Learn all about fiber cement siding for your home here. We explain what it is, benefits, disadvantages, cost and the 4 main types.
Picking the right type of siding for your house involves a variety of different considerations. You’ll want something that looks good and holds up to the harsh elements, but are still easy to maintain and easy on the wallet.
Siding options like wood, stone, brick or stucco may look great, but they may require serious upkeep or the materials may be more on the expensive side. With fiber cement you can have an incredibly resilient material at an affordable price. Fiber cement sidings also complement a modern exterior home design providing a smooth finish and enhancing the house’s curb appeal.
In this article, we take a look at what fiber cement siding is, the benefits of fiber cement sidings, and how it compares to other types of siding options so you can make an informed decision for your home.
What is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is an alternative to real wood and vinyl siding. It is made from a mix of wood pulp, fly ash and Portland cement. Here’s how these materials work together to create fiber cement:
- Wood pulp helps prevent cracking and improves the flexibility and resilience.
- Fly ash acts as a filler within the cement.
- Portland cement, made of limestone, clay and iron, binds the ingredients.
These materials are mixed with water, which dissolves the wood pulp and activates and hardens the cement. Although it mimics the look for wood grain, fiber cement siding remains as one of the more durable siding products in the industry.
Benefits of Fiber Cement Sidings
Fiber cement siding offers a variety of advantages for homeowners. One of the most important benefits of fiber cement sidings are the strength and durability it provides. This type of siding protects the home from wind and rain damage, and can even withstand hurricane level storms. In fact, fiber cement sidings outperform many siding competitors in a range of climates:
- In the West: In dry climates that are prone to wildfires, some insurance companies offer a discount for homes sided in fiber cement because it’s noncombustible.
- Near water: High humidity and bright sun can wreak havoc on your home, however, fiber cement siding is shown to have no effect. It can also stand up to high winds up to 130 mph.
- In the South: Termites and fungi won’t inhabit a fiber cement sided house because they will get no nourishment from fiber cement.
- In the North: Unlike vinyl, fiber cement won’t become brittle in cold weather. It’s a great option for homes in the north because it easily withstands below zero temperatures and won’t crack because of freeze-thaw cycles.
Keeping your family safe and healthy is among a homeowner’s top concern. Fortunately, fiber cement siding can help you achieve that in a variety of different ways. As mentioned earlier, fiber cement siding is not flammable. In fact, fiber cement is made up of more than 90 percent of inflammable material which can offer homeowners peace of mind.
Another great benefit of fiber cement siding is that it offers complete protection from insects and rotting unlike wood siding. The siding has no seams that overlap, which also prevent mold or mildew from growing between the outside and interior walls. This is a great feature to keep your family safe and healthy as it lessens allergens within the home.
Lastly, consumers will enjoy the fact that fiber cement is a green building product. As a wood alternative, fiber cement has forest-saving properties and environmentally friendly qualities.
Disadvantages of Fiber Cement Siding
There are only a few disadvantages of choosing fiber cement siding, which are usually overlooked because of the great benefits that it can offer.
First, installation of fiber cement siding can be a bit costly. Labor costs are a bit higher because fiber cement requires more manpower to deliver and install. However, most homeowners find that over the long run the bit of extra cost is worth it because they are bug, moisture, and fire-resistant, and long-lasting, greatly reducing the need for repair and replacement. Fiber cement averages about $1.70 per square foot and is practically indestructible.
While fiber cement siding can be installed factory-painted initially to the home, it needs to be repainted after some time. Aluminum or vinyl siding does not have to be repainted, so this upkeep should be considered during installation. Fortunately, the need for a repaint job on fiber cement siding will only be evident after 15-25 years.
Different Types of Residential Fiber Cement Siding
As with different types of wood and vinyl siding, fiber cement siding is available in different styles and textures. Take a look below at the different types of residential fiber cement siding options for your home:
1. Shingle Fiber Cement Siding
Shingle fiber cement siding come in individual shakes and 4, 8, or 12 foot strips with either wood-grain or hand-split textures. You can choose from either straight or staggered shingles to complement your home’s unique style. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, you can choose a primed, factory-painted or stained-finish and decorative pieces that highlight different areas on your home.
Cost: Shingles vary from $2.00 to $8.00 each.
2. Sheet Form Fiber Cement Siding
Sheet form or panel siding is available in large sheets, usually in a 5/16” basis. You can choose from a variety of different textures to complement the look and feel of your home. Sheet form fiber cements offer an affordable, modern finish and seamless fit to your home exterior.
Cost: Runs about $3 to $3.50 per square foot.
3. Lap Siding Fiber Cement Siding
Also known as clapboards, lap siding installs much like traditional products in a row by row basis. They are easy to install and look great painted or stained. They are offered in a variety of different finishes including smooth, wood-grain, or rough-sawn surface treatments. While most clapboards are 5/6 inch thick, some styles that appear more like wood are available in 5/8 inch thickness. Not only do clapboards work well in a variety of different climates, they also complement a variety of home styles, including contemporary and classic.
Cost: Average is about $1.60 per square foot.
4. Stucco or Brick Fiber Cement Siding
Stucco or brick fiber cement siding allows homeowners to get all of the color and texture of masonry without the need for a professional mason. Furthermore, stucco or brick fiber cement siding won’t crack or delaminate in the future. Smooth fiber cement panels are a low cost alternative to stucco and homeowners can choose from fiber cement panels that come in 5/6 or 5/8 inch thickness, varying in sizes from 18 inches by 6 feet to 4 by 12 feet.
Cost: Averages at about $4.00 square foot.
Choosing the Best Option for Your Home
Fiber cement siding is a great siding option for homeowners looking for a durable, long-lasting solution that will withstand any type of weather in any climate. This type of siding can be used to achieve many styles such as shingle, board-and-batten, and clapboard, and can complement your modern exterior home design. Like other siding options, fiber cement siding will require some maintenance, however its lasting durability doesn’t require as much maintenance as other siding products.