Never underestimate the importance of a home’s siding. It doesn’t bear as much weight as the foundation of your home or get seen as much as your home’s interior design, but your choice in siding can have a substantial impact on your home’s value, environmental resistance, and overall safety.
There are many types of siding available, the most common probably being vinyl. Brick, wood, stucco, and stone veneer are also popular options. However, there’s one relatively new siding option that offers similar or superior qualities compared to the more traditional options: fiber-cement siding.
What Is Fiber-Cement Siding?
Fiber-cement siding was first introduced about 25 years ago, so it’s a relatively recent innovation in the world of siding. Rather than being a single, solid material, fiber-cement siding is a composite material, combining sand, cement, and cellulose fibers into a blend that offers the advantages of all three substances. It can be cut thin or thick, painted any color, and modeled to resemble a number of different, more traditional siding aesthetics.
The Advantages of Fiber-Cement
Now that you understand the form and function of fiber-cement siding, let’s take a closer look at the five advantages that put it ahead of the competition:
1. The aesthetic value. Fiber-cement siding can be customized to suit almost any taste, but the baseline curb appeal of fiber-cement puts it above vinyl, brick, or other materials for most consumers. It doesn’t degrade over time the way vinyl does, and looks “new” for decades after its initial installation. It’s also possible to re-paint fiber-cement siding, though it’s less necessary than with traditional siding materials, so you can always change your mind later or give your house a different look.
2. The increased home value. Fiber-cement siding objectively increases the value of your home, usually for an amount close to what you invested. According to 2014 averages, fiber-cement siding replacement cost $13,378, but added $11,645 to the value of the home in question, resulting in a recouped cost of 87 percent. That gives it a higher proportional home value increase than vinyl siding replacement (at 78 percent), window replacement (at 76 percent), or a bathroom remodel (at 63 percent). When you go to sell your home, you’ll get almost all of your money back—not to mention the decreased maintenance costs you’ll enjoy in the meantime.
3. Greater resistance against the elements. Siding is vulnerable to a number of environmental damages. For example, ice and snow storms in the winter can cause your siding to prematurely degrade, and older, more traditional siding provides less insulation in cold weather. Hot, humid weather can also cause certain types of siding to rot, but fiber-cement siding can stand up to these hot, humid conditions. Fiber-cement material also carries high resistances against wind and rain, providing better protection against tropical storms and generally stormy conditions—it won’t rip, tear, degrade, or suffer damage near as easily. Plus, because of its sand and cement content, it’s resistant to insect damage, such as termite infestations.
4. Greater resistance to fire. Some types of siding, like brick, are naturally resistant to fire, but traditional varieties, including vinyl and wood, are often vulnerable to flames. Vinyl siding can melt or warp when exposed to flame, and won’t do anything to keep your house from setting ablaze. Fiber-cement siding, on the other hand, offers near-perfect protection against fire, thanks to its natural sand and cement content. There are consistently more than 1 million house fires every year, resulting in tens of billions of dollars in damage—fiber-cement siding greatly reduces the possibility that your home will suffer that level of fire damage.
5. Lower maintenance over the long term. Most forms of siding require periodic maintenance in order to keep their luster. Vinyl siding needs to be washed and occasionally repainted, and the mold and mildew that accumulates must be removed. Colors fade, materials degrade, and eventually the entire siding system will need to be replaced, usually after 15 to 20 years. Fiber-cement siding requires far less maintenance; it suffers less damage, so it doesn’t need cleaned or replaced as often, and is built to last for 50 years or longer. It will need repainted eventually, but not nearly as often as its closest contemporary siding options.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
Fiber-cement siding has a number of advantages over its modern counterparts, but there are also a handful of disadvantages you’ll need to consider before finalizing your decision. First, fiber-cement siding is somewhat more expensive than other, more traditional options like vinyl. It comes with a higher material cost and a higher installation cost, meaning your upfront investment will be higher. It’s also worth mentioning that the value of fiber-cement siding isn’t the same for all geographic locations; areas with calmer, milder climates won’t need as much environmental resistance as those subject to periodic heavy storms or those in hot, humid zones.
Hardieplank Siding and Other Fiber-Cement Varieties
Hardieplank siding, sometimes called James Hardie siding, is a specific brand of fiber-cement siding that helped popularize the material. Installed on more than 5.5 million homes, it offers a 30-year warranty against chipping, rotting, cracking, and delaminating, and is built for durability. It comes in a variety of different styles and colors to suit almost any home siding need.
How to Get Fiber-Cement Siding for Your Home
If you’re interested in installing Hardieplank siding or any fiber-cement siding for your home, you can request a quote here. In addition to providing a cost basis for new fiber-cement siding installation, we’ll help you understand the full range of advantages the siding can offer your home, including the potentially increased home value. Don’t let your home remain vulnerable to weather damage, fire, and higher maintenance costs—instead, make the long-term investment to keep your home safe, raise its value, and increase its curb appeal all at the same time.