If the time has come for siding installation, your siding contractor may present you with a few options. You'll likely see that vinyl and aluminum siding are very affordably priced. Wood siding may cost a bit more, and then at the top of the price range, you'll see fiber cement siding. Many homeowners don't even consider this high-cost option, instead opting for a more affordable material. However, fiber cement siding may be worth the higher price tag, depending on your unique needs. Here's a look at the pros and cons of this material.
Pro: Fiber cement siding doesn't attract termites or other bugs.
If you live in the southeast or another area where termites are prevalent, you may spend a lot of time and money trying to keep them away from your home. Why add wood siding to your home and give them yet another food source? Fiber cement siding, although it is made to look like wood, won't attract termites. They won't want to chew through the cement matrix to access the tiny wood fibers the siding contains. Other wood-eating bugs, like carpenter ants, are equally repelled by this siding.
Con: Fiber cement siding is heavy.
This siding material is mostly made from concrete, so as you can imagine, it is quite heavy. This can present a hassle in a few ways. First, it makes the siding harder to install; your contractors will take more time to install it, so your house will be a construction zone for a week or more. Second, it means you likely won't be able to do basic repairs on your own. You could lift a single piece of vinyl or aluminum siding into place if needed down the road, but you will need some helpers if you plan to do this with fiber cement.
Pro: Fiber cement siding is fire-resistant.
This benefit really comes into play if you live in an area where forest fires are prevalent. With wood siding, your home may catch fire just from the dissipating heat and smoke nearby. Fiber cement siding does not burn, so it reduces your chances of fire. Even in areas far from forest fires, this can be a good safety feature, especially if you have a lot of bonfires or camping fires in the summer. Your homeowner's insurance company may give you a discount on your policy if you choose fiber cement siding because of its fire resistance. This can help you recoup part of the increased cost of this siding material.
Con: Fiber cement siding take a little more scrubbing to come clean.
Although fiber cement siding is easy to maintain, it is a bit harder to scrub clean than siding made from vinyl or aluminum. This is because the fiber cement siding has some texture to it, whereas aluminum and vinyl are smooth. You may need to use a more powerful power washer or even use a brush to scrub your fiber cement siding as you wash it.
Pro: Fiber cement siding is sustainable.
Most companies make their fiber cement siding from reclaimed wood fibers that are leftover from other wood milling processes. By buying this type of siding and supporting this industry, you are helping to reduce wood waste. This is good for the environment, and it may also help you meet certain green building standards.
When presented with a list of siding options for your home, do not automatically ignore fiber cement because it is costly. This material is fire-resistant, bug-proof, and sustainable, which helps make up for its higher cost when compared to aluminum, wood, and vinyl siding options.