Is fiber cement siding right for your home? You'll need to know the pros and cons of fiber cement siding before deciding. A handful of materials make up the vast majority of home exteriors.
But fiber cement siding is a relatively new kid on the block that may be worth considering! Fiber cement is extremely durable and is capable of holding up to some of the most extreme weather conditions.
It lasts just as long, if not longer, than vinyl. And can easily be customized to suit your home’s aesthetic.
Of course, durability comes at a price. In the case of fiber cement siding, installation can be costly. Plus, since fiber cement weighs significantly more than other siding materials, it’s very difficult to work with.
Is fiber cement siding the next big thing in home exteriors? Here are the pros and cons of fiber cement siding you should know:
13 Pros and Cons of Fiber Cement Siding You Need To Know
Pros of Fiber Cement Siding
1. Extremely Durable
It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that fiber cement siding is one of the most durable materials on the market! This material stands up to general wear and tear extremely well.
It also won’t warp when exposed to moisture or heat like many other popular siding solutions. Pests will have a terrible time trying to get through fiber cement siding.
And you’ll rarely need to worry about factors like mold, rot, or mildew damaging your home’s exterior.
2. Holds Up to the Environment
In addition to everyday durability, fiber cement siding is capable of surviving nearly anything Mother Nature throws at it. Fiber cement won’t succumb to damage caused by salty air.
So it’s a great siding solution for homeowners living close to the ocean! Many people opt for this siding because of its ability to stand up to hurricanes and tornadoes when other materials would be long gone.
3. Great Lifespan
Many fiber cement products are warrantied for up to 50 years. Properly installed, well-maintained fiber cement siding can last upwards of 100 years.
This material runs circles around wood and aluminum siding in terms of lifespan. And it can even exceed the average lifespan of high-quality vinyl siding!
4. Heat- and Flame-Resistant
Fiber cement siding boasts the highest possible rating for heat and flame resistance on the market. It is a great option for regions where wildfires are commonplace.
5. Available in Many Styles
With fiber cement siding, you have a wide variety of colors and styles at your disposal to customize your home’s exterior. Fiber cement is available as horizontal or vertical planks, shingles, and more.
Most fiber cement siding is finished to look like natural wood. However, that’s just a sliver of the potential this material holds.
Fiber cement can mimic the appearance of brick, stone, stucco, and more. So you can achieve the curb appeal of your dreams while enjoying the many practical benefits of fiber cement siding!
6. Easy to Paint
Many siding materials — most notably, vinyl — are not designed to be painted. But fiber cement siding can be painted multiple times for a fresh aesthetic!
This is great news for homeowners who have a hard time committing to one exterior color for the foreseeable future.
Cons of Fiber Cement Siding
1. Requires Routine Maintenance
On average, factory-finished fiber cement siding should last a decade or more before needing to be repainted. Once the paint starts to show wear, however, it must be maintained throughout the siding’s lifespan.
For a low-maintenance solution, invest in fiber cement that does not require painting. These products are typically labeled “colorfast.”
2. Not Moisture Proof
Fiber cement definitely isn’t the worst siding in terms of moisture problems! But improper installation or lack of maintenance could leave this material susceptible to water-related damage.
Hiring an experienced installer is easily the best investment you can make in your fiber cement siding’s future.
Staying on top of routine maintenance — i.e., painting and caulking — is also essential to preventing moisture problems down the road.
3. Poorly Insulated
Energy-efficient siding is a wonderful investment for both your wallet and the planet. Unfortunately, fiber cement falls short in this regard.
Compared to traditional vinyl siding, fiber cement is only slightly less insulating. However, this gap grows significantly when compared to insulated vinyl siding.
4. Difficult to Install
As a general rule, siding installation is a project best left to professionals. This is even more true of fiber cement than it is of a material like vinyl.
And the difficulty of installing fiber cement doesn’t just come from the potential issues that can occur when done wrong. Fiber cement tends to crack when handled incorrectly.
While mistakes happen, this can add up quickly if several pieces break during installation! Special tools are required to cut and mount fiber cement siding.
Last (but definitely not least), fiber cement siding is very, very heavy. On average, it weighs four- to five-times as much as vinyl siding.
This weight means more hands on deck and more total man-hours needed to install the material.
5. Weighs Quite a Lot
Speaking of fiber cement’s weight, it’s not just something to consider during installation.
Some structures may not be able to support the immense weight of fiber cement. Older homes, in particular, should be inspected before installing fiber cement siding.
6. Not the Most Affordable
Every homeowner knows that high-quality materials pay for themselves over many years. But that doesn’t change the fact that the cost of installation can be a tough pill to swallow.
The price per square foot of fiber cement siding is only a few dollars more than vinyl on average.
Once you take into account the increased labor costs, however, fiber cement becomes much more expensive than most other siding materials.
7. Relatively New to the Industry
Investing in the newest home materials can be very exciting. It also comes with a few unique drawbacks.
Unlike vinyl siding, fiber cement siding is currently not subject to any industry testing or certification. It’s recommended that homeowners only purchase from established, trusted brands for this reason.
Also, the fact that fiber cement is not as popular as something like vinyl can make finding an experienced contractor difficult in some areas.
For homeowners looking for the sturdiest siding material around, you can’t get much better than fiber cement! This material is built to last and looks great.
It’s the most flame-retardant siding currently available and can handle weather damage from wind and hail. While some types of fiber cement require painting, this lets homeowners customize the finish to suit their changing needs.
Colorfast fiber cement products are always an option for those on the hunt for minimal maintenance. Due to its weight, installing fiber cement siding is neither cheap nor easy.
Finding a specialist can be difficult in some areas and improper installation could put your home at risk for moisture damage. Fiber cement may not be the best option if energy efficiency is at the top of your priorities.
It offers little in terms of natural insulation (and adding a layer of foam underneath will only add to installation costs!).