Maybe you don’t like the idea of vinyl siding. Maybe you want something a bit more unique, something that mimics wood in appearance but comes at a cheaper cost. Although vinyl siding is still one of the more popular forms of residential siding, fiber cement is quickly gaining momentum throughout the country.
It’s a fabulous material—with a few negatives. So, if you are considering fiber cement as an option, you need to know the pros and cons.
What Is Fiber Cement Siding?
Before jumping into the pros and cons of fiber cement siding, we need to talk about what it is. Fiber cement siding is made of two obvious ingredients: wood (cellulose) fibers and. Sometimes, the mixture will also contain silica. During fabrication, the fiber cement is pressed into molds that can either form long siding planks or shingles. They can be made to look like wood, but there are several textures available.
The Pros of Fiber Cement Siding
1. Withstands All Kinds Of Environments, Like Salty Air
This is a big one for those who own coastal homes. Though the salt breeze can be refreshing for humans, it does horrible damage to houses over time. However, when you choose fiber cement siding, you will find that it can withstand such harsh conditions, including pounding rain, high winds, and hail. If you live in a high-risk area, then you should consider fiber cement siding for enhanced protection.
2. It Is Not Flammable
One of the things that scare homeowners the most is the chance of fire. Fiber cement is produced with materials that are at least 90 percent inflammable. Even when exposed to intense heat, fiber cement siding will stay strong. It was given a Class 1(A) rating, meaning that direct flames and heat will not affect it.
3. You Can Customize It
Similar to the wood planks fiber cement is designed to mimic, you can install it vertically or horizontally, and it can even be used as shingles and trimming. Since fiber cement can be molded into numerous shapes and thicknesses, it can be used with many kinds of houses. You also have a nearly endless list of color options. Some fiber cement siding comes pre-painted, but you can also choose to paint it yourself (though this involves extra care steps).
4. High Durability And Resistance
There are different grades of fiber cement, but all of them have around the same level of durability. This means that even entry-level fiber cement is going to last many years, never warp, rot, or melt like wood or
vinyl. Prolonged exposure to UV rays won’t cause deterioration.
Furthermore, fiber cement siding provides total protection against insects and other pests. The siding is seamless and doesn’t have overlapped areas where mildew or mold can grow. Since its made of concrete, animals cannot chew through it.
5. Surprising Amount Of Longevity For The Cost
Yes, fiber cement can seem expensive when you are looking at the outright cost. Some places will charge about $0.70 per square foot, while more high-end brands might charge around $5.00 per square foot. Yet, when you consider the longevity of the material, the investment does not seem like that much. Non-backcoated fiber cement can last up to 50 years; backcoated fiber cement can go as long as 75 years. And if you maintain it well enough, it could last beyond the estimated lifespan.
The Cons Of Fiber Cement Siding
1. Maintenance Can Be A Love/Hate Affair
Depending on the quality of your siding, as well as the kind you get (pre-painted vs. Pre-primed), you may find yourself doing a lot more than anticipated for your fiber cement siding. That said, it is rare that maintenance is going to be tedious. A factory paint job will last you about 25 years before you need to repaint it. Meanwhile, some vinyl siding never needs to be repainted.
You may also need to recaulk some areas of the fiber cement during maintenance. Otherwise, maintenance can be straightforward: clean your gutters, wash the siding with a garden hose, and use mild dish detergent and a nylon brush to scrub away grime.
2. Installation Is More Difficult
Let “cement” clue you in to how annoying installation can be. Unlike vinyl siding, which is rather lightweight, 100 square feet of fiber cement weighs around 300 pounds. Lifting that requires a lot of manpower. Naturally, that is going to extend the time of installation, so the costs are going to be higher than other forms of siding.
3. Insulation May Be Lacking In Some Climates
Presently, vinyl and wood siding present the best insulation ratings. Fiber cement is not as bad as some materials, because it has wood in it, but it is not as energy efficient. For colder climates, fiber cement siding may not protect your home as well as something thicker, such as vinyl paired with insulating foam.
When trying to decide on the correct kind of siding for your home, you should look at things like durability, cost, and ease of installation. For many, it might come down to fiber cement siding and another option, like vinyl. If the low maintenance and resilience of fiber cement siding appeals to you, it may be time to invest in it. Although the cost of installation is a bit higher, you can’t go wrong with the aesthetic appeal.
When you search for fiber cement siding contractors near me, don’t be surprised when RGB Construction makes the list! We are well known in your area for our top notch customer service and professionalism. If
you have questions about fiber cement siding or would like to schedule a consultation, give us a call at 856-264-9093.