- and wildfire-prone areas throughout the U.S. Currently installed on over four million homes, James Hardie products have earned a favorable reputation within the industry and have been specified in some of the country's most prestigious projects.

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