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Fiber Cement Siding Buyer's Guide: Pros, Cons, Cost, And Brands

Joe Roberts

Published on March 27, 2024

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Fiber Cement Siding Buyer's Guide: Pros, Cons, Cost, And Brands

Think you might side your house with fiber cement? Read our guide to learn all about the costs and benefits of this stylish and durable siding option.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

Read about our editorial process here. Want to use our cost data? Click here.

While it’s much newer than vinyl and wood, fiber cement siding has quickly become a trendy house cladding option. In 2022, roughly 21% of new single-family homes in the U.S. were built with fiber cement siding.

But what is it about this siding material that homeowners love so much? Well, for one thing, it’s incredibly durable. Fiber cement panels and shingles are highly resistant to fire, termites, rot, and impacts, so that they can last 50 years or more. For another thing, it’s relatively affordable. On average, installing 1,500 square feet of siding costs somewhere between $4,972 and $9,047.

Want to learn more about this stylish and durable house cladding? Keep reading, and we’ll break down everything you need to know before you buy fiber cement siding for your home. We’ll also highlight some of the best fiber cement siding brands and help you find installers in your area.

Find qualified local installers who can side your home

Fiber cement siding pros and cons

Pros
  • + High durability
  • + Pest-resistant
  • + Non-combustible
  • + Rot-resistant
  • + Good insulation
  • + Long lifespan
Cons
  • - Costs vary greatly by region
  • - Moderate maintenance
  • - Difficult installation
  • - Large environmental impact

What is fiber cement siding?

Fiber cement is made from a mixture of four key ingredients:

  • Water to dissolve and mix the other materials.
  • Wood pulp to add flexible and sturdy cellulose fibers to the mixture.
  • Silica sand or fly ash to fill the mixture out.
  • Portland cement to bind the mixture together.

This mixture is poured into a mold to shape it into usable building materials like siding planks. These ingredients give fiber cement siding the durability of masonry with some flexibility. It also allows it to be cast into various shapes and even given a faux wood grain texture to mimic natural hardwood siding.

Some manufacturers include a few additional proprietary ingredients in their mixtures to enhance their performance or longevity, but these ingredients are the base of all fiber cement siding. While fiber cement used to feature asbestos in its composition, the industry has avoided using this carcinogenic material.

Unfortunately, fiber cement isn’t very eco-friendly since the material is relatively energy-intensive to make and can’t be recycled at the end of its lifespan. 

How much does fiber cement siding cost?

On average, installing fiber cement siding on a new home costs somewhere between $3.31 and $6.03 per square foot. These prices include materials and labor. Replacement costs are slightly higher, sometimes as high as $7.26 per square foot.

This means that the prices for whole home jobs typically average $4,972 to $9,047 for installation and $5,985 to $10,890 for replacement. These prices assume that a home needs 1,500 square feet of material, though, so your actual costs to install fiber cement will greatly depend on the size of your home.

This makes fiber cement one of the most affordable siding materials, though it can sometimes cost more than vinyl and aluminum, depending on where you live. If your budget requires that you get the cheapest siding material you can, ask your contractor to write up quotes for vinyl, aluminum, and fiber cement to determine which will cost you the least. 

Benefits of fiber cement siding

Durability and longevity

Fiber cement is among the most durable siding materials in its price range. When properly cared for, the material can last up to 50 years, so it can easily outlast wood, aluminum, and vinyl. While it won’t last as long as materials like brick, stone, or well-maintained stucco, these more long-lasting materials cost significantly more.

Fiber cement is also highly resistant to damage from sources that often plague siding. It’s impervious to termites and other pests, doesn’t rot (though it can sometimes harbor mold), and is exceptionally flame-resistant.

Fiber cement is also a good option for basically any environment in the continental United States since it holds up well in various temperatures and humidities. However, the necessary maintenance or installation practices may depend on where you live. 

Style

Because fiber cement siding is made by casting a wet mixture into a mold, it can be crafted into any shape with any imaginable texture. This means you can get fiber cement siding in horizontal clapboards, vertical boards and battens, siding shingles, and just about anything in between.

Fiber cement siding also comes in a wide variety of colors, and it can always be repainted if you don’t like the color you initially installed.

This means that whatever style you’re going for with your home’s exterior, you can find fiber cement siding that will take it to the next level. 

Energy efficiency

Fiber cement provides exceptional insulation to a home, so it can help your HVAC system operate much more efficiently. This can save you money on your energy bills and reduce your home's carbon footprint. It can also mean you won’t have to repair or replace your HVAC’s various components as frequently since they won’t be as strained by continuous operation. 

Easy maintenance

While it isn’t as low-maintenance as vinyl, fiber cement siding still doesn’t require much in the way of care or upkeep. Essentially, all you have to do to help fiber cement siding last as long as possible is keep it clean (annual cleanings with your garden hose will usually do) and repaint it once its finish begins to look dingy, which should only be every couple of decades.

Additionally, depending on where you live, you may need to regularly recaulk the siding’s seams to keep excess moisture out.

The relatively low-maintenance nature of fiber cement means you can get all the beauty of wood for a fraction of the upkeep, which is one of the things many homeowners love most about the material. 

How fiber cement siding compares to other siding materials

Siding material

Lifespan

Pros

Cons

Cost

Fiber cement siding

50 years

  • Affordable
  • High durability
  • Flame-resistant
  • High energy-efficiency
  • Moderate maintenance

$4,972–$9,047

Vinyl siding

20+ years

  • Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Diverse color options
  • Short lifespan
  • Low heat-resistance

$6,753–$12,287

Stucco siding

50+ years

  • High durability
  • Low-maintenance
  • Flame-resistant
  • High energy-efficiency
  • Vulnerable to moisture

$10,255–$18,659

Aluminum siding

30–40 years

  • Rust-resistant
  • Flame-resistant
  • Recyclable
  • High energy-efficiency
  • Less durable than steel

$8,374–$15,236

Wood siding

20–40 years

  • Attractive
  • Easy to paint
  • High energy-efficiency
  • High-maintenance
  • Highly vulnerable to damage

$9,766–$17,768

James Hardie

Image source: James Hardie

You can't talk about fiber cement siding without mentioning James Hardie, the company that essentially reinvented the industry after it moved away from using asbestos. In fact, the brand is so ubiquitous that many contractors use the terms "Hardieplank" or “Hardie Board” to refer to all fiber cement boards, no matter who made them.

James Hardie runs the gamut regarding fiber cement construction, from their trademark Hardiepanels and Hardieshingles to their Hardietrim lineups.

To shop for various quality fiber cement products, you can start and finish with James Hardie siding.

Allura

Image source: Allura

Allura makes large-scale exterior home improvement a cinch by offering just about any fiber cement component you need. We're not just talking about their diverse selection of fiber cement lap siding, shakes, and panels, but also their matching trim and soffit options.

If you need a one-stop fiber cement shop to completely renew your home's exterior, look no further than Allura.

Nichiha

Image source: Nichiha

Founded in 1956, Nichiha primarily focuses on serving the commercial market, though they still offer residential siding products like panels, boards, and shakes. However, they surpass their competitors with even more style options.

Nichiha offers kiln-fired brick and stone veneer fiber cement profiles to help you set your home apart from your neighbors.

How to hire a pro to install your fiber cement siding

Now that you know what fiber cement siding is, what it can cost, and what makes it such a good option for so many homes, you’re ready to meet with a contractor. Use the form below to find a qualified siding installer who can put this durable and attractive material on your home.

Get your house siding installed by one of the best local contractors

Fiber cement siding FAQ

Is fiber cement good for siding?

Yes, fiber cement is an exceptionally durable, insulating, and affordable siding material. Vinyl may be cheaper in some cases, but fiber cement is far more resistant to fire, impacts, and UV rays so it can last more than twice as long. This makes fiber cement a fantastic investment in your home’s exterior. 

Can you install fiber cement siding yourself?

While homeowners can sometimes install their own vinyl siding themselves, fiber cement siding installation shouldn’t be attempted by amateurs. Fiber cement is much more difficult to cut and properly size than vinyl. You have to use a circular saw with a special blade to cut the material, whereas vinyl can be cut with tin snips.

Fiber cement is much heavier than vinyl as well, making it an unwieldy material to manipulate if you don’t have proper training.

To make matters worse, installing your siding yourself can void its manufacturer’s warranty, so if the siding needs to be repaired or redone entirely because of faulty workmanship, you’ll have to pay for it yourself. 

For best results, you should always hire professionals to install your siding instead of attempting to DIY. 

How long does fiber cement siding last?

Fiber cement siding often comes with 30-year warranties, and some companies offer limited lifetime warranties for the material. If they’re properly cared for, fiber cement shingles and boards can easily last up to 50 years. This makes it far more durable than siding made from vinyl, aluminum, and wood. 

How much does fiber cement siding cost?

Pricing for any building material will depend on the size of your home, but on average, installing new fiber cement siding costs somewhere between $4,972 and $9,047. These prices include the labor and material costs to install 1,500 square feet of siding. Replacing old siding with fiber cement is typically a bit more expensive since it requires that old material be removed first, and it typically costs between $5,985 and $10,890.

Is vinyl or fiber cement siding better?

Vinyl siding is sometimes cheaper than fiber cement siding, but it’s worse in basically every other regard. Fiber cement lasts much longer, is more resistant to more types of damage (like fire and hail), and insulates a home far more effectively. All things considered, fiber cement siding is a much wiser investment than vinyl. 

What are the main problems with fiber cement siding?

The primary issue with fiber cement is that it can absorb excessive moisture if it isn’t properly treated and caulked, so it can sometimes develop mold. This is part of the reason it’s essential to hire a pro for fiber cement installation instead of attempting to install the material yourself.

The material also needs to be cleaned and painted often to prevent dust from building up or paint from chipping and peeling.

Even with this handful of issues, though, fiber cement is a relatively easy siding material to maintain. Materials like wood typically require more intensive care.

Does fiber cement siding affect the resale value of your home?

Although you may end up spending a bit of money on fiber cement siding installation, a 2023 report found that homeowners recoup 88.5% of job costs at resale on average. Since you won’t make back all the money you spend on fiber cement, you probably shouldn’t install the material on a home you’ll just turn around and sell. Instead, you should install it on a home where you’ll live for a few years to enjoy its other benefits for a while.

Written by

Joe Roberts Content Specialist

Joe is a home improvement expert and content specialist for Fixr.com. He’s been writing home services content for over eight years, leveraging his research and composition skills to produce consumer-minded articles that demystify everything from moving to remodeling. His work has been sourced by various news sources and business journals, including Nasdaq.com and USA Today. When he isn’t writing about home improvement or climate issues, Joe can be found in bookstores and record shops.