New siding is one of the few home improvement projects that immediately improves the curb appeal – and value of your home. When the time comes to replace your siding, choosing which siding type is best for your home can seem overwhelming given the many options. When getting new siding, most homeowners indicate their biggest priorities are getting a siding that has enduring aesthetics and is truly low maintenance.

If you’re considering new siding for your home, evaluating vinyl and fiber cement siding is a great place to start. Both options offer enhanced aesthetics and low maintenance. During your research journey, we also recommend taking a look at cellular composite (link to Celect vs Hardie article), to make sure you thoroughly evaluate your options.

By the end of this article, you’ll know the difference between vinyl and fiber cement siding, what to look for in a Louisville siding contractor and what questions to ask yourself in order to determine which siding option is the best for your home.

Is vinyl siding right for your home?

Vinyl siding is made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic and comes in a wide variety of colors and can also be painted. If you paint your vinyl siding, future maintenance will be heavily dependent on the quality of the paint.

Vinyl siding can be ordered with or without insulation – although we strongly recommend having insulation to take advantage of the energy-efficiency features associated with new siding. Compared to fiber cement and cellular composite siding, vinyl siding is a budget-friendly option.

We proudly offer Royal Residential Vinyl siding to our customers. We’ve found Royal to be a quality manufacturer that offers a superior product with industry-leading warranties and we feel confident offering it to our customers.

There are some qualities of vinyl siding that should be noted to truly determine if it’s right for your project and home. Vinyl siding can be easily bent or misshapen by hail or storms and is susceptible to cracks from the changing temperatures here in Louisville, Kentucky. Also, high moisture areas need to be regularly monitored for mold to ensure your siding is performing properly.

If you’re planning to sell your home soon, or you do not plan to live in your home long term – vinyl siding can help accomplish short-term goals of improving your home’s curb appeal and reducing maintenance.

Is fiber cement (James Hardie) siding right for your home?

Fiber cement siding is truly a statement for your home. It offers rich, realistic wood-like finishes and is an extremely durable material. Fiber cement siding is insusceptible to pests (termites and woodpeckers alike!). It is also fire resistant – meaning fiber cement does not ignite even when exposed to a direct flame and will not contribute to a house fire. Due to these properties, most homeowner’s insurance policies will even offer a discount when you have fiber cement (Hardie Board) siding installed. Compare this with vinyl or wood siding which melts almost instantly or will feed a house fire.

Fiber cement siding is often called Hardie Board siding because of the preferred manufacturer, James Hardie. We feel so strongly about the superior quality, durability, and aesthetics of Hardie board siding, it’s the only kind of fiber cement siding we install in Louisville!

If you’re looking for siding that will look as good on day one as in year 20 with no maintenance, choose Hardie Board over vinyl siding. Other than occasional cleaning and caulking, there is no other recommended maintenance. Our homeowners love this siding because of the instant, significant boost in curb appeal it gives their home and its industry-leading durability.

James Hardie fiber cement siding is more expensive than vinyl or insulated vinyl siding. Hardie Board siding is the right choice for your home if you plan to live in your house for years to come, and can reap the benefits of no maintenance living.

Vinyl vs. Fiber Cement siding – how do you decide?

The best siding material for your home depends on a variety of considerations, including cost and aesthetics. However, don’t overlook crucial factors like durability, safety, and simplicity of care when you make your selections. 

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself when deciding between vinyl vs fiber cement siding:

1.    How long do you plan to own your home?

As we’ve mentioned before, if you don’t plan to live in your home long, new vinyl siding will improve the curb appeal and value of your home. However, vinyl siding will not be as durable and has higher maintenance expectations than Hardie board siding. If you are settled in your current home, Hardie Board makes an excellent siding option. It is resistant to mold, mildew, termites, and fire. Plus, you can see if your homeowners’ insurance policy offers any discounts after installation.  

2.    How do you want your home to look?

Do you prefer vertically installed panels or horizontal ones? Board and batten or more of a realistic wood finish? Collecting some pictures of siding you admire, whether you see a home while driving or while doing research can help you narrow down the siding type that is right for your home. Both Hardie Board and vinyl siding come in a variety of colors, can be painted, and offer varying degrees of wood finishes. Looking at a brochure and speaking with an expert siding consultant can help you choose a finish that will look best for your home.

3.    What is your budget?

We would never sell a product we didn’t believe in. We work with any budget to make sure you find the best siding solution for your home and budget. Vinyl and insulated vinyl siding are less expensive than Hardie Board siding. However, installation costs depend on a variety of factors and are truly unique to each home. Before selecting a siding option, have your Louisville siding contractor quote you one or two different types to ensure you’re selecting the best option for your home.

Final Thoughts

According to the National Association of Realtors Research Group’s 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, fiber cement siding has an 86% cost recovery and vinyl siding has an 82% cost recovery! That means on average, homeowners recoup at least 80% of the cost of their fiber cement or vinyl siding project when the time comes to sell their home. It’s important to treat your most precious asset with the care it deserves.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to consider Celect cellular composite siding during your research and planning. Celect cellular composite siding is a newer siding product that offers a truly zero maintenance siding solution.

Choosing new siding for your home can feel like an overwhelming process. It’s important to research the features, longevity, and cost of each siding product to ensure you choose a product you will be thrilled with for years to come. After reading this article, we hope you’re more knowledgeable about the differences between vinyl and fiber cement siding, and which is best for your home. 

Whether you’re just beginning your siding research or are ready to speak with a contractor, our Learning Center has answers about your project ranging from how long it will take to side your house to in-depth comparisons and reviews.

Just as important as choosing the right siding, is choosing the right contractor. AIC Roofing and construction has been helping homeowners since 2003. We’re proud of the best-in-class reputation we’ve earned with Louisville homeowners.

If you’re ready to get a free estimate on your siding project, contact us today!

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