In the course of running Legacy Remodeling, one product that I am being asked about more and more over the past year is siding made of something called fiber cement. Fiber cement is produced by mixing sand, cement and wood fiber. The resulting boards or panels can then be used for a variety of applications. As a home remodeling company, we use fiber cement as a high quality siding material on many of our customers homes.
Fiber cement has many advantages over both traditional wood siding as well as vinyl and aluminum siding. Where wood siding can be vulnerable to fire and insects, and vinyl and aluminum siding can be dented and damaged by weather, fiber cement products are highly resistant to all of these challenges. In addition to this durability, fiber cement siding products typically look more like the real wood siding that it is intended to replace than vinyl or aluminum siding.
Probably the biggest concern with fiber cement products is the potential vulnerability to moisture. If not sealed properly upon installation, fiber cement panels can wick up water. This is something that can be prevented however by working with companies that are experienced in the installation of fiber cement and know how to do it right. Additionally, the installation of fiber cement is more labor intensive than a vinyl or aluminum siding installation, for this reason it is the labor portion of a fiber cement project that makes all the difference between a top notch product and a job that you regret. If you are considering installing fiber cement on your home it is very important that you work with a a good quality contractor who can show you examples of their work.
There are several companies which produce fiber cement siding products. Including Certainteed, GAF and James Hardie as well as several smaller manufacturer's. At Legacy we handle the James Hardie product. James Hardie pioneered fiber cement production practices in the 1980's which in turn lead to fiber cement being a widely used material. Fiber cement products are more widely used in the southern US, but are gaining acceptance as a replacement product in the more mature housing markets in the north east US.
Hardie Board, as James Hardie calls their lap siding can be purchased as a pre-painted product that comes with a factory applied baked on enamel finish. This is something that we highly recommend as it comes with a 15 year warranty. This is 2-3 times the life span of paint on wood siding. Also, when the product does eventually need a new coat of paint, fiber cement will actually hold the paint better than wood, meaning that subsequent paintings will last longer.
One final thing that I really like about Hardie products is the "green" aspect of fiber cement. All of the basic ingredients are essentially renewable and unlike vinyl siding, Hardie does not rely on petroleum products for the production of fiber cement products.
If you are interested in getting more information on fiber cement siding products or in getting an estimate for a project, please contact Legacy Remodeling and let us help you.