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    How to Maximize the Lifespan of Your Fiber Cement Siding

    Fiber cement is a high-quality siding material that can look great and deliver superb performance for several years. It’s also a low-maintenance type of siding, so keeping it in good condition doesn’t take so much time and effort. That said, make sure to give your fiber cement siding the proper care it needs. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to take this type of siding for granted. After all, it is extremely durable and designed to withstand strong winds, hail, storms and other weather events. Fiber cement siding is also known for being fire-, insect- and rot-resistant.

    How to Maximize the Lifespan of Your Fiber Cement Siding

    Stock: fiber cement siding

    However, keep in mind that much like other siding materials, fiber cement siding can become prone to damage or other issues if it is not given proper care and maintenance. So if you have been skipping the upkeep of your siding for some time now, you might want to check for any visible signs of damage. Of course, it’s still best to hire a professional to take a look at the material and provide maintenance services. But as a homeowner, it also helps to know the proper ways of caring for your fiber cement siding.

    In this post, trusted siding and roofing company Orion Home Improvements, LLC shares some tips on how you can keep your fiber cement siding in great shape and make it last longer.

    Check the Caulking Regularly

    Fiber cement has excellent resistance against moisture. However, it can eventually become susceptible to leaks, condensation, molds and warping if the sealant used in the siding gets worn out. The waterproof sealant used in fiber cement siding is usually silicone caulk. It mainly joins the siding to the other parts of your home, so you normally see it around door frames, window sills and other edges.

    Stock: close-up of a siding, the part near a door frame or window sill

    To ensure that this barrier remains in good condition, you should check the caulk every year. Watch out for cracks or any gaps that need to be fixed. Much like roof repair, siding repair can also help in prolonging the life of your siding.

    Keep Your Siding Clean

    Cleaning your siding is not just about maintaining the appearance of your home exterior. Without regular washing, your siding can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can never be good for you or your siding. The presence of these organisms can put your health at risk, especially if you have respiratory allergies or illnesses. Apart from that, it can degrade the paint on your siding, spread to other areas of your home and cause more serious damage.

    To clean your fiber cement siding, you can use a pressure washer or a high-pressure hose for thorough washing. Make sure to spray from top to bottom. And if the dust and debris refuse to budge, you can use dish soap to help dislodge the dirt.

    Stock: a professional cleaning fiber cement siding or just a photo of wet fiber cement siding

    Don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning your siding because some brands recommend using only a low-pressure spray and a soft-bristled brush. This is the case for James Hardie® siding products as acid and high-pressure washing can possibly damage their fiber cement surface.

    Furthermore, James Hardie recommends washing down the exterior surfaces every six to 12 months with the use of a garden hose. They also suggest cleaning the siding with a soft brush or wet soft cloth (make sure to do this in a side to side motion in the direction of the plank siding). It would also be best to work in small sections at a time, starting from top to bottom. This will prevent dripping or streaking onto the cleaned area. For dirt or stains that are difficult to remove, you can use a mild detergent and a soft brush to clean them out.

    Repaint Your Siding When Needed

    Fiber cement siding typically requires repainting at a certain point. Don’t worry, though, because paint on fiber cement siding can last anywhere between five to 15 years. This usually depends on the specific type of fiber cement that you have. For example, if you opted for pre-painted siding (meaning, the boards have been colored by the manufacturer), you can expect the siding to be safe from peeling and chipping for around 15 years. But if you chose primed fiber cement, the warranty on this type of siding is definitely not the same as pre-painted fiber cement. In any case, be prepared to repaint your siding eventually. When you are finally shopping for paint, remember to select a high-quality exterior-grade acrylic product. Also, avoid staining your fiber cement boards.

    Stock: close-up of fiber cement siding in any color

    Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

    Moisture can pose a threat even if your siding is in good condition, so you really need to ensure proper care to avoid any serious damage. That said, you should pay close attention to your gutters and downspouts as part of your siding care and maintenance.

    Your gutters and downspouts play an important role in diverting rainwater away from your siding. So make sure to clean your gutters at least twice a year in order to prevent dirt and debris buildup, ideally in the early winter and spring. Check your downspouts as well and make sure that water can flow through these channels without problem.

    Stock: photo of siding, the part near a gutter or downspout

    You should also do a visual inspection from time to time, especially after a storm, as your gutters may have been damaged. If you observe peeling, flaking or rust on your gutters, it’s best to address the issue immediately. And if your gutters no longer rest tightly against the fascia, you should have them repaired soon.

    Other Tips to Keep in Mind

    Maintaining your home exterior can prevent several issues down the road and contribute to a longer life span for your siding. While the extent of siding maintenance varies depending on factors such as your geographic location, weather and sun exposure, and landscaping, below are some general guidelines that you should keep in mind:

    • Trim bushes, shrubs and small trees away from your home and siding. This is to prevent them from making contact with your siding material and potentially damaging it.
    • Ensure that your sprinkler systems do not spray excessively on your siding or continuously soak the ground near your home.
    • Keep deicing salts from coming in contact with your siding as these salts can damage your siding’s finish. If you need to manage snowy or icy surfaces near your siding, use sand or gravel instead.
    • If you are unsure about the specific requirements for maintaining your fiber cement siding, consult your siding installer or manufacturer. Siding products from particular manufacturers may have special instructions, and you always have to take note of these to avoid causing damage to the material. For repairs or replacements, make sure to work with experienced and qualified contractors so that you can ensure quality workmanship.

    Orion Home Improvements, LLC ensures the highest level of services for every client. We provide residential and commercial roofing services and handle other home improvement projects such as siding, windows and doors, decks and fencing, and more. With our keen attention to detail and high standards in workmanship, you can expect to receive value for your money. Call us at (571) 354-0331 or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate. We serve customers in Burke, VA, and the surrounding areas.

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