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Applications  > Fiber cement siding
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Specifications
 
 
Fiber cement siding is available in a range of profiles, textures, and colors: (Photos courtesy of CertainTeed)Fiber cement siding offers a wood-like appearance with greater durability than most other siding products. It will not rot, buckle or warp and can hold paint for several years longer than conventional wood siding. It is produced from a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulosic fibers.
uses

 

Fiber cement manufacturers offer complete systems for siding, decorative shapes, soffit, and trim applications. Between 12 to 15% of all new homes are now clad with fiber cement siding.

why
Fiber cement siding provides a traditional wood grain appearance without the drawbacks associated with other siding materials.

Design Versatility. Fiber cement products are available in a variety of textures, profiles, and colors matching your design requirements. One option is horizontal lap siding, which includes profiles such as Dutch, beaded, and traditional. Shaped fiber cement siding is available as shingles, half rounds, octagons, and random squares (with either a straight or staggered edge). Vertical siding options include a traditional stucco appearance, smooth, or cedar (either without vertical grooves or with regular interval grooves.) Fiber cement soffits are also available in smooth and cedar textures, both of which can be vented. Matching low maintenance composite trim materials can complete the architectural design.

Dimensional tolerances and stability. This product is manufactured under factory specifications and guidelines, providing consistent quality and dimensional stability. Products do not warp, buckle, or fade, in contrast to vinyl siding products, and hold a class 1 (A) Fire Rating.

Warranty. Fiber cement siding holds paint well, with some products warrantied to hold paint for up to twenty-five years, though on average 7 to 15 years can be expected. Transferable product warranties can last as long as fifty years depending on the degree of “pre-finish” applied in the factory.  
 
Painting. Most people buy fiber cement siding that has been factory primed and sealed or is fully prefinished in the factory. Factory priming protects the product from moisture penetration on the job site and once the product is installed. Some contractors choose to buy the product raw and then prime and finish paint it themselves, although this is not recommended by manufacturers and may affect the warranty.

Installed cost. The total installed cost (including materials, installation, and paint or stain) for fiber cement on a new home is about 75% less than natural stone, 35% less than cedar, 25% less than wood siding, and slightly more than hardboard siding, according to R.S. Means data. See "Residential Technology Brief" listed below for more detailed cost comparison.

sustainability

 

Fiber cement siding offers additional advantages that make it a green choice for cladding.
 
Durability. Fiber cement siding will not rot, is capable of withstanding damaging effects of salt spray and ultraviolet rays, and cannot be penetrated by birds or insects. Once installed, the product stands up to bumps and direct impacts, unlike some other siding materials. Fiber cement siding does not become brittle in freezing conditions or melt in the presence of heat sources such as barbeque grills, unlike vinyl siding.
 
Resource efficiency. By holding paint longer, less is needed to maintain a good looking finish.

 

Fiber cement siding: (Photos courtesy of CertainTeed)Manufacturing of fiber cement siding utilizes autoclaving, a high temperature steam curing process, to increase strength and dimensional stability. The cellulosic fibers are added to the mixture to prevent cracking. A wood grain is imprinted onto the surface during the manufacturing process.

Several design options, and a full palette of colors, are available with fiber cement siding.
 
considerations

While fiber cement siding is a low-maintenance product, it does require some care to maintain its appearance. Insect nests and accumulated dirt can easily be removed by power washing. Inspection of caulked joints between butt ends of boards, windows, and doors is recommended each year. Gaps that open when caulk pulls away can easily be filled with a high quality acrylic, latex, or urethane caulk. A well maintained fiber cement siding product generally requires repainting every seven to fifteen years.

Fiber cement product installations are typically not suited for do-it-yourself projects. Special tools and expertise are required to install the product. A builder or siding contractor with experience is recommended for a quality installation.
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Resources
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Download DocumentResidential Technology Brief: Fiber Cement Siding (2004)
Portland Cement Association, #IS314, 2 pages.
Available for free. Fiber cement siding provides a traditional wood grain appearance without the drawbacks associated with wood. It is available in a variety of textures, profiles, and colors to match your design requirements. Fiber cement manufacturers offer complete systems for siding, decorative shapes, soffit, and trim applications. This remarkable product is manufactured under rigorous factory specifications and guidelines, providing consistent quality and excellent dimensional stability.
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Portland Cement Association
A web resource for general information on concrete homes.