Time For New Siding? How Fiber Cement Compares With Other Materials

If it's time to put new siding on your home, you'll get to choose between wood, vinyl, aluminum, and fiber cement. Fiber cement is a popular option because it offers several benefits over the other materials. Here's a look at how these different types of siding compare.

Fiber Cement Versus Wood

Fiber cement siding looks a lot like wood. That's because it is made from wood pulp. However, the wood pulp is mixed with cement, so while the siding maintains the wood-like appearance, it is much more durable. The cement makes the planks resistant to deterioration from moisture and UV rays. It also protects the siding from destruction by termites and carpenter ants since the bugs have no interest in eating the cement. The cement also makes the siding fire resistant. All of these qualities add up to superior protection for your home.

Wood siding requires more maintenance too. It needs to be stained or painted every few years to keep the siding in good repair. Fiber cement can be painted too, or you can buy it with color already applied at the factory. If you install colored fiber cement siding, all you'll have to do to keep it looking nice is wash it occasionally.

Both wood siding and fiber cement siding can be made into different styles and shapes. If you like the look of wood, you may want to consider going with fiber cement since you'll get the look of wood with the added benefits of less maintenance and better durability. However, one thing to keep in mind is that fiber cement does not fade with age like cedar planks do. If you like the patina that develops with aged cedar, then you'll have to stick with natural wood.

Fiber Cement Versus Vinyl

Fiber cement and vinyl are both popular options for siding, but they are very different. Fiber cement is heavy while vinyl is very light. Vinyl is susceptible to warping in very hot weather and cracking in extreme cold. Fiber cement is more durable. It can withstand temperature extremes and all kinds of weather conditions. It is very heavy though, so it is more difficult to install. It's usually best to let a professional install fiber cement because it can crack or become damaged due to it's heavy weight if you do not handle it or install it correctly.

Vinyl is resistant to insects and pests like woodpeckers, but it is vulnerable to fire. If you live in an area that is prone to wildfires, fiber cement is probably a better option. When it comes to maintenance, both sidings require very little care. Vinyl never needs to be painted. Like fiber cement, occasional washing is all it needs. The biggest difference between the two materials is appearance. Vinyl does not resemble wood, so it is often prohibited in historic districts, and it may not be suitable for certain types of homes.

Fiber Cement Versus Aluminum

Aluminum siding is similar to vinyl in that it is lightweight. It has the advantage of resisting insects and it is also fire resistant. The problem with aluminum siding is that it dents easily. Your kids could dent the siding by throwing a ball against the house. The siding could also be damaged by a bad storm with hail. Aluminum siding also requires little maintenance, but the drawback is its appearance. If you want durability and easy care along with a textured appearance that rivals wood, then fiber cement is the better choice.