In the vinyl vs. fiber cement siding war, who wins?
Everyone does, really, because both options are great, though for different reasons, which is why each is such a popular choice among homeowners. These man-made exterior cladding products marry the all-important durability with the beauty homeowners want.
How can you decide which is better?
Weigh the pros and cons against what you want most for your home.
Both products are durable and last much longer than wood — especially wood that hasn’t been properly treated or maintained. Each option can last up to 100 years, which is probably longer than anyone would want to look at their siding. Can is the operative word here — when it comes down to it, fiber cement usually comes with a longer warranty than vinyl.
That being said, even though fiber cement is heavier and tougher, is it for these very reasons that it may be more prone than vinyl to chipping or cracking if it’s hit by a falling branch or another object.
Here’s the Catch-22 with vinyl and color — you can get it in a wider variety of colors than fiber cement, but you can’t change it. It’s not quite as permanent as a tattoo, and you don’t have to wear it, but it’s still a pretty big commitment.
If you want pre-printed colors, which saves you the chore and expense of painting, fiber cement has only a limited selection of these. However, choosing a plain finish allows you the freedom to choose the exact color you want your home to be.
Also, paint on fiber cement lasts many times as long as on wood — up to 25 years if it’s applied correctly
You’ll often hear that vinyl siding is maintenance-free, but this isn’t 100 percent accurate. It’s much lower maintenance than wood, but it’s not zero maintenance. You should wash your vinyl siding at least once a year, and depending upon your climate and other factors, including the amount of vegetation growing next to your house, you may also find yourself having to eradicate mold, mildew and algae.
The same can be said of fiber cement, with the exception being possibly more frequent painting, depending on your climate and the skill and trustworthiness of your painting contractor.
Vinyl’s got the competition beat here, at about a third to half the cost. Vinyl’s also come a long way since the days of the ubiquitous white or pale green clapboards. Now you can get it in shingle, plank, board and batten and Dutch lap. These improved styles help balance how this top siding choice once screamed “cheap!” to all who passed by.
Some homeowners still prefer the appearance of fiber cement, however, which many believe mimics the look of wood better than vinyl can.
If you’re in the market for new home exterior cladding, come down and talk to the experts here at Renovation by Burbach and we can show you samples of each. When you’re considering vinyl vs. fiber cement, let the pros help you decide what’s best for your home.