How Long Does Fiber Cement Siding Last?

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 10, 2024

Investments in your home’s exterior improve its curb appeal and property value. When choosing the right materials, longevity is a critical factor. Fiber cement is a relatively new home siding material but is rapidly gaining popularity. The material is strong and rigid. It’s moisture- and fire-resistant while having an aesthetic appeal similar to wood. As a result, fiber cement siding has an impressive life span and requires minimal maintenance. 

We’ll explain fiber cement siding, the available styles, and the factors that impact its life span so you can make an informed buying decision.

What Is Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiber cement siding is a strong and durable siding material that combines the performance of masonry with the look of wood. It isn’t susceptible to rot, fire, or termites and is unaffected by wind and cold. It’s made of cement, sand (or fly ash), and wood or cellulose fibers. This mixture creates a flexible, strong, rigid material that resists cracking. It isn’t susceptible to moisture. This strength gives it one of the longest life spans of modern siding materials. Some brands of fiber cement siding have a 30-year warranty, but with proper maintenance, it can last over 50 years. 

How Is Fiber Cement Siding Made?

Fiber cement is composed of four basic ingredients that work together to form a strong yet flexible material:

Fiber cement siding is available in various colors and can mimic the look of other siding materials like wood or stucco. Some options come prepainted, while others are prefinished with a UV-resistant covering and don’t require painting.

Fiber Cement Siding Styles

High-quality fiber cement siding is available in various styles. Some styles look like wood plank lap siding or have a contemporary sleek appearance. You can also cut, shape, and paint the siding panels for higher levels of customization. While different siding styles offer the same durability and benefits, some may be more likely to collect dirt and debris. A few of the most popular fiber cement siding styles include the following:

Factors That Impact Fiber Cement Siding’s Life Span

Fiber cement siding can last up to 50 years with proper installation and maintenance. However, your climate and dedication to maintenance can significantly impact its longevity.

Local Climate and Weather

Harsh weather greatly impacts how long your fiber cement siding will last. Freeze/thaw cycles cause the materials to expand and contract, potentially leading to cracks in siding and seals around windows and doors. Promptly sealing cracks and gaps can reduce weather-induced damage.

Maintenance and Upkeep

While fiber cement siding is a low-maintenance material, it still requires certain treatments to help protect it from the elements and maintain its appearance. Maintenance includes annual cleaning and inspection for damage and resealing or repainting every 10 to 15 years. 

Quality of Installation

While you can install fiber cement siding yourself, it’s critical to understand the proper installation procedure. Mistakes and shortcuts during installation are the most common problems with fiber cement siding. Failing to maintain sufficient drainage systems around the home, using the wrong type of nails for installation, or mishandling the siding can lead to future damage. Hiring a certified siding contractor to handle the installation process is the best way to ensure you get the lasting benefits of fiber cement siding.

Fiber Cement Siding Maintenance

While fiber cement siding is low-maintenance, it still requires some upkeep to stay in optimal shape. Maintenance includes regular cleaning, prompt damage repair, and occasional repainting or resurfacing. 

Cleaning Fiber Cement Siding

Cleaning your siding keeps it looking great and can help you avoid mold and mildew growth. Once annually, or any time you notice your siding getting particularly dirty, use a garden hose to spray from the top of the siding down to remove dirt, dust, and debris. If water alone doesn’t eliminate dirt or stains, use a mild water and dish soap solution and a soft-bristled brush or cloth to eliminate grime. Avoid high-pressure and acid-based cleaners to prevent damage to the siding’s surface. 

Inspecting for Damage

Harsh weather and freeze/thaw cycles can cause cracks and other damage to your fiber cement siding. Waterproof sealant joins your siding to other parts of your home. Inspect this sealant annually to ensure the barrier stays intact. Repair gaps as soon as possible to prevent more extensive damage.

Repainting and Resealing

Finishes and sealants can last over a decade. However, you should repaint or reseal the siding if you notice flaking or peeling (typically every 12 to 15 years). If you’ve painted the siding yourself, the paint or sealant may not last as long as the factory sealant. Products from the siding manufacturer provide the best option for successfully sealing and painting your siding. 

Signs It’s Time to Replace Fiber Cement Siding

While fiber cement siding has an impressive life span and requires minimal maintenance, it isn’t indestructible. Look for these warning signs to determine when you need to replace your siding:

Comparing Fiber Cement’s Life Span to Other Siding Options

While fiber cement siding has a higher upfront cost than other siding types, its longer life span can help you save money over time. The life span of fiber cement siding is around 50 years. Check how that compares to other popular siding products:

Our Recommendation

With proper installation and maintenance, fiber cement siding is one of the longest-lasting siding types available, boasting an average life span of around 50 years. It’s available in various colors and styles and doesn’t require substantial upkeep. When deciding whether fiber cement is right for your siding needs, it’s important to consider the installation requirements and the value of professional installation for best results. Fiber cement siding installation can improve a home’s curb appeal and provide an attractive return on investment at a reasonable siding cost.

Fiber Cement Siding FAQ

How long does fiber cement siding last on average?

Fiber cement siding lasts 50 years on average with proper maintenance. This includes regular cleaning, prompt damage repair, and repainting or sealing every 10 to 15 years.

Can fiber cement siding be recycled?

The cement, wood fiber, and sand makeup of fiber cement siding make it a good candidate for recycling. Disposing of the materials at a landfill also poses no hazard to the environment.

Does fiber cement siding fade over time?

While fiber cement siding is resistant to UV rays, it can fade over time. However, you can refresh your faded siding with a new coat of paint.

Is fiber cement siding better than vinyl siding?

Fiber cement siding is better than vinyl as it’s more durable, energy-efficient, and temperature-resistant. However, it is more costly, making it a poor choice for home renovators on a tight budget.