Compared to other building materials such as stone, tiles, or timber that have been around longer, fiber cement has only been around for about 40 years.
But despite it being a relatively new concept in the construction industry, fiber cement has become incredibly popular because of its benefits.
Fiber cement is an ideal building material. It is affordable, durable, and provides a great alternative to other cladding options such as stone or wood.
If you have a construction or remodeling project, there are several reasons why you may want to consider fiber cement cladding.
What Is Fiber Cement Cladding?
Developed by James Hardie in the early 1980s, fiber cement is a composite material made up of cement reinforced with fillers and cellulose fibers.
This mixture can be molded into custom shapes before it is fully formed, allowing it to be used in various applications.
This material mainly compares to other heavily processed yet budget-friendly cladding materials such as aluminum panels and PVC. However, several architects prefer using fiber cement cladding because it can look like a more expensive and elegant product when it is adequately detailed.
Its dense, high-quality panels can imitate the appearance of concrete and stone, all at a very subsidized cost. The panels are often background materials and are lightly textured.
The material can appear gently washed with some gray tones and neatly highlighted with screws or tiled in a fractal design.
But you can find several variations of colors that suit your building color or design.
The material is ideal for cladding the exterior walls of buildings. It can also use it as a tiling backer board on building interiors or a floor tiling base.
In addition, fiber cement comes in several façade designs that make it ideal for exterior or interior surfaces.
Another aspect that makes fiber cement such an excellent cladding alternative is its highly cost-effective and low-maintenance materials.
It is also water-resistant and therefore will not rot, warp or crack. In addition, it is also fire resistant, and this makes it safe. When installed properly, it can last for more than 60 years.
Benefits of Fiber Cement Cladding
The process involved in manufacturing this cladding material renders the product quite robust. Various elements such as sand particles and wood pulp are taken through a rigorous manufacturing process to develop fiber cement.
Here is a breakdown of more benefits that are making the material all so popular.
It’s Highly Durable
The process involved in manufacturing fiber cement products makes them very strong and durable. In addition, unlike other cladding materials, it protects against several elements, making it useful in construction.
The material does not crack or warp. It is heat, fire, snow, ice, and hail resistant. In addition, it is mold and moisture resistant and therefore will not deteriorate because of damp or any water-related issue.
The cladding material also does not degrade when exposed to UV rays and is not at risk of wind, birds, or pet damage. It can stay in fine condition for decades.
Though fiber cement cladding cannot provide 100% moisture protection by itself, manufacturers produce backer boards to enhance the cladding’s moisture protection properties.
Note that fiber cement cladding has a low R-value. Therefore, if you want to supplement its thermal insulation properties and ensure durability, you should increase it with additional insulation.
It’s Easy to Install
Another reason why fiber cement is so highly favored is for its short installation time. The material is light making it easy to handle and maneuver during installation. It cuts down on time significantly since it can be quickly and securely placed in its position.
Depending on the brand, contractors can have a hard time achieving a seamless corner using it. To avoid this, try and work with brands that use mitered corners to create a 90-degree angle. To get a good corner, you can break the panels to where the building’s shape starts to change.
Fiber Cement is Eco-Friendly
Though the material in its finished form is not recyclable, it does not break down to release toxins in landfills. This makes it very environmentally friendly.
In addition, the material is made up of sand, water, cement, and a few other safe additives. It also produces less dust than normal cement, making it less toxic, providing a better and safer working environment.
Requires Low Maintenance
Fiber cement cladding requires very little maintenance. You only need to wash it occasionally once it is properly installed. It does not need repainting since the material has a curing process that absorbs very little moisture compared to other cladding materials.
It also comes integrated with ColourPlus Technology that ensures it does not peel, chip, or crack for at least ten years.
Its Versatile Nature
The advanced manufacturing method used to produce it together with their natural compound offers various colors to choose from. In addition, its facade design and hues, such as a wood grain look or stucco, can build a great aesthetic appeal.
Its finishes range from smooth to highly texture, with some brands having over 15 different finishes to choose from.
Equitone, a modern colored material made from fiber cement, can be used in different applications, especially facades. Produced under the name Eternit since the 1950s, Eternit panels showcase a raw, unique, and untreated texture of the cladding’s base material.
It can be used in any construction project, including festival halls, private residences, multifunctional buildings, and pavilions, irrespective of the building size or type.
The Bottom Line
Fiber cement cladding has a long way to go. However, these building materials can be used effectively in a wide variety of different projects.
For example, if you want to achieve a stone look and feel but are operating with a shoestring budget, fiber cement should serve as a great alternative.
You can cut it to any shape you want easily, and since it is common in the industry, any contractor should be familiar with its use.
If you would like to know more about fiber cement cladding, why don’t you give us a call at 360-825-2404?
We have trained and experienced staff who will be more than glad to help you procure the best materials for your project.