Everything You Need to Know About Fibre Cement

When it comes to building materials for your home, you may not think that fibre cement is a good choice for siding. When you think cement, you probably think of your home's driveway or walkway and wonder how you could even construct a home with this material. Note a few factors about fibre cement that you might consider so you know if this is the best choice for exterior siding for your home.

Does the material feel like a driveway?

Your home's driveway is probably not actually cement, but concrete. Cement is typically mixed with other elements to create different surfaces materials; for a driveway, it's mixed with sand and gravel to make that tough, durable surface on which you can drive. For siding, however, cement can be mixed with fibre, meaning either paper or wood pulp, along with a type of ash, to make it lightweight but still very durable. Fibre cement siding doesn't have the same thick feeling as your home's driveway or walkways, and it will actually be softer and lighter and more like a wood or aluminium.

Will it look dull, like a driveway?

One advantage of cement is that it's very porous, even when mixed with other materials, so it can be painted, stained, or stamped to hold a design. Fibre cement is often stamped with a rounded design, so it looks like stucco, or with an artificial wood grain. It can also be painted or stained so it looks like wood or just given a solid colour. Chances are, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between fibre cement and wood or aluminium siding.

Can it be installed by a homeowner?

If fibre cement has one disadvantage, it's that you should leave installation to the pros. While it's lightweight enough to work as a siding for your home, it's still somewhat heavier than aluminium, and it can crack and break if not properly handled. Unless you've had experience working with fibre cement in particular, leave the installation to a professional.

Does it need extra care?

With fibre cement, you need to ensure that your shrubbery and other vegetation is trimmed back so that it doesn't sit against the siding. This is to keep moisture from collecting against the siding itself. As with all cement-based products, too much moisture can mean softening and cracking of the material and eventually needing repairs. Otherwise, a good wash every year and an inspection for any holes, just as you would any other exterior material, is all that's needed to keep it maintained and in good repair.