Fiber Cement Siding Issues Homeowner Complaints and Class Action Lawsuits
A True Texas Homeowner Story
It is late in the evening and your children are getting ready for bed. After tucking them in, it is now your time to relax until suddenly you hear screams from one of your children’s rooms. You run down the hall to find that a wasp has entered your home’s interior from the gap in the fiber cement siding on the exterior of your home and realize that you have an issue. You quickly remove your slipper and strike the insect to ensure the child feels safe and is not going to be attacked by the insect.
You take a few moments looking around, observing and listening soon discovering a buzzing sound inside the walls. With some more investigation, you notice that there is a small gap under the baseboard trim allowing wasps to enter into the inside of your home.
Knowing this, you now gather your flashlight to head outside to inspect your home’s exterior. Keep in mind that this a real life scenario happens repeatedly across the country that often goes unreported. We can assure you after removing many siding planks over the years we have seen this repeatedly.
As you walk around the home, the buzzing gets louder and as you head towards the buzz, you notice the fiber cement siding that was installed is pulling away from the wall and red wasps (in the Houston metro area it is often often mud daubers) have been busily building nests inside the walls. Upon closer inspection, you determine there to be some fiber cement siding issues going on and needless to say you are upset and at the same time concerned about the extent of the intrusion.
You open up your computer and start your web research finding there to be quite a few complaints and issues reported from homeowners across the country regarding various issues homeowners from around the country have reported about the fiber cement siding product.
Fiber Cement Siding Manufactures and Options
There are many siding products out on the market for homeowners to choose from when it comes to re-siding their home. Some of the options include Vinyl Siding, LP SmartSide Siding a various choices of Fiber Cement Siding.
Some of the manufactures of fiber cement siding include: James Hardie siding, Allura siding, Nichiha and GAF Fiber Cement Siding. Each produces great products which include warranties running anywheres from 10 – 30 years in length, depending upon the manufacturer. One of the greatest assets of fiber cement siding is its fire resistance from outside sources entering your home.
How Is Fiber Cement Made?
Fiber Cement siding products consist of several ingredients such as: silica sand, cement and cellulose fibers (i.e. wood pulp fibers). To produce the product, first the manufacturer starts with silica sand, this is mixed in a ball mill and ground down into a fine powder. Then the moisture is removed and dried into a san like block and wood pulp is then added to give the fiber cement some bending resistance and strength. If this were not added, the fiber cement product would simply break like delicate china, it would be brittle and crack easily.
All three of these products (sand, cement and wood pulp) are then mixed together into a thick fiber cement slurry-like substance. This thick fiber cement substance is then piped into a press creating siding planks while pressing a wood grain embossment into the siding plank. The newly formed siding plank is then inserted into a high pressure oven called an autoclave to cure.
The Inherent Nature of Fiber Cement Siding
Because fiber cement siding is made of brittle ingredients, it can easily break and crack as well as shrink when exposed to moisture and temperature changes. In the photo below, you can clearly see how the siding has shrunk leaving gaps at the butt joints as well as along the lower portion of the siding lap, this is the gap which allows for bug and insect intrusion of the walls and home. One of the reasons for this separation from the homes exterior walls is that fiber cement siding is not made from wood like the 2×4’s that it is nailed to. This siding then moves at a different rate of expansion and contraction causing the natural pulling away of the nails thus causing separation.
Removal of Old Siding
Below you can see one of our Texas Home Exteriors crew workers has been removing some of the old fiber cement siding and now pulling off the old black tar paper from the rear of this Houston Texas home where the wasps and insects were found nesting.
Wasp and Bugs Nesting Under Siding
This is not a good find at all, in the image below you can see we found where the wasp (mud daubers) and or bugs have created a nice nesting site behind the siding. This is what was creating the buzzing sound being heard by this Texas homeowner at night which he described in his own words, “it sounds like it is coming from inside the walls”, and he was right, it certainly was as as we proved and can be observed in the image.
Helpful Links and Supporting Evidence via Google Search on Fiber Cement Siding Issues and Class Action Lawsuits.
If you take some time and do your own research on the internet, you will quickly learn details about how fiber cement siding products have performed over the years and the class action lawsuits that have been filed. Though this fiber cement siding product is still on the market as one of the top siding choices, it does have it’s inherent problems after the product has been installed after a few years. You will also find some class action lawsuits that were filed related to the product, I have shared a few listed below for your reference.
The Old Broken Fiber Cement Siding
Because this fiber cement siding is made from cement and fibers, it can easily break when bumped against, with objects hitting it and or when it is removed. The photo below displays how it breaks apart upon removed, it breaks off into small pieces like ceramic tile creating quite a mess to clean up, not to mention the dangerous silica dust that workers and crew members could be inhaling.
SmartSide Siding A Better Siding Solution
In the photo below you can see the new siding installed that is not brittle. LP SmartSide siding is made from engineered wood and will not pull away from the wall due to the fact that it moves at the same rate as the wall framing that is also made of wood (2×4’s).
If you have fiber cement siding installed on your home and have found issues with it, you might consider what your other siding product options are, possibly something less troublesome and safer. If you have found that a class action lawsuit has been filed against the siding manufacturer, you should consider pursuing that if that product was installed on your home.
We have found that many homeowners are desiring a stronger siding for their homes, one of the products we as well as homeowners have been very pleased with is the LP SmartSide siding. With its incredible strength, moisture resistance and it comes with a 50-year warranty we and the homeowners we have worked with find all to be quite impressive.
Painting Issues of Fiber Cement
We just wanted to make a quick side note how painting fiber cement can cause issues with paint peeling becuase it is a porous cement surface. This is not as bad as a brick surface, however this can be a problem down the road.
Here at Texas Home Exteriors, we hope that you have found this fiber cement siding issues post informative and helpful. Please feel free to ask questions and make comments below, we look forward to hearing from you!