Fiber Cement Siding Insulation
Siding plays an important role in your home’s curb appeal, but it also plays an important role in your home’s energy efficiency as well. Siding is your home’s first defense against the elements, as well as against the heat of the summer sun and the cold of winter winds. Therefore, it’s important to select a siding that has options for insulation, as well as looks and durability. Fiber cement siding is quickly becoming one of the more popular siding choices for discerning homeowners, and one of the reasons why is its ability to be insulated well.
Fiber Cement Siding R-Values
Insulation is rated using a system known as R-values. The higher the R-value, the better job of insulating a material does. On its own, fiber cement siding has an R-value of about .15, which doesn’t sound like much until you compare it with materials like vinyl siding – which have no R-value at all.
To truly make your home energy efficient and provide your fiber cement siding with insulating properties, separate insulation needs to be installed along with it, usually behind the siding itself. Done properly, fiber cement siding insulation can boost the R-value from anywhere of 3 to 5 – a significant boost in your home’s energy efficiency and insulating properties.
Options for Fiber Cement Siding Insulation
As with any siding you choose to have installed on your home, you do have some options for the type of insulation you decide to put behind it. Unlike vinyl siding, which has numerous problems with moisture and which requires insulation that takes things like dew points into consideration, fiber cement siding uses insulation that does more than simply increase the R-value of your home.
Properly installed, insulation used with your fiber cement siding will:
- Increase the durability of the siding
- Dampen sounds coming from the outdoors
- Increase moisture resistance to your home beneath the siding itself
- Reduce air leakage, particularly around windows and doors, eliminating “cold spots” in your home
- Reduces the risk of insect activity, as well as wood rot beneath the siding itself
- There are several different brands of insulation available for fiber cement siding, just as there are several manufacturers or brands for the siding itself. There are essentially two main groups or types of insulation that are used with fiber cement siding, however.
The first is known as rigid, closed cell insulation. This is a hard insulating board that is installed directly on your home, and which the fiber cement siding is then installed on top of. Rigid closed cell insulation has a lot of benefits over open cell insulators, which are the kind most commonly used with vinyl siding. Rigid, closed cell insulation does not lose its insulating value if it becomes wet, nor does it break down over time. This makes it an excellent option for homes in areas that see a lot of wet weather or that have relatively high dew points. Fiber cement siding and solid trim can be easily caulked around gaps with rigid closed cell insulation, which can further help stop air gaps and air transfer into your home.
The second most common type of insulation used with fiber cement siding is foam. Foam insulation is usually formed directly to the fiber cement siding, which means that it completely fills the gap between the siding and your home, providing a better insulation and reducing noise and air gaps. Foam insulation may be made of several different materials, with newer types being composed of graphite polystyrene, which provides an R-value of up to 5 – the highest available for use with any siding.
Like rigid closed cell insulation, foam insulation is usually installed in precut boards that go up prior to the siding itself. The boards are usually available in multiple sizes for easy installation, and may also be used in conjunction with both vapor barriers and rain barriers that can further help stop the transfer of moisture into your home. Therefore, foam insulation can also be installed with fiber cement siding in damp or wet climates, helping to reduce moisture transfer to the home and preventing things like mold, mildew, or wood rot over time. The nice thing about most foam insulators for use with fiber cement siding, is that you can find them readymade for the exact type of fiber cement siding you use. This gives you the best, closest fit between your home and the siding, providing you with the best insulating ability over time.
Get Proper Coverage for Your Home
Fiber cement siding and insulation together provide one of the best, most attractive coverings for your home. Installed properly the system is insect and moisture resistant, durable, low maintenance, and available in multiple colors, shapes, and sizes. If you’re looking for a siding that will last as long as you own your home, and that can help make your home more comfortable at the same time, consider fiber cement siding installed with proper insulation to do the job.