What is the Difference Between Fiberglass and Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiberglass vs Fiber Cement SidingWhen evaluating which siding will be best in the long run, it is important to understand the difference between fiberglass and fiber cement siding. Although they sound very similar, these products are drastically different. We must evaluate many factors to decide which is the superior home-renovation option; material qualities, installation, and cost are among the main considerations. Research reveals how initial cost can be deceiving when looking at the long term benefits of these two products.

What Is the Difference in Materials?

Fiberglass siding is a lightweight material made from a combination of sand and resin; its color is bonded into the material during the production process. This means that no painting is necessary, although it is possible. Fiberglass siding comes in lengths that are cut easily to fit your home and are available in various widths.

Fiber cement siding is made of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers. It is a very durable and fire-proof material, but can have significant issues if continually exposed to moisture, according to The Washington Post. It comes in cuts comparable to traditional wood siding, although it is much denser and therefore heavier. Fiber cement is different from fiberglass in that it has to be painted initially (before or after installation) and again every fifteen years or so.

How Does Installation Differ?

Fiberglass siding is custom cut for your house and requires no caulking or painting. According to Quality Smith, pieces are designed to interlock and snap into place easily; the product’s design accounts for the need of air circulation and water drainage. Hiring a professional installer is necessary in most cases due to the specialized knowledge involved with this product.

Fiber cement often requires a good deal of man-power to install efficiently; it weighs approximately three times the fiberglass siding, so installation costs can become higher. Caulking and painting are also labor expenses required by fiber cement that will account for a price increase. The durability of these different sidings also comes into play during installation, as fiber cement is more susceptible to cracking, chipping, and breaking than fiberglass siding. Worksite damage does occur, which affects both labor and material expenses.

Which is More Cost Effective?

When making a comparison between fiber cement siding and fiberglass siding, most all factors suggest that fiberglass is the superior product all the way around. The only argument against it is that the initial cost is higher than that of fiber cement. This is a direct result of the cost of the material itself, as fiberglass siding is manufactured on a much smaller scale. This initial cost may be a difficult thing to ignore, but maintenance requirements will be far less for the fiberglass siding in the long term.

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When evaluating options and making a final decision for your home, be sure and pay attention to the long-term advantages and disadvantages to both products. Although initially more expensive than fiber cement, fiberglass offers easier maintenance and more durability over time. Whichever decision is made in the end, it is important to know the difference between fiberglass and fiber cement siding.