What is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber-cement is a category of siding that is made up of three basic ingredients and there are about a half-dozen manufacturers in the United States who use the same basic mixture of sand, cement, and cellulose. This mixture is autoclaved or fused under high temperatures. The designs and colors are added before it is baked and sometimes it may have a finishing coat referred to as colorfast. It comes out as thin, hardened shingles or planks of various sizes.
Siding materials vary depending on the manufacturers who may use a thicker or thinner fiber as well as differing amounts of ingredients in the mixture. These differences are important and can be specific to environments. You will need to check with your siding installation company to find which type is best for your area.
Some manufacturers only sell it with the primer coat and some sell it both with the primer coat and also with the color pre-applied so you do not need to paint your home after the installation. It is important to note that if you decide to install fiber cement siding covered only with the primer coat, you have to paint it within 90 days or you will void the manufacturer’s warranty. The other major consideration is that after it’s been painted it must also be caulked and sealed. Neglecting that will void the manufactures warranty also. Often, it’s best to have your fiber cement siding installed pre-painted as the installation company can caulk and seal it as they go, ensuring you receive the twenty-five-year warranty. This will increase the cost of your project upfront, but after you pay painters and have the installation company come back to caulk and seal, it is usually cheaper to install the product already painted.
Fiber cement is a sustainable product because of its long life and durable nature. It has a high density, and its compressed fiber cement has excellent strength, ductility, hardness. In addition, it’s impact resistant and has a very high fracture tolerance. These properties coupled with superb freeze-thaw characteristics and resistance to fungi, mold, and bacteria make fiber cement an excellent choice with which to side the outside or your home. These mostly maintenance-free materials combined with a well-ventilated installation and proper house wrap contribute to increased heating and cooling efficiency.
Another important thing to consider about fiber-cement siding that impacts its cost is the fact that it cannot be manufactured on a small or medium scale. You will not find a small, local fiber-cement company in your local industrial area. It’s a large-scale, energy-intensive process that requires companies with large amounts of capital to build factories large enough to manufacture large quantities of fiber cement siding. You will not find a fiber cement company whose revenue is under a billion dollars.