Precision Contracting Services

Fiber Cement Siding VS Vinyl Siding

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s a statement that can be agreed upon by many homeowners around the US. The look of your residence depends on many factors, like landscaping, colors, shingles, and even the decision between vinyl siding or fiber cement. You want something that is going to look amazing but also fits within your budget.

That’s why we have come up with a guide to help you choose between vinyl siding and fiber cement siding, the two most popular choices available for your home.

What is Vinyl Siding?

According to the US Census Bureau, vinyl siding has been the number one exterior wall covering for the past 20 years. Vinyl is made out of 80% PVC plastic. Because of the affordability, durability, and ease of installation, many new homes since 2010 have been built with vinyl siding. To give it room to expand and contract throughout the seasons, vinyl siding is not nailed directly to the house.

While vinyl siding can be crafted to imitate wooden shingles, logs, stone, and lap boards, it does not imitate wood and stone well, due to lack of depth and thickness.

What is Fiber Cement?

Based of the popular brand manufactured by James Hardie, Hardie board or Hardiplank is also known by the generic name of fiber cement. The planks are made from a mixture of sand, Portland cement, and natural wood fibers that can give it a wide range of patterns and looks. Fiber cement is attached directly to a house with nails.

Fiber cement can resemble stone, wood, cedar shingles, wood shake siding, and logs convincingly. The thickness of the cement aids in the imagery.

Visual Appeal

Both types of siding come with innumerable options. The color varieties for both fiber cement and vinyl are endless. You are sure to get the color you want; and even if you can’t get the color you want, both materials can be painted without problems.

Fiber cement tends to fade with time. You will have to repaint the surface every 5-10 years to keep the vibrancy of the color. Periodic caulking is also required to prevent rot and moisture damage. This preventative maintenance can become time-consuming and costly.

If you purchase pre-painted vinyl, the color will last many years in fair weather and may never need repainting. Constant direct sunlight can wash out the colors, however. At any time the vinyl siding looks dingy, you can wash it with soap and water. If you want to paint over vinyl siding, keep in mind that you can only go lighter. Painting a darker color over your current side will cause heat to be absorbed into the siding and trapping there. This could result in warping.


Do you want to simplify installation? Then consider this:


For those who are concerned about the environment and saving money on their utility bills, fiber cement could be the better choice. Unlike vinyl siding which is made from PVC plastic, fiber cement comes from natural sources and is inert—meaning it won’t give off harmful chemicals. PVC, if burned, releases poisonous dioxins.

Both types of siding are efficient at keeping heat, cold, and the elements from affecting the interior of your home. You might think that because vinyl is thinner, it would be worse at insulating your house than fiber cement. If you use insulated vinyl, the R-value (or insulating ability) increases through a process called thermal bridging. Vinyl has an R-value of 0.61. When coupled with housewraps, the R-value can go past 4.

On the other hand, fiber cement alone has an R-value of 0.5. It’s recommended that you install a housewrap prior to using fiber cement because that increases the R-value to 4.

Durability & Maintenance

One factor you should prioritize when determining the best siding option for you is durability, and to a lesser extent, longevity of the purchase. You want to know that you’re getting your money’s worth.

Vinyl siding:

Fiber cement:

The Winner

There is no clear winner, as we hinted to earlier. The champion of siding depends on your needs, after all! For homeowners looking for a durable, eco-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing choice, fiber cement is for you. Conversely, if you have a smaller budget and less time for maintenance and re-caulking, vinyl siding could be right for you.

Hopefully, this has helped answer some of your questions! If not, don’t hesitate to send us a message.

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Want to learn more about whole home remodeling in PA? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Remodeling Your Luxury Home.

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