More and more often, homeowners are exploring ways to make their home more ecologically friendly, or “green.” Fiber cement siding is a good option for homeowners looking for more green, sustainable exterior siding for their homes. Read on for the many good reasons why you should look into fiber cement siding.
What Is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is a practical, eco-friendly exterior addition you can add to your home. It is functional but also meant to be pleasing to the eye. Siding is meant to insulate your home, making it easier to hold in heat during the colder months as well as to keep it cool during the summer. Siding should not be your home’s primary method of insulation, but rather a component of its overall insulation plan. Having a well insulated home will save you money in the long run because it will cut down on energy costs spent on heating or cooling your home, depending on the weather.
Specifically, fiber cement is composed of 45 percent Portland cement, 45 percent silica sand, and 10 percent wood fiber.
What Are The Benefits of Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is known for its durability over other sidings made from vinyl and aluminum: it is typically guaranteed to last for up to 50 years, and can even go longer if your local environment is not particularly harsh. This means that it is a great siding investment, as maintenance and upkeep costs should be minimal or non-existent (for several decades, anyway). Fiber cement is also inert, which means it will not emit fine dust or volatile organic compounds once you have completed your installation.
Fiber cement siding resembles wood but is fire and termite-resistant, unlike wood. Because it requires almost zero maintenance, it is a shining example among sustainability home improvement options. It can even be made of recycled materials, reducing your carbon footprint even more.
Although these benefits are considerable, there are downsides to the manufacture of fiber cement siding. When the material is cut, it produces a toxic silica dust. This complicates installation, so if you are going to do so yourself, make sure that you wear a mask to protect your lungs; you can also avoid this dust by using the proper cutting technique. As with any home improvement project, taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself, those around you, and our immediate environment.
Another environmental concern that fiber cement may pose is actually due to the advantage of its durability. Because it has only been recently developed, at this time there are no programs to dispose of it after its useful life. While it could be reground and used as road fill, sending it to the landfill will only contribute to the landfill’s problematic volume. Still, as stated earlier, it is inert and does not pose any lasting environmental or health risks.
As with any new material, know the risks and limitations of fiber cement siding before you commit to using it on your home. As far as green technology goes, though, it promises to be a great investment.
Author: Michael Martin of MBM Construction is a proud installer of fiber cement siding and has a team of qualified siding contractors to handle growing demand for eco-friendly exterior siding installation.
Photo: MBM Construction