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Steel siding vs. fiber-cement siding

nkurz | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I was planning to use fiber cement lap board (Hardie Board), but am wondering whether residential seamless steel siding might be a better choice (lap style like this:

Steel siding seems to be used a lot in the Midwest, but I haven’t heard of anyone using it here in California.
It seems as weatherproof, as fireproof, lower maintenance, and lower priced. Ecologically, it seems like a slightly better choice due to its recyclability.

Apart from appearance, are there reasons against it that I haven’t yet discovered? And between steel sidings, are there differences between brands or attachment methods that I should know about?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You should choose whatever siding you like best. Steel siding has a few disadvantages. It can rust, especially near grade (where it is affected by splashback) or behind bushes planted too close to the building.

    The type of siding in the web page you linked to has the same aesthetic disadvantages as vinyl siding -- it is trying to look like cedar clapboard, but when you get close, it looks and feels funny. Some architects avoid this problem by whole-heartedly embracing the modern aesthetic, and choosing steel siding that looks like steel (for example, galvanized roofing panels installed as siding). At least this type of steel siding isn't trying to look like something else.

    Ultimately, this is mostly an aesthetic choice. If you like the look of steel siding, go for it.

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