Is Cement Fiber Or Vinyl Best? It All Depends On What You're Seeking In Your New Home Siding

Posted on: 14 October 2015

Vinyl siding is made with PVC while hardiplank products are made of cement fibers. There are pros and cons with each style of siding, but in the end, you should choose a product based on the attributes you are seeking in a home siding product. Some features of each include: 

Weather-resistance

Both vinyl siding and hardiplank products are manufactured to take a beating from sun, precipitation, and wind. They are both structurally engineered to handle deep freezes. But each product has its own set of weather-related issues, and proper installation is the key to handling them.

Both types of siding need to be properly nailed to the house in order to be weather tight. Cement fiber products will be nailed closer to the home's exterior, while vinyl siding "floats" over a space between the siding and the home. Hardiplank should maintain its shape hot or cold, but vinyl siding can stretch or shrink a bit with temperature extremes, which is why it is more loosely attached. But if it's too loose, wind will rattle vinyl siding and make a racket.

You should do an annual inspection of all types of siding, and reseal all window and door openings at least once a year. Cement fiber products are especially prone to water collecting around nail holes, which may begin cracking during hard freezes. Then the hardiplanks start failing and falling off. Sealing the nail holes once a year should help you avoid this problem. Also be certain that cement fiber siding is installed with flashing where the planks meet.

Ability to repaint

Many vinyl siding products are warrantied for 25 years or more in case of cracking or fading, and they never really need to be painted, but it is possible to change the color of the siding slightly. You won't need to sand or prep the siding other than giving it a good wash, but don't use a pressure washer because it could strain caulking and force water behind the siding.

There are improved paints made for vinyl siding, but you should stick with a color close to the original to maintain the structural properties of the vinyl. It's also recommended that you paint vinyl siding in cold weather to avoid gaps in the paint job.

Cement fiber siding won't expand or contract like vinyl, and it is possible to paint it, but doing so may void the manufacturer's warranty. Check with your installer to see how long the warranty lasts on the product so you know when you'll be able to paint it without risk if the hardiplank product fails.

Pricing and value concerns

Cement fiber products are more expensive than standard vinyl siding, with hardiplank costing around $9.50 per square foot and vinyl siding costing around $5.50 per square foot. These prices include insulation and installation.

Some experts claim that you can ask a higher selling price when selling a home with cement fiber vs. vinyl siding, but today's vinyl siding products aren't cheap-looking when installed properly, and they come in all sorts of textures from wood grain to stone.

Before you make your final decision about which siding product to install, ask a home siding professional (such as one from Superior Products) about the performance of both vinyl and cement fiber siding in your climate and on homes that are similar to yours.

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