The cost of installing fiber cement siding ranges from $5 to $9 per sq. ft. including materials and labor. You can expect to pay between $8,000 and $13,500 for a licensed contractor to install new cement board siding on a typical house.
This does not include the cost of removing and disposing of the old siding (see below). In comparison, the cost of vinyl siding is between $3 and $7 per square foot.
|1500 Sq Ft.||Low||High|
|Total Cost Per Sq. Ft.||$5.37||$8.92|
- Example Cost Breakdown
- Factors that Affect the Cost
- How to Save Money on Materials and Installation
- What is Fiber Cement Siding?
- Over to You: How Much Did You Pay?
Add the cost to have the old siding removed – $1000 to $3000
It will cost between 50 cents and $1 per sq. ft. to have your old siding removed and disposed of. The cost goes up if you have a two-story home or one with complex architecture.
How Many Exterior Sq. Ft. is a Typical Home?
The United States Census reports that the size of an average house in the U.S. is a two-story, 25’ by 45’ (2,250 sq. ft. of floor area). Using our siding sq. ft. estimating method, it has 1500 square feet of exterior cladding. This can be calculated by measuring the length and width of the house, using 9’ per story, and calculating the area of each rectangle and triangle of siding space.
Example Cost Breakdown – Professionally Installed
Using the same house from the previous example, let’s develop a general estimate for a siding job done with fiber cement planks. This is a ballpark cost estimate, and does not represent a bid for your own project.
|Siding Price Per Sq. Ft.||$3||$4.00|
|Supplies & Accessories Per Sq Ft.||$0.30||$0.50|
|Total Materials Cost for 1580 Sq Ft.||$4950||$6,750|
|Hours of Labour||75||90|
|Installer Hourly Rate||40||70|
|Total Labor Cost||$3000||$6,300|
|Labor Cost Per Sq. Ft||$1.90||$3.99|
|Total Cost Per Sq. Ft.||$6.03||$10.92|
Your local home supply store will carry fiber cement siding. Planks will cost between 70 cents and $5.25 per sq. ft. Shingles will be between $2.00 and $8.00 each.
Home improvement stores carry different brands, but Hardieboard or HardiePlank and GAF WeatherSide are the most commonly carried. Allura Plycem, which used to be CertainTeed, MaxiTile, and Nichiha USA are other brands you could use.
This is a significant initial price, but it is one of the most durable products available and will last a long time. You will recoup much of the cost through lower maintenance, lower utility bills and longevity.
Clapboards are often called lapboards. This style of siding installs quickly and looks good whether you paint it or stain it. It comes with your choice of textures from: wood-grain, smooth, or rough-sawn. Order from widths between 5 ¼” to 12”. You can order it pre-primed or pre-painted.
HardiePlank Select Cedarmill – width: 6 ¼”, color: Countrylane Red, price: $1.65 per sq. ft.
WeatherBoards Smooth Beaded Lap – width: 7 ½”, color: Wicker, price: $1.60 per sq. ft.
HardiePlank Select Cedarmill – width: 8 ¼”, color: Heathered Moss, price: $1.55 per sq. ft.
HardiPlank Select Cedarmill – width: na, color: na, price: $2.10 per sq. ft.
Shingles are available in either individual shakes or in strips of 4’, 8’, or 12’. You can select the hand-split texture or wood-grain, and they can be installed in staggered or straight courses.
NichiFrontier – panels: 9’1/4” X 8”, color: Hazelnut, price $4.50 per sq. ft.
WeatherBoards Half Rounds – panels: 16” X 4’, color: Coastal Blue, price $3.75 per sq. ft.
WeatherBoards Satin-Finish – panels: 16” X 4’, color Emerald, price: $7 per sq. ft., with random-square straight edge.
HardiShingle – color: Cobblestone in straight edge and Monterey Taupe in staggered edge, price: $4 per sq. ft.
Any major structural work on your property will probably require a permit. It will also probably need to be inspected, to make sure the contractor is installing the siding correctly so that mold and mildew cannot grow.
Older houses often have asbestos in the construction materials. Fiber cement siding before the 1980s often had asbestos rather than wood pulp for fiber. This will necessitate an abatement program to remove the old siding and dispose of it safely.
The estimates listed here are just for the siding and labor. This does not account for structural damage that may exist behind the existing siding. Repairs will add to the cost of your siding replacement.
Cost of Equipment to DIY
Fiber cement siding requires special tools and safety precautions. To install the siding yourself, you will need to purchase the following tools:
- SS110A Pneumatic Production Shear: Pacific International, $1,150
- Utility knife: local, $5
- Cutting tools, pneumatic or electric: $65,00 to $260
- Blades for saws: special blades for sidewinders $50 to $100
- Stainless Steel nails, or at least hot-dipped galvanized nails: to prevent corrosion
- Nail gun: ensures consistent drive pressure, prevents damage to board $100 to $200
Factors that Affect the Cost
There are many variables that can affect the cost of siding installation. Competition between contractors can make a big difference, as will the season – some contractors charge less in the fall and winter because business is slower. Your climate, your choice of color, and the style of siding will affect the cost.
Where You Live
If you live in a statistically high-income area, you will probably pay more for your siding. If you live close to a manufacturing facility, the price will probably be lower. If you use an online estimator, it will ask for your zip code. This is why – it will affect the price.
Larger homes will, of course, cost more to side. The good news is that you will probably pay a little less per square foot since it is such a big job. Also, the intricacy of your home’s architecture will affect the cost of installation because there will be more cuts and more complicated measurements and angles.
You certainly get what you pay for. Each contractor has his own markup system, but if one has a significantly lower estimate than his competitors, he has probably left something out. Check to see if the cost of removal and disposal of the old siding is included, and whether or not insulated underlayment is included.
Find a quality contractor in our directory.
There are several different brands, styles and colors. The styles you select will affect the cost, with more detail driving the price up.
Most of the manufacturers pre-prime their entire product. This allows you to paint it your choice of colors one it is installed.
For an additional fee at the outset, you can order factory painted panels. There are 24 colors to choose from. Pre-primed and pre-painted siding both have pros and cons.
Is it Worth the Higher Cost?
You will undoubtedly pay more for fiber cement than vinyl siding. However, if it is properly installed, it will last longer than most other types of siding. All you will have to do is power wash it now and then, and paint it every decade or so.
Wood and vinyl siding are fairly simple to produce using common materials. However, fiber cement is a composite. This composite mix of Portland cement, wood pulp, and sand has been thoroughly researched and modified to achieve the most durable result.
Engineered wood is much easier to cut than fiber cement, because engineered products do not have cement in them. Cement adds considerable weight, and your siding contractor will have to use larger installation crews. This adds to the cost of installation.
In addition, the contractor will have to use special saws to cut through the cement planks, and masks and goggles are required to prevent inhalation of the hazardous dust.
Fiber cement planks and panels weigh 1.5 times more than wood siding – which is heavy itself. Not only does this make it harder to install, it makes it more expensive to transport.
Most products come with a 50-year warranty. This warranty can sometimes be signed over to new owners should you sell the house. The warranty will cover most damage caused by natural elements.
Recoup an Average of 78% of the Cost When You Sell
Less expensive types of siding, such as vinyl, seldom recoup the cost of installation upon resale. That is because, from the day they are installed, they begin to age. The planks and panels, though, will retain their resiliency. HardiePlank, in particular, often adds to the value of your home.
In fact, Remodeling Magazine ranks it as an upscale product. According to their studies, owners get back 78% of the cost of this type of siding. The only improvements you can make to your house and get that much return are kitchen and bath remodels.
How to Save Money on Materials and Installation
With any large purchase, you should get between 3 and 5 estimates. For siding, find out if the estimate includes prep and cleanup and all permits. Most estimates are free. Not only should you request references, you should be sure to check them. Some contractors will give references assuming you will never follow up, and you can learn a lot from talking to customers.
If you get to inspect a siding job the contractor has done, look for even caulking and flawless surfaces that don’t have bulges or dips under the panels. The siding contractor should be insured and bonded and have a license for working in your state.
Each contractor will have different overhead, so each estimate will be a little different. If you get your estimates in the fall or winter you may get a pretty good discount because contractors want to keep their crews busy.
Once you get an estimate add 7% to 15% of the total. This helps to prepare you for the inevitable additional expenses that may pop up, such as damaged underlayment or architectural complexity that the contractor missed. There is a wide variety of styles in the U.S., including colonial, Cape Cod, Victorian, ranch, and contemporary.
Shop around for your siding. You can save as much as 20% on the cost of materials by comparison shopping and through negotiation with the manager. If you can find neighbors who will also install new siding, you may get a discount for multiple projects.
Make sure you can actually install this type of siding on your home. If you live in an historic district, there may be some restrictions.
This product is not a good one for a DIY project. The manufacturer says the boards are heavy and can crack or chip if they are mishandled. You may be able to do a small project, but re-siding a whole house should be done by the professionals.
What is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is made of natural materials including cement, wood fiber, and sand. Some manufacturers use fly ash or clay instead of sand.
The first Hardyboard was made by James Hardie in 1901, and contained asbestos rather than wood pulp. The formula was redesigned in the 1980s to use the safer wood pulp. This product often comes with a 50-year warranty, while pre-applied paint will have a 15-year warranty.
When the slurry of cement, sand, and wood pulp is poured into molds, pressure is applied and it is kiln dried. Since the planks are man-made, they can be manufactured in several different styles, including wood, masonry, and stucco. Available in planks, shingles, and panels, they can be primed or painted at the factory.
The finished planks are eco-neutral, meaning that when discarded, they do no harm to the environment. This siding is almost fire-proof and is termite resistant as well. The main drawback for this product is that it is quite heavy, requiring multiple crew members for installation and specialized tools.
Fiber cement is more expensive than wood or vinyl siding. However, most of the cost is incurred when you purchase the product and have it installed and it will keep its good appearance for 50 years with minimal maintenance. You’ll only have to clean it now and then and paint it every 10 to 15 years.
What to Read Next
Over to You: How Much Did You Pay or Get Quoted?
What do you think of fiber cement siding? Have you received a quote? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.