What is fibre cement?

Fibre cement, or Fibre Reinforced Cement (FRC), is a versatile building material developed by James Hardie in the early 1980s. Fibre cement is a composite material made of cement reinforced with cellulose fibres.

James Hardie® fibre cement products are a mixture of:

  • Cellulose fibre: acts as a filler. From plantation grown Radiate Pine trees.
  • Portland Cement: binds the ingredients. Made with limestone, clay, and iron.
  • Sand: creates all weather performance and resilience.
  • Water: dissolves the wood pulp; activates and hardens the cement.

Plus a small amount of other chemical additives to help the process, or provide structure with particular characteristics.

What are the characteristics of fibre cement?

  • Fibre cement does not burn, it is a non combustible building material.
  • Fibre cement building products are water resistant, it is resistant to permanent water damage
  • It is long lasting, it is UV resistant and resistant to rotting and warping
  • Fibre cement products are easy to work with, James Hardie have developed a specialised set of tools to work with fibre cement:
    •  Gecko Gauge: a clamp that holds HardiePlank during installation making one person cladding installation very simple.
    • HardieGuillotine™: Custom designed manual tool to cut HardiePlank cladding fast and accurately
    • HardieBlade™: Circular blade to cut James Hardie fibre cement products, specially designed to produce very low amount of dust.
    • HardieClip™: Clip to provide extra strength when fixing cladding
    • HardieBacker Score-and-snap knife: Simple and effective hand tool for perfect and accurate straight cuts on all James Hardie cement boards
    • HardieBacker screws: screws designed to fit all James Hardie cement boards
    • See all accessories and tools for fibre cement cladding products and fibre cement backer board

What are fibre cement building products used for?

The characteristics of fibre cement make it ideally suited as exterior wall cladding material and as an interior building material as a tiling backer board or floor tiling base.

Fibre cement as tiling backer board or floor tiling base

As a building material, interior fibre cement tile backer board products are especially suited as a tiling base for tiling wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and showers as it is resistant to permanent water damage and does not need to be treated before tiling. Because it is water resistant, fibre cement tile backer board is used as an alternative to Plywood and Plasterboard tiling base.

Installation of fibre cement backer board is easy and can be installed directly onto a stud wall or onto a wooden or timber floor.

Fibre cement as an exterior cladding material

Fibre cement as an exterior cladding material is used as an alternative to wood cladding and PVC or vinyl as it is very durable and low maintenance, compared to other cladding materials. Fibre cement cladding is very durable because it is water resistant and does not rot, warp or crack. It is also resistant to termites, woodpeckers and other pests. In addition, fibre cement cladding is a fire resistant building material and will not ignite when exposed to direct flame or extreme heat: it is a non-combustible material.

Fibre cement cladding is easy to work with and to install, and the appropriate tools allows for an easier one person installation.

How is Fibre Cement made?

The fibre cement manufacturing process produces a durable, highly workable and aesthetically pleasing product by a process that substantially reduces the curing time compared to air-cured concrete products. This means your build moves along faster, with less hold ups and complications. Watch the whole process of how its made in this video.

James Hardie fibre cement products

Interior building products:

HardieBacker® 6mm: Interior tiling base especially suited for wet areas, with EZ Grid® recessed pattern for easier installation.
HardieBacker® 12mm: A thicker interior tiling base for wet areas, suited to use on floors when additional height is needed.

Exterior cladding products:

HardiePlank® weatherboard: Exterior cladding for homes in planks of 3600mm x 180mm, in smooth or cedar structure.
HardiePanel® cladding: Large format cladding panels of 3050mm x 1220mm suited for all buildings, big or small.
HardieWindbreaker sheathing board: Weather defence air barrier to strengthen the structure and serve as a base for an exterior weatherproof ventilated rainscreen cladding system.