Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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LP SmartSiding vs. Fiber Cement

If you’re in the market for engineered wood siding among the choices are fiber cement and LP SmartSide.

The best known fiber cement product is HardiPlank by James Hardie and that brand of fiber cement siding has been around far longer than the relatively new LP SmartSide siding.

Each are manufactured products — “engineered wood” — that combine wood fibers with another material before using a process to combine and compress the combination into the final siding material.

In the case of fiber cement the fibers are combined with a form of cement while in SmartSide the wood fiber is mixed with resin.

Both products offer some similar advantages to wood siding:

  • Both siding materials are lighter than wood, making on-site handling and installation easier.
  • Both are pre-primed and ready for paint, although some fiber cement products can also come pre-painted.
  • Both are considered greener alternatives to wood given their forest-saving properties.

While there are similarities, there are also differences. Among them:

  • SmartSide uses a resin instead of cement and is lighter than fiber cement, making it even easier to handle on the job site and quicker to install.
  • Hardiplank can come factory painted unlike SmartSide.
  • SmartSide siding is also far less likely to break or crack during installation, meaning less waste on the job site.
  • The SmartSide engineered wood siding also cuts like wood and accepts nails and screws. Fiber cement, meanwhile, is more difficult to cut than wood, requiring pneumatic shears, a dust-reducing circular saw or diamond-tipped miter saw.
  • When fiber cement is cut a silica dust is released, so a mask should be worn when cutting which isn’t necessary when cutting SmartSide.
  • Fiber cement has a longer track record, while SmartSide had been offered for only a decade.
  • HardiPlank boards come in 12-foot lengths, while SmartSide comes in 16-foot lengths which limits seams and makes it easier to install.

For help in understanding the pros and cons of both fiber cement and SmartSide contact AskAmek for assistance. Call 952-888-1200.

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