Fiber cement siding can last for more than 60 years, depending on the manufacturer and the product line. Fiber cement siding’s life expectancy is more than double that of wood siding for a house.

    This article discusses what fiber cement is, maintenance tips for it, and damage prevention.


    What Comprises Fiber Cement Siding?

    Fiber cement siding is a mix of Portland cement, sand, clay, cellulose fibers, and specialty ingredients that get pressed together and baked for strength. The material’s durability makes fiber cement an ideal exterior cladding. Portland cement, a key ingredient, is also an ingredient in concrete.

    up-close view of fiber cement siding
    Source: canva.com

    Specific ingredients and their traits include:

    • Portland cement: Binder holding the composite together with strength and weather resistance
    • Sand: Adds bulk and minimizes shrinkage cracks as the material cures
    • Cellulose: Wood pulp fibers bolster impact resistance and tensile strength
    • Silicates/Clays: Components enhancing water resistance and cured material strength
    • Coatings: Optional polymer-based coatings improving weatherproofing, reflectance, aesthetics
    • Specialty aggregates: Lightweight additives refine workability and cure consistency

    Fiber cement is also known for its moisture resistance, making it a valuable siding material for coastal homes and buildings constructed in wet climates.


    Maintenance Tips

    With proper maintenance, fiber cement lasts exceptionally long. Proper maintenance includes regularly checking weather seals, ensuring water drainage is adequate, regular inspections and cleanings, and repainting when needed.

    Inspect annually for cracked, missing caulk around windows, corners, and joints. Reseal gaps with exterior-grade caulk brands like Polyseamseal or Geocel Pro Flex. Assess flashings to divert water properly.

    Direct downspouts 5 or more feet from home using extensions, splash blocks, or gravel beds. Maintain slope for 10 feet around the foundation to prevent puddling. Use swales and berms to move water away.

    Schedule annual cleaning and inspection. Check for cracks, holes, or other damage enabling water issues. When pressure washing, keep at least 1 foot away and use a wide fan nozzle under 700 PSI. Avoid cleaners with bleach or chlorine. Also, check for signs of any pest infestations. Wasps making nests in home siding are a common problem.

    Fiber cement holds paint well when prepped right. Expect full repainting of concrete every eight to 12 years, depending on sun exposure and climate. Watch for fading or cracks, even small ones, in the top coat. Proper prep work and 100% acrylic latex paint are vital for good adhesion.


    Preventing Damage

    While fiber cement is durable, there are a few key problems to watch out for. Early detection of issues makes repairs easier.

    Improper Installation

    Confirm trim and spacing follow manufacturer guidelines to avoid safety issues with sharp edges or protruding nails, visible gaps/overlaps allowing water infiltration, and misalignment degrading aesthetics. If uncertain, have the siding inspected by a professional.

    Inadequate Waterproofing

    Insufficient caulking or flashing permits moisture intrusion, causing issues like:

    • Bubbling/peeling paint
    • Rotting wood trim
    • Cracked, warped, delaminated siding
    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Common problem areas are joints around windows, corners, and protrusions where water can penetrate.

    Improper Fastening

    Adhere strictly to nail size, type, and spacing rules per manufacturer. Fiber cement requires 7/16 inches + OSB or plywood backing and corrosion-resistant ring-shank nails. Improper fastening results in loose boards prone to cracking.


    So, Is Fiber Cement Siding a Good Investment?

    Fiber cement makes for an exceptional exterior surface when installed and maintained per guidelines. Annual inspections plus regular cleaning, caulking, and paint upkeep will provide decades of durable, worry-free performance.

    Compared to materials needing replacement in 10 to 15 years, fiber cement saves money in the long term, given its durability exceeds 50 years. For serious curb appeal built to endure, fiber cement is a smart investment.

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    FAQs About Fiber Cement Siding

    How long is warranty coverage?

    Many brands provide lifetime limited warranties, with a minimum of 50 years of coverage. Some prorated plans give 100% replacement for 30 years.


    How long until replacement versus wood siding?

    Properly installed/maintained fiber cement outlasts wood siding two to three times longer. Expect 50+ years of life for fiber cement siding vs. 15 to 20 years of life for wood siding.


    Is it better than vinyl siding?

    Yes. Fiber cement is far more durable and dent/fire resistant than vinyl. Vinyl becomes brittle and prone to cracking in as little as 10 to 15 years, requiring frequent replacement.


    Can hail damage fiber cement siding?

    Under normal conditions, fiber cement resists hail well compared to other claddings. But very large hail exceeding two inches across can cause cracks needing repair.


    Why does fiber cement crack or warp?

    Most damage results from improper installation, enabling moisture intrusion over time. Cracks and warping occur when underlying sheathing/framing shifts. Ensure fiber cement gets installed atop suitable materials and check annually for any signs of water or structural issues.


    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Jonathon Jachura

    Jonathon Jachura

    Contributor

    Jonathon Jachura is a two-time homeowner with hands-on experience with HVAC, gutters, plumbing, lawn care, pest control, and other aspects of owning a home. He is passionate about home maintenance and finding the best services. His main goal is to educate others with crisp, concise descriptions that any homeowner can use. Jon uses his strong technical background to create engaging, easy-to-read, and informative guides. He does most of his home and lawn projects himself but hires professional companies for the “big things.” He knows what goes into finding the best service providers and contractors. Jon studied mechanical engineering at Purdue University in Indiana and worked in the HVAC industry for 12 years. Between his various home improvement projects, he enjoys the outdoors, a good cup of coffee, and spending time with his family.

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    photo of Sabrina Lopez

    Sabrina Lopez

    Editor

    Sabrina Lopez is a senior editor for Today’s Homeowner with over 7 years of writing and editing experience in digital media. She has reviewed content across categories that matter to homeowners, including HVAC services, home renovations, lawn and garden care, products for the home, and insurance services. When she’s not reviewing articles to make sure they are helpful, accessible, and engaging for homeowners like herself, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her family and their two parrots.

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