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Fiber Cement Siding Panels

fiber cement siding panels

These fiber cement siding panels could be eighty, or more, years old. They're on an old house in Meredith, NH. When installed there was no need to paint them. For some reason, people decide to go down that road of no return. Copyright 2017 Tim Carter

Fiber Cement Siding Panels Are Man-Made Rock

Fiber cement siding panels are excellent materials to cover the exterior of a home. There are thousands and thousands of homes and businesses that have this magic siding on their exterior walls.

The panels are so weather resistant for many many years special ones were made as roofing shingles! The panels used to be made with:

  • Portland cement
  • fine silica sand
  • asbestos

It's important to realize all three of those ingredients are rock or derivatives of rock and water causes no harm to any of them.

Modern fiber cement siding panels contain wood fiber in place of the asbestos. Wood fibers in fiber cement siding absorb water. A point often overlooked is this water can freeze and expand in cold climates.

fiber cement siding panels

The red piece of siding is made with fiber cement that contains wood fibers. It was installed too close to a porch deck, got wet, absorbed water and delaminated. If this siding had contained asbestos or fiberglass instead of wood fiber, the damage would have never happened. Copyright 2017 Tim Carter

Related Links

Fiber Cement Siding Overview and History

Fiber Cement Siding Installation Tips and Secrets

Free & Fast Bids

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIIDS from local siding contractors who can install fiber cement.

Fiberglass Would Be A Better Component

Another key point is fiberglass strands have been used for decades to reinforce concrete slabs. It's an inexpensive building material and it's waterproof.

It would be easy to substitute small fiberglass strands in modern fiber cement siding panels. The new cement siding would then last as long as the original product that contained asbestos.

At the present time my opinion is wood fiber is used as a form of planned obsolescence. If pieces of siding go bad, then you need to buy new to replace it.

Old Fiber Cement Siding On Historic Buildings

You can find durable fiber cement siding on tens of thousands of buildings in the USA. There are no less than ten buildings within a one-mile radius of Meredith, NH where I live.

fiber cement siding panels

This is an historic house in Meredith, NH that is covered with original fiber cement panels. They are in excellent shape except for a few places where the siding has been bumped. This house was probably built in the late 1800s and covered with the fiber cement in the 1920s or 1930s. Copyright 2017 Tim Carter

You can find hundreds and hundreds of old historic homes in just one day if you walk around an old East-Coast city!

Repairing Old Fiber Cement Siding Video

Watch this quick video to see how to replace a piece of older fiber cement siding. It's not hard to do.


CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIIDS from local siding contractors who can install fiber cement.

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7 Responses to Fiber Cement Siding Panels

  1. My grandmothers house has those and they have been there for over 60 years. Like you mentioned, at some point somebody decided to paint them. I think their main drawback is that they are not very attractive, especially in the dull white native state, but they sure do last.

  2. So there aren't any manufacturers out there making fiberglass fiber cement siding?? Boo. Whenever we design a house with fiber cement siding, we always call for the bottom board to be PVC instead of fiber cement to avoid the water issues. It'd be nice if we didn't have to worry about that at all.

  3. Concrete siding does not hold up well in Alaska. I was going to put it on my new home but after visiting several places with deteriorating panels and finding out one of the major manufacturers had withdrawn all warranties for new material installed in the state, I went with seamless metal siding instead.

    • I'm sure the reason it doesn't is because the cement content in today's products is much less than the fiber cement you see above that's nearly 100 years old.

      Manufacturers are under pressure from stockholders to maximize profits. Couple that with this HORRIBLE *disposable home* mindset I'm seeing everywhere with many products and it's a recipe for crap products.

      I guarantee you that the fiber cement siding that's got asbestos in it will absolutely last in Alaska. You can easily salvage some in run-down neighborhoods and take it up there to test it.

  4. Tim just general comment on new Focus on links to shorter articles rather than a long column. THre article is quite extensive and having pictures is
    Excellent.

    Hope it’s not the death of your stories and interesting items you share in the body of your e-letter as I think that’s what makes your column stand out from others.

    • TNX Phil! Nope, it's not the end of the stories! You'll be seeing me weave those in for sure. Right now I'm trying to discover the sweet spot for length and you'll see a story or two in the next one.

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