Best House Siding: Why Fiber Cement Is Your Best Option

When the time comes to replace the siding on your home, the number of choices on the market can be overwhelming. Most homeowners are looking for something low-maintenance, durable, affordable, and attractive. Unfortunately, not all of the options on the market fit that criteria.

Wood has a long history of being used to clad homes and is attractive, while vinyl siding is considered to be the more affordable and low-maintenance option. Materials like metal siding and stucco are often more expensive, difficult to install, or not as easy to maintain. Now there’s fiber cement.

Fiber cement meets all the criteria that homeowners want for their homes – it’s low-maintenance, durable, attractive, and relatively affordable, especially when you factor in the savings on maintenance. Would you like to know more? Let’s talk about it!

What is Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiber cement siding is a unique mixture of materials that gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a highly durable siding that comes in many different styles, colors, and appearances to complement any home. It’s made from a blend of cellulose fiber (wood pulp), sand, silica, and Portland cement.

It can be formed to take on nearly any texture or appearance, including stone, although it’s most commonly found in styles that mimic the look and texture of wood, such as clapboard, lap siding, board and batten, or shingles.

The Benefits of Fiber Cement Siding

There are many benefits to fiber cement siding that make it stand out from other siding materials. Fiber cement performs well in nearly all climates by resisting many of the issues that plague other forms of siding. If you live in an area with inclement weather or extreme temperatures, fiber cement is the best material option for you.

It’s also impact and moisture-resistant, unattractive to insects, and flame-retardant. Plus, fiber cement planks, panels, and shingles are heavy and durable, but fairly easy to install.

Side-by-Side Comparisons of Fiber Cement vs. Other Common Siding Materials

Are you looking for more information about how fiber cement stacks up against other siding materials? Well, look no further. Here are direct, side-by-side comparisons of fiber cement siding versus the other common materials on the market:

Fiber Cement vs. Wood Siding

Fiber cement is most frequently compared to wood simply because it looks so much like wood once it is installed. That makes fiber cement the best choice for anyone who loves the traditional look of a wood-clad home, but doesn’t want the expense and issues that wood can bring.

Wood siding is susceptible to moisture and moisture-related issues that can cause it to swell, shrink, and crack over time. If wood siding is exposed to enough moisture, it will begin to soften and rot. To help protect it, it must be scraped and painted every few years, which leads to high maintenance costs.

What About Cost?

Fiber cement may look like wood, but it resists rot and other moisture-related issues. The finish also lasts for years longer than wood, so there isn’t the same level of maintenance required to help your home keep its good looks. Wood siding also costs an average of $7 - $10 per square foot, while fiber cement has costs starting well under $5 per square foot, so fiber cement is much less expensive than the hardwood alternative.

Fiber Cement vs. Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding gets a lot of attention because it’s supposed to be a low-maintenance alternative to wood. Compared to wood, it is indeed lower in maintenance, doesn’t require painting, and resists moisture and insect activity.

However, when compared to fiber cement, vinyl starts to fall short. Vinyl may be low-maintenance, but it’s not very durable. It’s so lightweight that high winds can easily tear it off a home, and in cold weather, it can become very brittle and crack. In a hot climate, however, the opposite can occur, and the vinyl can begin to soften, melt, and warp, so it’s only recommended for use in moderate climates.

On the other hand, fiber cement can be installed anywhere, because it naturally resists both heat and cold. It’s more durable than vinyl and also resists high wind speeds, so you don’t need to worry about what climate you live in.

Also, vinyl siding never looks as close to wood as most homeowners want. It has very visible plastic seams and limited color and style choices. Fiber cement comes in a wide range of textures and styles, as well as sizes. In addition to clapboard-style planks, you can also get a range of shingles, shakes, and architectural panels with different textures and finishes.

What About Cost?

Vinyl costs slightly more than fiber cement, coming in at around $5 per square foot for high-quality vinyl, while fiber cement costs closer to $4 per square foot. Fiber Cement vs. Metal Siding

Metal siding was introduced around the same time as vinyl for the same reasons – people wanted a durable, lower-maintenance alternative to wood. Metal siding is usually either steel or aluminum, and both are available in several different styles, including lap siding or board and batten. They can also have a smooth finish or a simulated wood grain.

Steel is more durable than some wood alternatives, but if the finish is scratched, the metal underneath can rust. Aluminum doesn’t corrode, but it’s so lightweight that it often has issues with denting. In either case, metal siding is more maintenance than most people realize.

On the other hand, fiber cement resists corrosion, rot, and other issues that may affect metal siding. It’s also impact-resistant, so it won’t dent the way aluminum does.

What About Cost?

Metal siding costs between $5 and $10 per square foot, while fiber cement costs $4 to $10 per square foot. This makes fiber cement the better option for price, durability, and maintenance.

Fiber Cement vs. Stucco Siding

Stucco is a unique material that also uses cement as its base for durable, rot-, moisture-, and impact-resistant siding. Depending on the aggregate used, it can be smooth or textured, and it works well in areas with high moisture content in the air, such as the southern U.S.

Stucco’s biggest drawback is its installation. You need a highly qualified professional to install it, and since each type of stucco is unique, even if you find someone who can install the variety you want, that person may not know how to apply any other style. That’s ultimately very limiting.

Stucco also has a tendency to crack when the house settles, which means repairing not only that area, but also repainting the entire structure to ensure that the repair matches.

On the other side, fiber cement comes in a wide range of architectural panels that can help give you the appearance of stucco without the installation drawbacks or the worry about house settling.

What About Cost?

Stucco is more expensive than fiber cement, with costs starting at around $6 and $9 per square foot for a basic stucco siding. Compared to $4 per square foot for fiber cement, there’s an obvious winner.

Fiber Cement vs. Brick Siding

Fiber cement and brick siding represent two highly durable, low-maintenance options for homeowners looking for long-term siding solutions. Brick has a classic appeal and proven longevity. It offers a timeless look that can significantly increase a home’s curb appeal and overall value. Brick is naturally resistant to fire, pests, and weather-related damage, making it an excellent protector against the elements.

However, brick siding comes with a higher initial installation cost compared to fiber cement. Plus, you may need to repoint and clean its mortar joints occasionally, which can increase its overall long-term cost.

On the other hand, fiber cement siding provides a versatile and cost-effective alternative to brick. It can mimic the appearance of brick, wood, and stucco to give homeowners the flexibility to achieve their desired look without the associated costs.

Plus, it’s known for its resistance to fire, pests, rot, and moisture, which are similar to brick, but without the maintenance required and intensive installation process.

What About Cost?

The labor-intensive process of laying bricks and the material cost can push the price to $10 per square foot. This makes it one of the more expensive siding options on the market. Adversely, the installation costs for fiber cement are more affordable, starting at around $4 to $6 per square foot, which makes it a much more budget-friendly alternative.

Get the Best Siding Option for Your Home

Of all these different types of siding, only fiber cement delivers on appearance, maintenance, durability, and cost. It comes in a wide range of attractive styles and can be installed in many different ways. It’s also less expensive and lower maintenance than other types of siding while remaining more durable.

If you’re looking for the best siding option for your home, choose Allura fiber cement for the job.

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