Fiber cement siding, for the most part, is pretty low-maintenance. It does require repainting every handful of years (ranging from 7 to 15 years), but that’s not too bad considering the benefits of the siding. Highly durable, it can last for many decades. However, the material is still susceptible to damage. From extreme weather to impact damage, cement siding can suffer from cracking and a number of other issues. Let’s learn more about them and how to repair cracked fiber cement siding before it becomes a bigger problem.
Maintenance Of Fiber Cement Siding
As with any other siding, preventative measures are the best way to ensure a long-lasting lifecycle of your home’s exterior. Speaking of, how long does fiber cement siding last? When you look at warranties for this kind of cladding, you’ll find that they typically cover anywhere from 30 to 50 years. That’s quite a long time! With proper maintenance, cement siding will easily stand the test of the elements for many decades.
The first preventative measure is proper installation. Due to the nature of fiber cement – it’s heavy and hard to cut – you want to take care to follow proper steps. This type of siding is susceptible to moisture damage, so it’s super important to properly fasten, gap, and seal.
Caulking is also another important factor. Obviously, it’s crucial to adequately caulk during installation. But as time goes by, you’ll also want to keep an eye on the condition of the caulking. Part of the repainting process should also include re-caulking, but you don’t want to wait until your next recoating to inspect your sealant. Inspect your siding annually, paying close attention to the condition of caulking (as well as any damage). When needed, replace the caulking to save your siding from any moisture intrusion. By doing so, you’ll safeguard your siding from the detrimental effects of water, including everything from mildew to mold to rot.
Use the Right Paint
Another tip is to use proper paint. When recoating, go with one that is UV resistant. This will protect your siding from unnecessary fading. Also, choose an acrylic latex paint that’s formulated for exterior use. For the smoothest application, use a paint sprayer. This helps big time, especially when there’s a lot of texture.
Finally, routine cleaning is a fantastic way to keep your siding shiny and safe. From chalking to mold to grime, an annual clean will do wonders. You can either use a garden hose (in conjunction with a scrub brush) or a power washer to get the job done. With particularly stubborn spots, hit them with a brush.
How To Repair Cracked Fiber Cement Siding
Dealing with cracks and holes in your siding? These issues are not only unsightly but can also lead to major degradation of your house’s exterior. Fiber cement siding, when properly installed and sealed, is pretty water-resistant. But when it has been compromised by damage, your siding can be greatly weakened by moisture absorption.
Prior to repairing any cracks or holes, it’s important to note the power of prevention. Address any issues, particularly when it comes to moisture, before making a repair. This way, you won’t have to continue to deal with problems that can be stopped with proper steps.
Okay, let’s jump into how to repair cracked fiber cement siding…
Steps To Repair Cracked Fiber Cement Siding
1. Prepare the damaged area
First, inspect the damage. If it’s isolated to one panel or plank, or in a small area, it should be within your ability to repair. If not, you’ll want to consult a professional. Make sure to clean off any grime or debris prior to jumping into work. Use one gallon of water and half a cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP). Make sure to wear gloves. Scrub the area and then rinse off with clean water. Allow to properly dry.
2. Mix compound
You’ll want to grab a compound designed for these types of repairs, which is a latex-based and cementitious compound. Follow packaging instructions and mix in a small bucket. You should be able to scoop up with a putty knife and hold it upside down on the tip. This is an indication that the compound is ready to apply to the crack.
3. Apply compound
With a putty knife, firmly spread the compound into the crack. Make sure to slightly overfill the damaged spot. Then, scrape the excess with the knife until it’s level with the surrounding surface.
4. Allow curing
Once you’ve successfully filled the crack with compound, you’ll want to allow it to properly cure. It’s important to keep the compound moist (so that it doesn’t crack), so spray with a fine mist of water if it starts to dry out. The repaired crack will take approximately 24 hours to fully cure prior to painting.
5. Paint repair
Using a paintbrush and matching paint, cover the repaired area with a coat. Be sure to feather the edges for a seamless finish. Allow it to dry for about 48 hours before touching or applying another coat.
Repairing Loose Panels
When dealing with loose panels, the most common issue is that a nail or multiple nails are not sunk into a stud. The easiest fix is to nail the piece back into place, making sure it goes into a stud. When there’s no stud available behind the siding, a technique called ‘pinning back’ can be applied. This involves nailing about one inch from the bottom. This won’t provide much in the way of structural support, but it will make it look aesthetically appealing.
When It’s Time to Replace
In some cases, you’ll need to replace the siding. Whether you’re dealing with ugly gaps or major cracking, it might be time to remove old panels and replace them with fresh ones. This can be quite labor-intensive considering the weight of the material and how hard it is to cut and file (which requires specialized tools). If you’re not comfortable or unable to handle this type of repair yourself, you can always reach out to a specialist.
When it comes to fiber cement siding repairs, it pays to hire the right professional. But who are you supposed to trust? CLAD Siding hooks you up with a fully reliable, licensed siding contractor in no time. Click here to learn more and grab a quote!