The current type of fiber cement siding that we use on our homes right now was originally created in the 1980s. Fabricating fiber cement siding without the use of asbestos was something that James Hardie Inc. came up with. This Australian-based company created their product using cement, cellulose fibers and silica. After the initial concoction is made, the mixture is placed in molds that are the shape of shingles or planks. The final product can be painted in just about any color. Some fiber cement sidings come pre-painted. Others are coated with a primer. The siding can be painted once it is installed on a home. There are many brands that are now creating this product. If you’re considering it for your home, there are some things you should take into consideration.
The Benefits of Investing in Fiber Cement Siding
Anything that has the word ‘cement’ in it is bound to be strong and durable. It’s an industrial-like product that is much more resistant to the elements that your average siding material. You won’t find that it warps or cracks over time. The sun won’t discolor it or break it down. It won’t become dented or damaged from snow, ice or hail. A lot of people experience some of their siding coming down when they have a big wind storm. Fiber cement siding stays put very well, even with the worst wind imaginable. You won’t find termites or other bugs trying to chew their way into your home either. Most fiber cement sidings will come with a warranty of 30 to 50 years. The painting that was done during the manufacture process may also come with its own warranty against peeling, fading, chipping, etc.
Your average siding product isn’t going to be recyclable. However, fiber cement siding is pretty environmentally safe when you compare it to other products that release toxins into the environment as they break down. With a life span of about 50 years for non-backcoated products and 75+ years for siding that has been backcoated, you don’t have to worry too much about its impact on the environment. You’re not going to see a great deal of this product in landfills.
Protecting Your Home from a Fire
When you have flammable materials functioning as siding on your home, you’re going to be more susceptible to fire damage. Wood siding is a danger in almost any home fire situation. Vinyl siding that is made from PVC can ignite at about 700 degrees, which is pretty high. It has the potential to melt and become damaged at only 165 degrees. Fiber cement siding doesn’t become damaged with fire exposure. It has the highest rating available for fire and flame spreading at Class 1A. You may be able to protect the exterior of your home with fiber cement.
The Disadvantages of Investing in Fiber Cement Siding
The Insulation Value it Provides
It’s helpful to have a siding material on your home that provides excellent insulation. This will help you keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Fiber cement siding typically has an R-value rating of about .5. To compare, vinyl siding has a rating of .61. They’re very close. The only difference between the two is the option to upgrade to insulated vinyl siding. This isn’t an option with fiber cement siding. The insulation provides an increase to 2. The insulated version costs a bit more, so you’ll have to do the math to see if it’s worth the investment. Generally, it’s a good idea to provide extra insulation on or inside of your home. You’ll save a lot of money on your utility bills each month over the course of one year.
Residing an entire home can be an expensive process. Installing fiber cement siding will cost you somewhere between $6 and $11 per square foot. Vinyl siding can be half of that price. The reason for this price is the difficult nature of installation. This isn’t a process that you’ll be able to do on your own. There is a lot more to this process than installing vinyl siding. Each piece of siding weighs a great deal because of its cement content. You need a staff of workers to get the job done. They’ll need to bring their specialty tools along with them to properly complete the installation process.
Once your siding has been properly installed, there isn’t a lot of maintenance that goes into keeping it in tact when you choose fiber cement siding. The paint on it will hold up for about 25 years before you’d find the need to paint it. If you have a Colorfast product, it shouldn’t ever require a new coat of paint. Every couple of years you can head outside with your hose or power washer to clean away dirt, grime or bugs. Just be sure to use a low pressure setting when cleaning your fiber cement siding. You don’t want to end up etching the surface. This wouldn’t be able to be repaired or replaced.
The majority of fiber cement siding that is being made these days is used for residential homes. It’s a product that provides a very good level of protection to a home; keeping out moisture and pests. It’s a wise investment if you’re in need of new siding on your home. You can speak with a local contractor in your area to find out more, or you can find out an estimate for how much this siding will cost you. Don’t forget, there are a number of different brands of fiber cement siding. Make sure that you choose one that is an established company with plenty of positive reviews. This is a product that’s going to be around for awhile. It’s worth considering it for your next home improvement project.