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Should You Install Fiber-Cement Siding on Your House?

Viable Alternative to Vinyl But At a High Cost, Too

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Homeowners are always looking for less-expensive ways of siding their house. For many, it's hard to stomach the idea of siding their house with vinyl. These people are looking to maintain the traditional look of their house, and vinyl just won't cut it.

Refurbishing the original wood siding would be preferable, until you price it out. And if that wood siding is torn-up, weather-beaten, and termite-eaten, forget about it. That's before you consider things like spending a whole summer scraping and sanding lead-based paint.

What's a renovating homeowner supposed to do in a situation like this? Consider fiber-cement siding.

Fiber-cement siding is a mixture of sand, cement, and celluose (added to prevent cracking). This slurry is auto-claved, imprinted with designs, and baked. It comes out as thin, hardened shingles of various sizes.

More Than Just HardiPlank

HardiPlank is the tradename of the most popular type of fiber-cement siding. Over 100 years ago, James Hardie emigrated from Scotland to Australia, and with a partner, Andrew Reid, formed the James Hardie Company. Hardie retired and sold off his end to Reid, but the James Hardie name continued.

That said, today there are many other fiber-cement manufacturers besides James Hardie: Cemplank, Certainteed, GAF Materials, MaxiTile, Nichiha, and more.

But do you want fiber-cement siding on your house? Consider the pros and cons.

Fiber-cement siding looks great on the face of it. But as with anything, there are plusses and minuses. Let's add them up.

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Considerably more fire-resistent than vinyl or wood siding.
  • Imprinted designs imitate wood-grain remarkably well, even from close-up.
  • Tougher, stronger than vinyl siding.
  • Can be cost-effective when compared to a full-scale refurbishment of wood clapboard.
  • Can be painted, thus giving homeowner more design choices.

Cons

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