Michigan faces a lot of harsh, stormy, icy weather in the winter—which means that smart homeowners value siding that protects their investment in their home no matter what. And of course, it helps to have siding that is easy to care for, attractive, and durable too. Often, the choice comes down to fiber cement vs. vinyl.
There are advantages to both materials, of course, depending on your goals. At John McCarter Construction, we find that homeowners often prefer the distinct benefits that come with fiber cement siding. But we also hear many questions about vinyl siding.
To make it easier for you to see the differences of these types of sidings and determine which siding is better for your home, here is an overview of how fiber cement and vinyl siding measure up to each other.
Vinyl siding is composed of PVC, and it can be shaped to look similar to cedar, stone, or tile. It is resistant to pests and is lightweight and relatively easy to install. But it’s not a particularly eco-friendly option.
Fiber cement siding is made of a mixture of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers. It can be made to mimic the look of wood and stone, and it’s highly prized for its durability and performance.
Both vinyl and fiber cement siding come in a variety of styles, colors, and textures. Both can be made to mimic various natural materials, such as wood and stone. But they do differ in important ways.
- Texture — Because it is thicker, fiber cement siding can take on greater texture than vinyl, so it mimics wood better than vinyl.
- Color — Both vinyl and fiber cement can come in pre-painted colors direct from the factory. But fiber cement can also come primed for painting after installation, making it both easier to customize and easier to repaint a different color later on.
- Lasting vs. fading — Vinyl siding is more likely to fade over time, especially if you choose a darker color.
Both vinyl and fiber cement siding are poor insulators on their own. So, both require a layer of insulating material beneath them. With added insulation options, vinyl can slightly outperform fiber cement in its ability to be energy efficient.
Resistance to the Elements
Because both materials are manmade, fiber cement and vinyl don’t rot as wood does. They don’t crumble like brick. Both are unappealing to woodpeckers, termites, and other pests.
But because vinyl is thin, it is more susceptible to cracks and dents. By comparison, fiber cement stands up better against harsh forces such as hail, pebbles, and other debris.
All siding eventually needs to be replaced—but a good siding option won’t need to be replaced as often as less durable materials. Vinyl usually is warrantied for 25 years, and with good care can last 20-40 years. Fiber cement is generally warrantied for 30-50 years, and can last as long as 100 years with good maintenance.
Ease of Maintenance
Both fiber cement and vinyl are relatively simple to care for. In most cases, gently rinsing the siding once a year with a garden hose is sufficient to remove dirt and brighten your home’s appearance.
In terms of painting, some forms of fiber cement siding need to be repainted, while vinyl never needs repainting. But James Hardie® fiber cement siding can be infused with baked-in color in the factory through its ColorPlus® technology—which is warrantied to last 15 years. Vinyl can fade over time, and it doesn’t always adapt well to a change in paint color.
Because vinyl is made of a plastic-based material, it is less friendly to the environment than fiber cement, which is composed of more sustainable materials. Fiber cement is also longer-lasting, so it ends up on the trash pile less often than vinyl.
While both materials can vary depending on exactly what you choose to buy, vinyl tends to be slightly cheaper than fiber cement.
In addition to the cost of the actual material, vinyl is more lightweight and easier to install than fiber cement, which requires expertise and more workers due to its heavier nature. So, fiber cement siding costs more overall, on average, to install.
Return on Investment
When you balance the cost of installation with the value you get over the long run, fiber cement tends to be a much better investment. Vinyl simply doesn’t last as long. It’s also a less luxurious option. Homebuyers tend to prefer homes that have top-notch fiber cement siding, such as James Hardie siding.
So, Who’s the Winner?
Ultimately, choosing the right siding depends on a careful weighing of all the factors involved. But if you’re looking for a siding option that is proven to handle Michigan’s harsh weather, maintaining its attractiveness and resisting damage, then James Hardie fiber cement siding is an excellent choice that homeowners across America trust.
Protect Your Home with Lasting Fiber Cement Siding
Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make in life. It pays to protect it and ensure it stands up well against Michigan’s harsh weather. So, when you’re considering new siding, be sure to get a full assessment of your home’s needs and find out how fiber cement siding can benefit your home.
At John McCarter Construction, we excel in providing long-lasting, top-notch siding installation with premier James Hardie fiber cement siding. When you’re looking for siding contractor in South Lyons, MI or anywhere else in the Detroit metro area, we’re here for you. Contact us for a free consultation and quote — and feel confident in your home’s appearance and value.