I had no idea how difficult it would be to pick out new siding for our home. A long time ago, I thought vinyl was the solution … who wanted yucky old wood clapboard that needed to be painted every few years when I could have something that would outlive me, almost no maintenance required? But then a neighbor down the street resided their home with fiber cement (James Hardie brand) and I fell in love with it. A few months ago, I was all set to go with plain white Hardieplank siding, but then we talked to an architect who got me thinking of some other options – mainly by suggesting we consider shingle siding. I had never considered this – I thought our 1950 hip-roof colonial could only “wear” lap siding, but after driving around and taking notice of all the different styles of homes with shingle siding, I really like the look! Our house is so plain and flat in the front, this would add some much needed texture, shadow and dimension.
Have a look at my latest Google Sketchup rendering (this is Certainteed 5″ fiber cement shingles in Pewter):
So this is what I’m considering:
1. James Hardie fiber cement siding – a combination of their HardieShingle and HardiePlank siding. Problem is that the HardieShingles are REALLY expensive – we were told that the price would be somewhere around $360 a square for materials (a square = 100 square feet). I know from the estimate we received from our contractor that he plans to order 23 squares for our home. So we would probably just side the front of the house in shingles and the rest in lap. The other problem is that their shingles are 7″ exposures, and I don’t know how that would work with 4″ reveal lap siding everywhere else. I like their “light mist” gray color option.
2. Certainteed Weatherboards fiber cement siding – also a combo of shingles and planks for the same reasons as #1 above. My understanding is that Certainteed might be a little less expensive than Hardie, but that the products are essentially the same. Certainteed has two different grays I’m interested in – “silver plate” and “pewter.” They have a 5″ exposure option in the shingles which would work nicely with 5″ reveal lap siding everywhere else.
3. Certainteed Weatherboards “Perfection” fiber cement siding – 7″ exposure. This siding has the look of shingles but comes in 12′ long planks and installs just like lap siding. You can get in the same colors and stains as their other fiber cement siding. The drawback is that it looks a little fake – instead of actual cut shingles, there are simply randomly placed grooves, so you don’t get deep shadow lines. Might as well go with vinyl shingle siding, I’m thinking.
The big problem with Certainteed is that their fiber cement product seems to be less popular than Hardie (which is kind of the “name brand” of fiber cement siding). I find very few examples of actual homes installed with Certainteed fiber cement – in real life and in google searches. I’ve contacted the company and they seem to be ignoring my request for photos. I’m sure they must have them, right? I also contacted every single recommended installer within a 25-mile radius – I’ve heard back from a few and none have used the fiber cement before. It’s hard to shell out major bucks for something you hope to last forever when you can’t even see it installed in person or a decent enough photograph.