Fiber Cement Products
Fiber Cement Products - Descriptions
I called all of the fiber cement siding manufacturers prior to writing this Builder Bulletin. Can you believe that I only received materials from two (FCP and James Hardie) of the companies? Human error was to blame no doubt. I am sure that you will have success when you call. The materials/samples I did receive are most likely VERY representative of what is out there. Let's start with the standard fiber cement siding.
Fiber Cement Siding
Both of the siding manufacturers make this product in a 5/16th inch thickness. The widths range from six inches all the way up to 12 inches. All pieces are 12 feet long. This allows you to recreate many different looks with respect to exposure. The only disadvantage in dealing with the larger widths (10 and 12") is that you often are not allowed to blind nail these products. I happen to like the blind nailing concept. It allows you to completely hide the nails. What a smooth, clean look you end up with!
As for patterns, you can get smooth, woodgrain, colonial smooth and colonial rough-sawn. Not all widths are available in all textures/patterns.
Some of the manufacturers offer their products pre-primed from the factory. You may find that this is an attractive option, especially if you are building during the wet/cold season.
Fiber Cement Panels
Do you know someone who has a newer Tudor style house? I'll bet they are having problems with rot in those pressed wood panels! Guess what? They can be replaced with fiber cement panels! How about T-111 panels? You know, those are the rough-sawn panels that have vertical channels every four or eight inches. These are also available in fiber cement. Stucco-look and simple smooth are also available. The panels are 5/16th inch thick. They come in four foot widths and in eight, nine and 10 foot lengths.
The panels are joined together using special vinyl trim pieces that are called for by the manufacturers. You CANNOT use aluminum trim! The alkaline chemical compounds in the fiber cement will eventually cause the aluminum to corrode. Don't be tempted to use aluminum!
If you are building a new home and want the Tudor look, then you MUST use the fiber cement panels. As long as you prepaint the panels and all of the wood trim pieces before assembly, you will have a virtual maintenance-free exterior!
These are basically identical to the siding panels. However, they are a tad thinner. The soffit material is 1/4 inch thick in most cases. It comes in either smooth or woodgrain texture. Soffit panels are available in eight foot lengths with 16, 24, 36 and 48 inch widths.
Cutting the Material
You have three choices. You can use a circular saw with a carbide blade, a guillotine cutter (similar to those used to cut vinyl tile) or a power shear. The power shear and guillotine are dust free. Carbide saber saw blades allow you to cut curves and circles.