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Virtually every type of siding has a learning curve before installation becomes second-nature, and fiber cement siding is no exception.
Fiber cement is a unique product, composed of a blend of Portland cement, silica, and sand with embedded cellulose fibers. This special blend offers fire resistance, durability, and the beauty of wood siding without the upkeep and cost of real wood. However, its durability means it’s slightly heavier than other siding materials – which has given fiber cement an unfair reputation of being too hard to install. Still, installation can be easy, as long as you have the right tools.
Here are the top 3 fiber cement installation tools you should invest in.
1. Gecko Gauge Fiber Cement Siding Set
As mentioned earlier, you may find that fiber cement is a fairly heavy material compared to other siding. The density and substance of this product are what helps make it so durable, but can be a bit tricky when it comes to actually getting it installed. Thankfully you can make installation more efficient and maybe even cut your time in half by using a Gecko Gauge.
The PacTool Gecko Gauge is a siding tool specifically designed for installation of fiber cement, making jobs both faster and easier. The weight of the panels can make it difficult to ensure straight lines, but the Gecko Gauge supports the fiber cement board with preset reveals, allowing you to nail the new course with confidence.
The Gecko Gauge is capable of supporting boards up to a full 12' in length and is easily adjustable for 4" to 8" siding reveals (in 1/4" intervals). For accurate, straight boards every time, in less time, the Gecko Gauge is an essential tool for fiber cement siding installation.
2. Snapper Shear Fiber Cement Shear
One of the first fiber cement tools you should invest in is a pair of high-quality shears. Fiber cement siding can potentially produce a lot of dust when improper tools or procedures are used to cut it. Silica dust can be harmful to your health, and the CDC and OSHA recommends exposure be limited as much as possible. This is possible not only through ventilation protection, but also by using Snapper Shears designed to get the fastest, smoothest cut possible.
The Snapper Shear allows for clean, accurate cuts without any dust. It's also much quieter than using traditional circular saw blades, which can cause a lot of headache on the job - especially while wearing a heavy respirator. Plus, the blades are replaceable for multiple jobs, if you are up for the challenge.
3. PacTool Aluminum Gable Scribe
Cutting accurate gable angles on siding can be a tedious process, with some contractors measuring and cutting each piece with a bevel square. Others may try to quicken the process by stacking up fiber cement boards and cutting them all in one full swoop, which more often than not leads to inaccuracies as you get to the bottom of the stack. Thankfully, you can maintain accuracy while also making faster cuts by using a gable scribe.
A gable scribe is similar to handmade pitch blocks, but allows for far more versatility. An aluminum gable scribe from PacTool is undoubtedly going to outlast a wooden block (made from solid aluminum), but more importantly it offers you the ability to measure any angle from 0° - 90° and transfer it immediately to your fiber cement boards. Rather than having to make and carry different wood blocks, having an aluminum gable scribe reduces your required tools down to just one piece.
The PacTool Aluminum Gable Scribe is compatible with the Snapper Shear side knives. This simplifies the cutting process even more, especially when you're working on a home or other structure that has multiple gable pitches with different angles.
It may be tempting to use general siding installation tools particularly if it's a small DIY project, but it's wise to invest in a few tools if you plan on having professional-quality work. By purchasing these three tools, you're guaranteed to simplify and speed up your job, while ensuring beautiful, properly-installed, fiber-cement siding.