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The versatility of fibrous cement cladding

Fibro cement cladding is a lightweight and flexible cladding option that has recently started overtaking more traditional materials like brick veneer or timber.

The versatility of fibrous cement cladding

Juliet Taylor


March 25th, 2022

Fibre or fibro cement cladding is a durable cladding option developed in the early 1980s, made from cement, water, sand and cellulose wood fibres. Fibro cladding was a safe alternative to asbestos-based materials and was originally designed by James Hardie, who still manufacture and sell fc cladding today. Common forms of this material include fibre cement panels or fibro cement sheeting.

Fibro cladding is designed for external use. It primarily provides protection from the weather, though there are a myriad of other benefits to cladding. Fibrous cement sheeting comes in many different forms and has applications in flooring, eave lining, internal lining, façade exteriors, and of course weatherproof cladding.

As a lightweight and water-resistant material, fibro cement is one of the best materials available for use in eaves and outdoor ceilings. For areas likely to see more traffic, such as flooring, it is more common to have compressed fibre cement – fibre cement sheet cladding manufactured under extreme pressures to make it more durable. This is usually used as a tile underlay for bathrooms or pool decks, due to its superior water resistance.

On average, replacing your house cladding will cost somewhere between $30-$80 per square metre (not including the labor cost of installation which is usually $55-$65 an hour). Timber cladding is the cheapest type of cladding, and stone veneer the most.

Fibre cement hovers at the higher end of the price spectrum, with most fibre cement sheet prices sitting at around $55 per square metre. However, there are cheaper options available if you are looking for a quick and cheap way to update the exterior of your home; browse the Bunnings fiber cement sheeting product range here.

Note that the cheaper the product, the less time it will take before needing replacement. The main draw of fibre cement sheeting is its durability, outlasting traditional materials like timber by decades.

Choosing cheaply manufactured fibre cement sheet cladding will jeopardize these benefits and possibly make the entire process redundant. Remember to always do your research beforehand and try to always look at the product reviews before you purchase something.

Quality fibre cement cladding is extremely fire resistant, and after being sealed it is waterproof. This makes is a huge asset in preventing damage to the house and limiting the effects of prolonged weather exposure. Fibro cement sheeting is resistant to pests such as termites, as well as rot and warping. Due to this durability, it is low maintenance and a straightforward material for contractors to work with.

Fibre cement weatherboards can be applied easily to the vast majority of typical housing exteriors (such as brick and timber). Fibro cement sheeting can also be painted darker colours in accordance with your design plans and desires, making it one of the more customizable cladding options.

Fibre cement can be heavier than some other materials; researching the specific product before purchase is important to avoid complications of thickness or weight. It can also be difficult to install depending on the type of fibro cement and the surface material of the house. DIY is recommended only for those with the prior experience necessary to confidently install cladding.

Below is a list of cladding product options to help you get an idea of the price, quality and availability of materials. Bear in mind the specifics of your project while reading; hopefully something here will have everything you need to start your fibro journey.

Fibre Cement Cladding Australia: Cladding Options for Fibro Houses

09. James Hardie HardieFlex 2400 x 450 x 4.5mm Eaves 1.08 SQM

This is one of the most lowest fiber cement sheet prices of all the James Hardie range. It can be installed on timber or light gauge steel frames.

This product is ideal for eaves overhangs and its width is the standard size for most eaves and soffits. However, for those that are more than 10mm wider than 750mm, a better choice would be HardieFlex cladding (comes in sizes of 900-1200mm widths). You can purchase it here for $11.66.

08. James Hardie 2400 x 600 x 4.5 1.44 SQM HardieFlex Eaves

With a slightly greater width, this HardieFlex product is also designed for Eaves and soffits. It can be easily cut to size with a snap knife and installation is an easy DIY.

It can be installed on timber or light gauge steel frames. At $13.09, it is one of the cheapest fibro cement boards on the market. You can purchase it here from the Bunnings website.

07. CSR Cemintel 9 x 1200 x 3000mm Express Panel

This Cemintal Express Panel is ideal for external facades systems. It is ready to be painted and can be arranged in various patterns. A popular choice for commercial and industrial projects, you can purchase this cladding here for $166.

06. CSR Cemintel 6 x 1200 x 2400mm Square Edge Wet Area Wallboard

Another Cemintel project, this fiber cement board is waterproof and durable. It is designed to withstand the water exposure of wet areas such as bathrooms and laundries. It is a paint ready wall lining and can be purchased for $57.76 here.

05. Jamies Hardie HardieFlex 2400 x 1200 x 6mm Cladding 2.88 SQM

Another affordable James Hardie product, this flat fibro cement sheet comes in a range of widths best suited for external cladding. It works best as a wraparound timber or light gauge steel framed homes. Purchase here for $25.80.

04. Hume Prima 2440 x 1200 x 7.5mm Blueboard

With strong bracing capacity, this product is suitable was wall cladding for lightweight construction and wall cladding for new homes, renovations and additions, or re-cladding older homes. Purchase here for $40.

03. James Hardie 4200 x 180 x 16mm Linea Weatherboard

This is the thickest fibro cement weatherboard and will achieve deep shadow lines to give it an authentic look. It is popular with beach houses, Hamptons homes, contemporary designs and country cottages. It also provides insulation and is resistant to swelling, shrinking and cracking. Purchase here for $37.54.

02. James Hardie 3600 x 1200 x 8.5mm Hardie Fine Texture Cladding

With shiplap joints, these cladding panels are easily fixed to timber and light gauge steel frames. They are ready to paint and come pre-sealed. They are high quality and will outlast may other traditional building materials.

This product is available here for $144.50.

01. James Hardie 300 x 1200 x 9mm 133mm Smooth Axon Cladding

Durable and versatile, this Sycon Axon cladding is easy to install and available in abundance. With a modernistic groove, this cladding is contemporary and stylish.

It is best suited for facades and exterior walls. It can also be painted if desired to create a more personalized exterior. You can purchase this cladding here for $150.

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