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Home | Our Blog | Fiber Cement vs Vinyl Siding

Fiber Cement vs Vinyl Siding

Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
Founding farther of Legacy Service.
Written by LegacyUSA Team

posted on May 10,2019

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When it comes to protecting your home, choosing the right siding is a big factor. Your home’s siding is its first defense in shielding it from dangers like extreme weather and harsh temperatures. Many features come into play when it’s time to pick out your siding. Looks and cost may be at the top of your list, but don’t ignore important factors such as durability, maintenance, and lifespan.

Although there are a lot of options to choose from, the two most popular materials for siding are fiber cement and vinyl. Fiber cement siding is made of a strong composite material that contains cellulose fibers while vinyl siding is made of a strong plastic known as PVC. Vinyl siding was introduced to the exterior market in the late 1950s and fiber cement is a little newer, becoming more popular in the 1980s. Both materials definitely have their perks, while also having some disadvantages. With both materials being so popular among homeowners, how do they compare? Which material is best for your home? That involves a careful evaluation of what both products have to offer.

siding for your home

Vinyl Siding vs. Fiber Cement – Installation

When homeowners decide to get new siding for their home, some of them like to tackle the installation process on their own, while some would prefer to use a contractor. Contractor installation and D.I.Y installation have a huge difference in cost and difficulty. If you’re a beginner to intermediate “D.I.Yer”, vinyl might be the choice for you. Vinyl siding can be installed very quickly to your home and doesn’t take much labor. Also, there is less risk of damage if you choose vinyl. Vinyl is very flexible and will not easily crack as you handle it during installation. Fiber Cement Siding is a job for the pros. Although you may be able to install this on your own, it may not be worth the challenge. The weight and poor flexibility of Fiber Cement Siding make it hard to transport and easier to break. 100 square ft of Fiber Cement Siding can weigh about 300 pounds while the same amount of vinyl is only about 60-70 pounds. Without the right equipment, it would be impossible to transport your siding. Because of how much caution it takes to install, finer cement siding is more pricey to have a contractor install, but it is definitely worth it.

Fiber Cement Siding Vs. Vinyl Siding – Durability

For some, durability might be what makes or break their choice when it comes to picking out siding materials. Despite the fact that fiber cement siding may be tough to handle during installation, both vinyl and fiber cement siding are durable once installed. Vinyl siding is great at withstanding tough winds and also blocking out moisture due to its non-absorbant properties. Because it is so water resistant, it is less likely to mold, rot, or attract insects. Fiber cement siding will absorb more moisture than vinyl but can still take on a heavy storm. Just like vinyl, it will not rot, mold, or attract insects. As for being fire resistant, both materials have completely different properties. Fiber cement’s concrete fibers are non-flammable and will protect your home if faced with a fire. Extreme heat and flames will not penetrate the strong material and will allow your home to stay safe. Vinyl siding is also non-flammable but will melt and burn away if met with flames. This causes exposure to the structure of your home leaving it open for damage. Fiber cement siding is also much thicker, creating a stronger shield to your home. Both materials can last well over 50 years.

Vinyl Siding vs. Fiber Cement Siding – Cost

When it’s time for a homeowner to replace their siding, whether it’s due to damage or just wanting a change, no one wants to overpay. Your budget may be the biggest deciding factor in which siding you choose. The material itself has a price, but things like installation and energy efficiency can also affect the overall cost, and how much money you’ll spend after installation. Installing fiber cement siding requires a lot of planning and a pretty large labor force. It takes a longer time to install because of its weight and composition. The amount of labor boosts the price up much higher than the installation of vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is much lighter and more flexible allowing it to be installed quicker with a smaller labor force. Over the lifetime of owning your home, vinyl siding will also save you more money. Unlike fiber cement siding, vinyl never has to be repainted or recaulked.  Sometimes the paint can fade and chip on fiber cement siding and it also has to be routinely power washed to keep clean. Vinyl siding is much more low maintenance and has great energy efficiency, saving you money in the future.

Fiber Cement Vs. Vinyl – Eco-Friendly

Waste is being added to landfills every day and infecting the environment. It’s important that when picking siding, you choose a material that has less of a negative environmental impact. Fiber cement siding is mostly made of natural materials like silica sand and wood fibers. These qualities make the material highly sustainable. Although there are not any recycling programs for fiber cement, the material is unlikely to end up in a landfill due to how long it lasts and it’s durability. The eco-friendliness of vinyl siding may have a bad rep because we all know how bad plastic can be to the environment. But once vinyl siding is manufactured, it can actually be very eco-friendly. There is no waste when producing it, and when it is insulated

Vinyl Siding Vs Fiber Cement Siding – Looks

You never want to compromise style when it comes to your home. The way your home looks, represents your class and creativity. Both fiber cement and vinyl siding can do a great job at upgrading the looks of your home. Both materials are available in a variety of colors that you will be able to choose from. If a color you want in either material is not available, you are able to get both types of material painted to your desired color. Keep in mind though that getting your siding painted will increase the price. Selecting an existing color will save you a lot of money. If you want a low maintenance option, remember that if you choose vinyl, you’ll never have to paint it again unless you want to change colors. Fiber cement will have to be painted every 5-10 years to keep a fresh look.  Fiber cement is a thick material that can resemble stone, wood lap boards, cedar shake, logs, and many more styles! It’s very versatile when it comes to looks and can give you any style of home you wish for. Vinyl siding also has flexibility in its appearance and can imitate wood shingles, stone, and lap boards. The styles of vinyl siding are not as varied as fiber cement, and it does not imitate wood as well due to it’s thinness.

Fiber Cement Siding vs Vinyl Siding – Benefits

Benefits of Fiber Cement SidingBenefits of Vinyl Siding
DurabilityLow maintenance
StyleEasy installation
Environmentally FriendlyColor Availability

Vinyl  and Fiber Cement Siding – Drawbacks

Drawbacks of Fiber Cement SidingDrawbacks of Vinyl Siding
ExpensiveShorter lifespan
High maintenanceLess durable
Fewer color optionsNot Eco-Friendly
Complex  InstallationProne to cracks and holes

Choosing the right siding for your home depends on a variety of factors. Some things to keep in mind when choosing siding are your budget, environmental values, your area’s climate and weather patterns, your home’s looks, and how often you are willing to perform maintenance on your home. Both fiber cement and vinyl are great options to choose when you decide to install new siding. For years now, both have been used on residential and commercial buildings. Changing your siding can quickly upgrade the way your home looks and give it added protection. Your home is unique to you and your family, choose the best options for what your house needs and watch it transform.

Posted on May 10,2019 in Roof

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