Exterior siding is the most cost-effective way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. It has dramatic results regardless of where you install it and brings out the best of all your home’s features, provided you purchase the right siding and install it properly.
Several siding materials are available for homeowners, including brick, stucco, and traditional wood siding. But more people every year shift away from those standard options and to fiber cement siding, which has a range of benefits and, unfortunately, some unique disadvantages.
Read on to learn the pros and cons, whether the drawbacks are worth the advantages, and where to find quality fiber cement siding near you.
What is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement is a type of house siding invented in the 1980s designed to replace the commonplace materials that relied heavily on asbestos. It has remained prevalent in siding production for several reasons, one of them being how easy it is to produce.
Though different siding manufacturers have different recipes, most of them make fiber cement siding with this simple, four-ingredient mixture:
- Portland cement powder (made primarily with clay and limestone)
- Fly ash
- Wood pulp
Fiber cement siding now appears on 15% of new houses, thanks mainly to its prevalence with siding manufacturers and a long list of consumer benefits.
Benefits of Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement is highly durable when well-maintained. And if you keep your siding in good shape, it will easily last for decades without signs of wear and tear.
Most siding manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty on their fiber cement products, so even if your siding does lose its shine, you can replace it with something newer and more robust.
Strong in Several Climates
You won’t find siding that resists several weather elements better than fiber cement siding. It doesn’t stain from heat or UV radiation, weaken from below-freezing temperatures, or fall off in winds as high as 130 mph.
You can count on fiber cement siding to stay strong and maintain your home’s curb appeal no matter where you live.
Though the price changes depending on location, the fiber cement siding cost is just $1.70 on average. That’s far more affordable than traditionally cheap sidings like aluminum and wood, which cost roughly $3 and $4.75 per square foot, respectively.
Vinyl is the only material that can beat the average cost of fiber cement siding, with a cost of $0.75 per square foot on average. However, vinyl doesn’t have nearly the same weather resistance or durability as fiber cement siding.
Many people are okay with sacrificing all the durability, affordability, and weather-resistance elements that fiber cement siding offers for aesthetics. Wood, stucco, and aluminum all have distinct appearances that are easy to love. But one benefit of fiber cement siding is that it’s visually adaptive enough to mimic all those aesthetics accurately.
Siding manufacturers make smooth sidings that are unmistakably fiber cement, but many also make products with different finishes that emulate those other materials. So if you want the look of traditional wood vertical siding without breaking the bank, you can find your solution with fiber cement.
Disadvantages of Fiber Cement Siding
While fiber cement siding might sound too good to be true right now, there are a handful of disadvantages you should know about as well.
Demands Regular Maintenance
As we mentioned, regular maintenance will keep your fiber cement siding strong and visually appealing for decades. The issue is that “regular” maintenance for fiber cement is more demanding than for other forms of house siding.
You’ll need to repaint your siding and examine the caulk joints for stress and damage once every few years to maintain its color and wash the planks every six months. While it’s normal to clean cheaper siding like wood and aluminum regularly, the other maintenance chores are unique to fiber cement.
Despite siding manufacturers mainly using environmentally friendly materials to make fiber cement, the finished siding is so heavy that shipping creates a strong, negative impact on the environment.
According to the Life Assessment Cycle, fiber cement siding has one of the worst environmental impacts of all common home improvement materials, worse than hardwood, vinyl, stucco, and others.
Fiber cement siding also struggles with insulating internal temperatures. So on top of the environmental impact during shipping, you’ll have to run your HVAC systems longer to control your home’s temperature with fiber cement siding, creating even more ecological consequences.
Difficult to Install
In addition to hammers, nails, specialized saw blades, and multiple well-trained contractors, installing fiber cement siding requires far more personal protective equipment than any other siding material.
Most fiber cement produces crystalline silica, a substance that can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer with enough ingestion. As a result, anyone installing the material will need proper ventilation equipment to stay safe.
Even if you hire a professional contractor, you might be better off with a different type of siding if you’re concerned about crystalline silica’s potential effects.
Common Fiber Cement Siding Brands
Several fiber cement siding manufacturers are working to bring the best out of the material’s positives while minimizing the negatives. And while there are dozens of brands available, three are among the most popular and beneficial.
Woodtone is a small siding manufacturer that uses natural wood products to give their fiber cement siding an authentic hardwood appearance. Woodtone makes some of the most easily maintainable sidings on the market, emphasizing natural materials.
HardiePlank is one of the biggest names in fiber cement siding, thanks mainly to their siding’s customizability.
HardiePlank products come in the broadest range of sizes and colors of the big-name manufacturers, so you’ll find a perfect match for your home regardless of its color scheme or size.
Allura Plycem’s unique advantage is that they offer several complementary pieces with their fiber cement siding. So, in addition to the baseline home improvement tool, you can choose from a catalog of trims with over 20 stain options.
Renovate Your Home with Fiber Cement Siding Today
Fiber cement siding is one of the best ways to bring the best out of your home, and there isn’t a better team to install it than Urban Exteriors.
Our expert contractors provide the best service and fiber cement brands in Northeast Wisconsin, all at a competitive price.
Contact our team today to start talking about your siding project.