The right kind of siding for your home deserves consideration. You want siding that is going to hold up against the elements, resist wear and tear, enhance curbside appeal, and be easy on the wallet. Specific types of siding, like wood, stone, stucco, and brick definitely look great when applied correctly, but these materials require maintenance and can be expensive to install and repair. Enter fiber cement siding, a budget-friendly solution with sophistication.
Here is everything you know about fiber cement siding, like the types, pros, and cons.
What is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement was introduced a few decades ago as an environmentally-friendly alternative to straight wood and vinyl siding. This type of siding is created using a mixture of wood pulp, Portland cement, and fly ash. These materials work together synergistically to create a fiber cement that is both flexible and resilient. The wood pulp prevents cracking, the fly ash fills the interstices within the cement, and the Portland cement (made of limestone, clay, and iron) binds all the ingredients together.
Different Types of Fiber Cement Siding
In the same way that wood and vinyl siding has different styles, fiber cement siding does as well. There are different styles, colors, and textures available that can be used on various sections of your home’s exterior.
Sheet Form Fiber Cement Siding
This kind of fiber cement siding is made in large sheets, usually around 5/16” in size. You can choose various textures to suit. The sheet forms are used to deliver a modern, seamless finish to your home.
Shingle Fiber Cement Siding
This style comes in individual shakes of 4, 8, or 12 strips of wood-grain or hand-split texturing. You can choose staggered or straight shingles, depending on your taste. Shingle fiber cement siding is available in a wide range of colors and shapes, too.
Lap Siding Fiber Cement Siding
Mimicking the vinyl siding look is the lap siding (or clapboards) variant of fiber cement siding. Lap siding fiber cement siding is low cost, easy to install, can be painted, and comes in a number of finishes, including wood-grain, smooth, or rough-sawn. Most available clapboards are available in 5/6” or 5/8” thickness. Not only does lap siding withstand inclement weather well, it looks outstanding on both classic and contemporary architecture.
Stucco & Brick Fiber Cement Siding
Love the stucco or brick aesthetic but worried about improper installation and other problems? Try stucco and brick fiber cement siding instead. You can get the look and texture of masonry without the need of hiring a mason. Stucco and brick fiber cement siding won’t crack or delaminate over the years, either. Furthermore, it is a cost-effective alternative to traditional brick and mortar construction. Widths and thickness vary to suit.
Pros of Fiber Cement Siding
There are many advantages to installing fiber cement siding, including the following:
- Strength & Durability: Most fiber cement products come with a 15-year warranty against cracking, peeling, and chipping. Others have warranties that cover any manufacturer defect you can fathom. But you needn’t worry about that. With cement durability, class 1A fire resistance, and being rot-proof, pest-proof, water-resistant, and resistant to salt and UV rays, fiber cement is incredibly strong.
- Design: Fiber cement can mimic any other type of shingle or siding type, such as trim planks and soffit panels. It can also be stained, painted, prefinished, or left unfinished.
- Ease of Installation: Fiber cement is lighter than other types of siding (but instructions need to be followed implicitly).
- Green: Fiber cement saves the forests by using CertainTeed wood pulp from sustainable forests. Fly ash is a recycled product from coal burning to replace sand and silica. Portland cement uses natural items, too.
- Regional Benefits: The durability of fiber cement can produce outstanding protection against region-specific environment dangers. In the western states, fiber cement protects homes against wildfires, because it is flame-resistant. Near water, fiber cement outlasts other materials, because moisture cannot penetrate it. Furthermore, it can withstand winds that reach speeds of 130 mph. Southern homes don’t have to worry about termites and fungus because fiber cement doesn’t provide nourish. In the north, the cold temperatures won’t cause cracking, because fiber cement is flexible and can withstand freeze-thaw cycles.
Cons of Fiber Cement Siding
People tend to forget that there are disadvantages to fiber cement siding because of the advantages. However, the cons need to be mentioned so you can decide if fiber cement siding is for you and your home.
First, as mentioned above, the installation can be simplified—but only if the directions are followed precisely. Labor costs are increased because fiber cement requires extra manpower and specific tools in order to cut, shape, and place. While this immediate labor cost might be shocking, you need to remember that the resilience of fiber cement saves you money in the long run.
Secondly, although fiber cement can be factory painted, you will need to repaint it every 5-10 years as part of standard upkeep.
Hopefully, you have learned that fiber cement is an excellent side option if you want a durable, resilient solution for your residence, regardless of climate and region. Fiber cement siding has a number of styles and color available, and it will complement the aesthetic of your home well. While fiber siding cement might require some maintenance to continue looking beautiful throughout the years, it resists weathering better than other options, which can save you money and time.
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