Fiber cement is a good choice when you want the realistic look of wood siding but you want something that doesn't need a lot of maintenance. Fiber cement is a durable product that has a long life, but it can be challenging to install due to its brittle nature. Here's an overview of installing fiber cement shingles on your home.
Take Off The Old Siding First
The siding installation begins with tearing off the old boards, shingles, or panels on your home. Some siding can be applied over old siding, but when you install fiber cement shingles or boards, they need to go directly on the plywood. Putting fiber cement over an old layer of siding could void the warranty on your shingles, and it might cause problems with the shingles that lead to leaking.
Make Stud Lines
The installer will probably put house wrap over the plywood as a protective barrier underneath the fiber cement shingles. Once the house wrap is in place, the installer marks the location of the studs at the top and bottom of the wall. Then chalk lines are made so the installer can see where the studs are during the siding installation process. The shingles are nailed to the studs rather than the plywood, so chalk lines make it easy to know where the studs are located.
Put On The Starter Strip
Fiber cement shingles have an appearance similar to asphalt roofing shingles. The fiber cement shingles come in strips that are solid on the top and cut into shingle shapes on the bottom with small gaps between the shingles. It's necessary to install a solid starter strip on the bottom so rain can't leak through the gaps. A starter strip is placed above a drip edge and nailed to the studs.
Install The Fiber Cement Shingles
Once the starter strip is down, the rows of shingles are layered on top of each other from bottom to top. The shingles are staggered so the gaps between shingles don't line up. The solid top part of the shingle below keeps water from leaking in the gaps in the bottom part of the shingles above. A lot of sawing is required to make the shingles the right length so they can be nailed to the studs and so the gaps don't line up. Sawing fiber cement is dusty, so the installer needs to wear a mask for protection.
Fiber cement shingles are labor-intensive to install, so they are one of the more expensive choices for your home. However, the attractive appearance of the shingles and the durability of fiber cement make the cost and labor worthwhile.