In the world of siding, there are a lot of options available to you for use on your home. Wood, aluminum, and vinyl have all been around for decades, and are fairly well understood by most homeowners. A relative newcomer to the siding block, however, fiber cement siding, has been rapidly increasing in popularity as well. That’s because fiber cement siding is attractive, durable, low maintenance, and even lower cost than most of the other products on the market today. Because it’s still a relatively new product when compared with wood or vinyl siding, however, many people may be a little hesitant to use it, wondering how long it will last. After all, some previous siding types such as Masonite once proved to have a very short longevity compared to the rest of the home. Fiber cement siding, however, is one of the longest lasting materials on the market today with warranties that far outstrip the competition.
Structural and Finish Warranties
Fiber cement siding is made up of a composite of various materials including glass, cement, sand, and cellulose fiber. This mixture renders the siding insect and flame resistant, as well as moisture and UV resistant as well. The siding doesn’t fade, peel, swell, warp, or rot and is easily cleaned with a hose or pressure washer if pollution or dirt builds up over time. For this reason, most manufacturers of fiber cement siding feel pretty confident in offering warranties of 30 years or more on the structure of the boards. That means that the boards themselves are guaranteed to last for at least 30 years when installed and maintained properly.
Because the finish – paint or stain – of the boards is usually put on at the factory, this finish is given a separate warranty. In most cases, you’ll find a warranty on the factory finish of the fiber cement siding of roughly 10 years. This means that you don’t have to worry about the paint or stain fading, chipping, or peeling for at least 10 years after installation.
Warranties are only one indication of how long a type of siding is going to last. Outside studies and predictions given by industries and groups such as The National Association of Home Builders and The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors both predict that fiber cement siding that has been properly installed should last for 100 years or more when well maintained. That’s at least as long as you’re going to own your home, so installing fiber cement siding is likely going to be the last type of exterior covering you’re going to need ever again.
The real benefit to fiber cement siding’s longevity comes when you compare it to other siding materials. Wood siding, for example, requires its finish to be scraped, sanded, and reapplied every three years. In addition, you need to keep an eye out for swelling, warping, or rotting boards, which could happen at any time, particularly if the caulking around a window or door were to fail. Because wood damage can spread quickly, anything not caught on time could mean a complete siding replacement as well
Aluminum siding is predicted to have a maximum lifespan of between 20 and 40 years before it will need to be completely replaced. And in the meantime, the UV light from the sun will fade the color on the boards, causing the paint to literally rub right off, and requiring you to touch up and repaint it frequently to keep it looking its best.
Vinyl siding’s longevity has a lot to do with the quality of the vinyl and where it’s installed. Some cheaper vinyl sidings will swell or blister in the sun or crack in the cold, lasting only about seven or eight years before they need to be replaced. Better quality vinyl may last roughly 20 years before it needs to be replaced, but may still require more maintenance during this time period, including fixing cracks or rehanging boards that have fallen off your home.
With the exception of natural stone and brick, this means that fiber cement siding is one of the longest lasting materials you can put on your home’s exterior. Best of all, fiber cement siding comes in numerous styles and can be painted or stained any color, so your home’s exterior is going to look great as long as you own it.
Make the Long Term Choice
Your home’s curb appeal is important, which means that the siding that you choose needs to look great day after day, year after year, preferably with little to no maintenance. With its reinforced cement structure and molded, natural looking wood grain, fiber cement siding will look great with little maintenance for longer than you own your home. When it comes time to choose the right siding for your home, make the smart choice and consider fiber cement siding to do the job.