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.
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:
|HardiePlank® Lap Siding||5/16”||5¼”-12”||12’ boards|
|HardiePanel® Vertical Siding||5/16”||48”||8’-10’|
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:
- How to Install Fiber Cement Siding (article)
- Replace Water-Damaged Siding With Fiber-Cement Siding (article)
- Low Maintenance Vinyl and Fiber Cement Siding for Your Home (video)
Photos courtesy of James Hardie Building Products, Inc.Print