What Is Fiber-Cement Siding?

For those who want an alternative to vinyl and aluminum siding, fiber-cement siding is the latest new thing. These panels are made from a mixture of wood pulp, cement, and ash, all compressed and extruded to form a solid board. There are several advantages to this type of siding.

For one thing, Fiber-cement siding will last a lot longer. Vinyl siding tends to warp and crack as the temperature changes, shortening its life dramatically. Fiber-cement siding does not bend at all. It also provides better insulation by eliminating the space between the siding and the backer board.

At present, there are not very many companies who sell this kind of siding. Let’s take a look at the top five companies who do. This list is presented in no particular order.

1. James Hardie


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This is the company that started it all. James Hardie, the namesake of the company, is the inventor of the fiber-cement board, which is why they have sometimes been referred to as “Hardie boards” or “Hardieplank.” As JH is the originator of this product, it is natural that they are considered to be the best. Of course, their prices reflect that prestige.

One of the best things about JH siding is the finish. The paint consists of a baked-on enamel that resists weathering and abrasion to an amazing extent. Other than a few dabs of touch-up painting, these boards require virtually no maintenance because of their durable finish.

JH also allows the customer to design their own product. With such a huge range of customization options, it would be hard to walk away unhappy. You can choose everything from color and texture to the trim and fascia that will really tie the room together.

2. GAF

This is a very old company, having been founded in 1886. GAF is America’s single biggest manufacturer of roofing products, and so you may have heard of them. Although they don’t offer a lot of variety in terms of fiber-cement products, they do make some excellent shingles. These shingles can be used on the sides of your home in place of siding, and some people prefer this look.

Buying from a well-established company is often a good idea, as these companies have a reputation to uphold. GAF’s “Weatherside” shingles are made of fiber-cement and come with a 25-year warranty. This is definitely above and beyond what most manufacturers will offer. That being said, longer warranties are not out of the question for products like these.

3. Allura

Allura is one of the most recognizable and affordable names in the business. The company went through several changes in ownership before being sold to a Mexican consortium known as Elementia. There are several things that have led this company to become one of the industry leaders for this type of product.

In terms of a warranty, Allura blows most of the competition out of the water with a 50-year guarantee. This warranty is so good that we recommend checking the fine print closely. A warranty that long is bound to have some limitations with which you should be familiar. Allura also offers a huge variety of siding options, and a huge variety of siding substitutes and accessories like shakes, shingles, stucco panels, soffits, and trim.

4. Nichiha

This is a Japanese company that offers a bold new take on the fiber-cement panel. They have designed a method of installation that greatly reduces the time and effort needed to install large sections of siding. This process works by using a series of tracks and clips to secure the siding in place both quickly and securely.

Nichiha has engineered their panels to be moisture-resistant, although the details are not entirely clear. The company claims that the structure of the panels allow them to evaporate water rather than holding it in place. These panels are also supposedly well-ventilated enough to prevent the growth of mold. If true, these would be significant advantages.

This type of siding is very popular in Japan because it offers longevity and economy. Nichiha boards are significantly cheaper than JH boards, and the quality does not appear to be compromised. In a country without a whole lot of trees, this material offers a very workable solution.

5. Finex


Finex boards are meant to be all-purpose. Rather than selling their siding as a separate product, they just sell flat pieces. Of course, these boards can easily be layered to create siding, or cut into pieces to make shingles. If you want something that looks more like concrete, this is definitely your product. The slate grey look is very attractive, and is available in both smooth and textured forms.

One good thing about Finex boards is the fact that they are available in any size that you want. The layered design is meant to provide maximum resistance against all kinds of abuse. A single layer of cement and wood fiber (by itself) would not be very good, as it would be vulnerable to impact. However, these composite siding boards should resist the brittleness issues that sometimes plague cement-based products.

According to the manufacturer, these panels are able to withstand heat, fire, rot, acids, most other chemicals, water, staining, UV rays, temperature flexing, and impact. Assuming that these claims are true, this company will probably be around for a long time.

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Whichever manufacturer you choose, make sure that you understand what you are buying. This type of siding is a long-term commitment, which is why so many of these companies have very long warranty terms. The high cost is another reason to take your time and choose the right product from the right company.

You also shouldn’t be afraid to use some creativity when planning your siding job. Plain, flat boards that have been painted to match your home might be good enough, or you might want something more specific. Woodgrain and natural stone patterns are also quite popular and attractive. Regardless of your preferences, we hope that you will fill out the contact form below. In this way, we can keep you informed with more helpful articles like this one.