If you are a homeowner chances are that you have heard the term, fiber cement siding one time or another. Well what is fiber cement siding? How is it made? And most importantly, How long will it last? We will explore these important questions and post some informative answers below.
What is Fiber Cement Siding & How Does It Protect Our Homes?
Fiber cement siding is an exterior building material that is made up of a number of different components which includes; sand, cement and cellulose fibers. Fiber cement is an abbreviation for Fiber Reinforced Cement (FRC) and this building material was developed by James Hardie (a world leader in fiber cement siding and backboard) in the early 1980s. Fiber cement siding building material was manufactured as a substitute for asbestos cement sheeting or fiber based building products. In the early days, fiber cement panels used asbestos fibers to add strength to the construction materials.
What Is Fiber Cement Siding Made Of?
Fiber cement siding is a substitute for wood and vinyl siding. Fiber cement siding is made from a mix of wood pulp, fly ash and cement. The wood pulp is used to avoid cracking and it also improves the suppleness while the fly ash is used as filler as contained by the cement and the cement which is made up of limestone, clay and iron combines all the ingredients used in making fiber cement siding bond together. When all these materials are mixed together with water, it mixes with the wood pulp and hardens as the cement cures. When the mixture is wet, it is then pressed into a mold to form the siding product.
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Fiber cement siding comes in a variety of colors and styles that is very similar to siding materials such as wood & vinyl. The various styles that are available are as follows; stucco panels, cedar shake shingles, vertical panels and horizontal wood clapboards (lap siding). All of these styles are primarily made from cement, sand and wood fiber (often a recycled wood fiber waste product). All of these combinations produce an exceptionally long-lasting home siding material.
Fiber cement siding decreases exterior maintenance expenses because of its rigged toughness. Fiber cement siding is normally more expensive than vinyl siding but it is less than true wood lath applied cement stucco. Due to it’s long-lasting nature, fiber cement siding is suggested for all climates as it resists many common elements like wind, fire, rain and insects. The variety of styles and textures of fiber cement siding present the look of wood but with no essential disadvantage of wood such as rotting.
Fiber cement siding is produced in different surface textures; it ranges from a smooth finish to an rustic cedar wood texture (woodgrain). As soon as the siding is being installed on your homes exterior, they may be painted in various choices of exterior colors or painted sometime after it has been installed.
Fiber cement siding is also produced in a flat sheet form which is not only used as vertical siding but it is as well used as a lining and as a tile underlay on decks and in bathrooms. From an exterior home perspective, fiber cement siding comprises of overlapping horizontal boards (lap siding), vertical siding, (flat panels) and artificial shake and straight edge shingles.
Only Made By Larger Manufacturing Companies
Although, unlike other the normal building products; fiber cement siding is not usually produced with a small or medium scale companies. It is rare to find start-up companies manufacturing fiber cement siding in their industry. Generally, it is produced in a large scale which requires more capital to fund the business. So having said that, they are usually large companies that are manufacturing fiber cement siding products that have been in business for a while.
Importance of Fiber Cement Siding on Your Home
Fiber cement siding serves different purpose for homeowners. If a new house, garage or workshop is been built or needs replacement, fiber cement siding should be considered for use. Some homeowners are just discovering the advantages of using fiber cement siding for their homes while others have been using the product for years. This is a trusted product that will serve and protect you home for many years to come.
Fiber Cement Siding Extreme Fire Resistance
Wood Left / Fiber Cement Right – Will Not Burn
Fiber cement siding is recommended in all climates because no matter hot or wet it is. It won’t decay since the ingredients is made up of wood pulp, sand and Portland Cement which makes it termite resistant. Fiber cement is fire resistant and a great siding choice that is commonly used in high bushfire prone areas. According to the European standard, if fiber cement boards are tested; they simply come with Fire Classification of 1 (A) or even better classifications.
Fiber cement siding protects homes from hail and rain. It also protects the home from wildfires because of it’s non-flammable properties. Most of the materials used in producing it are not flammable. If standard untreated wood siding is to be installed on your home, it can more fuel and flame to the house when it’s on fire. Having said that, fire resistant fiber cement siding is not only used as an exterior siding for fire resistance but it can also be used as a replacement replacement for a timber border break (fire barrier) in high fire prone areas.
Contrasting to the other siding products that are offered, fiber cement siding is utilized in the exterior part of buildings and offers fire resistance. This is to protect what resides inside from the elements. Fiber cement siding is usually unaffected by both heat and fame due to the cement material being used in producing the product that makes it fire resistant.
Since fiber cement siding does not retain moisture, it is a great siding choice for cold climates. During cold weather, fiber cement siding is different from other siding option due to its cement nature. This siding product can become somewhat brittle or crack at below zero temperatures and difficult to work with in cold climates when moderately struck by impact. No biggie here just a side note you should know.
Withstands The Elements
Furthermore, this siding material does not rot and it is crack resistant to a point. Resists pest, insects, termites, moisture, wind, fire, hail and UV rays from the sun. Unlike wood siding that woodpeckers that will often peck and make a hole in, fiber cement siding is impervious to them due to its natural hardness.
This will help your homes exterior to be maintenance free for many years to come. This resistance to the elements is what makes fiber cement siding a sensible choice.
Coastal High Wind Zone Areas
Fiber cement siding is recommended for some wind zone areas that usually experience hurricanes, tornadoes because it keeps the home secured due to its rigidity. However, it might be recommended to install plywood or OSB under the fiber cement siding to offer more wind and racking resistance. This is due to the fact that it has little structural value.
In comparison to untreated traditional wood siding, fibre cement siding requires little maintenance as soon as it has been installed and painted. The thicker fiber cement products have exceptional impact resistance but the thinner siding products are less dense and needs to be protected from impact.
When it is placed near water or bright sun, fiber cement siding can stand up to these elements and winds without allowing damage to the home. Note: The winds are limited to moderate wind loads as fiber cement has minimal structural racking value. For the fact that the ingredients used in producing fiber cement siding are regarded inert materials and they don’t decompose, fiber cement siding products are not recyclable.
Painting of Fiber Cement Siding
As discussed in previous paragraphs, the permanence of fiber cement siding is that it could last years before another coat of painting is required. If you choose a pre-painted product, make sure you get one with a lifetime paint warranty. We suggest lifetime or at least a 25 year warranty paint to be used. Fiber cement siding can be a bit expensive because it requires painting unlike vinyl siding.
Installation can be more high-priced because it would require more experienced installers painters and tools to install fiber cement correctly. Often times, fiber cement manufacturers offer their products both primed and non-painted.
Some of the manufacturers of fiber cement siding applies paint at the factory under the best climate controlled conditions. They prime and paint in their enclosed environment. This by far and away makes it much more expensive. Some fiber cement manufacturers only offer a 15 year paint warranty. We suggest looking for one that is at least 25 years.
Fiber cement siding installation is a job that could be done by homeowners and do it yourselfers alike. However it requires experienced professional installers to install the product correctly. Having said that, the cost of installing fire cement siding correctly demands special tools. There is also the added cost as it is required to remove the existing siding before the new siding is applied. Fiber cement siding also poses health-threat issues because of its long term exposure to the silica dust created when it’s being cut.
Types of Fiber Cement Siding Styles and Profiles
This type of siding can also be called clapboards or dutch lap (lap) siding. Found on most homes, horizontal lap fiber cement siding can be easily installed and they are offered in different textures which includes the smooth or rough and wood-grain surface.
They complement different types of home styles. This lap siding style is by the most popular as seen on may homes both in the past and currently in use today. Common lap siding exposures (how wide are the laps) are, 7″ and 11″.
They are available in either straight or staggered edges. Shingle fiber cement siding can either be primed, factory-painted and decorated to give the house an exceptional look.
Often times homeowners will mix shingle siding with horizontal lap siding. Here you can get creative with your fiber cement siding styles and profiles. This shingle siding looks great on small accent areas as well as large walls. Shingle fiber cement siding is often used to imitate that New England cedar shingle look.
The panel is basically a thin flat sheet of fiber cement siding offering a contemporary vertical line look to the exterior side of the home. They are available in 4×8’, 4×10’ and 4×12’ sheets which balance the appearance of the home. The panel tends to be a retro look that is making it’s way back.
This vertical panel siding comes on 8″ and 12″ on center vertical lines. This fiber cement panel is often mixed with the horizontal lap siding for a pleasing look.
Choosing The Brands:
Fiber Cement Siding Manufactures:
Helpfull Fiber Cement Siding Links
Installing fiber cement siding on your home requires doing some research; familiarizing oneself with what every band has to offer and the pros and cons. Here we have posted many brands above for your viewing.
No matter what brand of fiber cement siding that you choose, you can go wrong. It will give your home many years of protection from the elements. We hope that you have enjoyed this article, thank you from all of us at Texas Home Exteriors INC.