Hey there, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. This is my first posting since we integrated the What's New blog into the Legacy Remodeling website. We made this adjustment in order to allow my posts to be better shared with Legacy's customers who visit our website.

Today the topic of my post is fiber cement siding products. Fiber cement products are an alternative siding material that can be used in applications where vinyl, wood or aluminum siding would be used, fiber cement can also be used in the same types of applications as where you would normally find stucko or on Tudor style homes.

What makes fiber cement siding unique is its composition. Fiber cement siding is essentially a mixture of cement, sand, water and wood fibers (hence fiber cement). The result of this mixture is a durable, rigid material that can be produced in a variety of sizes and profiles. There are a number of manufacturer's of fiber cement products including Certainteed and GAF, but the most widely known brand is James Hardie's Hardie Board products.

Fiber cement products attempt to solve some of the shortfalls that are found in other types of siding such as vinyl and wood. Because of the concrete content in the material, fiber cement is much more impact resistant than typical vinyl siding, it is also more rigid, which allows for a flatter, cleaner looking installation which wont experience the rippling that can occur with some vinyl siding. Fiber cement products have virtually no expansion and contraction, so an installation that occurs when its 50 degrees out will still look good whether its 0 or 105 degree's. Additionally, these products are able to resist heat that would melt vinyl and burn wood. In fact, Hardie Board carries a class one fire rating.

Fiber cement products are widely used in the southern US where they have achieved a very high market penetration through new construction over the past decade or so. Here in the northeast however, these products have not been as commonly used. This has begun to change however as consumer awareness of these products has begun to create demand. In fact for the past 4 years Remodeling Magazine has listed an upscale siding replacement with fiber cement siding as the #1 project for homeowners in terms of the return on the investment when the home is later sold. According to the 2009-2010 edition of this report, a homeowner who installs a fiber cement project with an average value of $13,500  (1250 sq. ft.) can expect to recoup 83.6% of this investment when they sell their home.

Due to the primary ingredients, fiber cement is a "green," sustainable product which does not harm the environment, in contrast to vinyl siding which is based on petroleum, this seems very preferable to me.

There are some drawbacks to fiber cement products however. First is cost. This material is significantly more expensive than a typical vinyl siding. It  also requires installation by a crew who is experienced with this type of material. I have seen the results of another company's installer learning on the job with Hardie Board and it was not pretty. As is always the case, the right remodeler is key. Painting is another shortfall of this product. A number of fiber cement products require the material to be painted by the installer, this can lead to uneven paint that doesn't last as long as it should. For this reason I would recommend only purchasing a fiber cement siding that comes with a high quality factory applied paint.

Legacy installs both James Hardie brand fiber cement siding as well as Cedar Ridge composite vinyl siding. Both are very high quality products which many of our customers are enjoying on their homes. If you would like more information about new siding for your home, please contact us so that we can provide you with a free consultation on the ways we can help you to make your home more beautiful and maintenance free.