When you think of cement, you may not assume that it would work as a home building material; however, fibre cement is a very popular option for home siding. It may be the best choice for your home, either for new construction or for when you need current siding replaced. While your contractor or builder may give you very detailed information about your various options for siding materials, note a few questions you might have about fibre cement siding, and this will help you to make the right choice for your home's exterior materials.
What is in fibre cement?
All cement mixtures and batches vary according to the use of the material, which is why fibre cement made for siding is very different than cement used for walkways. Fibre cement is made with water and wood pulp, which keeps it lightweight and usable as siding. Ash or sand is added as a filler, along with what is called Portland cement. Portland cement is a mixture of limestone, clay, and iron, and this is what gives fibre cement its strength and water resistance.
Can a homeowner install this siding themselves?
Fibre cement boards are somewhat heavy, more so than vinyl or aluminium, and can crack or break if they're mishandled. It's often best to leave their installation to a professional to avoid this potential damage and because it may be more difficult to even lift these boards and put them into place than you realize.
Does the material need special care?
Fibre cement is painted during manufacture, so you don't need to repaint the siding over the years and only need to clean it with a pressure washer as needed. The only other special care needed is to ensure that vegetation is trimmed back from the home, so that the cement stays dry and doesn't absorb too much moisture from shrubbery or other flowers and plants.
Does the wood pulp in fibre cement attract termites?
It's easy to assume that the wood pulp in fibre cement would make your home more susceptible to termites, but the opposite is actually true. This pulp is mixed in so thoroughly with the cement, and the fillers that are added harden the material so much, that termites are not attracted to the material and cannot feed from it. In truth, fibre cement may then actually protect your home from termites and other insects, as its density helps create a barrier against potential infestation.