If you’re building a new home or a garage, addition, workshop, or barn—or if it’s time to replace the ancient, weather-beaten siding on your home—consider one of the newest “old” products on the market today, fiber-cement siding.What Is Fiber-Cement Siding, and What Are Your Options?
Like conventional siding, fiber-cement siding is applied to the exterior of buildings to protect them—and us— from the elements. This product comes in a multitude of colors and styles that resemble conventional siding materials—notably, stucco, cedar shingles, and wood clapboards. What’s different about this product is that it’s made primarily from cement, ground sand, and wood fiber—often a recycled wood-fiber waste product—a combination that results in an extremely durable, long-lasting material.
Fiber-cement siding typically costs a bit more than vinyl siding, but less than stucco and traditional wood siding, and much less than redwood siding. It also outlasts its competitors—often by decades—because it resists many common hazards, including fire, wind, insects, and rain. Fiber-cement siding is recommended in all climates, but is ideal for hot, humid regions. No matter how wet it gets, it won’t rot.
Because of its durability and long life, fiber-cement siding reduces maintenance and replacement costs as well as resource demand and waste sent to landfills. Unfortunately, there are currently no recycling programs in place for fiber-cement siding itself. However, it is an inert material that, if sent to a landfill, should not endanger the environment.
Although many builders and homeowners are just discovering the benefits of fiber-cement siding, this material has been around for quite some time—nearly 100 years—so you won’t be experimenting with a new product. Fiber-cement siding comes in a variety of colors and styles. One popular choice is planks made with a wood-grained or a smooth finish. These come in widths from 4 to 12 inches—so you can match existing siding if you’re building an addition or garage. Fiber-cement siding also comes in wall panels with vertical grooves and soffit panels for the underside of overhangs.
Excerpted from Green Home Improvement, available through RSMeans.