The ideal siding replacement should be able to balance durability with aesthetic appeal. Naturally, new siding should be durable enough to protect your home from harsh weather, but at the same time, it should also help improve your property’s curb appeal. After all, your siding is the largest part of your exterior and, therefore, has the biggest impact on your curb appeal.
If you’re looking for a siding replacement that strikes a balance between the two qualities, fiber cement siding would be a smart choice. Thanks to its numerous benefits, fiber cement siding is increasingly becoming popular among homeowners. In fact, the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction (SOC) estimates it’s being used in roughly 20% of new homes.
What makes fiber cement siding such a great option?
Resistance to Extreme Temperatures
When chosing a siding replacement, you should take into account your area’s climate, which can take its toll on your exterior. For instance, those living in temperate climates should choose siding that can handle abrupt changes in temperatures. Fiber cement siding is suited to a wide variety of climates, but is usually recommended for homes in hot, humid climates. In addition to humid subtropical climates, fiber cement siding can handle humid coastal climates, where rot and fungus thrive as well as harsh cold climates where freeze-thaw damage is a significant problem for homeowners. These qualities alone make it a great choice for homeowners in southern climates.
There are several kinds of siding commonly found in southern homes. The most popular types of siding used in southern climates are usually made of high-density materials, which is a problem because they also have high thermal mass. Thermal mass refers to the ability of a material to absorb and store heat energy. The higher your siding’s thermal mass, the hotter it is indoors, and the more electricity your HVAC system needs to cool your home.
Fiber cement siding is made of lightweight materials so it retains less heat and helps improve your home’s energy efficiency. It’s made of wood pulp (which gives fiber cement siding its flexibility and resilience), fly ash or silica sand (for fillers), and Portland cement (which is made of limestone, clay and iron, and binds all the ingredients together). To further increase fiber cement siding’s energy-efficiency, you can add insulation.
Keep in mind that just one green feature alone is not capable of improving your home’s energy-efficiency. To learn more about how you can make your home more energy-efficient, consult an exterior contractor.
Resistance to Common Siding Problems
Fiber cement siding’s resistance to common siding problems is part of the reason why it’s quite durable. It resists common siding issues such as:
- Insect damage – Summer is the time when pest activity starts to increase. As temperatures rise, more pests look for shelter and new sources of food. Termites are a major threat not only to your siding, but also to the other parts of your exterior. Other pests you need to keep an eye out for include termites, carpenter ants, powder post beetles and carpenter bees. Fortunately, if you have fiber cement siding installed, you won’t have to worry about insect damage. Fiber cement siding is impervious to insect damage because pests won’t find any hollowed spaces where they can nest. Not to mention they won’t get any nutrition from any of the materials.
Impact damage – Fiber cement siding holds up well against impact damage and extreme weather events, such as hail, sleet, snow and windstorms. However, you can’t get too complacent about storm damage. No matter how durable your exterior or siding is, there’s always a chance it might have suffered damage after a storm. That’s why as a rule of thumb, you should have a professional roofing contractor inspect your home, especially your roof and siding, after the storm has passed.
Fire damage – Most of the materials used to make fiber cement siding are inflammable, making it highly fire-resistant. In fact, some insurance companies offer discounts to homes that have fiber cement siding—that’s how fire-resistant it is.
Fiber cement siding lasts for at least 30 years and usually comes with a 25-year warranty. Keep in mind that the quality of the materials can affect a siding replacement’s lifespan. That’s why high-quality siding always outlasts off-brand siding. In general, when choosing a siding replacement, it’s best to stick to reputable brands like James Hardie®.
Minimal Maintenance Needs
Unlike other popular types of siding, fiber cement siding doesn’t need a lot of upkeep to preserve its durability or longevity. All fiber cement siding needs is an occasional wash to remove dirt and debris that has accumulated on its surface. There’s no need to use harsh chemicals or a pressure washer.
Maintenance tip: Make sure to read the manufacturer’s manual before cleaning your siding. While manufacturers give similar cleaning instructions, certain brands may require special care and maintenance.
James Hardie® ColorPlus® Technology
Fiber cement siding also doesn’t need to be repainted as often as other types of siding. Since fiber cement siding doesn’t expand and contract if there’s an abrupt change in temperature, it holds paint very well. In general, factory-applied finishes last 15 to 20 years while finishes applied on-site last 5 to 7 years.
However, ultraviolet (UV) rays and wear and tear will eventually cause fading in your siding. If you want your property’s curb appeal to last longer, you might want to try exploring James Hardie’s siding options, particularly its fiber cement siding with ColorPlus® Technology. Thanks to its ColorPlus Technology, James Hardie fiber cement siding resists chipping, peeling, cracking and UV rays and can, therefore, last and look good for longer. The proprietary finish is applied in a factory-controlled setting to make sure debris doesn’t weaken the bond between the finish and siding.
James Hardie also offers a wide variety of premium finishes, such as arctic white, cobblestone, light mist, aged pewter and mountain sage.
Classic Aesthetic Appeal
There’s a reason why wooden siding remains one of the most popular options on the market. Its rustic aesthetic appeal can give any exterior an Old World elegance. The problem is wooden siding is its high maintenance needs. If not maintained properly, wooden siding becomes susceptible to rot and moisture damage. However, not all types of wood siding are susceptible to rot and moisture damage – certain wood varieties are resistant to rot.
Fortunately, you don’t need to install wooden siding to give your exterior a sophisticated elegance. Manufacturers like James Hardie offer fiber cement siding that can mimic the look and feel of wood grain.
If you want your fiber cement siding to mimic wooden siding, we recommend choosing siding with horizontal boards. However, if you want a bit more design flexibility, fiber cement siding comes in a wide range of styles. These include:
Horizontal lap siding – When in doubt, it’s best to stick to the most popular option, which in this case would be horizontal lap siding.
Sheet form fiber cement siding – This type of siding can give your exterior a modern finish and fit in seamlessly with any exterior.
Lap or clapboard siding – Lap or clapboard siding complements a wide variety of architectural designs, including contemporary and classic-style homes.
Fiber cement siding offers the same benefits as more expensive options with higher maintenance needs. However, when making an investment, you shouldn’t get too preoccupied with the costs. Focus instead on the features that can give you value for your money.
To learn more about how you can maximize your returns on investment, consult a reputable contractor.