fiber-cement siding has been around for decades in europe. it has been gaining more of a foothold in the U.S. the past decade, or so. its advantages include durability, low-maintenance, appearance (it looks like traditional clapboard siding), and fire-resistance. its reported disadvantages are mostly limited to cost – acquisition and installation. i take issue with the cost issue. one must ask “compared to what?” if the standard is cheap-O vinyl siding, then yes. when compared to good quality wood siding, my experience is the fiber-cement siding is cost-competitive. like any building product, the detailer and installer must pay honor the limitations of the product – primarily, protection from moisture penetration/saturation (BEFORE, during and after installation).
i have used A LOT of FC siding in the past 6-7 years with minimal problems/issues. its a natural fit to this project, mostly for the reasons stated above. because its primary ingredient is cement, it does have some recycled content and is recyclable at the end of its useful life. the product is guaranteed for 50 years with a 15 year warranty on the finish. not that i put a lot of stock in manufacturer’s warranties (read the fine print), but i do think the warranty duration can communicate the manufacturer’s confidence in their product. given FC siding has been in use for decades, i am comfortable with its claims of durability.
there are two primary FC siding manufacturers – JM Hardie and Certainteed. we chose Certainteed because they have siding that imitates a stained wood appearance AND because my client wanted it! the picture below is a good representation of its beauty. jessica just saw the wall yesterday and couldn’t be happier. we HOPE installation will be completed before christmas break, pending weather and roofing subcontractor (we need the metal roof and trim installed to install the soffits!).