On the West Coast, we love fiber cement siding more than any other region in the United States (according to this U.S. Census report). Are we justified in our love affair with this man-made material? Absolutely. But there are a few drawbacks. Let’s go over the pros and cons of fiber cement siding.
What is fiber cement siding?
Fiber cement siding is a composite material made of—spoiler alert—cement and cellulose fibers. Fiber cement looks a lot like wood siding and it’s available in overlapping horizontal boards, imitation wooden siding, clapboard, and imitation shingles. It’s considered an alternative to other types of siding like wood, vinyl, polyvinyl chloride, and aluminum.
Fiber cement siding pros:
Looks like real wood
With its expertly-designed, natural looking “wood” grains, you’ll find it hard to believe that fiber cement siding is a man-made product.
Just like wood siding, fiber cement is available in horizontal planks, vertical planks, shingles, and trim boards. In fact, it can be molded into almost any shape. It’s also available in varying thickness. And color options are virtually unlimited. You can order pre-painted siding or paint it yourself.
Fiber cement is extraordinarily durable. Unlike wood, fiber cement doesn’t warp, peel, or crack from extreme temperatures or humidity. It’s UV resistant, and it can withstand heavy rain, windstorms, and hail. It’s a popular siding material for coastal homes because fiber cement is resilient against harsh sea salt air.
Due to its durable nature, fiber cement manufacturers are able to offer lengthy warranties. Many James Hardie fiber cement products come with a 10 to 30-year warranty.
Pest, fungus, and rot proof
All of the small and microscopic life forms that want to make your home their home will have a very hard time with man-made fiber cement siding.
This type of siding has minimal upkeep—saving you time and money. All you need is a power washer to keep it clean on a regular basis and a coat of paint every 15 years.
Fiber cement is made from non-toxic materials. While it’s not biodegradable like wood, it won’t release toxins like plastic siding. Some fiber cement siding brands like James Hardie are even approved for use in LEED® rated buildings.
With fires becoming a growing hazard in Western America, investing in a siding material that will protect your home from calamity is quickly becoming a #1 priority for many homeowners. Fiber cement siding is non-combustible and is recommended for fire-prone areas.
Fiber cement siding cons:
Relative to vinyl and aluminum siding, fiber cement is expensive. It’s roughly on par with wood and stucco exteriors. But with very low maintenance requirements and long warranties, upfront costs can be off set over time.
On top of relatively high initial costs, fiber cement is also more expensive to install than other forms of siding due to its weight. Being made out of cement, it takes more manpower to lift and install each panel.
Low insulation rating
Currently, vinyl siding offers the best insulation. Insulation helps maintain the interior temperature of your home, meaning that fiber cement is a slightly less energy-efficient material.
Some maintenance required
As mentioned earlier and unlike vinyl siding, fiber cement siding has to be re-painted—about every 15 years. That can seem like a lot, but most other types of siding require repainting within 3-7 years.
The bottom line on the pros and cons of fiber cement siding
With so many pros, it’s hard to say no to fiber cement siding. It’s an attractive, low-maintenance material that will protect your home from fires and won’t pollute the planet. The material’s cons are certainly something to consider, especially the cost. But if you plan to stay in your house for a decade or more, you’ll enjoy considerable savings from this low-maintenance material.
Fiber cement siding’s long list of pros is why we at Greater Purpose LLC prefer to install this material. In fact, we only install James Hardie fiber cement siding, known worldwide for durability and lasting color. Contact us [insert link to contact us page]to learn more about this high-performance siding material and get a quote for your home.