Is Cement board siding better than vinyl siding and Steel siding in Omaha’s ever
changing weather conditions?
If you live in Blair or Council Bluffs or Louisville Ne or any of the towns in the Omaha Ne area, you know the air temperature can fluctuate from 20 below zero to 103 degrees and if you throw in the wind chill factor or the sun shining on your house the change in temperature is even more extreme. We can look at the effects these temperature changes have on the different kinds of siding materials and it will help you see what the better siding choices are for our climate. Cement board siding is made with a large portion of cement. It kind of has a powdery texture on the inside in-cased in a hard outer surface that I have always thought of as the face or facing of the siding panel. The hard outer facing protects the inner part of the siding panel, but if you compromise the face by pounding a nail to tight or hitting it with something (like hail) or if it decides to crack due to the lack of structural integrity (see picture of cracked window piece) or pieces break off at the siding seam joints when the cement product expands with heat the
vulnerable inner part of the siding panel is no longer protected and problems follow. Cement is a brittle type of material and when you drop a small piece of siding on the driveway when your standing on the driveway and it shatters into three or four pieces you come to the realization that structural integrity is not cement boards strong suit. The seams where two pieces of cement board siding butt up to each other have always been a problem area due to the expansion and contraction of the cement based product caused by the changes in the moisture content of the siding panel following the changes in the amount of humidity in the air.
The pictures in this post show a 7 year old house where they have paid a contractor to put caulking on all the siding seams on the house after they developed a gap and if you look closely you will see that they are re separating because the siding is always changing size with the humidity.The manufacturers have a recommended system that has evolved over the years to shed the water that gets in between the siding seams to keep the water from running down behind the siding below the seams, usually using felt paper which won’t last that long (exposed to the elements) or a piece of metal which introduces condensation to the back of your siding panel. The cement board expansion and contraction problems also effect the areas where the siding butts up to window brick mold or corner trim pieces because when you apply caulking to a butt joint to seal the gap to prevent water leakage and air infiltration, having the material shrink and develop a gap is not part of the workable plan.
When I have homeowners hiring people to caulk all the gaps in their siding repeatedly and joining a class action law suit because they are part of a large group of homeowners having problems with their cement board siding I tend to think it may not be the best choice for the exterior siding on your home. Associated Siding & Remodeling has been in Omaha for 40 plus years and we want to help you find a problem free Siding product that you will be happy to have for a long time to come.