Your siding is the first line of defense against the elements. It’s also one of the first things people notice about your home. So, when your home exterior needs an upgrade, choosing the right siding for your specific needs with John McCarter Construction — cedar vs. fiber cement — is essential.
Both cedar and fiber cement by James Hardie® are popular sidings, but it pays to know the differences between them before you make your choice. Carefully weigh these factors as you choose which siding material best fits your needs and preferences.
Style and Appearance
Cedar and fiber cement siding both have much to offer in terms of the curb appeal they provide.
Cedar is an adaptable and beautiful natural wood. It retains its shape well, and it can be easily and attractively stained or painted while still allowing its natural grain to show through.
Because it’s classic and traditional, many homeowners consider cedar for Victorian and Queen Anne style homes. But keep in mind that cedar needs frequent upkeep to retain its beauty.
Fiber cement siding is versatile, and can be designed to mimic many eye-catching looks, including natural wood grain. Hardie siding offers numerous gorgeous options, from lap siding and vertical planks that look like cedar, to shingles and trim.
With Hardie siding, you can craft a unique look for your home—whether it’s a Tudor, Greek Revival, Farmhouse or any other architectural style.
Both fiber cement and cedar are among the most environmentally green options when it comes to siding.
Cedar siding is cut from natural wood and is recyclable and renewable. It’s safe for the environment as long as it is responsibly harvested.
Considered among the most eco-friendly siding options, fiber cement is made up of sand, wood fiber, and cement — materials that are nontoxic to the environment.
Cedar can be long-lasting for a natural wood, but if durability is your number-one goal, fiber cement typically lasts much longer.
When maintained properly, durable cedar siding can last for many years. The key is in the upkeep, as untreated, unprotected wood can become worn or damaged by exposure to the elements.
Cedar siding is especially vulnerable to moisture damage. It can rot, or become warped or cracked—requiring repair or replacement. It’s also susceptible to fire.
James Hardie fiber cement siding is a strong and impressively long-lasting material. When properly installed by trained Elite Preferred Contractors, Hardie siding is warrantied to last 30 years, and it often lasts much longer than that.
It’s non-combustible and won’t add fuel to a fire. It doesn’t easily peel, warp, or dent.
Resistance to Weather and Pests
Fiber cement is much more resistant to the elements and pests than cedar siding.
Cedar is a durable wood that must be carefully and diligently maintained. Regular painting, staining, and waterproofing every few years will help it last.
But because it is wood, there is always a risk that it will rot, leak, or grow moldy. It’s also appealing to pests and can be gnawed away by termites, carpenter ants, and woodpeckers.
James Hardie siding is Engineered for Climate, with unique product lines specially designed to withstand the weather challenges of the region where it is installed. For Michigan homeowners, this means your fiber cement siding will endure cold temperatures, ice and snow storms, high winds, and excess moisture.
And since it’s manmade, insects can’t eat it and woodpeckers don’t find it appealing.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance siding, fiber cement is the better option—requiring much less upkeep than cedar.
To ensure cedar siding remains attractive and long-lasting, it needs regular, frequent care. You’ll need to:
- Repaint or re-stain it well every 3-5 years to protect it from the elements.
- Keep landscaping trimmed so it doesn’t damage the cedar.
- Frequently rinse it to remove dust, dirt, mold and mildew which can eat into the wood.
- Inspect it for cracks, rot, warping, and loosened boards that need repair or replacement.
In other words, cedar needs a lot of care if you want it to last as long as possible.
Unlike cedar, fiber cement siding needs very little in the way of maintenance. Homeowners can opt for James Hardie’s ColorPlus Technology—which bakes in color in multiple, strong layers that resist wear and fading, and is warrantied to last 15 years.
Hardie siding also resists warping and cracking, so it doesn’t need constant repair. Simply rinse it gently with a hose to remove dirt and dust.
Affordability and Cost
Cedar and fiber cement are fairly close in installation costs—but there’s a big difference in upkeep.
Cedar costs slightly more than fiber cement per square foot, but it’s relatively light and easier to install. Over time, though, cedar needs lots of maintenance. You’ll need to continually budget for painting, staining, repairs and replacement of damaged boards.
Hardie siding runs a little less per square foot, but it is heavier than cedar and requires a larger crew for installation. But that cost is balanced by savings on upkeep. Also, many insurance companies offer discounts for fiber cement siding, so you might save that way too.
Replace Old Cedar with Lasting, Gorgeous Fiber Cement Siding
Homeowners love the value they get from new siding—especially when they ditch old, high-maintenance cedar with durable, attractive James Hardie fiber cement siding. You’ll get the beauty of wood without the constant care. And Hardie siding is so customizable, it works wonderfully for any architectural style—from contemporary Ranch homes to historic Victorians and more.
Our team at John McCarter Construction has years of experience installing siding in and around Detroit and Ann Arbor. And we are committed to helping homeowners make informed decisions that give them a beautiful, lasting, low-maintenance home they love.
Contact us to request a quote and discover the benefits of installing James Hardie siding.