Fiber Cement or Vinyl Siding: Which Siding Material Is Right for Your Home?

Learn the pros and cons of vinyl vs fiber cement siding

The avatar of Rachel Polant

Rachel Polant

Dec 10

Pros and cons of both fiber cement siding and vinyl siding

Protecting our home starts with what we cover the outside with. Our roof, siding, and windows keep us and everything contained within our home safe and secure. Because our home and family is important to us, deciding on the type of siding to use to wrap it up in is paramount–whether that be fiber cement or vinyl siding.

Vinyl is the most popular siding choice in America

The most popular siding choice in the U.S. is vinyl. It’s relatively inexpensive, durable, and comes in an abundant array of colors and styles. It is made of polyvinyl chloride plastic resin that is heated and extruded into sheets, so it can last for generations.

Fiber cement give vinyl  competition

There is another popular choice as well: fiber cement siding. Fiber cement, also known as Hardie-board, is gaining ground among homeowners. It is composed of cement, cellulose fibers, and sand. It’s nailed directly to your home and is more expensive than vinyl, but it also looks very similar to wood in texture and graining.

There are pros and cons to each, so making an informed decision is important in making sure you get the best siding material for your home.

Below, I will compare and break down the benefits and weaknesses of fiber cement and vinyl siding.

Energy-Efficient:

Vinyl Siding gets the energy-efficient win. Vinyl can save you money on your heating and cooling bills because it often comes with a layer of insulation. This layer of rigid-foam insulation not only increases the R-value, but it also adds another layer of protection against rain from damaging your home.

Eco-Friendly:

Fiber Cement Siding gets the check mark in the green category because no fossil fuels are used in its production. But insulation must be added as fiber cement on its own has almost no R-value.

Durability:

Both are very durable. But, fiber cement will absorb moisture, which can lead to many of the same issues wood siding has. Of course, all siding should be installed correctly to prevent problems, but it’s especially true if gaps or holes are left in fiber cement siding.

Maintenance requirements:

Vinyl siding, for all intents and purposes, is maintenance free. It doesn’t fade, warp, dent, need to be repainted, or scratch. Vinyl usually comes with a 40-year warranty, but some manufacturers offer a transferable lifetime warranty. At most, maybe you’ll need to give the vinyl siding a good power washing every now and then, depending on how grungy your home’s exterior gets.

Fiber cement needs to be painted every 10 years are so. It also needs to be recaulked and is prone to cracking. But, some people see the fact you can paint and repaint as a plus, allowing you to change the look of your home. But, those costs do add up over the years of the fiber cement’s lifetime.

Cost of siding installation:

Vinyl siding is probably the best-valued siding on the market. It’s durable, looks great, come in every color, and can mimic clapboard and other styles. You can expect to pay about $350 to $750 a square.

Fiber cement will run you more, costing $600 to $1,150 a square. It does look much more like wood siding, so for those very particular homeowners who notice all details and think anything but wood is subpar, this is a good fire-safe, eco-friendly alternative.

Key benefits of vinyl siding

It really is a great value at its price point. It comes in nearly unlimited colors, never needs any maintenance other than some washing up every few years. It mimics the look of wood more than ever, even if it’s not quite perfect. It is nearly indestructible and good in any weather, no matter how cold or hot the temperatures get.

Key benefits of fiber cement siding

It looks almost indistinguishable from wood, which is excellent if you live in a historic area and are trying to preserve the authentic look of the neighborhood, especially if there are city code related to building aesthetics. Fiber cement is also as fire resistant as you get, so if you live in an area prone to forest fires or your home is very close to the surrounding homes.

Which siding should you choose for your home?

Well, both will keep your home sealed up and safe from the elements. It really depends on what your needs, budget, and personal tastes are. The one thing that is more important than the siding material you choose is the contractor who installs it. Trying to save money by cutting corners on the quality of the labor will only cost you more money over time. The siding will fail prematurely from improper installation, and it will inevitably cause damage to your home’s structure, costing you even more money to repair the damages.

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