Fiber cement cladding is created by mixing cellulose, fillers and fibres with water – before cement is added to form wet sheets. These are rolled and pressed to extract excess moisture. The mixture remains pliable for a short time after it’s formed, so it can be shaped into anything from small tiles through to planks and large-format panels.
The finished product can be either through-coloured or painted to achieve a specific aesthetic. The key advantage of the former is that it can help to reduce the risk of visible scratches, scuffs and chips developing over time. Plus it won’t need repainting – so maintenance is very low. The downside is that you’ll be relatively limited in terms of palettes and textures.
Alternatively, the standard grey sheets can be painted or stained (usually in the factory) with a variety of colours and effects – even down to incorporating realistic wood grain patterns or riven finishes that mimic natural slate.
Whichever option you choose, the units will be given a strong water-based or acrylic topcoat to improve weather resistance. The resulting cladding has a very low water absorption rate, is frost-proof and fire-resistant, and – thanks to the cement binder – won’t rust or rot. Upkeep is simple, too, involving little more than an annual wash down with mildly soapy water.