How to Cut and Install Fiber-Cement Siding | This Old House

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Tommy I thought we would talk fiber

cement siding because this is clearly a

material that is here to stay oh yeah on

about 15% of new homes and it's actually

used quite a bit in renovations as well

yeah I've used it on a few of my jobs

and I like it there's a couple reasons

to like it actually and one of them is

cost right it's about 30 to 40 percent

less than a wood siding like cedar a

redwood for example and it's hard so it

won't dent like wood siding comes in

different textures this one here that

simulates a wood grain and here's one

that's really flat and in the durability

category the paint job is pretty

impressive too yeah well first of all

when you buy it it comes primed if you

want it painted they offer about 12

different colors and when they paint it

in the factory they actually heat the

siding and they spray the paint on that

warm siding actually hears better two

coats and it gives you a 10 to a 20 year

warranty so that's good that's pretty

impressive for a paint job right but

there's still touch-up work that's going

to be needed in the field so if you make

a cut along the way you're going to have

to touch up that joint they'll send you

some paint that will match so those are

some of the benefits I guess the biggest

downside is is working with it because

this can kick up a ton a lot of dust I

think that is probably one of the

biggest now you can cut it with a

conventional saw like this right here

but you want to use a special blade you

notice this very few teeth unlike the

one that you'd use when cutting wood and

the purpose behind that is less teeth is

going to try to kick up less to us but

it still kicks up a lot it's gonna kick

up some dust let me show you on your

mask there

you know just follow with my

straightedge and get ready for this so

quite a bit of dust and not the kind of

stuff you want to be breathing in right

and so to counteract that problem the

solution has been a whole host of

specialty tools different ways that you

can actually cut right the fiber cement

here's actually a shear that will cut

the siding and through this little slot

so this is an attachment just put on a

regular Roger goes right on drill that's

pretty good takes a little longer but

you don't have any dust right exactly

now there's one thing that you really

wanted to show me that I have not yet

seen they have saws now with dust

collection all right here's one here and

there's actually this this little

attachment comes down brings it tighter

to the material and that brings the

sawdust right into the bag here's a new

one that I tried the other day so these

are saws specifically made for cutting

fiber cement right straightedge on now

let's see what the difference in dust is

almost us less almost it makes a big

difference if you're doing a whole house

or in addition you don't have all that

dust flying so let's talk about how this

is working because it's actually not a

vacuum it starts with a five-gallon

bucket that you've got right here and

then you put this hood on it right and

what they have is a worm drive saw right

here there's a gear in here that turns

the blade with a worm gear but on the

back of the saw they have applied a

little fan when the SAR is on it turns

this fan right here and it sucks the

dust in through the hose and into the

bucket that's gonna be pretty handy

especially if you're up on the second

floor working up a scaffolding sighs all

right so that's Kutty let's talk about

installation okay well it installs a lot

like wood but there are a few different

changes when you're installing the

siding you want to make sure that

there's a seam or a joint open so that

you can install caulking into this joint

I like to back caulk first and then

apply another beauty of caulking

afterwards to really make that a

watertight joint and that's to allow for

expansion and contraction of contraction

of the siding and the trim mm-hmm you

want to make sure you use your splines

at all the joints you want to make sure

that the spline sits on top of the

previous piece that you're putting so

that if water should migrate into this

joint it will run out I got you yeah and

you want to make sure you back off it


so let's install one piece I know we've

got one cut now I'm not gonna back Hawk

this piece because obviously this is

only a pretend wall right but if we were

going to do this for real you would put

a bead of clock right here first also

put a bead of caulk over on this end

that's right okay now if I nail this I'm

gonna use this hot dip galvanized nail

I'm gonna nail it into the stud now I

want to drive the nail in right wash I

don't want to penetrate that service if

you're gonna use a nail gun then you can

use the stainless ring shank nails why

not gun speeds up the process the beauty

of that gun is you can actually set the

depth of it I'll control the depth of

the nail so you don't damage the siding

all right well a pretty good alternative

to real wood siding you can see why so

many people want to use it I agree