If you are looking to replace your siding, you’ve likely been pondering vinyl and James Hardie® fiber cement siding options. These are some of the most sought after siding replacement options, and both materials are desirable due to their expected lifespans, low costs, and ease of maintenance.
Discovering which material is right for your home comes down to knowing if these materials live up to the hype and which one provides the benefits your home needs.
As a Portland siding replacement contractor, our Lifetime Exteriors team has provided hundreds of homes with siding replacements, so we have a thorough breakdown of James Hardie siding and vinyl siding comparison.
Durability and Longevity
Both forms of siding are built to last for decades. However, when it comes to durability, vinyl simply cannot keep up with James Hardie’s resilience.
Vinyl is a plastic material, making it susceptible to warping and cracking. Its boards are also extremely thin. They don’t have the same durability against impact and wind. Vinyl does not rot and is not susceptible to pests, but can be damaged by fire and other weather elements.
By comparison, James Hardie fiber cement is extremely durable. Its thick boards keep it from buckling, warping, and cracking. The product is fire resistant, moisture resistant, does not rot and is not susceptible to pest damage.
Durability Winner: James Hardie
Weather and Temperature Resistance
Siding will always have to deal with exterior elements like temperature changes and harsh weather, so it’s important to choose one that can stand up to the elements.
James Hardie siding is Engineered for Climate®, meaning it is designed to last in any region or weather condition. Its thick boards and makeup help make it withstand impacts from hail and flying debris due to strong winds. The boards won’t lift during storms, and rain and snow cannot damage or rot the siding. It can also withstand extreme heats and colds.
Vinyl, while impervious to some weather conditions like heavy rains, is not temperature resistant. Extreme cold will cause the plastic material to become frail, which can cause it to buckle and crack. The thin boards are much easier for heavy winds to blow off, and hail can dent and damage the siding.
Resistance Winner: James Hardie
Both forms of siding are some of the lowest maintenance options available. If you don’t want the headache of crazy upkeep, vinyl and fiber cement are the siding options to choose. Unlike wood, which typically needs to be painted or stained every couple of years, vinyl’s plastic makeup means it will never need a paint job. Fiber cement may need sporadic touch-up jobs, but when you select James Hardie ColorPlus® boards, your paint will last for years without fading or chipping.
Both materials are easy to clean, needing to be lightly scrubbed with a mild soap and water hose annually. Vinyl will never need sealing, while James Hardie siding may need caulking around joints periodically.
However, Hardie siding requires fewer repairs and replacements over its lifespan than vinyl.
Maintenance Winner: Vinyl
One of the downsides to vinyl siding can be its appearance. Homeowners around the world seek the look that cedar planks have to offer a home. Both fiber cement and vinyl siding seek to mimic that look, but James Hardie siding achieves this far better than vinyl can.
The density of Hardie Boards helps to garner deep grooves and grains that truly look like real wood. The thin plastic material of vinyl simply can’t match this beauty.
Beauty Winner: James Hardie
Comparing product cost is a two-step process. The first comparison is the upfront cost of the siding, which includes the materials and labor cost for installation. The second comparison is the overall cost, which includes maintenance and replacement or repair costs.
Vinyl siding pulls ahead in the upfront cost category. The materials themselves are similar in price (although vinyl is still slightly cheaper than fiber cement), but vinyl is astronomically cheaper in labor costs. Because fiber cement is a thicker and heavier material, it takes more manpower and labor to have it installed. Vinyl’s lightweight makeup lowers installation costs.
However, James Hardie is the frontrunner when it comes to lifespan costs. Both materials are easy to maintain, but when you install James Hardie siding, especially ColorPlus boards, the durability means you will not need as many repairs or replacements.
Upfront Cost Winner: Vinyl
Overall Cost Winner: James Hardie
Eco-friendliness is becoming an increasingly popular home trend. This is because it benefits you, your home, and the environment. And with its growing popularity, it can also increase the resale value of your home.
James Hardie siding is affordable and eco-friendly. The company has focused on recycling water, utilizing water up to four times during the manufacturing process. The material is also comprised of sustainable materials like silica sand and Portland cement. Its makeup also makes it more durable, which means fewer replacements and less material in landfills.
On the other hand, vinyl is a plastic material. Its manufacturing process is not environmentally friendly and plastic does not decompose. When vinyl goes into a landfill, it remains there.
Environmental Winner: James Hardie
The Best Siding for Your Home
The best siding for your home truly depends on your priorities and needs. But if you are looking for a lasting and beautiful siding that is eco-friendly and affordable to install, then James Hardie siding is the best choice for your home.
Our main goal at Lifetime Exteriors is to give you a home that meets every one of your expectations and lasts a lifetime. This is why we install James Hardie siding. With a seamless installation of this high-end product from a siding replacement contractor, you will get an exterior you’ll love.
If you aren’t convinced of its superiority, see all the amazing benefits that James Hardie siding has to offer. Contact our team to get an estimate now.