When choosing exterior siding for their new modern home, homeowners often focus on things like look, texture and durability. Siding frequently consists of the largest part of your home’s exterior, so you want to choose a product that completes your design vision and stays looking good for decades.
Of growing urgency that is top of mind are material properties like fire resistance. We never want to consider the worst might happen; however, there are increased risks for even the most well-built home since wildfires are on the rise in many parts of North America.
Choosing fire-resistant siding should be a primary factor when choosing aesthetically-pleasing siding. And the good news is these two criteria don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
Options like cement board siding come in a variety of modern textures, profiles, sheens and shapes, providing an abundance of design flexibility while still being fire rated. Fiber cement siding panels can improve the overall fire-resistance hardening rating of your home, which is helpful for insurance purposes in Western locations like California.
When you hear the word siding, you might think most immediately about classic horizontal siding, like vinyl and aluminum. These products are popular but are limited in what they can do in terms of visual appeal. But fiber cement siding is incredibly versatile and comes in a variety of textures to satisfy any design vision.
A product like Nichiha’s Savannah Smooth gives a clean traditional profile with classic siding lines. But for homeowners looking for other exterior siding textures and profiles, an option like Sierra Premium Shake gives a woodsy rustic feel. Fiber cement can even come in a masonry look like StackedStone products, giving you lasting appeal without the specialty of mortar installation required by standard masonry.
From exterior siding that looks like wood, shake or bricks, fiber cement can help you build a classic dream home. But if your tastes run more contemporary, there are fiber cement exterior siding options that will help tie your whole aesthetic together.
Nichiha’s ArchitecturalBlock comes in large panels that can be installed in a number of configurations, giving you the variety you need to achieve the look you want. Alternatively, VintageWood siding brings the warm look of hardwood outside, creating eye-catching visual contrast with the peace of mind that comes from having a cementitious, ignition resistant exterior.
Even with more classic profiles, fiber cement provides a unique and updated look. The thickness of the panels means it creates deeper shadows, and the corners can be beveled or cut. This creates a more modern appearance compared to traditional materials, creating a contemporary look while maintaining the classic lines of more conservative design.
And fiber cement board siding comes in a variety of traditional and contemporary colors. Whether you want a muted color palette so you can showcase a prize-winning garden or choose high-contrast selections to create eye-catching curb appeal, fiber cement siding colors will help your home stand out.
Fiber cement does more than look good. It’s durable, long-lasting, rot-resistant and low maintenance in even the toughest climes. And fiber cement brings documented fire-resistant properties that help protect your home in the event the worst happens. This is called home hardening.
Nichiha’s robust Architectural Wall Panel rainscreen system and ½ thick Sierra lap board are IBC code-compliant for use as exterior cladding in fire-resistance-rated wall assemblies. This means that, coupled with other fire-resistant building materials including insulation and framing, fiber cement siding will withstand fire, and in some cases, even increase the assembly’s overall fire resistance.
While fire resistance won’t make your home fireproof, fire-rated exterior siding will help protect the building and your possessions until the fire department can arrive on the scene, limiting damage.
While choosing exterior siding, fire resistance may not be the first thing that springs to mind. However, finding a product that combines fire resistance with modern, appealing textures, is easier than you might think thanks to fiber cement exterior siding panels.
If you’re looking to build a home that balances safety and design, Nichiha architectural wall panels and plank siding are durable and nearly maintenance-free exterior siding options. For more inspiration and information visit the Nichiha website.