What is fiber cement siding?

If you are thinking of exterior home remodelling, you may be wondering about the options you have for siding. You may want to think of alternatives to the regular vinyl or wood siding that most homes have and consider fiber cement siding. Here is some basic information about the material and how it can be used on your house.

What is fiber cement siding?

Fiber cement siding is a relatively new material for siding. It looks like wood but has altogether different characteristics. It is fire retardant unlike wood and installation is also easier as you will not need to strip off any existing siding you have on the house. It is as durable as vinyl siding and is extremely resistant to the elements. It is also paintable unlike vinyl siding. It has a deep structure and is thick much like siding made of wood.

What is it made of?

Fiber cement siding composition will depend on the product and manufacturer but they are essentially made up of different proportions of sand, cement, cellulose fibers or wood fibers and fly ash. The combination of these materials makes it resistant to fire and moisture as well as to pests and mold.

Is it completely fire resistant?

No, fiber cement siding is fire retardant to a certain degree. It will not be able to protect the house completely from fire. However, it has excellent values in terms of slowing down the progress of the fire which might make the difference when it comes to the safety of you and your loved ones.  The extent to which it can slow down a fire depends on the thickness of the particular brand of siding that you choose to use. Most of the fiber cement siding products have around a “1 hour fire rating”.

Does it have good insulating properties?

Fiber cement siding, in general, does not have good insulating properties and is much like other sidings when it comes to insulation. Of course, this will again differ from product to product. However, their R-value is generally quite low. You will have to include extra insulation in the walls like you would for any other siding.

What are its disadvantages?

Apart from a low insulation value, it is also quite brittle and can break easily under stress. It is also quite expensive compared to other kinds of siding. Installation also requires professionals as it is almost impossible for amateurs to install without breakage.

Ask your contractor about the qualities of the siding and if it is a good fit for you.