When it’s time to replace your home’s exterior siding, two of the most popular options you’ll encounter are wood and fiber cement. Homeowners have used wood siding for centuries, but fiber cement siding is a newer alternative that has its own set of characteristics. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both materials, and make an educated decision about the right type of siding for your home.
Cedar Siding Basics
Wood is a classic siding option that comes in many forms, from clapboard to shingles to engineered wood products. Homeowners can choose from several types of wood, including cypress, pine, spruce, and cedar siding. Even though wood has a long history as a siding material, that doesn’t mean it looks outdated. Thanks to its numerous styles, homeowners can use wood siding to create both traditional and modern designs. It’s such an iconic material, in fact, that many of the more contemporary siding materials try to emulate wood.
Wood Siding Pros and Cons
Wood siding comes with many benefits.
- Durability: wood siding can last for decades with proper care.
- Customization: wood siding can take on many shapes and forms. Since it’s such a pliable material, it’s easy to customize to your size and design needs with standard tools.
Wood siding also has a few drawbacks.
- Maintenance: you can’t just let wood siding age on its own, or you may run into issues with rotting and other deterioration. Instead, it requires constant maintenance, including regular paint or preservative treatments.
- Cost: some wood siding is inexpensive, but the best grades can cross the line into expensive territory. Wood siding can also cost more to install than other materials.
Fiber Cement Siding Basics
A complex material, fiber cement siding is made from a combination of substances such as wood fiber, sand, clay, and cement. Though its name might make it sound industrial, fiber cement siding can take on a variety of appearances (including wood), making it a solid choice for either a historic home or a new build.
Fiber Cement Pros and Cons
Fiber cement siding offers several advantages.
- Maintenance: fiber cement siding is resistant to insects, fungus, and UV damage. Simply clean on a regular basis with a power washer. When you’re ready for a refresh, this material is easy to paint.
- Durability: this type of siding holds up well over time and resists fire, making it one of the more durable siding materials on the market.
- Customization: as a cement product, this material can easily be molded into a variety of shapes, including classic wood siding styles.
- Sustainability: with its reliance on waste wood fibers and its low maintenance requirements, this is one of the most eco-friendly siding options.
Like wood, fiber cement siding also has some disadvantages.
- Installation: installing fiber cement siding is a highly skilled process, which means you can’t do it with everyday tools. You’ll need to invest in some specialized tools or hire a professional.
- Cost: the upfront cost of fiber cement siding makes it one of the more expensive siding materials on the market. Low maintenance costs over time, however, will likely offset this.
Replacing your home’s siding presents the opportunity to give your home a great new look, but choosing the right siding material for your project can be challenging. Consider your home’s design, your budget, your patience for maintenance, and your desire for a sustainable solution as you decide whether wood or cement fiber siding is best for your home.
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