These days Hardiplank® is a very popular choice for house siding. I understand the appeal. In my 20+ years of home exterior installation, I’ve never seen another fiber cement brand outperform Hardie siding.
However, there are other options for your home remodel than fiber cement. Here I’ll outline a few of them and share some of the pros and cons so you can make a more informed decision for your home.
House Siding Options
There are a lot different options for a home exterior. The most common are:
- Fiber cement
Since Hardiplank is the highest quality fiber cement product on the market, I’ll focus on Hardie siding when discussing fiber cement.
Hardiplank: The Pros and Cons
The advantages of Hardie siding are numerous.
- It’s sturdy
- Can be Painted
- Engineered for Climate®
- Wide variety of shapes, textures, and styles
- 30 Year Limited Warranty
Hardie siding is generally sturdier than vinyl siding because it’s base ingredient is cement. It’s flame-retardant, and unlike vinyl it’s unlikely to melt. Insects also don’t like it, and its ColorPlus feature allows it to have a baked-in color finish that’s highly resistant to UV fading.
It’s Engineered for Climate feature is completely unique in the industry. Also known as HardieZone®, this feature means that your fiber cement panels will be designed to perform in the climate of your particular region. For instance, HZ5® is designed for snow, ice, and moisture. HZ10® is designed to resist the cracking, swelling, and rotting of warmer climates and has additional resistance to fire. Hardiplank’s 30 year limited warranty is also outstanding. If you use a certified installer and follow all the Hardie installation guidelines, you can maximize your investment.
The disadvantages of Hardie siding are few, but they’re worth noting.
- Low R-Value
- Higher Cost than Vinyl
R-Value is the metric used to measure a given substance’s insulation. Being fiber cement, Hardiplank has a very low R-value. This means that you’ll probably need to pack additional installation under your house siding. Hardie board also more expensive to install than vinyl siding due to its high quality and properties as a fiber cement product, so keep that in mind.
Vinyl Siding: The Pros and Cons
Vinyl can be an outstanding option for house siding. It’s advantages are as follows:
- Low cost of installation
- Can come with baked-in color
- Fade-resistant (with the right brands)
- Wide range of styles and patterns
- Solid resell value
- Has some R-Value
Vinyl siding is generally less expensive than other house siding options. It can last a really long time, and the better brands like Certainteed® offer limited warranties up to 50 years. It’s also been around a long time and has maintained its popularity over the years, meaning you can probably count on it reselling well.
The disadvantages of vinyl are mainly:
- It can melt
- Maintenance required (grime, mold)
- Repairs more common
- Looks less like real wood
Vinyl is more likely to get damaged than fiber cement overall. I commonly see vinyl siding damaged from weed eaters and hail. Most of all, I see vinyl damaged from melting. This happens when someone fires up the grill too close to the house and the panels can’t handle it. It also attracts mold and grime more than Hardiplank, so you’ll need to get it power washed more regularly. I recommend a professional for this, as power washing can damage the siding.
Here are the brands I trust for vinyl:
Cedar: The Pros and Cons
Wood is a classic choice with it’s own advantages:
- Highly weather-resistant (especially cedar shake)
- Can be stained and painted
- Variety of types
Though Hardie board in particular can look amazing, nothing will look like wood quite like the real thing. In terms of beauty and elegance, it’s tough to beat. Cedar is also your best overall bet for weather resistance, especially when it comes to hail.
That said, cedar has its downsides:
- Price fluctuations
- Can attract pests
Cedar generally costs more than Hardiplank and vinyl siding to install. On average, you can count on $6-12 per square foot. It’s also a commodity, which means its price can go way up depending on when you’re looking for house siding. In other words, you can get really unlucky with cedar if you buy while it’s high. Cedar can also catch fire, and insects like it a lot more than vinyl and Hardie siding. The same goes for wood peckers.
While I believe that Hardie plank is the best option for fiber cement siding, there are other excellent home exterior options. Depending on your taste and pricing needs, vinyl siding or cedar could be better for you.
If you want more information on your options for house siding, call Custom Home Exteriors and get a free consultation. We’ve been serving the Raleigh NC area for over two decades. We’re also certified installers that will make sure you get the most out of every available warranty. Call CHE today.