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HardiPlank™ siding is a happy medium between purchasing cheap vinyl siding or paying for a complete renovation of clapboard siding. The true name for HardiPlank™ is fiber cement siding. This is because it is composed of the cellulose fibers found in wood and materials found in cement. If you were to cut a piece of this cement siding, you would be able to see the wood fibers running through an otherwise hollow cement shell. There are many benefits to using this type of siding.
Fiber cement siding is a green building material. The cellulose found in the siding is not taken from trees on the endangered species list. Cement and sand is widely available everywhere and we are in no danger of running out, as of yet. Unlike vinyl siding, there are no toxic materials used in the manufacturing of HardiPlank™. Another fact that makes cement siding green is that it will last a minimum of 50 years, but even longer if painted and properly maintained.
Another major benefit to using cement siding is that it is fire-resistant. It is not fireproof though, as no building is unless it is made of solid brick walls. HardiPlank™ is considered a neutral building product, meaning it is not combustible like wood and vinyl but it also won't completely protect the home from fire.
People who use HardiPlank™ for their siding also enjoy the fact that it resembles wood when installed. After being installed on the home, the hollow spaces underneath makes the siding appear to be as thick as wood. It also has a wood grain appearance, though is is thin and more uniform than real wood. Only after careful scrutinizing can a person tell that the cement siding is not real wood.
Cement siding is a huge benefit for people who live in areas that are prone to termites. The small amount of cellulose in HardiPlank™ is not attractive to termites and other wood boring insects because there is not enough to sustain their existence. This type of siding is said to be insect-resistant, due to the cement properties.
Despite all the benefits, there are two major downfalls to fiber cement siding. The first downfall is that it costs almost three times as much as vinyl siding. For many people, this makes vinyl seem a lot more attractive. The other downfall is that there are very few contractors who know how to install it, making it cost more for installation as well. Installing this type of siding requires a circular saw with carbide tipped blades, meaning not every homeowner can do the job himself.