Farmhouses are becoming increasingly popular as an architectural style. They are most likely found in rural areas, and much desired for their functional layouts, large front porches, and for the amount of land or space they usually occupy.

Modern farmhouse design often takes these traditional spaces, and gives them a more contemporary twist on both appearance and function. This includes updating the exterior to replace older, wooden siding with something fresher and lower in maintenance. 

Two materials that get a lot of attention for being low maintenance are metal siding and fiber cement. Both are more durable than wood, and both can give you a more modern looking home, but they aren’t necessarily going to give you the long-term low maintenance and high durability you’re looking for. Choosing the best material for your modern farmhouse requires a closer look at them both. 

Fiber Cement for Farmhouses

When comparing low-maintenance materials, many people consider a fiber cement or Hardie® Board farmhouse when comparing the siding to wood. In this case, fiber cement is definitely a better choice than wood for most farmhouses and homes, as it doesn’t require the same level of care. 

Fiber cement is made from a mixture of cellulose fiber, sand, silica, and Portland cement, which creates a heavy, dense board that can be installed like wood on the exterior of a home. It’s painted like wood, and while the color lasts longer on fiber cement than it does on wood, it still needs to be scraped and painted about every 10 years. 

Like steel, fiber cement resists moisture and insect activity, and is also flame retardant. These attributes make it a lower maintenance material than wood, which is susceptible to all of those factors. But unlike steel, fiber cement is not as durable in some areas, such as impact. Hailstones, or an impact from a stray baseball or tree limb can crack the fiber cement siding, which is brittle as well as heavy and dense.

Fiber cement is also difficult to install since it’s very heavy, so it requires more labor, and it’s also difficult to cut. In fact, when cutting it, special precautions must be taken because of the silica it contains. Silica dust can be hazardous if inhaled, so extra steps need to be taken to contain the dust or to protect the installers when cutting, which can increase the cost of labor when working with this material.

Fiber cement is available in a wide range of styles, which can work well on a farmhouse. It is not recyclable, however, and will need more care over the course of its lifetime than steel, which further increases its environmental impact, since it will need to be repainted and repaired periodically. It can also be more difficult to keep clean, since the texture of the boards is designed to mimic the look of wood, but with an often rougher texture. This can mean that homes in rural areas can attract more dirt, and be more difficult to maintain in general. 

Steel Siding for Farmhouses

Steel siding is one of the most durable and lowest maintenance materials available. Steel siding is resistant to insect activity and moisture, it doesn’t rot, and it’s flame retardant. Steel is incredibly durable and unlikely to be dented or damaged by things like hail, so it’s going to have lower repair bills over its lifetime.

Steel siding from TruLog requires no maintenance in terms of color or paint. The color stays true for the lifetime of the siding, so you don’t need to scrape and repaint, and because steel is easily cleaned, you can also help your home maintain its color more easily than on wood or a more textured material.

Metal is also a traditional siding material for farmhouses. Many old farmhouses were clad in metal sheeting, because it’s low maintenance and flame retardant as well as insect resistant. Low maintenance and durability are important to farmhouses everywhere, and steel has a long history of practical farmhouse use. For a more updated look, it’s now possible to find steel siding in an attractive board and batten style, which can give a modern farmhouse a fresh appearance, along with the same durability and low maintenance care.

White Board & Batten Modern Farmhouse

And because today’s homeowners are more likely to be concerned with the environment, steel siding is also 100% recyclable, making it an eco-friendly material to use on your home as well. The material is easy to install, with board and batten style siding designed to go up in panels, rather than individual pieces, so the installation is fast and easy, saving on both time and labor. 

Choose the Best Material for Your Farmhouse

While fiber cement siding is more durable and easier to maintain than wood, it may not be the best choice for rural or modern farmhouses. Only steel siding is truly maintenance free, easy to install, and eco friendly for today’s busy and discerning homeowners. Choose the right material for your farmhouse, and use steel siding for your exterior.

Get steel farmhouse siding from TruLog to complete your home design.

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