Fiber cement vs. vinyl siding: comparing looks, costs and durability

Vinyl Siding vs. Fiber Cement: Which Is Right for Your Home?

Photo Credit: Kalawin /iStock Photo

Fiber cement and vinyl are both popular and cost-efficient siding materials. They are produced in an impressive range of shades, are durable and require minimum installation efforts. They are mildew-, termite- and rotting-resistant. Both look like organic materials but don’t involve the supplementary expenses related to them. Neither of the two siding alternatives will insulate your home.

Despite the many similarities, these materials differ significantly in their aesthetics, looks, and maintenance. Before choosing the one that fits your house and budgeting best, you need to weigh their strong and weak points and reach a reasonable decision.

Fiber Cement

Fiber Cement might resemble logs, stone or cedar shingles in its appearance, but it’s produced from cement, sand and cellulose fibers. The price range for a siding replacement and installation in Delaware is from $0.70 to $5.25 per square foot. When installing, just nail it to the walls directly, as if it were the conventional wood.

James Hardie is the household brand for such kind of siding in the United States. Its sidings even have a name of their own: HardiePlank, Hardie Board. These names often serve as synonyms to fiber cement. They belong to the upscale pricing segment and normally cost about $5 per square foot. Some other brands that might be worth paying attention to are Allura, Cemplank, GAF, LP SmartSide, MaxiTile, Nichiha.


  • Durability. It is accompanied by a lifetime warranty and lasts for at least 50 years.
  • Affordability.
  • Eco-friendliness. It’s made of sustainable and recyclable materials.
  • Safety. It’s much more fire-resistant than vinyl.
  • Premium appearance. Unlike vinyl, it precisely replicates the slight irregularities of natural wood.


  • It’s weighty and hard to transport and install. It should be installed only by professionals.
  • It’s fragile. It fractures easily if not treated carefully.
  • The shade must be renewed every 5-10 years, which adds up to its cost.

To economize your budget and effort, you might choose the pre-painted variety. If you’re planning to renew the shade of the walls, fiber cement is easier to repaint than vinyl. But if the weight is an important issue, you’d better consider vinyl. 100 square feet of vinyl weighs 60-70 pounds, while the equal batch of HardiePlank weighs 4-5 times more.


This siding option might resemble tile, stone or cedar in its appearance, but it’s produced of polyvinyl chloride. It won’t imitate natural wood precisely for it’s not that thick.

Vinyl is sold in three forms:

  • faux log.
  • shingles.
  • planks (horizontal or vertical).

Its price range is normally from $3.00 to $4.00, sometimes up to $6.00 per square foot. These are its most reliable manufacturers: Alside / ABTCO, CertainTeed, Georgia Pacific (GP), Kaycan, Mastic, Mitten. Timbercrest.


  • Durability. It is accompanied by a 25-year warranty and lasts for up to 40 years.
  • Affordability.
  • Light weight.
  • Simple installation. You can install it with your own hands if the appropriate tools are applied. The risk of damaging the siding or making mistakes while installing it is really low.
  • A more impressive diversity of shades and textures, if compared to HardiePlank.
  • Moisture resistance. Unlike fiber cement, it doesn’t absorb moisture.
  • Painting is required only when you want a new shade.
  • Additional option of insulation. Order the insulated variety to maximize the energy efficiency of the building and to protect you against freezing.


  • It won’t precisely imitate the premium texture of the natural wood.
  • Pre-painted variety needs repainting every 5-10 years. Each time you repaint the walls, apply a lighter shade than the previous one. Dark shades tend to assimilate the UV rays and the surface warps because of the heat.
  • You might not be allowed to use the vinyl siding because of the restrictions of a historic residential area. Before buying the siding you need to make sure that it’s acceptable in your district. Otherwise, you’ll have to choose fiber cement that imitates natural wood.
  • It can hardly be recycled after usage.


To sum up all the above-mentioned, it should be said that vinyl is best in terms of the budget, painting and DYI, but fiber cement is preferable for the show, is more eco-friendly and fire-resistant.

Choose vinyl if your aim is:

  • to avoid painting.
  • to use the additional insulating layer.
  • to install the siding with your own hands.

Choose fiber cement if you are ready to:

  • ask for professional help with transporting and installing the siding.
  • repaint it every 5-10 years.
  • recycle the siding after usage.

To get the most of both of these options, contact a reliable siding installation company from Delaware and entrust the works to its specialists.

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