Home » Fiber Cement Siding vs. Vinyl Siding: Which Is Better?

Fiber Cement Siding vs. Vinyl Siding: Which Is Better?

Deciding which siding type is your perfect choice is not easy because of the many factors included. You can choose between many options, but all will positively and negatively impact your home. The best way to decide which siding you want is to have all the information needed.

For instance, it is not the same if you want your house to look modern or traditional, so you should make the right decision to avoid disappointment. Both fiber cement siding vs. vinyl siding are popular, and you may find yourself liking them. Let’s discover why to choose one or another option.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement is a mixture of Portland cement, wood pulp, water, and sand. It is a high-quality copy of wood or stone that is very durable and affordable. Although it appeared years ago, it has its popularity nowadays for multiple reasons. Many people like the look that fiber cement siding can provide.

Maintenance and durability

The mixture for fiber cement siding is simple, but it can vary from company to company. The component of the mix is wood pulp that has the function of preventing cracks.

Almost every big producing company offers this material on a higher quality level than the one American Society for Testing and Materials recommends.

This siding type can stand insect and bird activity without getting damaged and is resistant to breakdowns due to salt and ultraviolet rays. It is also great for sound isolation. Even though fiber cement siding needs refreshing after approximately 15 years, most companies give at least 30 to 50 years of warranty.

Installation

Fiber cement siding is not very difficult to install, although it is heavier than vinyl. The hardest part of its installation is cutting fiber cement that is more complicated than cutting the wood.

Keep in mind that cutting has to be perfect to follow the installation guidelines. Since silica dust spreads everywhere during the process, you need to wear a mask while working.

You should know that fiber cement siding can be reduced in size when installed wet. Therefore, storing and drying are the primary installation segments, and you need to finish this part perfectly.

Costs

Fiber cement siding is not cheap due to its expensive production process and necessary professional installation. Besides the initial price, you should be aware that this siding type also requires extra costs for maintenance every 15 years.

Fiber Cement Siding Advantages and Downsides

Fiber cement siding is not always the best possible solution for your house, but it has its benefits and downfalls like everything else. You can decide whether this material is good for you or not after estimating all its bad and good sides.

Pros

Many advantages characterize fiber cement siding:

  • Durability – This industrial element can last for so long because it doesn’t rot or crack. Fiber cement siding is fire resistant and is not subject to UV rays effects, and insects and other wood damaging predators avoid this material type.
  • Versatility – You can find this material in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. So, there will be no problem picking out the model that fits your style and preferences.
  • Longevity – Fiber cement siding companies usually offer siding with 50 years of lasting. However, you can find some models that can last more than 70 years with proper maintaining. Today’s norm for a warranty is 30 to 50 years.
  • Environmentally responsible – Unfortunately, fiber cement siding is not recyclable. However, maintaining this facade is environmental-friendly because there are no toxins releasing.
  • Fire resistance – Fiber cement siding is not affected by heat or fire, unlike vinyl that starts melting at around 165 F (74 C) and ignites at nearly 730 F (388 C).

Cons

Just like the good sides, fiber cement siding has some bad ones, including:

  • Costs – Fiber cement siding belongs to the group of expensive facade types. It is more expensive than vinyl but less expensive than brick siding. On average, it costs $6 to $11 per 1 sq ft (0.09 m2), and labor is approximately $4 to $10 per 1 sq ft (0.09 m2).
  • Installation – It is crucial to hire high-skilled and experienced professionals to work on this project. They also need special equipment to do this job perfectly. Be aware that experts in this field charge more, but it will pay off.
  • Maintenance – It is necessary to refresh your fiber cement siding after 15 years if you want to extend its lifespan.
  • Possible issues – You can face potential problems in the case of unprofessional handling or amateur equipment used during installation. Always keep in mind that a professional approach is necessary to make everything goes smoothly and without difficulty.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding dates from the mid-20th century and quickly became trendy among American homeowners because of its numerous benefits. It is a very durable, cheap, and easy-to-install material.

It was estimated that about 36% of the new houses made in 2010 had vinyl siding. Since you can find numerous vinyl types nowadays, you can pick out the one that matches your needs best.

Smooth vinyl siding

When talking about vinyl, people usually visualize it as a blank, one-colored sheet of PVC that decorates your house. It is the most common vinyl siding type, but you can also choose more creative options.

Clapboard vinyl siding

Clapboard siding is the traditional type that appears on some of the historically significant buildings in the US from the Colonial period. Long, horizontally placed, 4 inches (10 cm) narrow planks overlap each other while creating interesting-looking shadows.

Traditional lap

Traditional lap siding has wider overlapping planks of 6 to 7 inches (15 – 18 cm). You can also see wedge-shaped planks, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom, that appear in this siding type. Typically, thicker ones are at the bottom of the wall, and they overlap the top ones.

Dutch lap

Dutch lap looks like a traditional lap upgraded version. Planks width is different, typically 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm), and panels are placed at a sharper angle to create a thicker shadow. This siding type is installed in sections rather than one by one and tends to look hand-made.

Beaded seam siding

Beaded seam siding is popular for its specific rounded notch at the bottom. It founds its place on very luxurious houses back in the days when siding planks were hand-made. This facade type creates an even more specific and impressive shadow line than the previous options.

Wood grains

This vinyl siding is similar to classic wooden siding but is more durable since it neither stores moisture nor rot. It is placed horizontally and vertically, so it looks like industrially produced wooden planks.

Log vinyl siding

Nowadays, technology is highly developed, so even vinyl can provide a rustic log cabin look that many people prefer. It is a high-quality vinyl siding type that is durable, without cracks, and its color won’t fade under the UV rays. Unlike log cabin, this vinyl type doesn’t request maintenance and is not so expensive.

Vinyl Siding Advantages and Downsides

Vinyl Siding Advantages and Downsides

Many vinyl siding features exist to point out its good sides, but we can’t exclude bad ones that could affect your choice. Let’s see.

Pros

The vinyl siding benefits are innumerable:

  • Costs – Vinyl is cheap because it is produced out of light but strong PVC. Installation is not complicated because PVC is easy to obtain. This kind of siding usually costs $2 to $10 per 1 sq ft (0.09 m2) on materials, while labor ranges from $2 to $5 per 1 sq ft (0.09 m2).
  • Installation – You can install your vinyl siding on your own, but it is better to call a team of professionals to do the job. The lifespan of your vinyl will primarily depend on the installation quality.
  • Maintenance – On average, the price of maintaining vinyl sidings is 25% to 50% less than fiber cement maintenance costs.
  • Customization – Vinyl siding sheets can come in a broad spectrum of color combinations, sizes, and shapes. For instance, you can match the color of your vinyl siding with the color of the flowers you want to grow in your backyard.
  • Paining – Almost every siding type needs regular painting when the time comes, except vinyl siding.

Cons

Bad sides are an infallible part of every product, and they help you choose better:

  • Low value – When talking about selling, cheap and inconspicuous vinyl siding is the thing that won’t increase your home’s price at all.
  • Moisture – In case of improper installation and maintenance, your vinyl siding will store moisture below the surface, causing damage.
  • Color – The vinyl color will fade out after some time due to UV rays and look stained and dull.

Summary

Many factors will impact your decision while choosing an ideal siding type for your home. Luckily, you can’t make a bad decision with these two options. You should base your choice on the look you prefer more and the budget you plan to spend on your siding.

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