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WEST COAST FIRE STORMS SPUR SALES OF NON-COMBUSTIBLE, FIBER-CEMENT SIDING IN WESTERN U.S. AND CANADA

 FONTANA, Calif., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- James Hardie Building Products, Inc., world leader in fiber-cement technology, reports inquiries about its fire-resistant, non-combustible siding products have quadrupled since Southern California's most recent fire storms.
 "Our sales representatives throughout the Western U.S. and Canada are fielding inquiries at four times the previous rate," said James Hardie Western Regional Sales Manager Owen Lloyd. "Sales have increased substantially. The full impact will likely be reflected in the first quarter of 1994."
 The non-combustibility of James Hardie's siding products, Hardiplank(R) and Hardipanel(TM), is drawing interest from builders, property managers and homeowners seeking attractive, affordable alternatives to wood siding and other combustible products, Lloyd said.
 To be labeled non-combustible, a siding product must pass the American Society for Testing & Materials E136 test which submerges a product sample in a vertical tube furnace at 1,372 degrees. The sample must not flame after the first 30 seconds, lose more than 50 percent of its weight, or contribute significantly to the heat level.
 "Because heat rises, we are also getting increased calls about Hardisoffit(TM), our fiber-cement soffit product," Lloyd added. "In Sunbelt areas where we market fiber-cement roofing, Hardishake(R), there has been tremendous response following reports of Hardishake(R) roofs which withstood the Southern California fires."
 U.S. manufacturing for James Hardie Building Products is based in Fontana. The company has been marketing its fiber-cement products here since 1988, but was founded a century earlier, in Australia. Its products, in use worldwide, carry 50-year limited transferable product warranties.
 Lloyd said while non-combustibility is a "hot" issue in building products right now, other relevant concerns are maintenance and durability.
 "Our fiber-cement siding looks like wood and nails like wood but won't rot, expand, contract, buckle, crack or split. It is resistant to insects, salt air, humidity and winds to 130 mph.
 "These qualities are making fiber-cement siding extremely popular on the East Coast as well as the West. With forecasters predicting more East Coast hurricanes in 1994, fiber-cement siding's wind resistance will probably spark the same kind of interest there that fire issues have on the West Coast.
 "Fiber-cement is truly a 'product for all seasons'," Lloyd added. "If our current sales growth is any indication, fiber-cement products are clearly the way of the future for both residential and commercial building."
 For information, call 800-9-HARDIE.
 -0- 12/13/93
 /CONTACT: Janet Schwartz of Janet Schwartz Associates, 305-345-8406, for James Hardie Building Products/


CO: James Hardie Building Products ST: California IN: CST SU:

RK-JB -- FL001 -- 3047 12/13/93 09:30 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 13, 1993
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