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Fiber Cement Siding BasicsOctober 2nd, 2017 by
Fiber cement siding takes on the appearance of wood or masonry but has the durability of concrete because it contains a mix of water, wood pulp, fly ash or silica sand, and Portland cement, which consists of limestone, clay, and iron. Each component of fiber cement siding comes together to create a durable, but flexible, product.
Why Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding was introduced to the market 25 years ago and has quickly become a favorite of both homeowners and builders due to the following traits:
As mentioned above, fiber cement siding can take on the appearance of wood or masonry and can be made to look like clapboards, shingles, stones, brick, or other customizable styles. Because of its versatility, homeowners are sure to find a fiber cement option that fits the look and feel they desire.
Fiber cement absorbs less moisture than other siding materials due to the curing process that’s involved in combining the different components into the final product. Owners of fiber cement siding will experience less cracking and breaking as a result.
Because of the material’s makeup, it’s also resistant to rot, fire, and termites, and it fares well in most weather conditions, including harsh wind and cold.
Because of the durability of fiber cement siding, it doesn’t require as much maintenance as other siding materials—you can read more specific maintenance details below. For example, compared to wood siding, you can avoid regularly replacing cracked boards due to harsh weather conditions.
Product and installation costs for fiber cement siding could be higher than other siding options, but because of its durability and low maintenance requirements, you will save money in the long run. In addition, some fiber cement siding warranties last up to 50 years.
The table below shows how fiber cement compares to other popular types of siding.
|Fiber cement||High: resistant to rot, fire, termites, and extreme weather||Low||High|
|Wood||Low: vulnerable to rot, insects, and fire||High||High|
|Brick and stone||High: resistant to rot, insects, and fire||Low||High|
|Vinyl||Low: vulnerable to fire and high winds||Low||Low|
|Aluminum||Low: resistant to rot and fire, but dents easily||High||Low|
|Stucco||High: resistant to fire||High||Low|
Fiber Cement Siding Maintenance
Caring for your fiber cement siding panels will depend greatly on the product you have chosen. For exact care instructions, it’s important to refer to the guidelines that are specific to your product. Not following the correct care instructions could void your warranty. Below are some general care and maintenance instructions for your fiber cement siding.
How to maintain fiber cement siding
While fiber cement siding is a low-maintenance product, there are certain things you can do to extend its life.
Keep your gutters clear of debris. There are many reasons why it’s important to keep your gutters clean. Debris keeps gutters from performing the important task of moving water down and away from your house. Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow onto your house and consequently damage your siding.
Inspect your siding for signs of wear. Manufacturers recommend visually inspecting your siding for areas where caulk needs to be reapplied. Caulk will help keep moisture from getting into the wall cavity and prevent warping and mold. Consult your manufacturer for the right type of caulk to use for your fiber cement siding.
Trim back plants from siding. Plants such as trees, shrubs, and bushes can restrict airflow and prevent your siding from drying properly after a rainstorm. This could cause mold to appear on your siding, which can be hard to get rid of once it shows up. It’s good practice to keep any landscaping away from your siding.
Maintain proper drainage. Make sure that regular and extended downspouts are directing drainage away from your home. Again, excessive water could cause damage to your siding and could lead to bigger issues, such as foundation damage.
Cleaning fiber cement siding
To freshen up the look of your fiber cement siding, simply use a garden hose and a non-metallic scrub brush to clean your siding. Regularly washing your siding also helps to keep mold and mildew at bay.
Most manufacturers don’t recommend pressure washing your siding, and doing so could void your warranty. To know exactly how to care for your specific brand of siding, refer to the manufacturer’s guide.
Painting and repairing fiber cement siding
You have the option of receiving pre-painted painting fiber cement siding or primed siding, which you can customize with the paint color of your choosing. These two options come with different warranties.
Typically, pre-painted fiber cement siding is warranted for up to 15 years, and primed siding is warranted for fewer years. For painted siding, consult the siding manufacturer for instructions on how to touch up nicks or scrapes or repaint your siding. For primed siding, consult the manufacturer of the paint you used on your siding for care and repainting instructions.
To repair damaged areas of siding—dents, chips, and cracks—you can use a cementitious patching compound. The manufacturer of your fiber cement siding will provide you with a recommendation of products that are compatible with your siding.
Bottom line: It’s no surprise that fiber cement siding has been adopted by so many builders and homeowners. It’s an incredibly versatile and beautiful product that requires extremely low maintenance, though some maintenance is necessary to ensure that you receive the most out of your fiber cement siding and keep your home looking beautiful.