Fiber Cement Siding Defects

After many years of experiencing siding problems, we finally have a product that is problem free, or is it? Fiber cement is the new norm for siding in the Atlanta area. You see it on almost every new home being built. There are many new manufacturers in the market, and we even have one in the Johns Creek area called NichiProducts, http:/
The product is made out of fiber reinforced cement and has up to a 50 year warranty. What could possibly go wrong with it? The problems I have seen are all about improper installation. The manufacturers have great guides on how to install the product, but some of the installation crews are not following the instructions.
The most common problem is improper installation at the roofing shingles. The cement siding should be installed between 1 to 2 inches away from the shingles.
I guess the builders do not like the gap and choose to flush the siding with the shingles. The problem with doing this is the cut end of the siding must be painted or it will wick up water from the shingles which can cause deterioration.
The only solution is to remove the siding and reinstall with the proper clearance.
Another common problem is running the siding all the way to the concrete paving or ground. Again, the bottom of the siding must be painted to properly seal the siding and prevent wicking. Most manufacturers require 6 inches clearance.

There is not a good solution if the siding extends all the way to the paving. If you try to cut it back, the wall framing will be exposed, and you will have another problem. I have seen the siding cut back a couple of inches and metal flashing installed to try and correct the situation. However, the flashing is not very attractive, and you stand a chance of water running under the flashing into the wall. If you cannot maintain the 6 inch clearance, you still stand the chance of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

f the problem is ground clearance, you may try to dig a trench deep enough to be able to paint the bottom of the siding. However, if you do not maintain the 6 inch clearance, the manufacturer has the right to void the warranty.

We also see improper nailing of the siding. There are two different ways to nail the siding. Face nailing is when you see the nails along the bottom of each board. It is normally required by code for high wind areas. Blind nailing is the preferred method and the nails are not visible. A problem
associated with blind nailing is the loose butt joints. Some installers try to overcome this by adding nails at the bottom on both sides of the joints. You should not both blind nail and face nail. This can result in breakage at the corners.
Anyway to look at it, fiber cement is the best way to go. Builders need to do a better job of supervising the siding crews. Knowing the right way and the wrong way to install the product is the solution to having a long lasting product that is worry free.

If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can email your questions to us at We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

* Thought For The Month *
Laughter is the best medicine.

Tip Of The Hat To:
Jennifer Gairy
Solid Source Realty
10900 Crabapple Road
Roswell, Georgia 30075

Warranty Recall Chek