Installing Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is a great choice of siding for homeowners that are looking for a durable product with a long-lasting life. The siding is rated as one of the best as it is not flammable, it resists insects and termites, and is not prone to water damage. It is ranked highest for withstanding severe weather conditions, and comes with a 50-year warranty. There are many free samples of fiber cement siding and other materials for assistance in making your selection.

As far as installing fiber cement siding, the process is very similar to that of composite siding, with some exceptions. The fiber cement siding can crack if not handled correctly, leading to a compromise in the material during installation. The other difference is that the cutting and trimming process is handled differently because of the density of the material. It is recommended that installers use a tungsten-tipped cutting tool.

Fiber cement installation materials list

The following is a recommended supply list:

  • Nail gun. A manual hammer will work, but can make the process slow and cumbersome.
  • Galvanized nails that meet the specifications from the siding manufacturer. This usually means that the nails need to be galvanized and industrial strength.
  • Caulking for joints and nail holes. This should be a paintable silicone.
  • A level for ensuring exact placement.
  • Stud finder to help locate studs for nail placement when attaching the siding to the structure.
  • Tungsten-tipped clippers or circular saw for making cuts in the material.

When installing the siding, it is best to have two people for this project. The siding needs to be handled by carrying each piece by an end. This ensures that the siding does not bow or crack. When cutting the siding, use the tungsten-tipped clippers or circular saw. When making cuts when fiber cement siding the process will be a little different than with traditional wood siding.

Allow for a clean ‘snap’

You will need to cut 3/4 of the way up the width of the siding. This is so that you can bend the end that needs removal up for a clean snap. This can be done by holding down the portion of the siding that will be used, while grabbing the underside of the portion that needs to be removed and essentially breaking it off. Fiber siding is designed to be snapped off in order to achieve a low effort clean cut.

When attaching another piece for a joint, make sure to leave at least a 1/8-inch gap. This allows for flexing. Make sure to caulk this section with the silicone caulking. You will also use the silicone to cover nail holes for nails that are below the surface of the siding.

How to install fiber cement siding boards

Here is a basic process list of how install fiber cement siding from beginning to end:

1. Begin by placing pieces on the bottom, horizontally. Nail directly into the studs that are in the frame of the wall. These studs should be located every 24 inches. Make sure that the base of the first siding piece is approximately six inches off the ground. Place the next piece over the top of the first with at least an 1-1/4 inch overlap from piece to piece.

2. At this point you can attach the siding to the studs by nailing through the base of the second piece and the tip of the base piece into the stud, or attach each piece independent of each other. When placing siding over flashing, leave at a quarter-inch gap so that water can drain, but not enough room to allow water under the siding.

3. After you have installed your siding, you can paint using an exterior grade paint. Follow the manufacturers instructions for application, and then you will be complete.

Enjoy your new, and very durable and low-maintenance, fiber cement siding exterior!

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