Siding is an attractive way to upgrade your home’s exterior. However, many homeowners don’t know which material to choose. Both metal and fiber cement siding looks great.
However, there are some critical differences between the two, which we explain here. Read on to learn more and why we believe metal siding is ultimately the superior choice.
Metal siding does not absorb water. Therefore, it will never swell. Moreover, mold cannot grow in it because moisture can’t penetrate the material.
By contrast, fiber cement siding is not waterproof. It already contains a high moisture content when manufactured and can shrink or expand throughout its life, changing its exterior appearance over time.
Installers need to be careful when installing it. Leaving gaps between fiber cement siding panels can let moisture penetrate, causing facades to fail sooner rather than later.
Metal siding requires little to no maintenance. Eventually, it will reach the end of its serviceable life, but not for a long time. By contrast, fiber cement siding requires regular painting to prevent damage to the underlying material.
Metal siding is considerably lighter than its fiber cement equivalent. The former weighs approximately 1 pound per square foot, while the latter is 3 pounds per square foot.
Metal siding is made of metal and, therefore, 100 percent recyclable. Fiber cement siding is not recyclable.
Metal siding typically has a wood grain-effect finish to make it look natural. However, the quality depends on the manufacturer. By contrast, fiber cement siding looks like real wood.
Metal siding is extremely heat and fire-resistant and 100 percent non-combustible. Fiber cement siding is also fire-resistant because it is 90 percent sand. However, it is not fireproof because of the other materials it contains.
Installing metal siding is easy. Sets of panels overlap, allowing facades to expand and contract as the heat changes. Installers don’t need to apply large amounts of caulking, and nailheads are not exposed.
Fiber cement siding installation is different. Installers must wear respirators to protect them when cutting into the material as it can eject silica dust which is toxic to breathe. They must also paint cut ends and re-caulk every few years to keep facades in good condition.
Metal panels are suitable for most environments and can withstand almost all weather conditions your property is likely to encounter. Siding doesn’t crack, chip or peel.
By contrast, fiber cement siding doesn’t usually last as long. While it is relatively weatherproof, it will eventually crack and chip.
Metal siding can protect against hail for up to fifty years after installation. It is also resistant to UV-induced fading for thirty-five years or more. By contrast, fiber cement manufacturers offer considerably shorter warranties, perhaps fifteen years maximum, because the material doesn’t last as long.
While metal and fiber cement will both do the job, the former is arguably more appealing. It lasts longer, weighs less, requires less maintenance, and won’t combust during a fire. It’s also more sustainable – you can recycle it. The same is not true of fiber cement siding.