Learning Center

Find the answers to all your flooring questions.

Fiber Cement Siding FAQ

BuildDirect is pleased to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a wide variety of our products. If your questions are not answered on these pages, or you simply wish to speak with a Customer Service Representative, our customers can contact us toll free from anywhere in North America at 1-877-631-2845 or by email at customerservice@builddirect.com

Q. What is fiber cement siding?

A. Fiber cement siding is an extremely durable material derived from cement, sand, and cellulose fiber which is made to resemble real wood siding, or pretty much any type of surface for an exterior cladding you care to name. The materials are bonded together by a process called autoclaving, which is basically a treatment of high temperature steam.

Q. What are some advantages that fiber cement siding has over other options?

A. Fiber cement is one of the most resistant materials there is for your exterior.  It is insect-proof, because it offers no food source to insects.  It is fire-resistant, moisture-resistant, and is not prone to warping or cracking, thanks to the cellulose fibers which boost its dimensional stability.  And manufacturers of reputable brands, including our Cerber brand, offer a variety of pre-painted colors to choose from.

Q. How is fiber cement siding packaged?

A. Our Cerber brand packages each piece of siding individually, for optimum moisture protection during transit.

Q. Does fiber cement need to be painted or stained?

A. It does, but this is generally done at the factory, or by third parties who specialize in this area. Paint adds another layer of protection, as well as adding an attractive look to your exterior.  Fiber cement takes and holds paint and stain extremely well.  This makes for a uniform look from board to board.  Also when it comes time to re-coat, it’s a straightforward job.

Q. How do I fasten fiber cement to my structure?

A. Fiber cement is installed using corrosion-resistant nails, preferably a galvanized hot tipped nail.  Fiber cement cannot be stapled to a structure.  Attach the fiber boards while also penetrating the studs. Make sure not to sink the nail heads – they should be flush with the surface of the siding.  When attached fiber cement to metal studs, use C-drill screws for exposed fastening, C-wing screws for hidden fastening. For a more detailed instructions, read our Cerber fiber cement installation page.

Q. How much care and maintenance for fiber cement siding can I expect?

A. Fiber cement is known to be a low-maintenance siding option when compared to many others, including many choices in wood siding.  Since it is made to be resistant to a variety of harmful forces – insects, fungus, extreme temperature shifts, rain, UV rays – a lot of the preventative measures you would have to take with other types of siding don’t factor in.

But like any type of siding, there can be build-up of dirt or residue left by pollution. The degrees of this depend on where you live of course. The minimum you’ll have to do on a regular basis is a simple cleaning with a garden hose or a pressure washer to remove surface grime.  Your local retailers can advise you on products that remove tougher materials like pollution residue, paint remnants, or oil stains.  Ask them about the best and most environmentally-sensitive products available to serve this purpose.

Q. How long is my fiber cement expected to last?

A. Fiber cement manufacturers place a lot of confidence in this product, and you’ll find that the warranties attached to their lines of fiber cement siding are pretty robust – 50 year structural warranties are not uncommon.  Finish warranties may have a shorter span, but because fiber cement takes and holds paint so well, touch ups are easily done.  Our Cerber brand extends a 50 year structural warranty, and a 10 year finish warranty.  Read more about the Cerber fiber cement warranty.