Fiber cement is a great material to work with, given all the advantages that it provides, like durability, longevity, and weather protection. However, it’s important to know that proper installation is key for getting the best performance out of fiber cement siding.
Securing the right tools for cutting fiber cement siding is essential. Here, we’ll break down the best fiber cement siding cutting tools and present a few additional tools that can come in handy when it comes time to install fiber cement siding.
Working with Fiber Cement
Fiber cement is a siding material that provides better durability and longevity than other materials. One of the reasons it’s able to perform better is because of its unique composition. Fiber cement is made up of a precise ratio of sand, cement, water, and cellulose fibers. This particular combination gives fiber cement superior strength — which makes it a preferred material to use for house siding.
Some folks assume that the enhanced strength of fiber cement makes it difficult to work with. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, builders should always follow the specific installation guidelines and practices outlined by the fiber cement siding manufacturer. The reality is that, in most cases, fiber cement siding tools are quite common devices that most builders already have.
Let’s take a look at the fiber cement siding cutting tools you’ll need to get your project rolling.
6 Essential Tools for Cutting Fiber Cement Siding
1. Power Saws with Polycrystalline Diamond Blades
There are multiple saws that will work for cutting fiber cement, such as a jigsaw, table saw, or circular saw. Most carpenters and contractors already have, and use, these saws as part of their daily work. However, what’s really important here is to use the correct blade. A polycrystalline diamond blade is absolutely essential to get a smooth cut on fiber cement siding.
Another tip is to do your cutting outdoors. Because of its composition, there is a lot of dust involved with cutting fiber cement. It is recommended to always cut fiber cement siding outdoors or in an area with excellent ventilation. Best practice is to hook your saw up to a mechanical ventilation system, like a HEPA vac.
2. Sawing Essentials: Carpenter Square and Saw Horses
Other tools for cutting fiber cement siding include a carpenter square and saw horses. Again, these are very basic tools that most builders have as part of any siding installation or cutting task. However, it’s always a good reminder for DIY enthusiasts who are tempted to take short-cuts to get the job done quicker. These additional tools will help ensure clean and safe execution of the task and lead to a more successful install.
3. Masonry Bit or a Carbided Tipped Hole Saw
A masonry bit or hole saw is another essential tool needed for fiber cement siding installation. This can be helpful when carving out circular openings to accommodate piping or wiring. Attach the masonry bit to an electric drill if you intend on punching holes, as this will help execute a clean hole without any rough edging.
4. Safety Glasses and Dust Mask
Safety gear is a must-have. Fiber cement siding has cellulose fibers as part of its makeup, so protecting yourself from these tiny fibers is important. In addition to working outdoors where there is adequate airflow, it’s also recommended to use eye protection and a dust mask, like a Niosh 95, to keep your eyes and mouth properly protected from any stray particles that are released into the air.
This advice probably won’t come as a surprise, since most builders use eye protection and masks as part of their standard protective equipment on the job, but it’s especially important when working with fiber cement.
5. Powered Nail Gun
Finally, there are two more tools to consider if you want to perform the installation job quickly and effectively. First of all, a pnumatic siding or roofing nail gun is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to installing fiber cement siding because it speeds up the project and saves a ton of time and energy for the builder. Do not use framing nail guns because as many do not allow you to fine-tune the airpressure to assure not overdriving nails into your board.
Though it’s not essential — you can always drill in the siding or hammer it in by hand — relying on a powered nail gun is common practice for most siding contractors. It will help not only with efficiency but improve nail placement, which is critical when nailing in a large amount of boards in a precise configuration.
6. Gecko Gauges
Working as a pair, gecko gauges are an excellent addition to your toolbox, especially if you plan on performing the fiber cement siding installation on your own without a helper. Used by most professionals, the gauges clamp to the previous coarse and hold the board you are fastening in place with the proper exposure. Paired with a powered nail gun, these tools can significantly improve efficiency and overall precision, and help DIYers to get the job done if all they have is their lonesome.
Allura is the #1 Fiber Cement Manufacturer
Believe it or not, installing fiber cement siding is not difficult — as long as you have the right tools! Not only is fiber cement readily installed, even by the DIYer, it is a fantastic siding material that functionally and aesthetically improves your home.
Contact the professionals at Allura today to discover more about modern fiber cement and the tremendous advantages it offers over other siding materials.