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Q. The clients on an upcoming project are interested in installing fiber-cement siding, but they're concerned about how the butt joints will look. While they don't expect the tight-fitting seams characteristic of wooden clapboards, they also don't like the look of wide caulked joints. Is there a better way to detail these joints?
A.Mark Parlee, a general contractor in Des Moines, Iowa, responds: In my experience, water that gets trapped against fiber-cement siding can be absorbed by the material, causing joints to swell and shrink during freeze/thaw cycles.