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How Much Does It Cost To Install Fiber Cement Siding?

National Average Change Location | View National
$11,369
Typical Range
$5,480 - $17,683
Low End
$1,400
High End
$30,000

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On This Page:

  1. Fiber Cement Siding Prices
  2. Installing Fiber Cement Siding - What to Consider
  3. All About Hardie Board Siding
  4. Fiber Cement Siding Maintenance
  5. Other Considerations
  6. Wood Siding - An Alternate Choice
  7. Conclusion

Fiber cement is a composite material made of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers. First patented in Austria in 1901, it is fire-resistant and is not prone to rot or termites. This form of fiber cement siding used asbestos fibers, but in the 1980s James Hardie Industries produced a non-asbestos version using wood pulp.

This new form has made James Hardie synonymous with fiber cement siding, even seeing it known as “Hardie board”. It’s made by mixing finely-ground sand with a cement and wood pulp slurry which is then pressed into shape and dried under high pressure. Usually done in planks, it can also be shaped into shingles. They come colored from the factory, but can be painted.

Fiber Cement Siding Prices

You can buy planks from your local home improvement store for about $0.70 to $5.25 per square foot. Shingles cost from $2.00 to $8.00 each. They usually carry brands such as James Hardie and GAF WeatherSide. Other brands of fiber cement siding to look for are MaxiTile, Nichiha USA, and Allura Plycem (formerly known as CertainTeed).

The actual cost of the siding will depend on color and style, but don’t expect to order direct from the manufacturer. They don’t make small or medium lots, selling only in large lots to retailers and industrial-grade purchasers.

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Installation – What to Consider

Installing fiber cement siding isn’t like doing vinyl or aluminum siding. It really isn’t even like installing wood siding. While it may look like other siding materials, it has its own set of considerations when installing it.

  • It’s heavy, about 2 ½ pounds per square foot, so you will need help.
  • It can crack if not handled properly.
  • Special tools are needed to cut and nail it to avoid breaking.
  • Cutting it causes silica dust to spread, making eye and nose/mouth protection a must.
  • A contractor who has experience with fiber cement siding is required. They need to know what kind of nails to use, how to prime and seal cuts, and how high to install the siding to reduce water absorption.
  • When installing on new construction, it may crack as the building settles. These are usually hairline cracks, but if reported quickly, they are usually covered under the warranty. If not, fiber cement patch is available for small cracks.
  • If you’re replacing old fiber cement siding, houses built before the 80’s may have asbestos instead of wood pulp. This will need to be handled professionally.

Where can fiber cement be installed? Pretty much anywhere, climate-wise. James Hardie in particular has developed material that withstands freezing-warming cycles such as those found in the Mid-Atlantic as well as a formula designed for the Southwest climate. With proper installation, the planks can withstand 130 mph winds. Any house can benefit from fiber cement siding, but it is most frequently used on houses where fire risk and temperature swings are greater than normal.

In general, fiber cement siding costs about $10.00 per square foot, installed. While this sounds expensive, remember that fiber cement board is very durable and is likely the last siding you’ll do on your house in your lifetime. More than just siding is available in fiber cement. Soffits, trim, and fascia are also available. When selecting your product, don’t forget weather barriers and cement board to prevent moisture from getting past your siding. If possible, get them from the same manufacturer as your siding to ensure complete compatibility.

Finally, the tools needed to cut fiber cement range from:

  • $1,150.00 SS110A Pneumatic Production Shear by Pacific International
  • $5.00 utility knife
  • Most cutting tools will cost between $65.00 and $260.00 depending on features, capabilities, and whether you want electric or pneumatic.
  • Blades to fit existing saws are available for various prices, but some are made to work only with specific types of circular saws called “sidewinders”. These blades cost from $50.00 to $100.00.
  • Nails should be stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized nails to avoid corrosion. A nail gun is best for this to ensure consistent pressure. Nailing by hand can lead to hitting the board itself and damaging it. A nail gun strong enough for this job can cost from $100.00 to $200.00.

For a professional quote, contact a fiber cement contractor today.

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All About Hardie Board Siding

“Do one thing and do it well,” as the old saying goes. James Hardie’s company started out importing oils and hide tanning products in 1888. By the 1950s the company had gone public and was dealing in building and industrial products. Today, fiber cement siding is all James Hardie Inc. does, and they do it quite well.

Hardie is the leader for a reason. With heavy investment in research and development, the company maintains its lead developing innovations for fiber cement products. One of their best innovations is the “Hardie Zone” system. This system allows the company to manufacture siding engineered for the specific climate in which it will be installed. Hardie’s approach to color is also one of their best points. The boards come primed and painted for your color. Multiple layers are baked on to resist peeling, chipping, and cracking and have a 15-year warranty.

The product line from Hardie is suitable to any number of architectural styles. Classic clapboard siding is the most common, but shingles and modern-looking panels are also popular. Whether your home is a rustic retreat, a Victorian lady, or a modern home, there is a siding option that will fit the style.

Hardie offers limited warranties on their various fiber cement product. Here is a summary of their warranties:

  • Color – 15 years
  • Lap Siding, Shingles, Panels, Soffits – 30 years
  • Trim – 15 years
  • Weather Barrier, Flashing, and Seam Tape – 10 years
  • Cement Board – Lifetime
  • Cement Board for Exterior Use – 10 years

Hardie recommends not treating this as a DIY project. The boards are very heavy and can be difficult to cut and hang correctly. While small projects might be possible with a few tricks found in online videos, siding a whole house will be best served by experienced professionals.

The cost of Hardie board averages $3.00 to $4.00 a square foot. This is just for the material. Professionally installed, the price increases to $5.00 to $12.00 a square foot. This is because the cost of labor varies from area to area. It is possible to buy the material yourself and hire local labor to install it, but be sure the crew knows how to properly install it. Improper installation can lead to cracks and gaps. Gaps can lead to mold in your home, which is very expensive to treat and dangerous if left untreated.

Does this sound right for your home? Then get a siding professional out to install now.

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Fiber Cement Siding Maintenance

Fiber cement is resistant to wind, fire, insects, UV rays, and other elements that pummel other materials into submission, but it still needs maintenance to keep performing its best. Every year, inspect your siding and do the following:

  • Any place two pieces come together, inspect the caulking. If there are any holes or cracks, you can easily re-caulk it yourself.
  • Wash the siding starting at the roofline and working your way down. A power washer can be used, but don’t set it so high that it peels the paint. Your warranty probably doesn’t cover that situation! If you don’t have a power washer, a high pressure garden hose is enough. You want to knock down grime and any insect nests.

That’s it. That’s the yearly maintenance schedule for fiber cement siding. You can do it yourself or you can have a local handyman do it.

If you develop a crack in your siding and don’t want to go through the warranty process (perhaps it’s a small crack or else the warranty has expired), patch material can be had for around $15.00. Follow the instructions and blend the texturing to fit your existing siding. It can then be painted to match your siding.

Be sure to keep plants trimmed away from the siding. It needs to have good airflow to keep moisture from staying around. By doing this you can keep your siding looking great and functioning perfectly for years.

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Other Considerations

If you are completely replacing your old siding with new siding, you will probably need a permit. Replacing all or a significant amount of siding is considered major structural work and it will need to be inspected. This is to ensure that mold can’t get through and that the structural integrity of the house hasn’t been compromised.

If you have an older house with fiber cement siding, it may be mixed with asbestos. This dangerous substance needs to be handled by professionals experienced with it, and it must be disposed of in a specific way.

Local regulations may determine what you can and can’t put on your house. For example, a historic house or one that is in a homeowner's association may be required to have a certain style to maintain historic or neighborhood consistency. Be sure to check for any covenants regarding this.

When replacing your siding, that’s a good time to inspect your home for any hidden problems. Mold and dampness can lurk behind failing siding and cause big problems inside. This is also a great time to replace any failing components, and inspect and replace insulation.

Remember that you will have to work around the house’s utility meter. You are not allowed to remove the meter to get the panels behind it. Only the power company is allowed to work with the meter. If it must be removed for any reason, you are required to call them to do so.

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Wood Siding – An Alternate Choice

Wood siding has a lot of character and looks great, but it requires a lot of maintenance. It can be tougher to install because a professional will want to match the wood grain and is sometimes hard to lay flat. However, wood siding can be cheaper to install than vinyl siding. There are various types of wood siding you can install, including:

  • Clapboards/weatherboards: overlapping horizontal rows
  • Drop siding: fastened horizontal rows
  • Shingles: rectangular tiles
  • Vertical boards: vertical overlapping rows
  • Wooden sheets: grooved boards laid to look like a shed or barn layout

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In Conclusion

Fiber cement siding is expensive and heavy and isn’t something you can reliably do on your own. However, the protection it affords your home makes it a worthwhile investment. It is, after all, like a suit of armor for your home!

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