Picking the right siding for your house is a delicate balancing act between good looks, durability, maintenance, and affordability. With wood, vinyl, stone, brick, or stucco, you might get only two or three of these. But with fiber cement siding, a resilient mix of wood pulp and portland cement, you get all four. It's the only type of siding that combines the performance of masonry—minimal upkeep; rot-, fire-, and termite-proof; unaffected by wind or cold—with the look of painted wood clapboards, shingles, even stone or brick. Yet fiber cement goes for just a fraction of the cost of these other materials. No wonder nearly 15 percent of new homes—and many TOH TV projects—are clad with the stuff.
All this has happened in just 25 years, since fiber cement was first introduced. Now architects regularly specify the siding because it holds down costs without compromising aesthetics. It's even accepted for use in some historic districts.
Shown: The siding on this Gothic Revival-style home looks like wood clapboard, but it's actually fiber cement painted a custom color. 7¼-inch-wide smooth lap siding, primed, about $1.50 per square foot;