Fiber cement cladding?

etcncrJanuary 4, 2014

I'm new to think forum and a little desperate.;) we are in the process of building our home (it's in the framing stage right now) and I cannot come to a conclusion about the exterior. For a long time we were sure we would use fiber cement cladding all over the house with white trim around all windows. But I'm afraid the fiber cemetery will look too fake. The real wood stuff isn't an option as we live in a very hot climate. Has anyone had experience with the fiber cement stuff? Do any of you know how I can see different looks for my house? Like a program of some sort? We keep drawing it by hand, but I'm definitely no artist. This is such a big decision, I don't want to regret anything.

Thank you so much!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I apologize for all the errors, I wrote this post from my phone.:)

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We were considering the fiber cement siding for our next house but changed our mind after reading internet reviews and talking to a friend who has used it in remodels.

He said it is hard to put up, requires special nails and there is lots of cement dust when you cut it. If the nails do not go straight into the siding you might have a problem with moisture after a few years. It is labor intensive and most builders charge a much higher rate to install.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 4:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Local building code here (in the Pacific northwest) calls for treated wood furring strips between the building paper and cement board, creating a drainage plane.

Much of the online complaints seem to be a result of water trapped behind the cement board. I've seen no issues either on my own home (built 2010) nor in the surrounding area. Given you are in an arid region, you should see no issues.

As far as appearance, it's a widely used material - looks will depend more on how you finish the exterior in terms of architectural design, colors, trim, etc.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are talking about horizontal clapboard/lap fiber-cement siding it should be virtually indistinguishable from wood clapboards.

A rough finish would make it look like rough sawn cedar with stain and a smooth finish would make it look like milled cedar with paint.

IMO an embossed grain finish makes it look like a poor grade of milled cedar which I have never seen in real wood so to me it identifies the siding as imitative, i.e., fake.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 6:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all so much for responding!!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I should have expanded on my post.

If we could find someone who would install the fiber cement siding the correct way, and could afford the siding plus installation costs, we would go with this siding.

It looks good, long-term endurance and low maintenance makes this a very attractive product.

Just make sure you get someone who knows how to install it correctly.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So you don't think it looks any different from the real stuff? I really love the shingle look, just don't want it to look plasticy. Would you choose the grain or the smooth? I lean towards the grain shingles and smooth trim. I wish I couid see a home exterior with the look I want and be able to have a better idea if how it will look. I see plenty with real wood shingles, but can't seem to find any with fiber cement over the entire home!:)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Be very careful. I don't know if any of it is any good. The link is about Certainteed which is what we used but I have heard horror stories about Hardie as well.

The warranties aren't worth the paper they are written on.

I have heard good things about the Nichiha shake.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We were looking at the Hardie Plank cedar mill in a dark brown color which looks like wood. The grain makes it look more like wood.

red lover has some valid issues about fiber cement siding.

Get on the internet and research the issues about these products. There are many happy people who used this product and many that have major issues. Our friend who used this product during remodels said you have to repaint it after 3-4 years which is not what they advertise.

I believe many of the moisture and decay issues are due to improper installation. You can find the best builder, but the person hammering the nails is the one who can make this siding a success or failure. If improperly installed it may take years before you have any moisture issues.

This post was edited by cricket49 on Mon, Jan 6, 14 at 9:14

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Has anyone used the hardie board shingles for side of the house . We are going to get an estimate . I think there is. 15yr color warranty if they are still in business

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 10:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do your research. We are finishing up our build. We used fiber cement lap siding with a wood grain. We got it pre-treated and had our painter caulk and paint it since we couldn't find the color we wanted pre-finished. There aren't a lot of installers in our area. DH is co-GC. Between our SIL (other co-GC) they both did extensive research on how it should be installed and all the flashing done properly around the windows and doors. SIL used stained Nichiha and we used Hardie. DH said main thing is painting the ends of the boards before installing and make sure the flashing is correct. In fact the installers did several sections wrong even after instructions and had to tear out and reinstall properly.

Our last home was a cedar home. We think our Hardie board looks better than our cedar did painted.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Its funny to me how people will go out of their way to specify fiber cement siding and then use wood based products for the trim. I agree that the warrantees on all this stuff are pretty similar and good luck actually collecting on problems which are almost always installer issues.

If you want your exterior siding and finish to perform well, choose a good installer and go with a rainscreen system.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Brian, I'm not sure if you are referring to my photo regarding wood based trim. If so, our trim is not wood based. We used Versatex trim board above the stone (PVC product) and we used fiber cement trim for everything else. And, if you weren't referring to my photo, then it's an FYI to anyone else considering using it. :-)

We also had our stone guys use a rainscreen system behind the stone. That was also something new around our area that was suggested by our siding distributor.

I agree - good installer will make all the difference!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have had hardie plank on our current (we built new 10 years ago) home and have had significant issues with trim pieces rotting and falling apart.

our builder used the hardie material for both siding and trim. The siding pieces have functioned well and the paint on them looks just as good as when the home was built (10 years ago)

The trim however has been a disaster. In several places on the roof (near flash molding on dormer windows) it has completely disintegrated and fallen apart. And trim around doors at the bottom near the ground has also fallen apart.

In both cases, it appears water spashing up has damaged the material.

Although this problem has been going on for years, the time it took to get our builder to deal with it and the company to respond they say we are out of warranty. We have arranged to have some reduction in costs, but still we are spending thousands of dollars to get trim replaced.

In short, as a personal user of this product, I would NOT recommend using it anywhere near where water will splash up against it or snow come in contact (we are in northern climate). The planks seem to work well but the trim in our experience is not reliable over what I consider a short term (home only 10 years old).

Our next home (we are moving) we are getting vinyl.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 7:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like the look of fiber cement. My parents have had it (james hardie) for 15 or so years and have no problems or course their trim is wrapped in aluminum. You can use different kinds of molding like PVC molding to be more water resistant.
We used LP smartside which looks the same.
You can read what I wrote about it if you want:

Here is a link that might be useful: lp smartside vs fiber cement

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hoosier, wasnt talking about your pic but I like your move using PVC for the trim in close proximity to the masonry. As for the thin starter course with no kickout shim..

Iam curious about the dark paint on the PVC too. Last I checked most manufacturers only approve a certain light reflectance. Did you run into this?

ppriorah, very interesting anecdote about the failing fiber cement trim. My guess is that the cuts were not sealed properly. Its common for the trim to show more problems than the lap courses when installers dont seal the ends of their cuts. Were you guys able to eliminate that as a possibility?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We used James Hardie horizontal lap, shingles, and trim boards (not fascia or soffit though) on our build and can't be happier. Our installers knew the product well and installed it correctly. The shingle material price will give you sticker shock compared to the horizontal lap though...over twice as much for materials.
JamesHardie has an interactive website where you can mix and match colors for your home.

Here is a link that might be useful: JamesHardie

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not sure as to the cause. But the product clearly will delaminate and literally fall apart in sheets in areas of prolonged exposure to water (near the ground and near the roofline) in our experience. I would use another material in those bottom courses and trim areas. The rest of the house looks great.

It's also possible in the last 10 years they've improved the adhesives and product itself or that our installers messed up something. We had overall an excellent general contractor and our home is in the top 5% of cost for our area so it was not skimped on.

best of luck to everyone with their choices. I post just to give my data point and experience.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Two years with Hardy siding and shingles. We couldn't be happier with it.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

we wanted a vernacular white farmhouse look and went with hardie plank
according to our builder it did cost an "insignificant" amount more than brick (materials and install)
we're very happy with it so far

we've had it on our present home and shop for 8 to 10 years
and it's holding up very well

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:03PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Master Bedroom Floorplan Review
Hello, I am currently working on building a new house...
Has Anyone Built 'The L'Attesa di Vita' Plan?
Hello everyone! We are narrowing down to what we think...
After building....items you wish you would have thought of..
Hello, for those of you that built a house. After...
Exterior entry stair or enclosed interior entry stair
Your valuable advice will be appreciated. We are every...
Floorplan advice
We are a family of 4 with 2 young kids ages 3 and 10...
Sponsored Products
SensorCOOL Gel Overlay Memory Foam Pillow - Standard
$109.00 | FRONTGATE
Passion Suede Aubergine Simply Soft S-backed 12.5x19 Fiber Pillows (Set of 2)
Earth Tones Braided Rug 5' x 8' - LIGHT GREY
$349.00 | Horchow
Avila Coverlet
$749.00 | FRONTGATE
Tommy Bahama Tortuga Beach Towel
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
Recife Antique Medallion Natural Cocoa Square Rug (7'6 x 7'6)
Safavieh Hand-woven Natural Fiber Serenity Charcoal Sisal Rug (5' x 8')
Mistie Rug 12' x 15' - LIGHT BLUE
$6,599.00 | Horchow
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™