Fiber cement: The perfect exterior cladding?

Fiber cement: The perfect exterior cladding?

When shopping for new exterior siding, what qualities top your list of priorities? There's a pretty good chance your list wouldn't match that of the family that lives up the street. The reasons people choose a certain cladding can be as varied as the styles of their homes. But when going down the checklist of characteristics you'd like your siding to have, don't be surprised if fiber cement scores high in just about every category.

Why fiber cement could be the perfect siding

How are you choosing your next exterior siding? If you're like many families, you may be planning a little window shopping to help you decide. Looking at the various claddings on other homes in the area can be a great way to start your search.

But before getting started, make a list of what siding qualities are most important to you. Do you want a particular style for your home or is finding a certain color shade more critical? And how about longevity and maintenance requirements - where should they rank as priorities? What about installation? Are you planning on doing the work yourself? If so, finding a cladding that's DIY-friendly might need to be near the top of the list. Lastly, don't forget about your allotted budget - almost everyone has a not-to-exceed amount for their project.

By the time the list is done, you might be thinking you'll never find the perfect veneer for your home. Well, the task may actually be quite easy. Here's why fiber cement should rank near the top for all of your priorities:

  • Color - Manufacturers such as JamesHardie and CertainTeed offer over 20 prefinished colors and if you can't find one that works, select ready-to-paint boards to apply your own hue.
  • Styles - Clapboard, beaded, Dutchlap, or shingles - these and other designs provide plenty of style options for almost any home.
  • Longevity - Expect a limited warranty on cement siding of 30 years or longer. In some cases the warranty can be transferred to a future purchaser of the house.
  • Maintenance - Choose a prefinished color and all you should ever need is a water hose and a little soap to keep your siding looking new.
  • Installation - If you can handle basic hand tools safely and have average DIY skills, installing the siding yourself shouldn't be a problem. Installation is much the same as wood siding, though you'll need a special saw blade to cut the material and the cement siding boards are a little heavier.
  • Cost - Price can vary depending on manufacturer, style, color, and where you're located, but expect to pay in the range of $130 - $170 per square for the siding materials. If you plan on hiring a contractor, don't forget to add in installation labor which can range from $140 to $170 per square. These costs are a little more than vinyl siding, but less than for stucco, stone, or brick veneer.

When you add it all up, fiber cement might just be the perfect exterior siding for your home.

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