Soffit And Fiber Cement Siding Problems And Their Causes

An image of fiber cement.

Soffit and fiber cement siding comes with some problems. Discover what they are, what causes them and what to do about them.

3 min read

Fiber cement siding is an icon of American architecture. The product first came into popular use in the 1980s as a more modern replacement for wood boards and vinyl siding and is now used in millions of suburban homes across the country. Practical, versatile, and stylish, fiber cement is a Soffit siding that can last a lifetime. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't any issues. Even the most high-quality and flawlessly-installed fiber-cement siding will come with a unique set of problems and challenges.

Read this Soffit guide on fiber cement siding to find out what the most common problems are, and how you can deal with them.

Maintenance

Of all Soffit siding, fiber cement carries one of the highest maintenance burdens.

While the material itself is durable and resilient, the paint requires frequent touch-ups, as it is more liable to fade and crack on fiber cement than it is on other common materials such as vinyl. You will likely need to apply a fresh coat of paint every five years or so.

In addition, fiber cement siding boards are vulnerable to moisture problems that can cause mold and rot. To counter this, make sure to regularly apply caulk to the boards to boost moisture protection.

Installation Problems

While fiber cement is durable when it is installed, it is brittle on its own. This means that installation problems, in which the boards are chipped, cracked, or destroyed outright are very common.

Fiber cement boards also usually require very specific nail sizes to be used, and using the wrong ones can mean that they will just fall off later down the line.

Always hire a professional to install fiber cement siding and make sure you ask what size nails are required before making a fiber cement purchase.

Energy Efficiency

One of the most common Soffit problems, when fiber cement is concerned, is energy efficiency. Sure, they may look nice, but they are notoriously poor performers on the energy front.

The insulation value of fiber cement boards is virtually non-existent, meaning that you should definitely not be relying on them to provide you with any insulation.

Only install fiber cement boards if you are confident that your home already has the insulation and energy efficiency specs that you need.

Moisture

As mentioned, moisture damage is a major and frequently occurring problem with fiber cement siding. The key ingredient of the siding, cellulose, is highly effective at absorbing water.

Given that the siding is inevitably going to be exposed to water, this can cause problems. The boards can become swollen, cracked, peeled, or rotten when too much water is absorbed.

Mitigate this by installing the right underlayment, applying caulk, and ensuring that the siding is correctly installed, with no gaps for water to leak in. Also, make sure to install a proper rain gutter on your home.

Learn More with Soffit

While here at Soffit, we understand the problems that come with home exterior design, we also have the solutions. Make sure to read our guide on choosing the right material for your home to reduce the risk of problems developing in the future.

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