Composite Siding Vs Fiber Cement: Which Is Best for Your Garage?

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Is Cement Siding Better Than Composite Wood Siding?

Composite siding vs Fiber Cement siding? Both are popular choices for detached garage exterior walls. Composite siding is made by bonding wood strands, fibers, or veneers using adhesive resin. Fiber cement is made from a mixture of cement & sand reinforced with cellulose fibers.  But is cement siding better than composite wood siding for a detached garage?

Yes. Fiber Cement siding is better than Composite Wood siding for detached garage exterior walls. Fiber Cement siding is more durable and fire resistant compared to Composite Wood siding. On the flip side fiber cement is costlier, heavier and more difficult to install as compared to composite wood siding.

Composite wood siding is made from waste wood fibers and recycled plastic. Fiber cement siding is made from cement & sand mixture reinforced with cellulose fibers.  

In each case polymeric adhesives, colorants and other performance enhancing additives are added to the paste. The paste is rolled into sheets. Textures and patterns can be added to give a desired finish.

The sheets are cured and then cut into standard lengths for shipment and sale. The sidings are attached to walls, on site, using adhesives and fasteners.

Composite Siding Vs Fiber Cement Siding

To make an informed decision, when it comes to composite siding vs fiber cement, you must know the comparative performance of the two materials on quality parameters that are most important.

In this article I do exactly that. 

Durability and Weather Resistance

Fiber cement siding is resistant to extreme weather conditions including rain storms, high speed winds and snow & hail. Fiber cement is moisture resistant and will not warp or crack even with wide temperature fluctuations. 

Fiber cement siding is resistant to insect damage and rot. Fiber cement is non-combustible and has extremely high fire resistance. Not surprisingly it has a lifespan of around 50 years.

Composite wood siding has high durability and weather resistance as well. However, compared to fiber cement siding, durability and weather resistance is a shade lower. You can expect composite wood siding to last for around 30 years.

When it comes to durability and weather resistance in the Composite Siding Vs Fiber Cement showdown, Fiber Cement is the clear winner!

Appearance and Style

Traditional fiber cement siding has a smooth, flat surface. You can paint or stain it to a color of your choice or just leave it in its natural light gray color for a modern stark industrial look. 

During the manufacturing stage, fiber cement siding can be finished in a range of textures and colors. It is quite common to get fiber cement sidings that mimic cedar, redwood, and pine, as well as more exotic species such as mahogany and teak.

Fiber cement siding is available in different styles, including

  • horizontal lap siding (has a traditional look)
  • vertical siding (has a more modern appearance)
  • shingle siding (has a more rustic, wood-like look)

Composite wood siding, on the other hand, has a more earthy and classic look. Painting it would be blasphemy but you could stain it to enhance the natural wood appearance

I would say that composite wood siding is more appropriate for a house or an accent interior wall in the garage, but the appearance of fiber cement siding is more than acceptable for a detached garage. 

Cost and Maintenance Requirements

Fiber cement siding costs more than composite wood siding. Fiber cement siding is also heavier making it difficult to install. You will end up engaging a professional contractor. This will push up the actual cost of a fiber cement siding substantially.

Composite wood siding on the other hand costs less than fiber cement siding.

Fiber cement siding weighs 2 ½ – 3 pounds per square foot, while composite wood siding weighs 1 ½ – 2 pounds per square foot. It is therefore more difficult and costly to install fiber cement siding compared to composite wood siding.

Fiber cement siding weighs more than composite wood siding because it is made from cement & sand.

Both fiber cement siding and composite wood siding have similar maintenance requirements. While they are moisture and water resistant, it is best to apply sealer coats periodically to enhance protection.

Overall, though fiber cement costs more, it is worth it as it lasts longer.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that when it comes to composite siding vs fiber cement siding for a detached garage, fiber cement siding is certainly the best choice. It has a longer lifespan and is more weather resistant. It may not look as great and does cost a bit more but the longer life makes it well worth it!

Among the 7 popular siding options for a detached garage, fiber cement is possibly the best choice!

Further Reading: James Hardie is a leading manufacturer of fiber cement siding. Check out their excellent article. It is very informative.

Thank you very much for reading the post. I do hope you found it informative and useful.

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