Fiber cement boards have become quite common in the construction industry. They are a convenient option when one is looking to build fast and efficiently. Unfortunately most people don’t really know or understand what makes Fiber cement boards a better option than plywood and other materials.
Fiber cement boards are composite materials made of sand, cement and cellulose fibers. More specifically, they are composed of Portland cement with glass-fiber mesh on the surface. These boards can be used independently or along with plywood. They are highly resistant to fire, water and termites, making them an ideal choice for building good quality and long lasting furniture and homes.
Cement boards are used because when compared to gypsum boards, they stand strong in the presence of moisture and leaks. Cement boards have excellent moisture absorbing and drying properties making them resistant to weather change as well.
The only possible disadvantage of fiber cement boards is their weight and working cost. While the board itself costs as much as, if not more than plywood, working with these boards requires more labour, time and effort however the results are pleasing and require minimum maintenance.
When was fiber cement board invented?
Fiber cement products were first patented in Austria in 1901 and were called “Eternit” by Ludwig Hatschek after the term “aeternitas” meaning everlasting. It was only in 1903 that Schweizerische Eternit-Werke AG started fabricating the product in Niederurnen, Switzerland.
The inital make involved the usage of asbestos to add strength but later turned out into a good alternative to the asbestos sheets as their replacement.
How to Install?
Cement boards are installed using corrosion resistant screws. They have very little movement under thermal stress but are installed with a slight gap. This gap is filled with a Silicone sealant. The sealed gaps are sealed like how a normal gypsum board is sealed, or rather, they are taped. Although fiber cement boards are taped with fiberglass tapes which is what makes these boards water resistant. This combined with a impermeable finish makes cement boards stable and durable!
What makes it Water resistant?
Fiber cement boards get their water resistance from a treated gypsum core and the organic reinforced fiber covering.
Cement boards specially made with Portland cement core and fiberglass mat reinforcing is truly waterproof while the later is more suitable for moist settings.
Fiber cement boards made with Portland cement can be inserted into water without any risk of degradation. These panels do not even require sealing of edges and/or penetrations in order to maintain their structural integrity. Boards made of Portland cement are however smaller in size and heavier than boards with a gypsum core.
What are the uses?
Fiber cement boards are ideally used for flooring, making furniture, for wall cladding/paneling and even for gates due to their indestructible properties. Unlike plywood Vboard does not degenerate and disintegrate in the rain due to moisture and does not attract termites.
Fiber cement sheets and boards can ideally be used in kitchens too, as they are considerably thermal resistant and do not catch fire easily.
Fiber cement sheets and boards also asbestos free which makes working with them less harmful. Health hazards are minimised for your family as well as those who help build your home.
How to maintain it?
Fiber Cement Sheets and Boards require very little or no maintenance once installed and can be painted and textured to fit the design tone of your space. Infact, the thicker sheets/boards have great impact resistance too!
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