Home Improvement--General/siding


Hi.  I have a large house with the front mostly brick, but the sides and back are old wood siding that is clearly peeling and rotting.  I'd like to replace it.  A friend in the construction business is recommending concrete siding as being the most durable, especially here in Nebraska where we get some pretty good storms with hail and the occasional tornado.

My friend has suggested double thickness concrete as being better able to withstand hail and wind.  He also suggests the paintable type instead of the kind that has color incorporated.

I was wondering about your comments on these suggestions.  Thanks.

Cement fiber siding  on a chimney
Cement fiber siding o  
Hi Steve,

I think your friend is giving you good advise.  I am not sure you need the 5/8" thick siding but I am from NC where we don't usually get as many severe storms as you may in Nebraska.  

Cement fiber siding is a superior product, but just as with most things in the construction industry, The quality of the installation is as important as the product.  Review these <a href="http://www.jameshardie.com/d2w/installation/hardieplank-hz5-us-en.pdf">installation instructions  
</a> and discuss them with the installer to ensure they are familiar with and use good installation practices. Using the right nails and proper placement of nails and flashing is critical to a quality installation project.

Unless it is not financially viable I also urge you to consider using cement fiber or PVC trim boards or a combination of the two. There are not as many trim profiles available in fiber cement as in PVC but between the two any existing trim profiles can likely be duplicated.  Even though  using these products instead of wood will increase your costs initially, they will more than make up for the investment over time by reducing your long term maintenance costs.

Like your friend I also recommend using the siding that requires painting.  In my experience a project completed with regular cement fiber siding and sound trim boards and that is properly caulked and painted looks better and provides better protection than the pre-finished siding would provide.

One venerability that cement fiber siding does have is wicking water up through any exposed edge that is too close to adjacent surfaces.  Areas where the siding is angle cut to match a roof line or in areas where it may come in contact with brick steps or the ground are often difficult to seal along the lower edge.  Water that is absorbed in these edges may affect the adhesion of the paint in that area causing it to peel or flake off. The water itself doesn't really negatively affect the siding which will eventually dry back out. However, if the wet siding is exposed to freezing temperatures, the water can freeze and expand, causing structural damage to the siding.  Over time this can have the effect of pulverizing the lower edge of the siding to the point that it will require replacement.   This can largely be completely avoided by  properly utilizing flashing, keeping an appropriate space between the edge of the siding and any surface to which it can't be caulked  and sealing the exposed edges.  

I hope I have been of some use in helping you make a good decision in this matter and good luck with your siding project.

Best regards,
Tony Wood

Home Improvement--General

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Tony Wood


I can answer a wide range of home improvement and maintenance questions. My expertise is in carpentry, painting, framing, siding/boxing, doors, windows, decks and screen and glass enclosures. Wood's Home Maintenance Service


I am a life time resident of North Carolina with over 30 years experience in multiple facets of the industrial, commercial and residential construction industry. For the past 23 years I have owned and operated Wood's Home Maintenance Service , providing services primarily in Johnston, Wake and Sampson Counties of North Carolina.


Several Home improvement articles published on Angie's List and other online forums.

High School graduate ~ proficient in CAD (computer aided design), Open Office program suite.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.