Vinyl siding is the most popular siding choice in the United States due to its price, versatility, and easy maintenance.
While there are several types of siding material available, for most people, it comes down to choosing between vinyl or fiber cement, a worthy competitor known for its durability and low maintenance at a much higher price. What should you choose?
Benefits of Fiber Cement Siding
For many homeowners, fiber cement siding is the gold standard as it is built to last for 30 to 50 years or more. Available in many textures and styles, it can replicate the look of wood, stucco, or masonry, and to create the look you want, comes in different forms such as horizontal lap boards, shingles, and vertical board-and-batt style.
While some brands come with a factory baked on finish, others come pre-primed and ready for painting in any color you want.
Durability is what interests many homeowners in this type of siding. It is resistant to impact, rot, moisture, insects, and pests. For a homeowner, this means that an errant baseball won’t dent it, while it is dimensionally stable, despite changes in weather.
Its one downfall is that it has a low insulation value.
Vinyl Siding Offers Value and Durability
Once considered cheap looking, vinyl siding is now a product used even on upscale homes. Available in up to 300 colors, depending on the manufacturer, it comes with matching soffits, fascia, and stripping for round windows for a cohesive look.
As with fiber cement, you can have a variety of looks which include shakes, shingles, and stone veneer in addition to a standard clapboard look.
Appearance aside, vinyl siding is also resistant to insects and corrosion, so long as it is properly installed. Available in thicknesses up to .055″, modern vinyl resists cracking or wind damage, but unlike fiber cement products, it is not fireproof.
The product never needs repainting, nor does it take paint well. While this makes for low maintenance, it makes it difficult to perk up your house if the color fades or you want to change the color. Over time, it can become brittle and unless backed with foam, offers poor insulation value. Good quality vinyl can last for 25 to 35 years.
Comparing the Costs
How does the cost of the two products compare? Once installed, fiber cement can cost a couple thousand dollars more than vinyl. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Survey prepared annually by Remodeling Magazine, replacing 1,250 square feet of siding with new factory primed, factory painted siding might cost $13,889 in the Mountain states compared to $11,761 for vinyl replacement.
As compared to foam-backed vinyl, however, which might cost $15,165, fiber cement is a bargain. When amortized over the life of the product, the difference in price is negligible.
So what type of siding should you choose, given that both products are fairly durable and require low maintenance? Your choice may depend on the norm in your neighborhood or on whether you want the ability to change the color over time; but, when installed by a professional, either can offer you a great value over the long run.
If you need help deciding on whether fiber cement or vinyl siding is for you, the experts at Rocky Mountain Windows and Doors can help you make a choice and provide expert installation to maximize your manufacturer’s warranty.