Unlike laminate counters, doors, or windows, fiber-cement siding cannot be manufactured on a small or even medium scale. You will not find a start-up making fiber-cement in your local light-industrial area. It's a large-scale, energy-intensive process that requires companies with sufficient capital to construct factories big enough to pump out the stuff. Most in this list are billion dollar companies.
This is just another way of saying that you won't find a large number of brands of fiber-cement siding. The playing field is small, competition limited. Listed alphabetically, not in order of quality:
01 of 05
Best For: Shingle-style only replacements.
GAF's WeatherSide fiber-cement siding is what you find at The Home Depot. This retail availability is less intended for siding an entire house than it is for patching existing siding, replacing those hated asbestos-cement shingles, or maybe even for siding an entire small add-on such as a bumpout or for a detached workshop.
As evidenced by its limited product line, shingle style-only offerings, and listless website (they even use a Yahoo! e-mail address), it's clear that GAF's heart isn't in its fiber-cement siding business. No problem, though: GAF is mainly a roofing materials company, and they do pretty well at it.
What I do like:
- GAF's product is 100% made in the U.S.A.
- Niche offering for an underserved market (I have fielded many questions in my past about where to buy asbestos-cement replacements; this is the perfect source).
02 of 05
Best For: Going with the tried-and-true brand.
James Hardie Industries (JHI) has become synonymous with fiber-cement siding, in much the same way that the trades consider "Sawzall" to mean "reciprocating saw." JHI's HardiePlank is ubiquitous and has taken on a generic meaning for any type of fiber-cement plank siding (much to the chagrin of the company's lawyers, no doubt).
The brand's dominance is due, in no small part, to the fact that JHI does nothing else but fiber-cement and cement boards. No diversification into making gutters or surfboards.
HardiePlank is the classic, flagship JHI product. It's a simple 5/16" thick by 12' long lap siding, in widths ranging from 5 1/4" to 8 1/4". It comes in a variety of shades with the color already baked in. If you want something more exciting, paint it. All fiber-cement can be painted.
You'll find Hardie siding in the form of planks (long and skinny), panels (big and rectangular, usually 4' x 8'), and shingle (small units).
HardiePlank is Lowe's Home Improvement's fiber-cement brand of choice.
03 of 05
Best For: Going with the David instead of the Goliath(s).
Sure, MaxiTile has a bland name, but the way it runs its company is quite unique. This Houston, TX-based company stresses what it calls "The Code," a 4-point manifesto regarding its relationships with customers, vendors, and MaxiTile employees (whom they call "family members"). "A handshake is more binding than a contract," is just one point in MaxiTile's Code.
While I have no evidence to back this up, I believe this is one way that MaxiTile intends to gain a foothold against the "Goliaths" of the fiber-cement industry: with personal, honest service.
MaxiTile provides 5/16” thick siding of the following dimensions:
Widths: 5 ¼”, 6 ¼”, 7 ¼”, 8 ¼”, 9 ¼” and 12”
Length: 8’, 9’ and 10’
1/4" thick in the following dimensions
Widths: 2' and 4'
04 of 05
Best For: Commercial or high-end residential building.
Never heard of Nichiha? Can't pronounce the name (nee-chi-ha)? You're not alone. This nearly 60-year-old Japanese company seemingly wants to be the gigantic fiber-cement products company in the world that is also the quietest in the residential field. Will Nichiha strike your neighborhood someday? Perhaps.
But just step outside the house and drive to your nearest commercial district Guaranteed, you'll see a Nichiha product on your local Burger King, Sonic, KFC, or any number of other high-profile restaurants and stores. But on your neighbor's house? Not so much, especially if you're located outside of the U.S. Southeast, which is where Nichiha USA, Inc.'s operations are located.
It's a shame because Nichiha has a number of innovative products that would look great on the average house's exterior. I especially like the VintageWood line that comes in either Bark or Cedar colors/textures.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Best For: Not known yet as this company is too new.
Never heard of Allura? First, let's back up. How about CertainTeed?
CertainTeed is a huge building and remodeling products company that has its hand in everything from decking to insulation to windows and until recently, fiber-cement siding. In the sense of product diversification, CertainTeed is the opposite of James Hardie. As such, they only have time for certain things, and the one thing CertainTeed cares about--and is best known for--is vinyl siding. So they got rid of fiber-cement by selling it to the Mexican consortium, Elementia, which put it under their Plycem USA, Inc. brand.
Allura continues with fiber-cement products you would expect, such as lap siding, shingles, and vertical siding. It also carries those architectural panels that everyone else seems to be making recently: flat, smooth, modern-looking slabs found on your local contemporary condo building.