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Fiber Cement Siding Or Vinyl: Which One Is Right For Your Home?

Fiber cement siding and vinyl siding are two popular choices for siding products. Learn about the pros and cons of each, then contact a reputable siding company for help selecting your new siding material. 

At some point in your home’s lifespan, it’s going to need to be re-sided. Your home’s exterior can take a beating from any number of things, and like many other aspects of your home, needs to be maintained. How do you know if it might be time to re-side your home?

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• Missing panels or holes from bad weather
• Warped or wavy panels
• Known moisture problems
• Fire damage
• Cost and time to paint/maintain becomes problematic

If you’re ready to re-side your home, there are several products on the market to choose from. Fiber cement siding and vinyl are two of the most popular materials. Before making a decision, compare the characteristics of each to determine which best suits your needs.

Vinyl Siding

This has been around for a long time, and manufacturers have made tremendous improvements to it over the years. Here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros:

• Comes in various ‘grades’ for improved quality
• Can be installed with insulation backing for improved energy efficiency
• Comes in a wide range of colors that are baked through instead of surface applied
• Comes in many shapes and textures to resemble wood grain
• Higher grades are more heat resistant than older types
• Long-lasting product
• Low, but not no-maintenance

Cons:

• Can be damaged by strong winds, hail or lawn equipment
• Damages cannot be repaired – new panels must be installed. Replacement panels do not always match older vinyl perfectly
• Lower grades are not heat resistant and can melt and warp in fires
• Water intrusion can be a concern so joints between panels will need to be inspected and re-caulked periodically
• Not advisable to paint over vinyl, so homeowners may tire of color. Fading does occur over time
• No energy savings without insulated backing
• PVC material used to make it is toxic and not eco-friendly

The cost of vinyl varies dramatically depending on the grade, quality, style, size of your home and siding contractors that do the installation. But it is generally one of the less expensive options.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is a choice for homeowners that want a durable product that is similar to wood. It is created from sand, cement, cellulose wood fibers and water. Here are some of the pros and cons of fiber cement:

Pros:

• Products used for manufacturing are natural, non-toxic and renewable, making fiber cement siding a ‘green’ choice
• More durable than natural wood and vinyl – often comes with a very long manufacturer warranty
• Resembles real cedar board in appearance and texture – can be painted any color
• Non-combustible and flame resistant 
• Baked on finish improves fade resistance – often comes with a long finish warranty
• Resistant to damage from weather, including warping and cracking, hail and wind up to 150 MPH. 
• Resistant to moisture damage if properly installed and maintained
• Dimensionally stable (doesn’t expand or contract much in extreme temperatures)
• Low, but not no-maintenance
• Less expensive than wood siding

Cons:

• More expensive than vinyl 
• Specialized installation should be done only by expert siding contractors
• Will require repainting, but not as often as wood

The cost of fiber cement will vary depending on a wide range of factors. But it is considered a mid-range product; more expensive than vinyl, but less expensive than wood. 

There are many factors to take into consideration when you’re ready to re-side your home. Armed with the basics of two of the more popular products, your next step should be to contact a reputable siding company for a free estimate. 

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