Engineered Wood vs. Fiber Cement Siding: Which Holds Up Better?
Just as clothes “make the man,” (or the woman, in my case) a home’s exterior is often said to be a reflection of its owner’s tastes and preferences and, ultimately, personality. The seemingly mundane task of picking out the right siding for our homestakes on an entirely new light when we think of it as being akin to picking out stylish clothes for ourselves.
Among the things people look for in clothing, of course, are quality and workmanship. If you put so much care into selecting your wardrobe, should you do any less with your siding?
Most people know that vinyl has consistently topped the list as America’s siding material of choice since it was first introduced in the 1960s.I encourage homeowners to stop and consider two often-overlooked material choices for siding that can give vinyl a run for its money in terms of overall value. Before we do that, though, let’s look at a short list of basics we need to consider when selecting siding.
- Water Resistance – Is the siding resistant to water? It should be, if you want it to last.
- Installation – Is it easy to install, or do you require special tools and skills to get the job done?
- Energy Efficiency – What’s the R-value rating for energy savings, and what kind of insulation will you need to install beneath the cladding?
- Aesthetics –If this siding is to last you for years, will you love how it looksjust as much 5, 10, or 20 years down the road, as you do today?
- Versatility –Does your home’s exterior have some aspects that could make it challenging to use a particular kind of siding? Is the material versatile enough to meet your varied needs?
- Durability –Is the siding suitable for the climate and temperature conditions where you live? How well can it withstand daily wear and tear?
As a woman in the home improvementbusiness, I also look at things from the perspective of a mom and homemaker who believes in products that aren’t fussy, but can last and look beautiful for years. Which is why two siding materials I’m really sold on are fiber cement and engineered wood. Based on the six important aspects mentioned above, here’s why:
Fiber Cement Siding
- Resistant to termites, fire, water, and rot; it’s mainly composed of cement, sand, and cellulose fiber.
- It does need professional installation, but once built, it’s built to last. Just as you wouldn’t trust a less knowledgeable seamstress to do the delicate stitching on your custom-made clothes, you shouldn’t let inexperienced installers deal with fiber cement sidingeither.
- Fiber cement is one of the most energy-efficient materials on the market. It is also considered a green product.
- It comes closest to mimicking natural wood grain and is extremely difficult to distinguish from other wood siding products.
- It is versatile and often comes in different styles, such as beveled siding, shingles and shakes, and stucco panels.
- Factory-painted products typically hold a warranty of 25 years.
- Can withstand fungal decay, termite damage, has a higher resistance to moisture than wood and most other siding products, and is resistant to cupping and warping.
- Significantly lighter than some other types of siding, making it easier and quicker to install. Cuts and works like natural wood.
- Has excellent insulating properties and is highly energy-efficient, also requires less energy during manufacturing.
- Looks like authentic wood, without the knots and flaws.
- The best products are factory-pre-primed for excellent paint adhesion and are warranted for up to 50 years.
Be brave enough to explore these siding materials options. I’m pretty sure you’ll come to love them as much as I do!
Lisa Sanning, co-owner of Xterior Pro, is a passionate home improvement contractor. Her blogs are an avenue for her to share her love for, and experience in home improvement and everything in between. She is also a loving wife, homemaker, and proud mother to three kids.