Unlike similar brands, GAF is laser-focused on manufacturing a single fiber cement siding product: shingles.
There are many types of GAF fiber cement siding shingles options available under its WeatherSide brand umbrella.
Many homeowners opt for this siding product thanks to its accessibility, safety, and ease of installation.
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What Is GAF Fiber Cement Siding?
GAF fiber cement siding is a long-lasting, low-maintenance product used for residential applications.
It’s sold under the WeatherSide label.
WeatherSide siding comes in the form of fiber cement shingles and is typically used for replacing old asbestos siding shingles.
Naturally, this means that GAF fiber cement siding doesn’t contain asbestos.
It’s also resistant to denting, warping, rotting, UV degradation, and termite infiltration.
Besides replacing and repairing old siding, WeatherSide fiber-cement shingles work great for siding smaller structures, such as sheds and detached workshops.
These shingles are manufactured to look virtually identical to old siding shingles that are no longer available.
So, they can also be used for repairing damaged shingles.
All WeatherSide siding is pre-primed, so you can easily paint them to match your existing siding.
The WeatherSide product line contains three categories of shingles.
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WeatherSide Emphasis shingles are extra thick, have a thatched edge, and offer a wood-grain appearance.
The WeatherSide Profile category includes Profile 9, Profile 12, and Profile 14 shingles.
The numbers refer to the product’s width expressed in inches.
All Profile shingles have a straight edge and a vertical striated surface.
WeatherSide Purity shingles come in straight, thatched, or wavy patterns.
All of these shingles have a classic textured surface.
The products in this category are typically the least expensive.
All GAF WeatherSide siding products are backed by a 25-year limited warranty.
GAF Fiber Cement Siding Average Cost
As more siding contractors become familiar with fiber cement, the price of installing this siding option is decreasing.
For now, installing GAF fiber cement siding will cost between $5 and $14 per square foot.
The exact cost depends on the complexity of the installation and the chosen material.
So, siding an average 1,500-square-foot home using GAF fiber cement siding usually costs from $7,500 to $21,000, with most homeowners paying around $15,000.
GAF Fiber Cement Siding Cost Breakdown
GAF fiber cement siding products are typically sold in bundles.
Their prices range from $100 to $180 per bundle. The bundle contains between 11 and 19 pieces and can cover 33.3 square feet.
This means that the material cost for GAF fiber cement siding comes out to $3 to $5.4 per square foot.
When it comes to the installation process, most DIY-savvy homeowners choose to complete it on their own.
The installation is straightforward – the shingles only need to be nailed in place and then painted.
However, it’s a different story if homeowners are replacing old fiber cement shingles. In this case, GAF recommends hiring an experienced contractor.
The most important reason for this recommendation is the possible presence of asbestos.
A professional contractor will properly remove and dispose of the old siding, following local, state, and federal regulations concerning asbestos-containing products.
With this in mind, labor costs for installing GAF fiber cement siding range from $2 to $8 per square foot.
Shingles are also more expensive to install than other fiber cement siding options they take the most time to put in place.
Did you know? It takes six hours for two contractors to install approximately 100 square feet of fiber cement shingles.
Where To Buy GAF Fiber Cement Siding
GAF fiber cement siding is sold in most building supply centers. However, these centers only cater to contractors.
Homeowners who want to purchase these products on their own can visit Home Depot. This store usually stocks several types of WeatherSide fiber cement shingles.
Alternatively, homeowners can use the GAF Distributor Locator available on the company’s website to check whether there are any distributors or retail locations in their vicinity.
Is GAF Fiber Cement Siding Fire-Resistant?
Yes. GAF fiber cement siding is fire-resistant.
All products under the WeatherSide label are considered non-combustible in accordance with ASTM E136.
Did you know? ASTM E136 is the standard test method for measuring how materials behave when exposed to heat in a vertical-tube furnace. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) prescribe this method for materials that are required to be non-combustible.
GAF Fiber Cement Siding Quality
Most of the GAF fiber cement siding products are of high quality.
Thanks to their fiber cement construction, they are highly durable and can last a long time.
Although the products are warranted for 25 years, they can last significantly longer when maintained correctly.
These fiber cement shingles will stop pests and other organisms, such as termites and fungi, from infesting the siding and eventually getting into the house.
Plus, they can withstand high humidity without warping or rotting as wood siding products do.
However, specific products from the Purity category appear to be of lesser quality. They can be brittle and break when they come in contact with nails during installation.
Reading product reviews should help homeowners determine which GAF fiber cement product is worth their money.
GAF Fiber Cement Siding Reviews
In general, GAF fiber cement siding products have overwhelmingly positive user reviews.
Even the Purity category products, typically the least expensive choice, are praised for their quality and appearance.
The positive reviews highlight the following aspects of GAF fiber cement shingles:
- They are the perfect match for old asbestos shingles.
- There are pre-drilled holes for easier installation.
- The shingles take paint well, making them virtually indistinguishable from the existing siding in repair scenarios.
- The shingles are relatively easy to cut and work with.
Some of the drawbacks of GAF siding users noted are as follows:
- It can be costly to side a larger area or the entire home.
- The shingles are somewhat brittle.
- The pre-drilled holes don’t always match the original ones, so some drilling might be necessary to achieve alignment.
Out of all WeatherSide products, the Purity thatched shingles receive the most negative reviews.
In these reviews, users complain about the following issues:
- These shingles can be demanding to work with. They can crack or break easily during nailing.
- The nail holes are in a visible location, lowering the overall aesthetic appeal of the siding.
- A DIY installation can be challenging since the instructions that come with the product aren’t clear enough.
James Hardie vs GAF Siding
James Hardie has become a household name in the fiber cement industry. Hence, few discussions about fiber cement siding types are complete without mentioning this brand.
James Hardie hasn’t diversified into other materials, directing all its efforts toward producing high-quality fiber cement siding and boards.
For this reason, HardiePlank, the brand’s flagship siding product, has become almost synonymous with fiber-cement siding.
As the name suggests, the HardiePlank is a simple lap siding plank, available in widths ranging from four to eight inches.
It comes in various baked-in colors, but you can also paint it as you would any other siding product.
Unlike GAF, James Hardie manufactures more than one fiber cement siding type.
While lap siding has become its signature product, the company also produces the following fiber cement products:
- HardieShingle: fiber cement shingles with straight or staggered edge
- HardiePanel: a vertical siding option in four textures
- HardieTrim: trim boards used to accentuate doors, windows, columns, and corners
- HardieSoffit: soffits in smooth and vented profiles
- Artisan: a luxurious collection of lap siding boards and trim
James Hardie offers a significantly better selection for homeowners interested in fiber cement siding than GAF.
However, both companies manufacture shingle siding, so it’s only fair to compare them based on these products.
James Hardie vs GAF Siding: Quality
James Hardie and GAF have become leaders in the fiber cement siding industry, so the quality of their products can’t be understated.
Still, James Hardie offers a broader range of applications for its fiber cement shingles, while GAF primarily focuses on replacing old asbestos shingles.
Did you know? James Hardie uses a modified formulation for their products that are sold in extremely cold climates where freezing is possible. The company uses additives to protect the material from expansion and contraction cycles that can cause fiber cement to crack.
James Hardie vs GAF Siding: Design Flexibility
Both shingle options can be painted to match the surrounding siding.
However, James Hardie shingles also come in a wide variety of colors for homeowners who want to avoid painting the shingles.
The shingles are finished with James Hardie’s Colorplus technology, guaranteeing a long lifetime.
James Hardie vs GAF Siding: Availability
Like GAF fiber cement siding shingles, James Hardie shingles are available at Home Depot.
James Hardie shingles can also be found in another major home improvement company: Lowe’s.
Professional contractors can use the Dealer Locator option on James Hardie’s website to find a nearby store that carries these products.
James Hardie vs GAF Siding: Price
When it comes to pricing, both companies offer similar ranges for their shingle products.
GAF shingle prices range from $3 to $5.50 per square foot, while HardieShingle runs from $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot.
James Hardie shingles are also sold as bundles. One bundle can cover 50 square feet.
However, they can also be purchased as individual panels for smaller projects or palettes for larger ones.
James Hardie vs GAF Siding: Warranty
James Hardie fiber cement siding products come with a 30-year limited warranty, narrowly beating out GAF’s 25-year offer.
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Allura vs GAF Siding
Allura is a top challenger in the fiber cement siding industry. The company manufactures several types of siding, offering an excellent option to homeowners and homebuilders.
The company’s product range includes the following fiber cement items:
- Lap siding
- Shakes and shingles
Let’s see how Allura shingles compare to their GAF competitors.
Allura vs GAF Siding: Quality
Allura and GAF offer fiber cement shingles of excellent quality.
Both products are fire-resistant, don’t warp or crack with age, and resist insects.
Allura vs GAF Siding: Design Flexibility
Allura fiber cement siding is available in an impressive range of colors.
All products use Spectrum paint, formulated for fiber cement applications. This makes Allura shingles a better choice for homeowners who don’t want to deal with the hassle of painting their shingles.
Still, Allura shingles come in a ready-to-paint finish that can be painted over like their GAF competitors, allowing them to be used for simple repair jobs.
Allura vs GAF Siding: Availability
Like GAF, Allura products can also be found at Home Depot for DIY-savvy homeowners.
Alternatively, you can use the Dealer Map on the company’s website to find the nearest store carrying these products.
Allura siding is mostly sold in bundles that can cover 32 square feet.
Allura vs GAF Siding: Price
Allura is marketed as a premium building material.
Still, the price range for its shingles is almost identical to GAF’s pricing. In Allura, siding shingles cost from $3.50 to $5.65 per square foot.
However, Allura shingles cost slightly more to install since they’re heavier and thicker.
On average, homeowners should expect to pay between $10 and $17 per square foot for Allura siding installation. This is noticeably costlier than GAF’s $5-$14 range.
Pro Tip: When cutting Allura fiber cement, you must use a cement blade. Also, you must wear safety glasses and a respirator or a mask to prevent inhaling silica.
Allura vs GAF Siding: Warranty
Regarding a warranty, Allura blows all the manufacturers on our list out of the water, including GAF.
The company offers a 50-year limited warranty on its fiber cement siding products, doubling GAF’s warranty coverage.
Nichiha vs GAF Siding
Nichiha is somewhat of a newcomer to the fiber cement industry. For this reason, the brand isn’t as widely known as other brands on our list.
Another reason for this is that the brand mainly focuses on commercial applications.
Many restaurants, banks, and grocery stores across the U.S. are sided with Nichiha fiber-cement products.
Still, Nichiha offers some residential product lines, excelling at large-format fiber cement boards and panels used for modern high-end residencies.
It also offers several traditional shakes and shingles, so let’s inspect those in more detail.
Nichiha vs GAF Siding: Quality
Nichiha manufactures premium fiber cement products using a proprietary, built-in moisture barrier.
As a result, they offer outstanding durability.
They also comply with some of the industry’s strictest fire code standards, making them ideal for homes in areas where wildfires are a major concern.
Did you know? Besides wildfires, fiber cement siding protects homes from salt spray and high humidity in coastal regions. In addition, fiber cement siding offers hurricane resilience, withstanding winds blowing up to 130 miles per hour.
Nichiha vs GAF Siding: Design Flexibility
Like GAF, Nichiha shingles are only available in a pre-primed option that can be painted accordingly.
These shingles are additionally coated, allowing them to hold paint better than most fiber cement products.
Nichiha vs GAF Siding: Availability
Unlike other fiber cement brands we’ve mentioned, you can’t purchase Nichiha products from retail outlets.
You can only request them through your architect or contractor.
However, keep in mind that some contractors might not be familiar with the brand, so they might avoid using or installing its products.
Nichiha vs GAF Siding: Price
Nichiha offers competitive pricing, especially compared to other top fiber cement brands, such as GAF, James Hardie, and Allura.
Most homeowners pay approximately $10 per square foot for Nichiha fiber cement siding installation.
By contrast, a GAF installation can run up to $14 per square foot.
However, homeowners on a budget can also find cheaper categories of GAF products and install them independently, minimizing labor costs. The same can’t be said for Nichiha products, which must be purchased through a contractor.
Nichiha vs GAF Siding: Warranty
Nichiha provides a 30-year limited warranty against manufactured defects in its fiber cement shingles.
While this is slightly better than GAF’s 25-year warranty, Nichiha products boast exceptional durability, one of the finest in the industry.
As a result, they can last significantly longer when installed and maintained correctly.
How Long Will GAF Fiber Cement Siding Last?
All GAF fiber cement siding products come with a 25-year limited warranty.
However, this siding type should last significantly longer when properly installed and maintained.
Is GAF Fiber Cement Siding A Good Choice?
While GAF fiber cement siding can be a bit more expensive, it offers several benefits to homeowners, which make it worth the investment.
- Ease of use. WeatherSide siding doesn’t require constant caulking at the joints.
- Low maintenance. WeatherSide shingles won’t dent, warp, or rot.
- Safer exterior. GAF’s siding products don’t contain asbestos and adhere to UL fire-resistance requirements, making them a safe choice for your home and its household members.
When selecting the best siding option for your home, you should consider your budget, personal design preferences, and your home’s structural needs.
GAF fiber cement siding is a good choice for homeowners who want to replace or repair old asbestos siding. In addition, they are an excellent choice for replacing a smaller portion of siding that may have been removed to install a new window or door. Since these shingles take paint well, they will easily match existing patterns.
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