Fiber Cement Siding: Why It Stands Up to Wood and Vinyl

From on December 05, 2007 in General Remodel

fiber cement sidingHome improvement projects are not all created equal. Some garner a higher return on your investment. Installing fiber cement siding is one such project. According to Remodeling Magazine, an average of 88.1% of the cost of installing fiber cement siding can be recouped after resale. The magazine’s 2007 Cost vs. Value Report identifies fiber cement siding replacements as the consistently highest paying midrange and upscale remodeling investment in several U.S. regions. In addition, Industry News reports that fiber cement siding demand will rise at an above average rate through 2010.

So, what’s the big deal with fiber cement? In general, masonry and concrete cladding products tend to be the most popular. They accounted for two-thirds of global demand in 2005. Industry News cites performance attributes, comparatively low cost, and the ability to mimic the appearance of other cladding materials as the reasons for fiber cement’s consistent and growing popularity.

fiber cement sidingVinyl has also undergone a surge in popularity, especially with its improved performance and compatibility with installation materials to provide excellent energy efficiency in the home. Homeowners looking for durability and low cost often turn to vinyl over metal siding. This Old House reports that vinyl has captured 32 percent of the U.S. siding market for new homes. It also costs 2 1/2 times less to install than a cedar counterpart.

Fiber cement, though, has also been around for a long time, over 100 years at that. Made from sand, cement, water, and additives, fiber cement requires a lot of energy to produce. The fibers, once containing asbestos, now consist of cellulose that reinforces the concrete and keeps it from cracking. Unlike vinyl, which has color all the way through the material, fiber cement must be painted on site. It can resemble traditional building materials like stucco and wood. Fiber cement does not damage easily like stucco and will not rot or dry like wood. It is also resistant to termites and fire. According to Expert Village, fiber cement is energy efficient, too, providing the insulation for many green homes. In some regions, fiber cement siding can even cost less than the highest quality vinyl siding.

Updated 01/31/08: We recently added more information about fiber cement siding to our growing content library.