Is James Hardie Siding or Vinyl Siding Right for Your Home?

When choosing the right type of siding for your home, you’ll want to take several factors into consideration. From the cost to the protection your new siding will provide, it’s important to base your decision on the factors that are most important to you.

Comparing James Hardie siding to vinyl siding can help you discover how these two products differ. That will make it easier to choose the best product for your home.

Vinyl Siding vs. James Hardie Siding: How Are They Made?

The basic difference between these two types of siding is how each product gets made. Vinyl siding is a polymer of vinyl chloride (PVC). It has grown in popularity over several decades because it’s both durable and flexible. This means manufacturers can form a variety of products from the material, including home siding, fences, and flooring.

James Hardie siding is a brand of fiber cement siding that is less flexible. It’s a harder, more rigid material that’s composed of cement, sand, cellulose fiber, and water. Its appearance resembles natural wood and it comes in long boards or planks.

How Do Appearances Differ?

When you look at these two types of siding, you will see how they differ right away. James Hardie siding closely resembles natural wood with patterns that are similar to the flow of the grain in natural wood planks. Vinyl siding might have a similar grain pattern, but it still has a manufactured look and feel.

Additionally, vinyl siding is difficult to paint or stain with a finish. Making up for this shortcoming is the fact that vinyl siding comes in a wide range of colors and textures. Fiber cement siding can be purchased unfinished, allowing you to paint it whatever color you want. Or, you can opt for James Hardie’s pre-painted siding that has the color baked on so it stays vibrant for longer.

Know the Maintenance Requirements

Home siding

When it comes to maintenance and upkeep, taking care of vinyl siding requires less care and labor. Vinyl is virtually maintenance-free. To keep it looking clean and fresh, simply rinse the siding down from time to time. If a panel gets damaged, you can replace that piece without having to replace all of the siding.

James Hardie siding does require more care than vinyl siding but not as much maintenance as natural wood. About once per year, you should wash the siding with soap and warm water. Every 10 years, add a new layer of paint or finish. Occasionally adding more caulk will give your siding better protection against water damage.

However, something to keep in mind is that one reason for fiber cement siding needing to be repainted is that it lasts long enough for repainting to be required.

It’s much more difficult to damage fiber cement siding, so the need for repairs will be rare. When you do need to repair or replace segments of the siding, expect to pay between $4 and $7 per square foot.

Which Siding Is More Durable?

The durability of each type of siding is an important consideration — it will determine how frequently you’ll need to replace the siding. While vinyl siding can resist insect infestations and rot to an extent, it’s less durable in other ways. For example, it becomes brittle in colder temperatures. Damage can also occur from heavy storms and high winds.

Conversely, there aren’t many external factors that will damage your James Hardie siding. It stands up against moisture, high winds, and fluctuating temperatures. It is also fire resistant, which is why some insurance companies offer coverage discounts for using it on a home. Fiber cement siding is also insect and mold resistant.

Vinyl siding will fade over time as it’s exposed to sunlight. The paint on your fiber cement siding may also fade, but with James Hardie’s ColorPlus technology, the color is baked into the material and lasts longer.

What Is the Overall Lifespan of Each Type of Siding?

While each type of siding has a lifespan of several decades, vinyl siding will need replacing sooner. Vinyl siding can last up to 30 years and typically comes with warranties that cover the first 20 to 25 years. However, the vinyl’s color can fade after 10 years, and wear and tear damage will occur faster in some regions.

James Hardie siding may not require replacing for 50 years or more. Since it is so durable, manufacturers provide 30- to 50-year warranties. As long as you keep up with the maintenance requirements, fiber cement siding can maintain its beauty and high standard of protection for a lifetime.

Which Is the More Eco-Friendly Option?

Home siding

If reducing your carbon footprint is a consideration for you, it’s important to research the vinyl siding manufacturer you decide to use. Some manufacturers use toxic or hazardous chemicals in their vinyl production processes. You might also want to check to see which companies use recyclable materials when manufacturing their siding.

Although fiber cement siding isn’t energy efficient or recyclable, its longevity makes it a more sustainable option. Additionally, fiber cement boards are biodegradable; vinyl is not. And since you’ll replace James Hardie siding less frequently, you’ll have a lower adverse effect on the environment.

A Look at the Costs

Finally, looking at the costs can help you choose the style of siding you want for your home. In general, fiber cement siding costs $5 to $14 per square foot while the square foot cost of vinyl siding is $3 to $12.

When looking at these costs, consider the durability and protection each type of siding provides. Depending on your location, you might find that fiber cement siding is the more cost-effective option in the long run.

Choosing the Best Siding for You

There are many different characteristics to consider when choosing between vinyl siding and fiber cement siding. You might need to rely on sticking to a budget or choosing the option that offers a shorter installation. In the end, make your choice based on the features that matter most to you.

Trust Philadelphia’s Siding Installation Pros

Once you decide which type of siding is best for your home, you’ll want the pros at Friel Plastering to install your new siding. We can also answer any remaining questions you have about installing James Hardie siding on your home. Contact us today to request a free estimate.