Picking the right siding for your house is a delicate balancing act between good looks, durability, maintenance and affordability. With wood, vinyl, stone, brick or stucco, you might get only 2 or 3 of these. But with fiber cement; a simple and resilient combination of wood pulp, silica sand, water and Portland cement, you get all four. And it’s a fraction of the cost of many other material options. Let’s compare…
Fiber Cement siding averages about $1.70/sq. ft. for clapboards and is practically indestructible. There is minimal upkeep; it’s rot-, fire-, and termite-proof; and it’s unaffected by the wind or severe cold. Plus, it’s offered in a wide variety of shapes and styles with appearances made to mimic painted wood lap siding, shingles, even stone or brick. It does need to be painted, either before or after installation, and due to its weight and the special tools needed to cut and nail it, installation is best left to the pros.
Wood siding is easier to work with, it’s lighter, easier to cut and to install…but it’s vulnerable to rot, insects, fire and splitting. And it’s more expensive…average price for wood clapboards- $4.70/sq. ft.
Vinyl is popular, largely in part to the inexpensive price tag. At an average price of .75 cents/sq. ft., it’s easy to understand why so many homes are built these days using vinyl. It’s low maintenance and lightweight. However, vinyl is susceptible to melting in fires and, to some degree, even from the hot summer sun. It can easily blow off in highwinds and becomes brittle and prone to cracking in bitter cold weather.
Brick and Stone are equally as resistant to rot, insects and fire as fiber cement, but much heavier and much more costly, especially after factoring in the need for a skilled mason to properly install. Average price for brick- $5.25/sq. ft.; stone- $9.60/sq. ft.
Stucco is another cement-based material that is durable and resistant to fire and pests, but requires skilled stucco installers to properly lathe and trowel the material to the home. And anyway, there’s a fiber cement panel designed to emulate stucco…no mason needed. Average price for stucco: $2.65/sq. ft.
If you’ve been considering residing your home, as a need or just for a new look, consider fiber cement siding. As you can see there are more than just a few benefits to be had, and with warranties ranging from 25 years to limited lifetime, you won’t have this to worry about for a long…long…long time.
**This article has been adapted from information (including avg. prices) gathered from “This Old House” magazine**