Fiber Cement Siding Pros and Cons

Photo of a beige wall of fiber cement siding. Fiber Cement Siding Pros and Cons

You might be curious about fiber cement if you’re picking out new siding for your home. But what are the fiber cement siding pros and cons? Find out below.

Fiber cement is a manmade material that blends cement, silica, and cellulose fibers that are pressed into a mold that will make them look like any other kind of siding type you’re considering. This modern kind of siding type has advantages such as durability, fire resistance, and a great return on investment (ROI) for their home.

However, there are some cons to consider, including the cost, maintenance, and upkeep. Curious as to which will win out for your situation? Keep reading below to find out!

What is fiber cement siding?

To the eye, fiber cement will look like vinyl siding or classic wooden clapboard siding. In reality, it’s made from a combination of the abovementioned ingredients, including cement silica and cellulose. All blended into a durable concoction, they’re pressed into molds to replicate vinyl or wood planks and then primed to be painted later. They also can be painted in the factory and delivered ready to install and enjoy, similar to vinyl!

You’ll find that these have the durability of vinyl but the atmosphere of wood, yet they’re something entirely different!

Does fiber cement siding require maintenance?

If you compare them directly, fiber cement will require more maintenance than vinyl siding. They need to be washed once a year and may need to be repainted every several years, depending on the environmental conditions where you live.

Fiber cement siding pros and cons

So far, it sounds pretty good, right? There are positives and negatives to help you decide if this is the right kind of siding for you and your home. There’s no better place to go now than a list of pros and cons!

Pros of fiber cement siding

  • It can imitate vinyl siding, wood planks, masonry, etc
  • You can get practically any color or texture
  • It’s durable and cost-effective
  • It’s fire-resistant
  • It has strong protective qualities (environmental, pest resistance, and rot/mold)

Cons of fiber cement siding

  • Can be trickier to install
  • Has to be repainted and refinished every so often
  • It doesn’t have much insulation value

Is fiber cement siding the right choice for you?

If you’re wondering if this will be a positive or negative thing for you, take a moment to think about some of the most common questions and their answers. These include:

  • Does fiber cement crack?
  • Does fiber cement warp?
  • How long will fiber cement siding last?

Does fiber cement crack?

Whether from improper installation or exposure to long-term, extreme weather, it’s possible for fiber cement to crack. You will need to patch it using a purpose-designed product for fiber cement crack repairs. The advantage to this, of course, is that you can repair the crack. Vinyl siding often needs to be replaced with a fresh piece.

Does fiber cement warp?

Fiber cement won’t warp. Due to its materials, you’ll find it’ll be your best choice for heat and warp resistance! This is what makes it fireproof. You won’t have to be concerned with twisting out of shape when it’s in direct sunlight or installed in a hot climate!

Fun Fact:

Fiber cement siding is used in many urban areas where buildings are too close together to pass fire code regulations. All of the homes must have fireproof siding!

How long will fiber cement siding last?

Are you ready for some great news? Fiber cement siding will last 50 years if you care for it properly! This is wonderful for those that want to put their investment into proper choices for their home. While you will still have to maintain it, as mentioned, it’s reassuring to know that you’re trusting a choice with such a great lifespan!

How to care for fiber cement siding

If you want to get that full lifespan out of your siding, you’ll want to prioritize the care you put into it.

One of the most important tasks you can take on is cleaning it. Some are concerned that you can’t use a power washer to clean fiber cement siding, but you can! It can be cleaned pretty much the same way, with a professional pressure washer doing most of the heavy lifting for you. Just like other kinds of maintenance, you’ll want to do it once or twice a year to help keep it strong and protected against debris.

Repainting can be done as often as once a year, but you can always look at doing it every several years. If you live in a climate with salt water and direct sun, you should look at doing it every year or two. However, fiber cement siding will hold up well to salt air, unlike many other types of siding.

You can repair fiber cement beautifully, especially compared to the other popular siding options. As I explained above, you’ll just use a patch kit that you can buy from your siding installer or local shop, and patch it up, before painting over it using the same paint you have leftover!

Where to get fiber cement siding

When it first started, it was difficult to get fiber cement siding. It also was very costly since it was so low-demand and produced in very few places. Today, though, it’s very popular and is easy to get. For US shoppers, many brands offer it as a mainline option. Statista reports that CertainTeed is one of the most popular brands in the modern day. But you can also find them in your local siding store if you want to shop locally.

Available colors and styles of fiber cement

The best answer I can give you for this is….if you can dream of it, you can get it. Any color and style will be possible with fiber cement siding, especially with its prominence in modern-day situations. If you want something unique, fiber cement is a great medium since it’s pressed into whatever mold you want. 

Fiber siding is the most popular choice for those that want something unique in a durable material. It’s also reassuring to know that you don’t have to compromise on the originality of your style!

How much does fiber cement siding cost?

One consideration to keep in mind is that fiber cement siding can cost more than your classic vinyl siding. ProgressiveFoam explains that you can expect to pay anywhere from $5-$14 per square foot. The wide range will depend on what kind of design you’re getting and the color you choose, of course. The rarer it is to find or make, the higher the cost.

Does fiber cement siding increase home value?

Yes, fiber cement does increase your home’s value! Since it’s durable, protective, and fire-resistant, your home’s value will increase. It’s one of the best ways to increase your home’s quality if you plan to sell at any time in the future! Just make sure that you factor in the ROI since the upfront cost of the siding is essential to factor into your asking price!

There are many advantages to consider if considering fiber cement siding and its pros and cons. It will be sturdy, durable, protective against the elements, and can be repaired instead of replaced. You can also enjoy it in lots of colors and textures, too. Some important cons include the price and the need to properly upkeep the siding regularly for the best investment. 

Do you know someone who is making siding decisions right now? Share this with them to help them make an informed decision!

Rosa Peterson

Rose is the writer and creator of Better That Home, a blog about home design and decor. Rose has been designing spaces for over 10 years and writing home design and decor for big publishers. She has been inspired by many other creatives from around the world and loves to share those inspirations with her readers. Read more about Rose here