How Much Does Fiber Cement Siding Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

Fiber cement, a composite material, is made of cement, sand and cellulose fibers, and today, close to 25 percent of new homes will use this material.

Patented in the early 1900s in Austria, this fire, termite and rot resistant siding is usually manufactured as planks or even shingles, often painted a color of your choice.

Even though the initial fiber cement siding did use asbestos fibers, James Hardie Industries, synonymous with this type of siding, eventually created a new form which uses finely-grounded sand with a cement, wood-like slurry to create the planks.

Fiber Cement Siding Cost?
Cement-Board-Siding” (CC BY 2.0) by Sery Content Development

Fiber cement siding cost

The costs of fiber cement siding will depend on the brand you purchase as many of your big-box retailers will carry popular brands such as James Hardie, GAF WeatherSide, MaxiTile, Allura Plycem and Nichiha USA.  The costs, if you were to simply buy the planks/panels at a local hardware store would cost $1 to $5 per square foot, whereas shingles would cost about $2 to $7 each from what we researched on popular home improvement websites such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.  The actual costs, aside from the brand, will also depend on the color and style as some types may need to be specially ordered at the factory, which can increase the costs.

As for professional installation, including all labor and materials, it’s best to factor about $7 to $12 per square foot, and the costs of hiring a professional contractor will depend on your geographical location, the time of year and the complexity of the job such as the number of levels your home has and the shape of the home.  Professional installation is recommended since fiber cement is heavy when compared to other siding material and will require special cutting tools and additional help. Since it’s hard to offer an exact estimate, we highly recommend checking out HomeAdvisor.com.  Here, you can simply describe your job and multiple contractors will offer a ballpark estimate for free.  To budget, the average 1,500 square foot home will be looking at spending anywhere from $10,500 to $18,000.

Take a look at the table below to see what some of the most popular branded fiber cement siding companies charge.

Allura- Allura lap siding: $2-$3
- Allura shingles and shakes: $2-$3
- Allura soffit, fascia and trim: $2-$3
Cerber- Plank siding: $2-$3
- Shake siding: $6-$8
- Cerber soffit, fascia and trim: $2-$4
James Hardie- HardiePlank: $1.50-$2.50
- HardieShingle: $1.50-$2.25
- Hardie soffit, fascia and trim: $1.50-$2.50
Nichiha- NichiBoard: $2-$3
- NichiShake: $2-$5.50
- Nichiha soffit, fascia and trim: $2-$4

NOTE:  These are the prices for materials only.  Installation needs to be considered as an additional cost.

Angie’s List notes the average cost, if you were to have it installed, would cost $6 to $10 per square foot, while vinyl siding can run $3 to $6 per square foot.

This Old House notes that clapboard, the most common type of fiber-cement siding found on the market, can cost $0.70 to $5.25 per square foot uninstalled, and the prices will depend on the size, finish and where it’s sold.

The extra costs to budget for

If you’re replacing your current siding, then there’s a good chance your local city will ask for you to file a permit, which, on average, can cost $xxx.  In the eyes of most cities, they view this type of job as major structural work and an inspector may be necessary.

Old fiber cement siding may have asbestos mixed in with the material.  Seeing it is a dangerous substance, professionals will need to be hired in order to get rid of it as needs to be disposed of properly.

Replacing older siding, while not all the time, may expose other problems which may appear behind the boards.  This could include failing insulation, mold or damp areas which may need professional attention.

Homes on a large slope and/or those with an awkward shape may increase the costs due to the extra hours the contractor will have to invest in the job.

Some contractors may include the insulation in the estimate, but some may recommend new insulation, such as vapor barrier sheathing, when removing the siding to help make your home more efficient.  If they do not include the insulation with the job, this could increase the costs by about $2 per square foot.

Fiber cement will need to be painted or stained, either by a paint shop hired by the lumberyard or the manufacturer.  If you were to choose a unique color, the manufacturer may charge an additional $1 per square foot, while a lumberyard may charge up to $2+ per square foot.

Fiber cement siding vs vinyl siding comparison

Cost. This is often a popular comparison made by homeowners who are either looking to replace their existing siding or install it on a new home.  While vinyl siding will be cheaper by as much as 100%, it doesn’t mean you’re getting value.  On average, fiber cement siding will cost $7 to $12 per square foot installed, as we mentioned, and vinyl siding, on average, can cost $3 to $6 per square foot.

Durability.  Fiber cement siding often comes with a lifetime warranty, whereas vinyl siding will have a warranty that lasts up to 30 years.

Eco-friendly.  Vinyl, made from PVC, is not known to be friendly to the environment, but fiber cement, made from sand, cement and wood fibers, will not impact the environment at a local landfill.

Energy efficiency.  Vinyl has a standard R-Value of .61 while fiber cement has a .5 standard R-value.

Look.  Both sidings, in general, come in a variety of decorative options and colors.  Vinyl siding is known to come in more than 300+ colors, whereas fiber cement, since it can be painted, can be endless.

Installation.  Vinyl siding is extremely simple to install as no special tools are required.  Fiber cement, on the other hand, will require special tools as it weighs much more than standard siding options.

Maintenance.  Vinyl siding will never need to repainted and simply needs to be washed annually.  Fiber cement, over time, will need to be re-painted and inspected periodically for any damage.

Fiber cement siding maintenance

As mentioned, fiber cement siding is resistant to wind, insects, fire, UV rays and other relatable weather elements.  This doesn’t mean it will last a lifetime, however, as you will still need to consider annual maintenance.  This will include inspecting the caulking in between the boards to ensure none of the pieces are peeling apart, have holes and/or cracks.  If so, you will want ot re-caulk the area to keep it performing at it’s best.  If you don’t feel comfortable using a caulking gun, most of the fiber cement siding manufacturers do offer a patching material which can be applied and won’t void your warranty.

Aside from inspecting the caulk, you will also want to wash all of the siding from the top to the bottom with power washer set on a low setting to avoid peeling the paint.  If you do not have access to a power washer, then a garden hose with an attachment can suffice as well.

Plants, if near the home, should always be trimmed away from the home to help avoid moisture for staying near the boards.

The life-cycle

Many companies, if you research, will offer a “lifetime” warranty, and while this is true, experts say you should expect the siding to last more than 50 years.  Be careful with these lifetime guarantees, however, as the flaking and fading will often only be protected for up to 15 years and there will be exclusions, as with many warranties, that the homeowner will need to abide by to keep the warranty active.


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