Presenting the right siding for your home improvement customers requires a delicate balancing act between affordability, maintenance, durability, and aesthetics. With wood, vinyl, stone, stucco, or brick, you might only balance one or two of these elements. But with fiber cement siding, you get all four — and for a reasonable cost.
True, our FAQ is a great resource for confirming exactly what the different fiber cements are and how to use them for upcoming projects. To help stay ahead of the curve and on top of home improvement trends, we’ve also created a cheat sheet centering around its benefits, how to incorporate it and how to communicate these benefits with future homeowner clients.
Fiber cement has been growing in popularity since the early 1900s thanks to its proven performance and affordability. In fact, there are still thousands of existing homes still being protected by the siding from that era. Profitable builders and remodelers often rely on these attributes to build and differentiate their businesses.
The durability of the product comes from its unique mix of wood fibers, sand, fly ash, and cement. For some, the composition is processed as a wet or dry mixture and is then pressed into sheets and cured in high-pressure ovens to make them durable, yet still flexible. Those panels are machined, finished and coated on all sides and edges.
Fiber cement is versatile as it comes in a wide range of sizes, sheens, profiles, and finishes. Nichiha offers textures from wood grain to concrete to stone to brick to stucco and more, with none of the material drawbacks. And Nichiha products allow for arranging panels horizontally or vertically depending on the architectural design. Fiber cement cladding even works indoors to further extend a home’s design theme.
Nichiha’s fiber cement board is much easier to install than some other siding material options as it has a simplified installation process as part of its Ultimate Starter Track and Clip System.
Nichiha’s fiber cement siding is fire-, humidity-, temperature-, AND wind-resistant, making it the safest option in dry regions prone to wildfires and in wet regions prone to hurricanes. It has a fire spread index of 0, doesn’t allow pests to infest, doesn’t rot or warp in humidity, won’t crack in temperature fluctuations, and can withstand up to 130 mph of winds.
Essentially it can withstand anything in any climate and it meets all code restrictions, including the stringent wind load requirements in Miami-Dade County and fire codes in California.
Fiber cement siding maintenance is simple: It should be inspected at least once a year and after any major weather events. Despite the temptation, it doesn’t need to be power washed — just a soft wash and rinse with a garden hose does the job. Unlike other siding materials, fiber cement doesn’t need any paint or finish.
Because it’s low maintenance, fiber cement siding has a lower lifetime cost than other siding materials. Some siding materials have lower upfront costs but have a high likelihood of needing repair later, driving up costs over the life of the house. Fiber cement siding is much more budget-friendly in the long run.
Fiber cement siding is environmentally-friendly and a sustainable choice for residential siding, without any increased costs in either the short-term or long-term. It uses wood fiber that is often a waste product from other wood product manufacturing companies and generates very little waste of its own.
While the benefits above should be enough to convince homeowners to choose fiber cement siding for their exterior design, one of the most tantalizing questions homeowners will have is in regards to money and their return on investment.
Nichiha’s fiber cement panels offer durability and weather-resistant solutions to homeowners that want long-term solutions for their home with little to no upkeep. “Homeowners have been less transient the last few years,” according to Realtor magazine. Essentially, they are choosing materials that last longer and offer higher gains at resale years down the road as they stay in their homes for longer periods of time.
The true costs of exterior building materials should be measured by the upfront cost plus its maintenance and any replacement costs over its lifetime:
Brick: $6 to $15/square foot. Little to no maintenance required, but it must be inspected regularly for deterioration and repair can be incredibly costly.
Stone: $35-$50/square foot. While this material offers protection and requires little maintenance, it has the highest replacement cost. Only a trained professional can install it in dry weather conditions, thus limiting construction availability greatly.
Stucco: $6-$9/square foot in sunny states and double that cost in Northern states. This material requires repainting and frequent maintenance, especially in wet climates.
Fiber cement: $5-$15/square foot. Easy to maintain with little to no maintenance, and repair required only in event of damaged panels or shingles. Any trained general contractor can easily install fiber cement.
There is a Nichiha siding product for every project’s budget. Explore all your pricing options using our Cost Estimator tool.
According to Builder Online Magazine and Remodeling Magazine, nine out of the top ten higher return on investment projects are exterior replacement (or high curb appeal) projects. Remodeling with fiber-cement material offers a 77.6% cost recoup and is one of the top ten most profitable projects for home improvement.
To see more home improvement projects for inspiration, check out the Nichiha Gallery. Or click here to contact your local rep for samples to show your homeowner clients in person — or have them mailed directly to your customer for contactless delivery.