What type of saw blades do you recommend for cutting cement/fiber board lap siding?

Answered by Jeffrey ~ February 17, 2010 ~ Comments

I need to repair some damaged lap siding, and it appears to be a cement or fiber board material. Also what type of nails are good for this stuff, it is very hard.

Paul G. ~ Portland, Oregon

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Paul, You're correct, fiber cement siding is very hard, it is primarily made out of cement. There are several recommended methods of cutting fiber cement boards. The first is to score and snap it. I don't know if you have ever cut drywall, but it is the same theory. Using a straight edge, and a sharp knife, score the board where you want to cut it. You should score it deeply, so you may have to make several passes with the knife. You should then be able to snap off the piece you wish to remove.

The second recommended method is using electric shears. You can usually rent these at a tool rental establishment. The last method is with a circular saw with a carbide tipped blade. This method creates a lot of harmful dust, so make sure you do it outside, and wear a dust mask, and eye and ear protection. There are circular saws available with dust catching kits, and those are ideal for cutting fiber cement siding. It doesn't sound like you have a lot to cut, but without a dust catching kit your circular saw may eventually be harmed by the dust created by cutting.

Use a nail that penetrates about 1 inch into the framing member you are nailing into, so depending on what your exterior sheathing is, you should use a 1 1/2 to 2 inch nail. You may need to drill a pilot hole first.

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