If you want a durable, versatile siding that performs in any climate, consider fiber cement. This innovative material is made from a blend of cellulose fiber (wood pulp), sand, silica, and Portland cement. A few companies also add in small amounts of recycled glass. The resulting mixture is an incredibly dense, flame-retardant material that is impact and crack-resistant, insect-resistant, and moisture-resistant. It comes in numerous styles and colors and can be installed on any home, including historic renovations.
With the wide range of styles and types available, it has a range of costs. The national average cost for installing fiber cement siding is between $12,000 and $18,000, with most homeowners spending around $15,000 for a mixture of lap siding and cedar-look shingles on a 2,000 sq.ft. home, fully installed. This project’s low cost is around $8,000 for a simple, stucco-look panel installation, while the high cost for this project is around $24,000 for individual cedar-look shakes installed over the entirety of a 2,000 sq.ft. home.
|Fiber cement siding installation prices|
|National average cost||$15,000|
There are many types and styles of fiber cement siding. It comes in several sizes and thicknesses and can be primed and pre-painted. All these things mean that there is a wide range of costs associated with this material. Most types of fiber cement cost between $4 and $7 a square foot. Thicker premium materials and materials like individual shakes can cost up to $10 a square foot, making the total range between $4 and $10 a square foot for the material.
|Size||Average Cost (Material Only)|
|500 sq.ft.||$2,000 - $5,000|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$4,000 - $10,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$6,000 - $15,000|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$8,000 - $20,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$10,000 - $25,000|
One of the best things about fiber cement siding is that it comes in so many styles. The material is made inside molds so that it can be shaped into planks, shingles, shakes, and decorative panels. It can also be textured in many ways, so the siding can be smooth, given a wood look, or made to look like stucco. Most stone veneer siding sold today is fiber cement. Each siding type has a range of costs associated with it. In general, the more detailed the material, the higher the overall cost:
|Type||Average Cost per Square Foot (Material Only)|
|Horizontal Lap Siding||$4 - $6|
|Vertical Plank Siding||$4 - $7|
|Architectural Panels||$4 - $8|
|Cedar-Look Shingles||$6 - $7|
|Decorative Shingles||$7- $10|
|Individual Shakes||$9 - $10|
|Stone Veneer||$9 - $10|
Horizontal lap siding is one of the most common types of siding used today. Lap siding comes in several styles, including Dutch lap and clapboard. Depending on the brand, you may find subtle differences between the plank types. Most fiber cement sidings come in a range of widths from roughly 5¼ to 12 inches, with lengths being approximately 12 feet long. The planks can be smooth or have a wood grain, and they can be primed and ready for paint or prefinished in a range of attractive colors. They cost between $4 and $6 a square foot, depending on the size and finish.
If you like the look of board and batten or other vertical siding styles, you can achieve this in a few ways with fiber cement. One way is to use wide planks installed vertically, with thin pieces of trim as the battens. In this case, the 12-inch planks are used as the boards. Another method is to use a panel and install the battens every 12 inches on the panels. Either way, to install this type of siding, expect to pay between $4 and $7 a square foot for material costs.
Most fiber cement siding manufacturers have a type of architectural panel. These are large panels that are often two-sided, so one side may have a wood grain texture while the other side may be smooth. They can have a stucco or wood paneling texture, with grooves approximately every 12 inches. This is ideal for using as a backdrop for board and batten. Most architectural panels are designed to be installed with a thin metal reveal going around the panels. This makes them more watertight and gives the home a contemporary appearance. Depending on the appearance and texture, these panels average $4 to $8 a square foot.
If you like the look of real cedar shingles but want something easier to care for, cedar-look fiber cement shingles are a great option. They come in many looks and styles. You can find shingles with a straight bottom edge or an irregular bottom edge. They also come in several sizes, including 5-inch and 7-inch widths. The shingles are sold in long lengths of about 12 feet, with the shingles being only the lower half of the plank that is seen. This gives you an authentic appearance but with a very fast and easy installation. They cost between $6 and $7 a square foot.
If you want to accent an area of your home, decorative fiber cement shingles are ideal. These are cedar-look shingles with a half-round or an octagon bottom, rather than a straight or irregular edge. You can use them throughout your home or accent specific areas. They come in all the same colors that other fiber cement products do and are primed and ready to paint. Prices range from $7 to $10 a square foot.
If you want an authentic cedar-shake appearance for your home, consider investing in 8-inch shakes. These are individual, irregular shakes like real cedar. They have authentic wood grain and usually come primed, although some can come with a realistic wood stain. They install one at a time, which drives the installation costs up considerably. They also tend to be thicker than shingles for a more durable installation. They cost between $9 and $10 a square foot.
If you want to accent your home with stone veneer siding, you may be surprised to learn that most stone veneers today are made of fiber cement. This material has been poured and finished to look like natural stone, so it has some color and texture variation. Unlike real stone, stone veneer is very low maintenance. It lasts roughly 50 years on average, so not as long-lasting as natural stone. Fiber cement stone veneers range from $9 to $10 a square foot.
One of the things that makes fiber cement siding so popular is its versatility. It can resemble many materials, including cedar, stucco, and stone. You can create many looks and complement several architectural styles. Each style has considerations, costs, and an appearance.
|Style||Average Cost per Square Foot (Material Only)|
|Stucco-Look||$4 - $7|
|Board and Batten||$4 - $7|
|Decorative||$7 - $10|
|Stone Veneer||$9 - $10|
While stucco is a popular siding option for the South and Southwest, it can be expensive and difficult to install and maintain. Stucco panel siding is a type of architectural panel with a stucco texture. Unlike real stucco, which can crack, develop holes, or peel, fiber cement resists these issues. The color on most types of fiber cement lasts a minimum of 10 years without needing to be touched up. It resists cracking in cold weather and is impact-resistant, making it much more durable than stucco. You see the joins between the different panels, which gives the home a slightly more modern appearance than regular stucco. The material costs between $4 and $7 a square foot.
Board and batten is one of the oldest styles of siding in the United States. It was created when the first sawmills began milling boards. The boards were installed vertically, and thin wood strips known as battens were put over the seams. The look is still used today on cottages, beach houses, and any home for a different look. You can create the look with 12-inch planks with a piece of trim as the batten, or you can use architectural panels and attach the trim to those. In either case, the look costs around $4 to $7 a square foot for the material.
Many fiber cement siding manufacturers make at least one type of decorative siding. This could be a decorative shingle in a half-round or octagon pattern, or it could be a wood-look paneled board. Nearly all manufacturers can form or cut larger architectural panels into different shapes. This gives you a more decorative and interesting look for modern homes and traditional ones that may use the shingles. Decorative siding ranges from $7 to $10 a square foot on average.
Stone veneer fiber cement siding gives your home the look of a real stone accent. Stone veneer is usually used to highlight different architectural features on the home. It may be installed around the skirting area on the perimeter. It can also highlight one or more walls, such as around the entrance. It is very common to pair stone-look veneer with other materials, such as a fiber cement lap siding. This material costs between $9 and $10 a square foot.
Most siding installations match the trim with the siding. While this is not always necessary, doing so can ensure that the styles are the same, the colors work together, and the maintenance level is the same for the entire house. Fiber cement comes in a wide range of housing trims, including standard trim, thicker trim for decorative areas, fascia board, and soffits.
These materials are all priced by the linear foot and cost between $1.50 and $4 a linear foot on average, depending on the material, finish, and style.
There are many manufacturers of fiber cement siding material. Some specialize in one type, such as panels or lap siding. Others have an incredible range of looks, styles, and materials. Each company has a range of costs because of the available options. However, most companies are fairly competitive with one another for pricing.
|Brand||Average Cost per Square Foot|
|Nichiha||$4 - $6|
|GAF||$4 - $6|
|Woodtone||$4 - $7|
|Equitone||$4 - $8|
|Allura||$4 - $9|
|James Hardie||$4 - $10|
|Cemboard||$5 - $10|
If you want the most options for your siding’s texture and appearance, research Nichiha. They sell siding in both plank and panel forms. Included in their styles and textures are wood-look, stone veneer, and stucco-look. Each style also comes in a range of attractive colors. This makes it easy to customize your home, using fiber cement with different colors and textures. The materials cost between $4 and $6 a square foot on average.
GAF makes a fiber cement called Weatherside. This is a fairly readily available material that you can easily find at big box and home improvement stores. They have some unique shingles, both very wide, straight bottomed, and some with a “thatched” bottom. All have a cedar-look simulated wood grain texture. They come in several colors and sizes, and the siding is sold bundled in approximately 33 sq.ft. sections. Expect to pay between $4 and $6 a square foot.
If realistic wood grain is important, consider Woodtone fiber cement. They make a range of lap sidings and shingles, all with a distinctive wood-grain appearance. They are one of the only manufacturers of fiber cement using two tones on one plank. This gives the grain appearance more depth and a more realistic finish. They have a range of RusticSeries and standard planks and shingles to choose from. Prices range from $4 to $7 a square foot on average.
If you want a manufacturer specializing in architectural panels, consider Equitone. They have several textures on their fiber cement cladding. This includes a smooth finish and a unique 3D-shaped material featuring sharp, linear lines. These lines cast shadows into the panels giving them depth and dimension. Their material costs between $4 and $8 a square foot.
Allura has one of the most versatile and full lines of fiber cement siding materials available. They have several sizes and finishes for their lap sidings, shingles, shakes, and architectural panels. All their materials are available in primed and ready-to-paint or finished in a range of more than 30 colors and wood stains. They also have a full range of finishing trims, which are available in any color. This makes it easy to mix and match to find the perfect color combination for their home. All their materials have a full 50-year warranty - one of the highest in the industry. Allura fiber cement siding ranges from $4 to $9 a square foot on average.
James Hardie is one of the most well-known brands of fiber cement siding. Their HardiePlank comes in several sizes and finishes, including wood look and smooth, with several sizes to choose from. They also make a range of shingles, shakes, and architectural panels. All their materials can be found primed and ready for painting, and they can refer your material out for painting, but their in-house color range is more limited than some other brands. Their materials cost between $4 and $10 a square foot.
Cemboard is the manufacturer of the popular Cemplank lap siding and Cempanel vertical board-and-batten-style siding. Their styles are more limited than other brands, but they have durable materials with a realistic wood-look grain. All their materials are available in a wide range of different colors and sizes, so it is easy to find the best fit. Cemboard emphasizes their materials’ durability and quality. Their Cemplank fiber cement siding ranges from $5 to $10 a square foot, depending on sizing.
Fiber cement siding is fairly easy to install. It goes up like wood siding, and all the materials are designed for easy installation, such as their trim kits for architectural panels.
Fiber cement differs from wood siding installations in a couple of ways that can impact costs. The first is weight. Fiber cement is incredibly heavy, and the larger the panel or plank, the heavier it gets. Most crews need a minimum of two people working together at all times.
The second issue is silica. Cutting fiber cement siding with traditional methods produces enormous amounts of dust, which contains silica. When inhaled, this can cause serious health problems for the installers. For that reason, most crews use different materials and methods for working with the product to eliminate issues.
Some easy-to-install panel systems can be put up for around $1 a square foot. But most types of fiber cement siding cost between $2 and $3 a square foot to install. Most installations cost roughly $6 to $13 a square foot to install. Trim is installed at an additional $1 a square foot.
For a 2,000 sq.ft. home clad in a mix of lap siding and cedar-look shingles, this makes the installation about $5,000 out of the $15,000 total.
Several factors affect the cost of having fiber cement siding installed on your building. These include price, time, difficulty, comparison and cost-effectiveness of the process. Fiber cement siding is usually viewed as a more expensive option, but it’s actually cheaper than other advanced types of siding. It’s also considered by experts as a more cost-effective option because it is made of high-quality materials and is energy-efficient.
Fiber cement siding is designed to last between 30 and 50 years before needing repair or replacement. It is impact, moisture, and insect-resistant and flame-retardant. However, if you change your home’s look or add an addition and want the siding to match, the cost to replace it is higher than a new installation. This is because the current siding needs to be removed first, which costs $1 to $2 a square foot on average. For a 2,000 sq.ft. home, this makes the cost to replace your fiber cement siding about $17,000 to $19,000 on average.
Fiber cement is an incredibly durable material that can last for decades. It is moisture-resistant, crack and impact-resistant, and insect-resistant and flame-retardant. If you purchase it pre-painted from the manufacturer, the finish is usually guaranteed for about 10 years before it needs to be redone. In some instances, the finish can last longer because it is baked on and designed to resist peeling, flaking, and cracking. Fiber cement is a very low-maintenance material. It is often recommended for areas impacted by wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters because of its resistance to these issues.
The biggest issue fiber cement faces is mostly with the installation. This material is heavy and difficult to cut. It produces a lot of silica dust, which must be contained. For this reason, specialty equipment is often required. While the material is impact-resistant, the boards are brittle before being installed. They can break if dropped, so purchase more material than required.
Fiber cement siding is moisture-resistant. This means that it does not absorb water or swell like wood siding. Some older types of fiber cement siding were affected by moisture if they were laid on the ground for an extended amount of time before being installed. In these cases, the material was likely to shrink after installation. However, this is no longer an issue for any material.
Fiber cement siding is frequently recommended for areas with severe weather, such as hurricanes. It can withstand high winds, rain, snow, and cold.
If you live in an area with very heavy rainfall, it is always beneficial to have a rainscreen installed behind your siding, regardless of the siding type. This can prevent issues with mold or wood rot behind your siding. A typical rainscreen costs between $0.50 and $1 a square foot on average.
Fiber cement siding is very dense and durable, but it is not a great insulator. Due to its thickness, if you choose to insulate your home and create a tight building envelope, the recommended insulation is designed for fiber cement. This is a material shaped to the fiber cement. It creates a tighter insulation, which does a better job of preventing thermal transfer. It costs about $2 to $3 a square foot on average but can create a more energy-efficient home with lower energy bills.
Most manufacturers offer their fiber cement in a range of pre-painted colors or wood stains. Only James Hardie has a limited color palette. Most others have up to 20 or 30 colors and finishes. Choosing a factory finish does not increase costs and can save you money in the long run because these finishes can last 10 years or more. This saves you from having your home painted after installation and repainted every 3 to 5 years.
Fiber cement is an incredibly low-maintenance material, but that does not mean it has no maintenance at all. Like all sidings, you should perform a twice-yearly inspection of your home. Look for areas around windows and doors that may be missing caulk and replace it. If necessary, you can clean the siding with a pressure washer and detergent or a scrub brush and detergent. Always test pressure washers on an inconspicuous area before proceeding. Most fiber cement siding installations only need to be repainted after 10 years or more. When this happens, you can have it painted using your choice of exterior paint and finish.
Fiber cement siding is most often compared to vinyl. Vinyl is also usually considered a low-maintenance alternative to wood. Vinyl siding lasts about 20 years on average. It is less expensive than fiber cement at around $2 to $4 a square foot, but it lasts less than half as long. Vinyl should not be installed in cold climates because it can crack easily or in hot climates because it can melt and warp. It works well in rainy climates and is insect and moisture-resistant. Like fiber cement, it comes in several colors and styles.
Engineered wood siding is another material sometimes compared with fiber cement for its lower maintenance. Engineered wood is wood that has been mixed with resins. It is lower maintenance than regular wood but still has an authentic wood look. Engineered wood siding is much lighter than fiber cement, which can make it easier to install. It is slightly less expensive at around $3.50 to $8.50 a square foot, but it is not always pre-painted, so it may have additional costs after installation. Installation costs on average are slightly lower because it is lighter and easier to work with. Engineered wood lasts 30 to 40 years on average, slightly less than fiber cement’s 50 years, but longer than vinyl.
Most fiber cement siding is described as being “cedar look,” meaning that it has a grain and texture similar to cedar. However, real cedar has been growing in costs in recent years due mostly to demand and over-harvesting. Costs start at $8 a square foot and can go as high as $30. Cedar is insect and moisture-resistant, but it can rot over time. If you decide to paint your cedar, it must be primed first to prevent “cedar bleed,” a condition where the sap bleeds through the paint, discoloring it. So while cedar is a more durable wood option than many used for siding, fiber cement is considered a lower-cost and lower-maintenance alternative.
Another low-maintenance alternative to consider is metal siding. There are several types of metal siding, including aluminum, steel, and insulated log-look steel. Each one has attributes to consider. Aluminum siding dents easily, and it can fade or turn chalky. It has costs similar to fiber cement at $4 to $7 a square foot. Steel siding is more durable. Plank steel siding costs the same at around $4 to $10 a square foot. Insulated log-look steel siding and board and batten steel siding are different. They are more costly at $7 to $13 a square foot but are dent and impact-resistant and require no maintenance. They never need to be repainted, and the insulating material can lower energy bills. All metal siding is designed to be easy to install. Of the different materials, fiber cement comes in more options and finishes than metal, but the installation can be more difficult.
Another material that is usually considered lower maintenance than wood is stucco. Stucco is a mixture of cement and pigments applied to the home’s exterior. There are several types of stucco and finishes. The finished cladding can be painted in a range of colors as well. Stucco is comparable in costs to most fiber cement, with costs coming in at around $6 to $10 a square foot installed. The biggest difference is in long-term costs. Fiber cement needs fewer repairs and less maintenance, making it a lower-cost alternative.
Two of the biggest names in fiber cement siding are Allura and James Hardie. Both have been around for decades, with Allura operating under the CertainTeed name previously. Both companies offer a wide range of materials, sizes, and styles. Both have comparable costs, with starting costs of around $4 a square foot. James Hardie makes a thicker plank that can cost up to $10 a square foot, while Allura’s most expensive materials top out at about $9 a square foot. The biggest difference between the two is the finish. Allura offers nearly 30 different colors and wood stains on all their materials. James Hardie has a much smaller range of finishes and not all are offered on all products.
Another manufacturer of fiber cement is Nichiha. Like James Hardie, they offer a range of planks and panels. The biggest difference between the two is that Nichiha offers a much wider range of appearances and finishes for their products. James Hardie specializes in a wood-look appearance for their HardiPlank and shingles. Nichiha offers a much broader range, including stone veneer, smooth, stucco, and other textures. Of the two, Nichiha is also slightly less expensive, with most products landing between $4 and $6 a square foot, compared to James Hardie coming in at around $4 to $10 a square foot.
In most cases, people purchase pre-painted fiber cement. The finish lasts much longer and costs less than painting after installation. However, if you want a specific color, you can paint it right after installation or years later. Costs are similar to other exterior painting jobs because the material needs little prep or repair. The average cost is between $2 and $5 a square foot, depending on the style.
If you want to lower your energy bills, you can create a tight building envelope by siding over rigid foam. Fiber cement can be installed over both IPS and XPS foam sidings. The cost is between $2 and $3 a square foot for insulation. Creating a tight building envelope can stop energy transfer, making your home more comfortable and lowering energy costs.
Every home exterior has some type of trim. The fascia board is the flat trim that is installed just below the roofline. This is what your gutter attaches to, so it is important to choose a rot-resistant material. Fiber cement fascia board is usually installed with other fiber cement trims. It costs between $1 and $3 a linear foot, depending on the finish.
Fiber cement siding is very low maintenance. Inspect it twice yearly, recaulk joints as necessary, and repaint every 10 years on average.
Fiber cement siding lasts up to 50 years on average. Some brands may last longer, depending on the care and climate.
Yes, fiber cement siding costs between $4 and $10 a square foot, while vinyl costs between $2 and $4 a square foot.
Most fiber cement siding does not need to be painted for the first 10 years. After that, it can last another 5 to 10 years between painting.
Yes, fiber cement siding has an ROI of around 77%, which means that it can increase your home’s resale value.
Yes, you can pressure wash fiber cement siding with a basic detergent. Test it in an inconspicuous space first to be sure that the finish is not affected.
Small gaps can be filled with exterior silicone caulk. Larger gaps may need professional attention, and you should alert your installer.