What’s Better, Vinyl Siding or Fiber Cement?
Two of the most accessible forms of siding for your home are vinyl and fiber cement sidings. In this article we’ll walk you through understanding the ins and outs of these two very cost-effective options so that you can make the best decision when it comes time for you to make your siding decisions.
What Is Vinyl Siding?
But what, you might ask, actually is vinyl siding?
Vinyl siding is comprised of PVC (poly vinyl chloride) which is a rigid plastic material. You’ve probably most often seen it in the form of white plastic piping that’s used in modern plumbing applications. However, that’s only a very limited window into the applications that PVC can fill.
What Is Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding is actually a mixture of two different components. It’s a mix of wood pulp (the broken down and slurried fibers of wood) and Portland Cement (cement that’s manufactured from limestone and clay and is hardened under water) that are formed into shingles.
Now that we’ve covered the basics about what each type of siding consists of let’s go ahead and get into specific comparisons across a few key attributes.
Fiber cement siding has a decent range of options in terms of appearance and style. This siding comes available in a few distinct shape options: half-round; staggered; square; or as plank boards. With these options available you can select what shape best fits your home’s overarching aesthetic. Fiber cement siding also can be either painted or stained which affords some latitude in terms of coloration.
Vinyl has a far greater range of appearance and style options which make it the superior aesthetic option. With vinyl you aren’t limited to the shingle (available in different shapes as mentioned above but still fitting the shingle format) and plank forms but also have a variety of different panel formats available. Some of these different panel options include: clapboard, board & batten, and Dutch lap.
Vinyl Siding Styles
Clapboard consists of panels that are applied in such a way that they produce edges overlapping horizontally in a set series. Board and batten is a very classy look that consists of wide vertical planks (the boards) that are held together by thin vertical strips to cover the sames (the battens).
Dutch lap is similar to clapboard but rather than just being horizontally overlayed these are actually edge matched using either shiplap or tongue-and-groove methods; bear in mind that these are likely just going to be cut into the vinyl panels for display and not actual joinery like would be found on wood panels.
Vinyl can also be formed to mimic wood grain or imitate cedar shake shingles which gives it a warm, inviting look – we humans love all things that carry the appearance of wood. One final aesthetic feature of vinyl, is that the panels can be hung vertically to give a unique and eye-catching look.
For all of these reasons – vinyl stands as the definite winner in the appearance and style category.
Both fiber cement siding and vinyl are less energy efficient than other siding options (wood; brick; etc.) but there are some very important differentiation between the two that need to be carefully considered.
The primary difference between fiber cement and vinyl siding on their efficiency is that vinyl does come with insulated versions available – these will come at a higher cost than the standard vinyl variations but will greatly increase the amount of energy retained by in use.
Not directly related to actual energy savings on your home but still worth considering, is that the lighter weight of vinyl leads to far less transportation costs and energy expenditures which certainly has an impact on our environment.
For these two reasons – we consider vinyl to edge-out fiber cement in terms of energy efficiency.
Both vinyl and fiber cement are more durable than wood siding but there are a few distinctives between them that are worth a review.
Vinyl does have one major advantage over fiber cement here – fiber cement does have a tendency, due to the inclusion of wood pulp, to retain moisture that can lead to rotting; vinyl will never have this issue.
Another major consideration, is that vinyl is a flexible material whereas fiber cement is rigid – this can lead to chipping and cracking occurring in fiber cement siding. Therefore, vinyl siding is more durable than fiber cement.
Installation isn’t the only factor to consider when thinking of siding – there will be routine maintenance that has to be done on it. Let’s take a quick look at how vinyl and fiber cement stack up in this regard.
Fiber cement siding will require seasonal caulking and painting to ensure its viability (this would again route back to the fact that it’s partially comprised of wood pulp). On the other hand, vinyl will never need these activities done.
In fact, the only real maintenance that will need to be done on vinyl (outside of extenuating circumstances like storm damage) is occasional cleaning. To do this, the vinyl will just need to be scrubbed with warm soapy water and then rinsed off.
Here again, vinyl takes the lead!
Both of these options are on the lower end of the price spectrum compared to other siding options but fiber cement does stand as being slightly more expensive than vinyl. The difference is usually marginal – but with all the other factors at play this price difference should definitely be something you weigh out.
As you can tell by now, in the competition between vinyl and fiber cement siding vinyl stands as the clear winner. Vinyl has a wider range of appearance options; has the possibility of coming insulated; has higher durability; requires less maintenance; and comes at an overall lower cost.
Replacement Siding Company
There is nothing more appealing then choosing the right vinyl siding color for your new remodeling project. Once you make your decision on siding color then you can choose what type of siding pattern and style you like for your home.
Most of all, you’ll want to pick a replacement siding company that has the reputation for good quality vinyl siding, great local services and fantastic installation crew. That’s why over 400,000 customers chose us for their home improvement needs. We do everything better and we don’t accept average so we make sure that the installation goes smoothly. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.