In terms of siding, fiber cement is a relative newcomer to the market. Wood, brick and even things like vinyl siding have all been around for quite a while, but fiber cement siding was introduced about 35 years ago. Since then, it’s been steadily growing in popularity for a variety of reasons. Companies like James Hardie produce this type of siding, which offers a wonderful alternative to wood, vinyl and similar siding materials. If you want to learn more about why fiber cement is quickly becoming the siding material of choice, read on and we’ll show you!
1. Fiber Cement Replicates the Look of Wood Without the Hassle
Wood siding can be problematic in humid climates, prone to moss, mildew and rot. Plus there is insect damage to contend with, too. Cracking, warping and splintering are common problems with wood, and it needs to be repainted and maintained more than most other types of siding, including fiber cement.
Fiber cement, on the other hand, stands up to moisture very well, and it won’t rot, crack or splinter. It’s a thick, durable material that allows manufacturers to make deep grooves in its surface. This means that above all other wood lookalikes, fiber cement is the siding alternative that offers the most realistic look. In fact, some historic districts approve fiber cement siding because it looks just like the real thing.
2. Fiber Cement is Non-Combustible
Whether you need to meet area fire codes or you are building in an area where wildfires are a concern, this type of siding is a great option because it won’t ignite when exposed to direct flame. It’s also a great alternative if melted vinyl siding is a potential problem. Sometimes vinyl can melt or warp in high temperatures, which can occur when windows, especially low-E windows, reflect onto the siding.
3. It’s a Versatile Siding Material
Fiber cement panels that replicate the look of wood are a popular choice, but there are even more options available. Not just panels, but also siding that replicates lapped siding as well as shingles and blocks. There are lots of finishes available, too—painted, stained or primed so you can add your own color, or raw so that you can tailor finish it according to the project’s needs.
4. It’s the Easiest Way to Achieve that Coveted Modern Look
Sleek modern styles are all the rage in exteriors these days, often featuring color-blocked siding to make a bold statement. It’s difficult to achieve this look with other types of siding, but fiber cement panels make it easy to create that blocky, colorful look.
One of the best things about fiber cement is that compared to wood or aluminum siding, it’s very affordably priced. It does cost more than vinyl, which is generally the cheapest option, but it comes with a much longer lifespan plus low maintenance costs, which offset the initial installation cost. Where things like painting are concerned, if you choose factory finished fiber cement, the paint can last up to twenty years. Even when it does need to be repainted, or if the homeowner simply desires to change colors, that paint will last longer than on wood because fiber cement doesn’t warp, expand, shrink, blister or crack.
6. Fiber Cement is Eco-Friendly
One drawback to fiber cement is that right now, there aren’t recycling programs that handle it. However, because this building material lasts decades, it causes less waste than other types of siding that need to be replacement. What’s more, it’s an inert building material, free of toxins and problematic chemicals, which means that in landfills, it doesn’t leech harmful chemicals into the environment.
If you’re interested in trying out fiber cement siding, our downtown Boston design center stocks James Hardie products. Check out the video below to learn a little bit about Hardie’s Statement Collection. And don’t forget that you can always stop by our design center to check out these products and pick up samples that you can present to local officials for fire and building code approval.