LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding vs. Fiber Cement: Building Better with Less Tools & Supplies

The primary benefit many building professionals often cite when comparing LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding to fiber cement is the durability it provides, frequently resulting in increased jobsite efficiency. However, amid how the effects of the ever-changing economy and heightened attention to health safety have on the building industry, many professionals are now looking at additional benefits of choosing engineered wood siding, including less investment in tools and supplies needed to install building materials safely.

Curious about exactly what the different tool and supply needs for LP SmartSide siding products vs. fiber cement look like? We took a deep dive into the items needed to install LP SmartSide siding products and fiber cement products and caught up with a couple of builders who have installed both to talk through the benefits they've experienced by building better with LP SmartSide siding. Check it out:

Building Better

LP SmartSide siding not only calls for less tools than fiber cement, it can require less supplies. Why? Because LP SmartSide siding does not contain added silica dust, and emits less than 1 % of naturally occurring silica dust when cutting like fiber cement does. These benefits not only allow professionals to invest less in purchasing tools and materials, but also allow for better and safer building.

Tim Holton, owner of J.K. Holton, a construction company in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, recently made the switch from fiber cement to LP SmartSide siding. He says, “From the preparation to the end results, LP SmartSide siding is the most durable siding I’ve worked with all-around. You need less when it comes to tools, and you worry less when it comes to your and your crew’s safety. Having worked with both products, I am confident in my decision to switch.”  

Less Tools

One of the greatest benefits of LP SmartSide siding products is that they can be installed with standard tools to get the job done effectively and efficiently. Tools include tape, a circular saw, a speed square, a siding nailer, nails and a hammer, in addition to standard personal protective equipment. Fiber cement, however, includes more investment in tools and heavier tool bags. Beyond some of the tools mentioned above, diamond-tip saw blades, fiber cement shears, shear attachment, a siding nail cutter, and plank and trim cutters are recommended for use with fiber cement.

Kyle Stumpenhorst of @rrbuildings used fiber cement “back in the day.” After making the switch to LP SmartSide products, he vowed to never go back after experiencing the benefits of engineered wood products being easier to install in comparison to fiber cement. He says, “Of all exterior siding materials I’ve worked with, I love that you only need minimal woodworking tools with LP SmartSide siding products. Having no need for certain blades or tools speaks to the durability of the engineered wood products, which in turn leads to a quicker, more streamlined installation process.”

Less Supplies

Outside of the extra tools, there's the requirement for supplies related to silica dust when installing fiber cement. Because fiber cement contains silica, professionals may also need dust collection equipment, dust masks or respirators that meet NIOSH requirements (e.g. N-95 dust masks).

Holton expresses his concerns around these requirements, saying, "One of my biggest worries when installing fiber cement was the health hazard the dust can cause. With health safety being a top priority these days and safety masks being in high demand, there is even more concern around these requirements. By using LP SmartSide siding, we are less concerned about silica. So, in addition to engineered wood siding being more durable, it permits less safety equipment."

With less tools, supplies and safety concerns, with LP SmartSide Trim & Siding you can simply build better with less investment and worry. To learn more about the differences between LP SmartSide siding products and fiber cement, check out our latest comparison blog.  

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