A Fiber Cement Siding Buying Guide
Fiber Cement Siding Costs, Types and Pros & Cons
Fiber cement combines the best qualities of wood and vinyl siding. It is designed to mimic wood, so the look is more attractive than vinyl. However, like vinyl, fiber cement is very low maintenance. The price is somewhere in between the two products.
Remodeling Magazine has consistently ranked fiber siding replacement as one of the best home improvement projects for return on investment. Fiber siding ranks higher than vinyl siding replacement, as well as projects like minor kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels and roof replacements.
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Cost of Fiber Cement Siding
Cost is determined by a number of factors, including the brand, style, finishing options (pre-painted or not), the size of the house and local labor rates.
Generally, fiber cement is considered a mid-priced siding, ranging from about $2-$6 per square foot, uninstalled, for basic materials and $3-$8 per square foot including trim, uninstalled. Factor in installation and you’re looking at $8-$10 per square foot. Primed-only siding falls on the low end of that range; pre-painted falls on the high end.
Sometimes, fiber cement siding is priced by the piece, ranging from $8-$15 each, depending on color (dark colors cost more because more work is involved to get the right pigmentation).
Total Project Cost
Calculating the number of square feet you need to cover the house is a complicated process, but you can use this guide to get a rough idea. Keep in mind that the square footage of your home has nothing to do with the square footage of siding you need - the figures are entirely different.
If you need to cover 1,500 square feet, fiber cement will run you anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 installed. If you need to cover 2,500 square feet, budget $20,000 to $25,000 installed.
Keep in mind that the prices above are just guidelines. For the most accurate pricing, seek quotes from local contractors.ces are simply meant to be guidelines. For a more accurate price estimate, consult local contractors for quotes.
Types of Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is made by mixing Portland cement, sand, wood (cellulose) fibers, water and other additives. It is bonded together using hot steam. The siding is available pre-painted or primed and ready for paint. It comes in smooth or wood-grain textures.
Most fiber cement siding is designed to look like wood planks, but several manufactures also make a version that mimics cedar shakes. Less often, you’ll see fiber cement siding designed to mimic high-end materials like stone or brick.
Pros and Cons
Fiber cement siding has a long list of pros:
- Looks nice and lasts a long time
- Takes to paint well but only requires painting every 15-25 years
- Often comes with a robust warranty of up to 50 years
- Easy to clean
- Highly fire and moisture resistant
- Not vulnerable to rot or pests
Like any material, however, fiber cement is not perfect. The siding is difficult to install, leading to higher labor costs, and the material is more expensive synthetics such as vinyl or wood composite.
Choosing a Contractor
Siding is a significant investment - you want to find a contractor who will do the installation properly in order to get the most out of that investment. Look for a contractor who is experienced because expertise has a lot to do with the quality of the job. Find out how long the contractor has been in business.
However, before you decide on one company, seek quotes from several in your area to compare prices. Eliminate any quotes that come in suspiciously high - or low. Do some background research on any company you’re considering. Ask for references and check the company’s track record with the Better Business Bureau. Ask for proof that the company is licensed and insured, too.