Best House Siding – Vinyl, Fiber Cement, or Cedar?

Written by Stephen Scoggins

November 7, 2020

best house siding, custom home exterior

If you’re looking to remodel your home exterior, then it may be in your best interest to consider what would be the best house siding material for you. This can be a daunting task, as there are a lot of siding options out there. 

Determining the Best House Siding

At CHE, we focus on a few house siding options specifically, and we’ll evaluate those here. The first is vinyl siding, who is our least expensive option. The second is cedar, which is a timeless favorite and our most expensive option. Finally, we’ll look at fiber cement, which is our most popular option. We encourage you to do additional research on the other options out there; these are just our favorites. 

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl has been around for about 70 years. It’s relatively affordable and very common in the Raleigh, North Carolina area where we operate. 

For the most part, vinyl siding has withstood the test of time. It’s never really gone out of style, and it’s a lot more durable than it’s pricing would suggest. There’s been a lot of research and development by the major vinyl manufacturers in recent years to improve its formula to last longer and withstand more damage. These efforts appear to have been successful, as the material is much more resistant to sun damage than it used to be. By my estimation, vinyl siding is about 3x less likely to fade than it used to be thanks to the widespread use of virgin pvc resin in the formula.

So why wouldn’t vinyl be the best house siding for you? Well, while it is largely flame-resistant, it’s known to melt. In fact, the most common repairs we see for vinyl exteriors are when a grill or open flame outside warps the side of the house. Another factor to consider is that not all vinyl is created equal. I wouldn’t recommend buying vinyl siding from any brands but the following 4:

  • Certainteed ®
  • Mastic (Ply Gem) ®
  • Royal Building Products ®
  • Alside ®

Vinyl Pros:

  • Relatively affordable
  • Durable
  • Classic
  • UV resistance
  • Flame Resistant

Vinyl Cons:

  • Only use certain manufacturers
  • Melts
  • More maintenance than fiber cement

Cedar Siding

Cedar has been popular for a long time, and it’s easy to see why. For one thing, it’s beautiful. For another, it’s highly weather-resistant. This especially true of cedar shake. It provides great natural insulation, and it can be painted or stained to great effect. Cedar is also all-natural, which matters to many in our increasingly organic-conscious population.

However, the downsides of cedar are distinct and noteworthy. By-and-large, it’s more expensive than vinyl exteriors and fiber cement to purchase and install. It’s also prone to broader price fluctuations, given that cedar is a commodity. Therefore its price can go up fairly suddenly, at least from the perspective of the average homeowner. Cedar is also combustible, and it attracts insects, woodpeckers, and other pests more than Hardie siding or vinyl. Last but not least, cedar can rot. These cons may mean that cedar isn’t the best house siding for your particular needs.

Cedar Pros:

  • Beautiful
  • All-natural
  • Weather resistant

Cedar Cons:

  • Price fluctuations
  • Generally higher cost
  • Combustible
  • Pest problems
  • Can Rot

Fiber Cement

Fiber cement is increasing in popularity (it happens to be the siding option I chose for my house). It became popular in North America in the 80’s, though interestingly it was invented in 1901. 

Fiber cement is generally tougher than vinyl siding, given that its core ingredient is cement. As a result, it’s more weather resistant, and it’s also easier to clean and maintain. In terms of durability, it has an impressive lifespan. Hardie siding comes with a 30 year limited warranty, which is pretty great. Like vinyl it’s flame resistant, and it’s also much harder to melt. It’s resistant to rot, insects, and woodpeckers, and it can even be painted. 

The downsides of fiber cement are as follows: it costs more than vinyl on average, and it has the lowest insulation value when compared to cedar and vinyl exteriors. Apart from these, it’s a fantastic choice. 

When it comes to choosing a manufacturer, CHE recommends James Hardie®. Hardie has led the industry for as long as there’s been one. Their product is consistently the highest quality in terms of its innovation, safety design, and (in my opinion) its aesthetic beauty. Regarding innovation, their fiber cement can come with a number of unique features. One of these is Colorplus®, which essentially pre-bakes your color and shading into the material for a bolder, more durable and longer-lasting coat. CHE is currently one of the Top 3 Colorplus® installers in the United States, so we’re big fans of this feature. Hardie can also come with the Engineered for Climate® feature. This means that your fiber cement siding will come to you specifically designed to hold up under the weather conditions of your region. 

Fiber Cement Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Weather-resistant
  • Pest-resistant
  • Less Expensive (generally) than Cedar
  • Contains the Hardie brand

Fiber Cement Cons

  • More expensive than vinyl
  • Low insulation value

Make Sure to Use a VSI-Certified Installer

When choosing a siding contractor, make sure they’re VSI-certified. This is critical if you want to follow just about any manufacturer’s installation guidelines. If you follow these guidelines, you can benefit from the manufacturer’s warranties. Some of these are very generous and can save you a lot of money. However, if your installation doesn’t follow these guidelines, there’s a chance they can be voided. 

Ensure Warranty Protection With CHE

As a VSI-certified installer, CHE is highly familiar with the installation requirements of all major house siding manufacturers. We’re so confident in our ability to abide by these guidelines that we will give you a book at the end of your home exterior remodel with all of the details of every warranty you’re entitled to, as well as instructions on how to follow the maintenance to keep them. In addition, if there is any damage caused by our team that would keep you from benefiting from your warranty, CHE will cover it. 

Get the Best House Siding Installer in Raleigh, North Carolina

CHE has been taking care of North Carolina for over 20 years. We’d love to schedule a free consultation with you to help you decide on the best house siding installation plan for your home. Click the button below to get started today.

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