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Pros and Cons of Fiber Cement Siding

Pros and Cons of Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding offers durability as well as good looks. As compared to vinyl siding, it can be expensive and difficult to install.
Sonia Nair
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People are very often confused about choosing the right siding for the exterior surfaces of their house. The market is flooded with different types of house siding, and choosing the perfect one is a difficult task. You can go for vinyl, wood, stucco, or metal siding. However, the main criteria is the durability of the material, and its appearance after installation. If you want a durable siding material which does not affect the traditional looks of your house, then fiber cement siding is a good option. This siding material is also known as 'fiber cement cladding' in Australia and UK.
What is Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is made of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers, which are cured with pressurized steam (autoclaved) to enhance the strength of the final product. The cellulose fibers in this particular siding material serve the purpose of crack prevention. After the autoclaving process, designs are imprinted on the surface of the material, before baking. The resultant product, which is a hardened material, is called fiber cement siding. This is available in the form of planks, or as shingles. After installation, fiber cement planks look like overlapping boards arranged in a horizontal or vertical manner, mimicking wooden cladding. Sheet form of this material is also available.
Pros and Cons
  • As compared to vinyl siding, fiber cement siding is stronger and tougher. It is also more fire-resistant than vinyl and wood.
  • It is less expensive, and is resistant to termites and rot, in comparison to wood.
  • Another advantage of fiber cement siding is that it can be painted according to your creativity.
  • Once installed and painted, this siding material can last for several years with very less maintenance.
  • The thicker versions are impact resistant.
  • The imprinted designs can very well imitate the looks of wood, which makes it the best material to replace old wooden siding.
The disadvantages of fiber cement exterior siding include its cost. This material is very expensive when compared to vinyl siding.
  • Apart from the cost of the product and its installation, the painting may also get expensive and difficult.
  • Unlike the installation of vinyl siding, it is very difficult to install fiber cement siding, and requires professionals for the job.
  • This siding material is very heavy, and the fragile thin versions are prone to chipping and breaking. They demand careful and gentle handling. Even after cutting, minimum two persons are required for the installation - one for holding the siding, and the other for fixing it.
  • As far as thermal insulation and soundproofing is concerned, fiber cement siding is not very effective, though thicker versions may be useful to some extent. You can also use some other materials along with the siding to serve this purpose.
Even though there are many admirers of this siding material, it is mainly used to replace the old and damaged wooden siding. However, fiber cement siding is durable, requires less maintenance, and can offer the looks that you want for your exteriors.