Fiber cement siding is becoming a favorite among homeowners in the U.S. Many versions of this material boast exceptional durability, low maintenance requirements, and exquisite visual appeal. However, every option has its pros and cons, and it’s crucial to know which is best for your home.
As a siding specialist at RST Roofing and Renovations, I have the opportunity to share my expertise with homeowners and professionals. In this blog post, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of fiber cement siding and show you its possibilities for enhancing your home.
What are the Benefits of Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is a composite material made from a blend of cement, water, silica, and natural cellulose fibers. The mixture is molded into boards of various thicknesses to be used as a siding material.
Now, let’s find out what this unique siding material has to offer!
Fiber cement siding is known for its exceptional durability. Boards from high-quality manufacturers are built to last for 50+ years by being highly resistant to heat, UV rays, water, snow, hail, and pest infestation.
#2 Low Maintenance
Unlike natural wood siding, which generally requires frequent coatings, cleaning, and sealing, fiber cement only needs occasional maintenance and maybe some caulking around joints every few years.
Fiber cement siding is made of natural materials, lasts a long time, and does not produce hazardous chemicals that harm the environment, which is why many people consider it to be an eco-friendly product.
#4 Fire Resistance
Fiber cement is a flame-retardant material that does not burn easily and prevents fire from spreading. It is a Class A fire-rated product, the best possible rating for construction materials.
#5 Realistic Appearance and Customizability
Many homeowners are impressed by the realistic appearance of fiber cement siding. The manufacturing process creates a texture that achieves a similar look to brick, wood, or stone. This allows homeowners to enjoy the luxurious, classic appeal of these natural materials with fortified benefits, which other types of siding generally can’t provide.
Plenty of manufacturers make fiber cement siding boards, but all of these benefits are not available with generic brands or low-quality products. That’s why it’s crucial to select a renowned manufacturing brand for the best results, like James Hardie, Allura, and Nichiha. These are some of the top manufacturers of fiber cement siding and I recommend them to all our customers who want to upgrade their homes.
However, just like any other construction material, fiber cement siding also has some concerns, which every homeowner should know.
What are the Disadvantages of Fiber Cement Siding?
If you’re looking to replace your home’s siding with a better product, it’s crucial to learn about the potential drawbacks. Here are some of the top concerns related to fiber cement siding that I always discuss with our customers:
#1 Overall Cost
One of the major worries homeowners have is the cost of fiber cement siding, as its installation is a bit pricier than vinyl. As stated by Forbes, the cost of fiber cement siding ranges from around $5 to $14 per square foot with an average cost of $10 per square foot.
#2 Installation Requirements
The benefits of fiber cement siding don’t just come from good-quality manufacturing. The results are also affected by the quality of the installation. The products should be handled carefully and installed without any faults to enjoy long-term benefits, enhanced warranties, and few repairs.
#3 Weight of the Boards
Fiber cement boards tend to be heavier than common materials like vinyl. This requires you to make sure that the foundation of your home is in good shape and sturdy enough to support a new, denser siding.
#4 Insulation Value
Exterior wall insulation is essential to cut down outside noise and maintain the desired temperature levels in the house. Having insulated fiber cement boards is necessary to address this issue, as additional insulation may not fit properly with factory-made products.
Now you know the pros and cons of fiber cement siding. Despite these drawbacks, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment for many homeowners, given that you choose a reputable manufacturer and siding contractor.
Since there are many other siding options out there, it’s only wise to look at a comparison between products to understand if fiber cement is a better choice for you or not.
Comparing Fiber Cement to Other Siding Materials
Homeowners often compare fiber cement to vinyl and composite wood siding because they seem to be more affordable and have similar benefits, such as being available in multiple styles and colors.
Fiber Cement Siding vs. Vinyl Siding
Vinyl siding installation is cheaper than fiber cement siding, but you may need to spend more money on repairs and maintenance over the years. That’s because vinyl is generally less durable and is more prone to cracks and scratches.
Fiber Cement Siding vs. Engineered Wood Siding
Like fiber cement, engineered wood siding offers the appeal of real wood with added durability and resistance to rot and insects. Plus, the costs are also similar, ranging between $4 and $10.
As you’re getting started with your siding replacement project, here are some extra things to consider.
Installation and Maintenance Tips for Fiber Cement Siding
As you’ve learned about the pros and cons of fiber cement siding, you now know it’s more manageable and sturdy than many other siding options. You can also get the best out of your new siding with flawless installation service and ongoing care. Here are some tips to follow:
Choose a Licensed and Reliable Local Contractor
It’s crucial to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and handle the heavy boards carefully. Hire a siding contractor who is experienced in fiber cement siding installation and is well-versed with local regulations. They should know the residential building codes in their community and take into consideration the guidelines provided by any Homeowners Association (HOA).
After installation, ensure that all joints, windows, doors, and trim are properly sealed, leaving no gaps and cracks. This is essential to prevent the possibility of pest infestation and water damage.
Cleaning and Painting
While fiber cement typically prevents mold and algae growth, it can get dirty over time due to high wind, rain, or lawn work. So if you see any dirt or build-up on the siding, it’s a good idea to wash it periodically with water or a mild solution.
If your siding was not pre-painted, it should be painted within 90 days of installation. Factory-stained boards can stay fresh and new for more than 20 years if you choose a good manufacturer. If the paint starts chipping, you should have it coated or painted every 10 years.
In conclusion, fiber cement siding is a long-lasting, cost-effective, and appealing choice for most homes. Just make sure you’re choosing the right product and installation companies, then you’re good to go.
If you’re looking for fiber cement siding installation services in Atlanta, Georgia, our team at RST Roofing and Renovations can help you!
Free Consultations and Estimates for Atlanta Homeowners
I know it’s a tough job to find and trust a company with the safety and appearance of your home. I’m proud to say that RST Roofing and Renovations has been the go-to choice of hundreds of homeowners in Atlanta and the surrounding areas in Georgia. If you’re looking for a reliable siding contractor to discuss different house siding options, call us at (404) 548-8901. We’ll be happy to help you with a free consultation and estimate on your project.