Tips for using fiber cement siding board

Asbestos Content in Older siding

fiber cement siding use spans back for over a century. Until the 1980s, this type of siding often included asbestos fibers for reinforcement, which helped make the siding even more durable and resistant to fire. By the end of the 1980s, manufacturers stopped using asbestos because asbestos fiber inhalation is linked to lung cancer. Homes built before the late 1980s may have cement board siding that contains asbestos.

This material is only harmful if the fibers are released through damage or removal of the siding. If you suspect your old siding has asbestos in it, keep the siding intact, or have it removed by a professional abatement contractor. Avoid drilling holes, cleaning with a pressure washer or using abrasive tools on fiber concrete siding that may contain asbestos.

Tips: Try not to buy those fiber cement boards with asbestos.

Silica Dust Issues

Modern cement board siding contains no asbestos, but it does contain a hidden health hazard: silica dust. Cutting the planks during installation releases silica dust into the air. This substance is extremely hazardous to the health and can lead to respiratory problems or other illness. To minimize exposure to silica, cut cement board siding away from people. Installers should wear full respirators, as simple face masks are ineffective. Some installers may decide to wet the siding while cutting to keep dust contained.

Tips: Wear a dust mask while installation.

Moisture Damage

fiber cement siding manufacturers have faced a number of class-action lawsuits from consumers whose homes suffered moisture-related problems. Because this material is more porous than vinyl, it can absorb water, especially through the cut edges. This water can then cause the product to crack or split, especially in colder climates. Moisture can also cause mold or mildew growth in the framing or sheathing. While wood siding also absorbs water, it dries out much faster than cement board, so it's less of an issue.

Tips: Waterproof treatment can perfectly solve this problem.

Thermal Performance

Cement siding is considered a poor provider of thermal resistance. This means that cold or hot air from outside your home penetrates this material fairly easily, so it doesn't help insulate your home. The R-value of a product describes its thermal resistance, with higher values equating to better levels of resistance. Cement board siding has an R-value of 0.34, which is nearly half that of uninsulated vinyl or aluminum. Another issue with fiber cement siding is its inability to block sound transmission through the walls, which means you may hear more outdoor sounds inside your home.

Tips: Mostly this kind of siding plank is used for exterior wall, thus fireproof performance is not the most important feature. When fire occurs, this panel can delay the spread of fire and earns inhabitants enough time to escape outside.

Performance Issues

The nature of fiber cement siding lends itself to some issues in performance. This type of siding tends to be brittle. It can break or crack easily, especially during the installation process. Damage can also happen if something hits the siding hard after installation.

Shrinking is another potential performance issue. The siding cures and shrinks some after installation. If it's installed properly, that shrinking isn't an issue. If not, the shrinking may leave your home looking unattractive. Moisture and temperature changes can also cause shrinking of the siding.

Tips: Once waterproof treatment is done, this siding sheet can last decades. It is good against nature.

Selected from: