Fiber cement siding is a popular choice among homeowners looking to renovate or remodel their homes. Made from a combination of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, this type of siding is highly durable, versatile, and low maintenance. However, like any building material, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider before making a final decision. We answer what is fiber cement, then get into details about how long it lasts and the biggest pros and cons of fiber cement siding. Plus, we explain the basics of how much fiber cement costs.
What Is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is a type of exterior cladding for buildings. It is made by combining cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, which are then formed into various shapes and sizes. The most common form of fiber cement siding is in the form of large, flat boards, which are installed horizontally on the side of a building, similar to traditional wooden clapboard siding. However, it can also be made to resemble shingles, stucco, or other types of siding.
One of the main advantages of fiber cement siding is its durability. It is resistant to rot, fire, and pests and can last for decades with minimal maintenance. Additionally, it is available in a wide variety of colors and styles and can mimic the look of wood or stucco, making it a versatile option for many different types of buildings.
How Long Does It Last?
Fiber cement siding is known for its durability and long lifespan. With proper installation and regular maintenance, fiber cement siding can last for decades. It is resistant to rot, fire, and pests, which are some of the main factors that can cause damage to other types of siding.
The lifespan of fiber cement siding can vary based on a number of factors, including the quality of the product, the installation, and the local climate. Generally, fiber cement siding is expected to last between 20 to 30 years, but under good conditions and regular maintenance, it can last even longer. The lifespan of the paint will be shorter, around 10-15 years, depending on the quality of the paint used and the frequency of repainting.
It is important to note that if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain, or hail, the lifespan of the siding may be shorter. In order to prolong the life of your fiber cement siding, it’s important to have it properly installed and to regularly maintain it by cleaning and painting as needed.
What Styles of Fiber Cement Siding Are Available?
There are several different styles of fiber cement siding that are available on the market. The most common styles include:
- Clapboard: This style is similar to traditional wooden clapboard siding and is the most popular style of fiber cement siding. It comes in long, flat boards that are installed horizontally on the side of a building.
- Dutch Lap: This style is similar to clapboard but has a beveled edge that gives it a more textured look.
- Shake: This style mimics the look of wood shake shingles and is a popular choice for homes with a more rustic or natural aesthetic.
- Shingle: This style mimics the look of wooden shingles and is a popular choice for homes with a more traditional or classic aesthetic.
- Stucco: This style mimics the look of stucco and is a popular choice for homes with a more Mediterranean or Spanish-style aesthetic.
- Vertical: This style comes in long, thin panels that are installed vertically on the side of a building, which is a unique and different look from the other styles.
In addition to these styles, fiber cement siding can also be custom-made to mimic other types of siding, such as brick or stone, depending on the availability and your requirement.
How Much Does Fiber Cement Siding Cost?
The cost of fiber cement siding can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the size of the project, location, and complexity of installation. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3 and $12 per square foot for fiber cement siding, including installation. However, this cost can vary widely depending on the type of siding and factors such as the cost of labor in your area.
For example, a basic clapboard siding may cost around $5 to $10 per square foot installed, while a more complex shake or shingle siding may cost closer to $8 to $12 per square foot installed. These costs will also vary based on the brand of the product you choose and the complexity of the project.
To get a more accurate estimate, it would be best to get a quote from a local contractor who specializes in fiber cement siding installation. They will be able to take into account the specific details of your project and provide a more accurate cost estimate. Additionally, financing options are also available to help you with the costs and to make the project more affordable.
It’s important to note that although fiber cement siding has a higher cost of material and installation than some other types of siding, its durability and low maintenance may make it more cost-effective in the long run.
What Factors Determine the Cost of Fiber Cement Siding?
There are several factors that can influence the cost of fiber cement siding for a specific project, including:
- Size of the project: One of the biggest cost factors is the total number of square feet needed. The larger the area that needs to be covered with siding, the more it will cost.
- Quality of the product: The quality of the fiber cement siding also plays a role in the final cost. Higher-quality products that are more durable and have better finishes will be more expensive than basic or lower-quality options.
- Type of siding: Different styles of fiber cement siding can have varying costs per square foot. For example, a simple clapboard siding may cost less than a more complex shake or shingle siding.
- Location: The cost of labor can vary significantly by location. In general, labor costs are higher in urban areas than in rural areas.
- Complexity of installation: If your home has a lot of angles, corners, or other features that make the installation more difficult, the cost may be higher.
- Additional costs: If you need to make repairs to the underlying structure of your home before installing the siding or if you need to remove and dispose of existing siding, this will add to the cost.
- Brands: Different brands of Fiber cement siding have different pricing and features, so it’s good to do research and compare prices of the different brands before making a final decision.
Overall, the cost of a fiber cement siding project will depend on a combination of these factors and will vary from project to project. To get a more accurate estimate of the cost for your specific project, it’s best to consult with a local contractor.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Fiber Cement?
Fiber cement siding is a popular choice among homeowners due to its durability and versatility. However, like any building material, there are both pros and cons to consider.
Review the following pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about whether fiber cement siding is right for your home.
- Durability: Fiber cement siding is highly resistant to rot, fire, and pests, which means it can last for decades with minimal maintenance.
- Versatility: Fiber cement siding comes in a variety of styles and colors and can mimic the look of wood, stucco, and other types of siding. This makes it a versatile option for many different types of homes and architectural styles.
- Low maintenance: Fiber cement siding is relatively low maintenance and only requires occasional cleaning and painting.
- Resistant to weathering: Fiber cement siding is able to withstand extreme weather conditions, such as strong winds, heavy rain, and even hail.
- Cost: Fiber cement siding is more expensive than some other types of siding, such as vinyl.
- Weight: Fiber cement siding is heavier than vinyl, which means it requires more structural support.
- Installation: Fiber cement siding requires special tools and skills to install, which can make it more difficult to find a qualified contractor.
- Expansion and contraction: Fiber cement siding expands and contracts due to temperature changes which may cause cracking over time if not properly installed.
Overall, fiber cement siding is a strong, long-lasting, and low-maintenance option that can be a great choice for many homeowners. However, the cost and installation challenges should be taken into account before making a final decision.