This two-story house has grey fiber cement siding. There’s a long, green yard on the side of it, and there’s an outdoor eating area with four wicker chairs.
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Fiber Cement Siding vs. Vinyl Siding: What Are the Differences?

For many years, vinyl siding was the undisputed winner of the residential cladding market. Most of us lived in or near vinyl-sided houses growing up — but times have changed. Lap siding is still a popular, traditional look but the materials used to manufacture it have evolved. 

Over the past decade, fiber cement has grown in popularity due to its fire-resistance, low-maintenance properties and long-lasting curb appeal.  

Fiber Cement Siding vs Vinyl: 7 Considerations

Whether you’re already a fan of fiber cement or you’re just discovering it, learning about what fiber cement has to offer is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. Keep reading to learn more about how fiber cement compares to vinyl siding.

1. Durability

The difference in durability for cement board siding is striking. Fiber cement siding has a unique composition that consists of sand, Portland cement, water and cellulose fibers. Similar to wood pulp, this precise blend of cellulose fibers allows for slight flexibility in the final product, meaning cement board siding is better at responding to impact — like fallen branches or hail — without breaking. In addition, fiber cement siding panels are usually thicker than vinyl planks, which adds to their enhanced durability.

Vinyl siding is made of PVC plastic resin, and it won’t rust, conduct electricity, rot or warp. However,  in severe weather such as hail, it’s easy for vinyl siding to get cracked or broken. Cracks and holes will need to be addressed immediately to avoid the risk of water seeping behind the siding, resulting in mold or mildew. Patches will stand out, so the entire board is usually replaced.  

2. Lifespan

The innovative composition of fiber cement siding yields another big advantage: longevity. When comparing the lifespan of fiber cement siding to vinyl, the difference is massive. Fiber cement siding can last upwards of 50+ years while standard vinyl siding can begin to show signs of aging after just 10-15 years in sunny climates. Many fiber cement siding manufacturers provide a basic 30-year warranty, which should spark extra confidence in the longevity of cement board siding.

This two-story house has grey fiber-cement siding with warm interior lighting. There are small, freshly planted plants in the flower beds out front.

Nichiha Project Images Gallery

3. Sustainable Materials

Environmentally responsible practices continue to stay top of mind as companies push the boundaries to find more eco-friendly alternatives for their products. Fiber cement siding shows progress in the right direction, as many of its components are recyclable or sourced from recycled materials, like glass and wood fibers.

The production of vinyl, on the other hand, is known to release harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and greenhouse gasses, like DEHP. Vinyl is a plastic product, meaning it is not biodegradable. Vinyl siding is a much riskier product in terms of reaching sustainability goals in the homebuilding industry.

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4. Fire-Resistance

When deciding between vinyl or fiber cement siding, it’s also important for homeowners to understand that cement board is fire-resistant. Vinyl siding is more resistant to fire than wood, but can still catch fire at high temperatures. Fiber cement siding is built to be fire-resistant, meaning flames are likely to spread slower and lead to less property damage comparatively — a huge advantage for homeowners.

This large white house has fiber cement siding. There are brown steps leading to the front door and a small patio area. There are rectangular windows on the front of the home, and there are palm trees in front of the home.

Nichiha Project Images Gallery

5. Maintenance Needs

Another perk of fiber cement siding? It’s lower maintenance than vinyl. Vinyl is particularly susceptible to wear and tear, so it requires attention, cleaning and even repainting quite frequently. Fiber cement siding only calls for a light rinse with a garden hose to keep its aesthetic appearance intact.

6. Design & Style Options

Fiber cement siding offers a wealth of styles that simply aren’t available from vinyl manufacturers. Homeowners can consider fiber cement siding panels in all sorts of surface styles like smooth, grooved, stucco, shingles and authentic-looking wood grain styles, like cedar. A full spectrum of gorgeous colors are available for fiber cement siding, providing homeowners virtually unlimited possibilities when it comes to designing their dream home.

7. Value

For many homeowners, the final decision often comes down to a fiber cement siding versus vinyl siding cost comparison. Again, fiber cement siding comes out ahead by offering a better value per length than vinyl siding. National cost versus value reports consistently show that fiber cement siding maintains a higher resale value than vinyl siding, recouping around 70% of the cost at the time of resale. Add in the longer lifespan of fiber cement and fewer anticipated repairs, and there’s no question that homeowners can expect to get better overall value from fiber cement siding.

Fiber Cement vs Vinyl Siding: The Best Option

By providing all of these advantages and more, fiber cement siding is simply the smarter choice for homeowners who value durability, longevity, and aesthetic quality. 

See what products Nichiha offers and start planning your next project with high-quality fiber cement siding.

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