The Advantages of Fiber-Cement Siding

Choose fiber-cement siding for your house and you may not have to paint it again for 25 years.

| June/July 2009

installing siding

You’ll need to install vertical wood furring strips to which the siding will be attached before installing the siding over concrete or concrete block walls.


If you’re building a new home, garage, addition, workshop or barn — or if it’s time to replace the ancient, weather-beaten siding on your house — consider fiber-cement siding.

What is fiber-cement siding, and what are your options? Like conventional siding, fiber-cement siding is applied to the exterior of buildings to protect them from the elements. This product comes in a wide range of colors and styles that resemble conventional siding materials, notably stucco, cedar shingles, and wood clapboards. It’s made primarily from cement, sand, and wood fiber (often a recycled wood-fiber waste product), a combination that results in an extremely durable material.

Fiber-cement siding typically costs a bit more than vinyl siding, but less than stucco. It also outlasts its competitors — often by decades — because it resists many common hazards, including fire, wind, insects, and rain. Fiber-cement siding is recommended in all climates, but is ideal for hot, humid regions. No matter how wet it gets, it won’t rot. And because of the cement and sand content, it’s termite-resistant.

Because of its durability, fiber-cement siding reduces maintenance costs, and it’s less likely than conventional siding to end up in landfills. Unfortunately, there are currently no recycling programs in place for fiber-cement siding. However, it is an inert material that, if ultimately sent to a landfill, should not endanger the environment.

Although many builders and homeowners are just discovering its benefits, this material has been around for quite some time — nearly 100 years — so you won’t be experimenting with a new product.

Fiber-cement planks made with a wood-grained or a smooth finish are popular. These come in widths of 4 to 12 inches, so you can match existing siding if you’re building an addition or garage. Wall panels with vertical grooves and soffit panels for the underside of overhangs are also available.

10/17/2014 11:12:51 AM

Great information here. I took your advice and tried to install some fiber cement siding on my house. Unfortunately, I had little success installing it, so I hired a local Houston professional, Advanced Home Exteriors, to install it for me. As a result, they did a really nice installation, and, because of this, I would recommend them to anyone needing a professional siding installation. For more info on Advanced Home Exteriors, feel free to check out their website.

4/26/2013 4:30:10 PM

Can certainly attest to it's durability--I have some cement fiber siding on my house that dates to the turn of the century!  It's in a shingle style form--I've been in the house 17 years and only had to replace a small section that had been regularly battered by large tree limb, due to some large chipping on the edges.  It was commonly used in our area of the Midwest and I had extras left from a sleeping porch that was added to the house 20-30 years after the house was originally built.  Getting ready to replace my soffits with those from James Hardie and hopefully close the racoon resort in my attic.  Wood (even reinforced with hardware cloth) has proved no deterrent; however, the one patch job I did with a piece of the siding hasn't been breached.

roy melnick
6/19/2009 11:40:35 AM

Thank you for the informative article. It is refreshing to see accurrate information about such great siding product. In the New England Area we have been installing fiebr cement products for over a decade and have hundreds of beautiful homes we have transformed. I reccommend fiber cement siding to anyone who needs to replace current failing siding, whether it is old brittle vinyl, rotten cedar, lead painted wood clapboards, old asbestos shingles and so on. If you plan on maximizing the value of your home, reduce your exterior maintenance for the long haul and be green, fiber cement siding is the right choice. In fact realtor magazine has conducted studies that for the last 7 years running replacing existing siding with new fibe cemnt siding give you the biggest return on your investment even more so than a new kitchen or bath. To find out more visit or email me at

5/12/2009 7:51:10 PM

Thanks for a very informative article. I've been experimenting with Hardi products on several small jobs. The advice to buy saw blades designed for this material is absolutely correct and essential. Fiber cement will dull ordinary carbide blades in no time, and the dust created is just unbelievable. The blades designed for the material last, and dust is reduced tremendously.

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