Homeowners interested in remodeling their current homes or building new homes are looking for a sense of individuality in the design. They want something unique, and yet, they still want recognizable forms whether their homes are traditional or contemporary. Those desires, coupled with increased homeowner and home builder demand for low-maintenance and durable products, offer a great platform for fiber cement. Architects and designers are loving the versatility of fiber cement. Here’s how it’s being used:

Color and texture:

A deep, rich palette of darker colors, gray in particular, is on the rise. Fiber cement manufacturers have color-saturated finishes. “We’re getting less fading and more eye-catching colors that are more vibrant,” says architect Lee Calisti, principal and owner of lee CALISTI architecture + design, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, whose work is mostly contemporary. “The fiber cement products are really richer looking than other alternative [exterior claddings].” And more clients seek the ease of maintenance that comes with pre-finished pieces.

Fiber cement is often used in place of wood, and can be installed with wood siding techniques. It’s available in both wood-grain and smooth surfaces, and “the smooth finish is more like painted wood,” Calisti says. That way it looks like the traditional painted siding that is so well-loved, and it fits today’s style trend for “authenticity.”


Architects and designers are using a variety of fiber cement shapes and products – from lap siding to large panels, columns, trim board and fascia – for whole house cladding and accents. “We use the board and batten, the texture pieces, various shapes. It gives us the ability to add character and interest on the streetscapes,” says Jay Kallos, Vice President of Architecture for homebuilder Ashton Woods.

Calisti sees the panels in particular being used on multi-family housing. “Using it takes a large apartment building and breaks it down for better massing, scale and proportion,” he says. He uses the panels in many of his contemporary designs where he wants a material that can work well with a monolithic surface but without the texture like lap siding. “I’ve used large, flat sheets, cut them to size and used them in a grid to create a smoother, tailored look.”

On the lap siding, “more people are looking for the wider exposure,” seven-inch as opposed to five, says Charles Olewnik, an architectural designer with MJ Whelan Construction in Milford, Michigan, many of whose clients have waterfront property.

Home styles:

Fiber cement products are being used on every home type from cottages and farmhouses to Craftsman and contemporaries and everything in between. The pieces work well with other building materials.

Calisti likes using fiber cement panel products with aluminum extrusions for the clean edges and corners of his contemporary designs. On more traditional builds, it works well with stone and masonry.

Olewnik uses it under windows as accents, “in areas where you might use trim and need a panel to match a window to a door.”


Houzz and Pinterest offer hundreds of examples of houses with fiber cement ship lap walls in farmhouse style kitchens, board-and-batten ceilings, paneled backsplashes, even cabinets. There are wall grids and contemporary entryways.

“Fiber cement transcends all home styles, and if it’s appropriate, we’re going to use it,” Kallos says. “We can create a more richly perceived product that may bring more value. It gives a home heart and soul.”