Siding Showdown: Composite Siding vs. Fiber Cement

April 17, 2024

When it comes to choosing the right siding for your home, two popular options often stand out: composite siding and fiber cement. Both offer versatility with different profile options and colors, but there are key differences between these two cladding solutions. 

From the Start: Ease of Installation 

Everlast® advanced composite siding is known for its ease of installation. The material is lighter than the majority of hardboard claddings. That, combined with its EZStack® joinery, makes it easier for contractors to handle and nail to the substrate. This often results in lower installation costs and a quicker turnaround time in terms of project completion. 

Installing fiber cement siding can be challenging due to its weight and material composition, requiring specialized tools and techniques for cutting and shaping. In addition, cutting fiber cement requires personal protective equipment, or PPE, to safeguard workers from airborne dust. This dust can contain respirable crystalline silica, which can pose serious health hazards if inhaled. 

Most hardboard claddings often require two or more people to handle and position during installation because of the weight of the product and the risk of cracking or shattering due to its lack of flexibility or if it is dropped. Once on the wall, additional flashing and/or caulking at seams is crucial to prevent moisture intrusion behind the product and to ensure longevity. 

In contrast, composite siding is lighter and more flexible, making it easier to handle and lift into place during installation. It can be cut with standard woodworking tools and does not produce any harmful dust. 

More specifically, Everlast advanced composite siding features an EZStack joinery that ensures a speedy installation, making it more convenient for crews. The same goes for one-piece Everlast Board & Batten, which features an integrated batten for easier and quicker installs. 

Will It Last? The Durability Factor 

Composite products such as Everlast siding are typically formulated to stand the test of time. Because manufacturers can formulate the product with special ingredients and fine tune the composition of composite materials, composite siding tends to offer superior longevity. 

Everlast siding falls into this category and is engineered to withstand the elements. It is resistant to moisture, rotting, warping, corrosion, and insect damage, ensuring that a structure’s exterior remains unmarred and intact for decades. It is less susceptible to water and moisture damage when compared to fiber cement siding. This can be attributed to the fact that Everlast siding is made from a proprietary blend of inorganic minerals, polymeric resins, and acrylic colorants, designed to be highly water-resistant. 

Fiber cement, while also durable, may be more prone to cracking and chipping over time. Since it is typically made from a blend of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, it can absorb moisture if not properly sealed. Once moisture infiltrates the siding, it can swell, warp, and become a source for mold growth. This, in turn, leads to the softening and crumbling of the material over time. 

Appearance and Aesthetics 

Both fiber cement and composite siding can be manufactured in a range of textures and finishes. With both product types at their disposal, homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to customizing the look of their home. 

Composite siding is available in textures that mimic the look and feel of real wood. It can also be manufactured with smooth finishes for a more modern and sleek appearance. Composite siding is available in styles such as clapboard, Dutch lap, and board and batten. All in all, there is a great deal of design versatility when using composite siding. 

Fiber cement can also be manufactured in wood grain textures and smooth finishes in styles such as clapboard, shingle, vertical panels, and more. The material can also be made to mimic brick, concrete, stone, stucco, and more in a range of colors and textures. 

Ultimately, both Everlast advanced composite siding and fiber cement siding can offer aesthetically pleasing options for exterior cladding, and the choice between the two often comes down to homeowner or builder preference and construction type, i.e., residential, multifamily, or commercial. 

One of the standout features of Everlast advanced composite siding is its realistic wood-like appearance courtesy of its CedarTouch® finish produced from the imprint of an actual specimen of rough-sawn top-grade cedar. The material allows builders and homeowners to achieve an authentic wood look without the performance drawbacks that come with using real wood. Everlast siding comes in a palette of deep, rich colors that allows designers and homeowners to achieve any look – from classic to minimalist, contemporary, upscale, rural, or urban aesthetics. Finally, each panel of Everlast siding features a 100% acrylic UV-resistant capstock that enables long-term fade resistance and color retention. 

Maintenance and Management 

Composite products are known for being virtually maintenance free. Everlast siding specifically never requires painting or sealing which saves time and money by avoiding constant upkeep for homeowners. An occasional light wash with a garden hose is all that is needed to maintain its original luster. 

On the contrary, fiber cement siding may require periodic painting or sealing to maintain its appearance and protect against the elements. In addition, because joints and gaps between siding pieces must be properly sealed to prevent moisture infiltration, caulk or sealant repairs may be needed every few years. 

Regardless of siding material on the home, it is important to trim any vegetation or bushes near the siding to prevent contact, which can lead to moisture retention and potential damage. The same goes for new construction when installing gutters and downspouts, which should direct water away from the siding to minimize water exposure. 

Safe? Sustainable? 

When it comes to sustainability, fiber cement production is more energy intensive and generally releases more carbon dioxide emissions than other materials. However, some fiber cement manufacturers are using recycled materials in their products to reduce environmental impact. 

Everlast siding is an environmentally friendly choice because it is 100% recyclable at the end of its life. It also consumes a fraction of the energy it takes to make fiber cement siding panels. In addition, Everlast siding never needs paints, stains, caulking, or solvents, which eliminates the emission of harmful VOCs. 

Which Prevails? 

While both composite siding and fiber cement have their strengths, composite siding products such as Everlast advanced composite siding stand out for their ease of installation, durability, aesthetic appeal, low maintenance requirements, and recyclability. Both materials can be used to build a gorgeous home, but composite sidings tend to have the advantage when it comes to long-term performance, durability, and fade and weather resistance. Whether the goal is to enhance the beauty of your home or improve its performance, composite siding is a smart choice for longevity and lasting curb appeal. 

When builders or homeowners choose Everlast advanced composite siding, they are not just selecting an everyday siding option; they are investing in a home's future. 

Curious about using Everlast siding on your next project? Locate a dealer in your area today. 

It's time for Everlast,
the last siding your home will ever need.