Composite Siding Problems


Siding made from composites can be used on buildings and homes. The term ‘Composite siding’ encompasses a number of materials such as wood, asbestos, aluminum, and fiber-cement. However, the term is typically used for compressed wood products made from and byproducts such as wood chips and sawdust. The use of the term composite siding products now includes a range of vinyl (PVC) and wood-plastic composite (WPC). It is important to note that many of the problems associated with less modern composite siding products containing wood by-products are not present in PVC or WPC (even though WPC does contain a percentage of wood by-products). The problems and issues associated with the more ‘old fashion’ composite siding products are dependant on the different blends they contain and the strengths and weaknesses of those blends.

Moisture Issues

Composite siding is often made of wood products or products with some percentage of recycled wood products.

Particularly vulnerable to moisture are composite sidings made from wood by-products. It is composed of several materials that are combined in a board; the spaces between the components facilitate the passage of moisture from rain, humidity and/ or garden watering. When composite siding is installed incorrectly, the gaps between the panels allow moisture to permeate the exterior of the building. Moisture may cause the growth of mold or fungi that can adversely affect the product’s quality and pose a health risk to inhale the spores.

Installation Issues For Fiber Cement

Composite siding manufacturers advertise their ease of installation, but fiber cement board, which is a composite material, comes in heavy sheets. Dust from cutting can cause respiratory irritation since the sheets are cut on site. As the boards are so heavy, they are difficult to handle and install, increasing the likelihood of errors leading to further problems like water damage or buckling.

Insulation Issues

Exterior wall materials double as insulation for thermal and acoustic isolation. The heat insulation provided by some composite materials like cement board is inadequate. Hardboard and other wood composites may not have adequate sound blocking capabilities. Low-cost purchase and installation can subsequently be offset by ongoing higher heating and cooling costs due to poor insulation characteristics.

Hiding House Frame Irregularities

Houses with wood siding or composite siding have the advantage of masking warped or uneven frames. Nevertheless, cement composite siding is not able to offer the same advantages. Concrete fiber boards will not conceal any bumps or irregularities in the frame of a house. In case the boards are not installed correctly, they are prone to warp or buckle due to heat, moisture, or humidity. The boards can also be impacted by water damage, leading to the walls to crack or to look warped.

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