Fiber Cement Siding: A Durable Alternative for Your Home

By: Joe Cuhaj


Fiber cement products are available in a range of styles and patterns.

When it comes to protecting your home from the elements, fiber cement siding is a clear winner. Though best known under the brand name HardiePlank®, which is manufactured by James Hardie Building Products, there are several other companies that make fiber cement siding as well.

About Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is a composite material made from cement, sand, cellulose fiber, and water in a special process that uses pressurized steam. The result is a highly durable material that costs a bit more than vinyl siding but considerably less than wood. While fiber cement siding is often touted as maintenance free, it does require periodic painting.

Advantages of Fiber Cement Siding

While it’s hard to come up with reasons not to use fiber cement siding, there are plenty of pluses over vinyl and wood including:

  • Class 1(A) fire rating, which means it’s virtually noncombustible.
  • Impervious to attack by termites and other insects.
  • Will not rot or crack.
  • Dimensionally stable to changes in humidity and temperature.
  • Weather resistant, withstands hurricane force winds as well as extreme heat and cold.
  • Stands up to impact from hail or windblown debris.
  • Resists fading and deterioration from UV rays.
  • Paint lasts several times longer than on wood.
  • Environmentally friendly and sustainable material.
  • Comes with up to a 50-year warranty.

Fiber cement siding comes in a range of patterns.

What’s Available in Fiber Cement Siding

From smooth to wood grain to rough sawn, there’s a fiber cement siding to fit every style and taste. Lap siding and shingles come in several patterns and widths while vertical panels can be stripped to resemble board-and-batten siding. Here are some of the products available from James Hardie Building Products:

Type: Thickness: Width: Length:
HardiePlank® Lap Siding 5/16” 5¼”-12” 12’ boards
HardiePanel® Vertical Siding 5/16” 48” 8’-10’
HardieShingle® Siding 1/4” 6”-12” 18”–19”
HardieSoffit® 1/4” 12”-48” 8’-12’
HardieTrim® 7/16”-1” 3½”-11¼” 10’-12’

Shingles come as individual shingles or 48” wide multi-shingle panels, while soffit panels are available in solid and perforated versions.

Painting Fiber Cement Siding

While fiber cement siding often comes primed and is painted with exterior acrylic latex paint after installation, it’s also available prefinished in a wide range of colors. The factory applied, baked-on finish is guaranteed for up to 15 years against cracking, chipping, or peeling. Eventually, though, it will require painting to look its best.

The Bottom Line

Fiber cement siding is affordable, attractive, and requires little maintenance—a combination that’s hard to find these days. Installation is not much more difficult than standard wood siding, though it’s important to follow the instructions and safety precautions provided with the product.

When purchasing fiber cement siding, read the warrenty carefully to make sure you are getting the best coverage and that it is transferable should you decide to sell your home.

Fiber Cement Siding Manufacturers:

Further Information

Photos courtesy of James Hardie Building Products, Inc.

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15 Comments on “Fiber Cement Siding: A Durable Alternative for Your Home”

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  • Ally Says:
    July 5th, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    We had installed James Hardie vertical siding, the select cedarmill and I am so happy we chose JH – what a wonderful product. We couldn’t be happier!
    Do your research and make sure you ask a lot of questions about the installation and warranty. Don’t pick the cheapest contractor. JH siding can mimic any wood – so your choices of the actual siding, trim and other additions are virtually endless.



  • Anthony Fant Says:
    February 29th, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    im iinstalling nichiha plank siding on my house on the Alabama gulf coast and its subjected to horizontal rain i know i must caulk all butt joints and where planks meet trim is it a must to caulk the bottom of each plank?ive notice other houses with cement siding and they are caulk that seems like a lot of work is it worth it



  • Jack Spence Says:
    February 17th, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    What is a comparison between Hardiplank and Nichiha?



  • Joe moody Says:
    November 14th, 2014 at 7:28 am

    @john redifer those staples will not penetrate this siding. I am an in-home technician for an ISP. I’ve tried to use t-59 staples and they just bend up. Further, t-25 staples tend to pinch the pairs hard enough to displace the thin sheathing around the copper pairs. This can result in a shorting out of the pairs and negating their usefulness. The screw in siding clips are your best bet. Also, it’s and industry standard that when fishing a wall is not feasible, and the only way is to run a line on the outside, to drill a hole and seal with silicone sealant. Make sure the line approaches the hole from below, so water can run away from the hole.



  • amber Says:
    August 13th, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Can these products be purchased in Australia??



  • Richard Says:
    June 29th, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Does anyone make a 4″ fiber cement siding or is it all wider than that? Thank you.



  • Danielle Says:
    October 18th, 2013 at 8:16 am

    How Do I Choose Between Factory Painted Fiber Cement Siding and One That Is Only Factory Primed?



  • wayne Says:
    July 26th, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I have a question on how will this siding hold up from golf ball hits ?



  • cephe kaplama Says:
    February 23rd, 2011 at 5:56 am

    In fibre cement there is a fibre reinforcement, which contributes to making the fibre-cement material even stronger. Together with a carefully planned production process, fibre cement makes it possible to develop strong and long lasting construction materials.



  • John Redifer Says:
    October 22nd, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I need to run about 100′ of Cat5e cable on fiber cement siding for CCTV security cameras.
    Can I use a standard Arrow T-25 staple gun and 11mm T-25 staples or do I need to use cable clips that grip under the overlap?
    Also I need to drill a 3/8″ hole to enter the house where the DVR recording device will be located. Is it ok to drill thru the wall and caulk the hole for weatherproofing?
    Thank you,
    John



  • pauline keenan Says:
    August 18th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    is most fiber cement siding latex or oil need to repaint
    and dont no how to tell. thank you P.j


  • Official Comment:


    Ben Erickson Says:
    June 2nd, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Hi Richard,
    Most of the guidelines in our fiber cement articles can be applied to other brands, but it’s always a good idea to read and follow the instructions that come with your particular product. If you didn’t receive an installation instruction sheet with your siding, you can click on the Nichiha link at the bottom of the article above and download it from their website. Good luck with your project!



  • Richard Anthony Says:
    June 1st, 2010 at 11:19 am

    We’ve purchased Nichiha board 7.25″ siding to replace the siding on our 1750 sq.ft. home in Central Florida. Our house, like many Florida homes, is “slab-built” — ie: the house is on a concrete slab, much of which is on grade or only a few inches above grade. I read your articles about installing fiber cement siding, but the articles are specific about Hardie board. Since I am using a different-brand product (from Loew’s) I feel unsure that everything should be done the same way. Please advise me on this. Also, will you offer any special advice because of the way our home is built.



  • michele Adelman Says:
    January 9th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Hi. I live in a 2 story townhouse. The bottom is cement covered with wood and the top is wood frame. Can your product be applied to both top and bottom floors? Also what happens if someone puts a nail in your fiber cement siding to hang something?



  • l.jo Hoermann Says:
    February 24th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    please advise on how I’d apply 4 x 8 sheet of cement siding and how to cover and paint over nail holes. thank you in advance


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