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Hardiplank Concrete Fiber Siding VS Vinyl Siding

Whether purchasing, building or renovating a home, the type of exterior siding products used/to-use should be a major consideration. The siding materials that are installed will dictate your future maintenance needs, energy efficiency and value for your property. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t put enough thought into this, much to the detriment of their bank accounts. In this post, we hope to answer some of the lingering questions and give some clarity on the difference between HardiPlank siding and Vinyl Siding.

The first question that the homeowner should ask themselves is, “Do I need a low maintenance and low-cost product?”. If you answer yes to this question, the best product for you would be vinyl siding and aluminum wrapped fascia and windows. Though this product is a great answer for many needs, there’s more to be considered.

Hardiplank-vinylThe second question that a homeowner needs to ask themselves is, “Will this product increase or decrease the value of my home?”. Vinyl siding is considered a lower product by many consumers (we will dispel this myth shortly), where HardiPlank (AKA Concrete Siding) is considered a higher product. Each have their place, and both should be thoroughly examined before deciding on which to use.

Let’s get into the pros and cons of each:

HardiPlank Siding Pros:

HardiPlank is the most durable siding option available, aside from brick/stone. It’s designed to last up to 50 years (with proper maintenance). HardiPlank mimics the much desirable look of wood siding, without the threat of woodpeckers and carpenter bees. This product is also extremely resilient to extreme weather events and rot. From many years in the restoration industry, we can attest that most concrete siding products will withstand hailstones as large as tennis balls and winds as high as 200 MPH! This level of weather resilience is very appealing to customers in regions with high rates of hailstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes, and rightfully so.
Hardi Plank siding also comes in multiple shapes, profiles and patterns. It can also be painted to the color of your choosing, as many times as you’d like to choose. This is great because the buyer can test multiple color pallets before paying a contractor to paint the full home. There are also product options ranging from cedar-mill (wood grain) finish, a smooth finish, a shake style and board & batten. Each of these options also have slight variations that can set your home apart from the rest and can easily gain you the envy of your neighbors.

HardiPlank Siding Cons:

Though beautiful, owning a home with HardiPlank siding is expensive; The average consumer, who regularly maintains their home, will paint their concrete siding every 3-5 years! An easy way to factor this cost is that every 100 square feet of siding will cost you $175 to paint. The average home has about 3,000 square feet of siding. That’s a cost of $5,000+ in paint every 3-5 years. Priming the siding, and having it hand painted, can extend this timeframe out to 7-10 years, but also cost about 50-75% more money. Money that most homeowners can’t afford and are then relegated to spraying on the paint every 5 years or so.

Repairing HardiPlank can also be quite expensive because it is not easy to remove, you’ll need a skilled carpenter to do the work without damaging other areas of siding and you’ll likely need to do a great deal of paint work for even a small repair.

The paint work previously mentioned is due to the sun-fading that happens to the siding and paint over time. Even if only one piece of siding needs to be replaced, and is perfectly replaced by your carpenter, it will still need to be painted and will then stick out “like a sore thumb”. When repairing concrete siding, we always advise the customer to paint the entire elevation of siding so that everything matches properly.

Vinyl Siding Pros:

Vinyl siding is an excellent option for people who are elderly, too busy to keep up with maintenance and/or rental-home owners. Once the product goes up, that’s it. You’re good to go for the next 20-40 years (depending on the quality of product chosen). You don’t have to paint it, it’s very easy and cost-effective to repair and it withstands sun-fading very well. The only maintenance needed is the occasional pressure washing of the product.

Aside from the savings you’ll have from not having to paint your home every 5 years, you’ll also save on the front-end because vinyl siding is much cheaper than HardiPlank. Both the product, and the labor to install vinyl siding are cheaper than HardiPlank.

Vinyl comes with array of options in color, grain pattern, profile and thicknesses. The thickness of the vinyl siding is the main factor behind cost. 0.40 millimeters in thickness is a “builder-grade” option and has the lowest cost. 0.46 millimeters is the thickest and longest lasting vinyl you can purchase, it’s also the most expensive. There are also options for 0.42 and 0.44 millimeters in thickness. The thicker the vinyl siding, the longer the color will stay vibrant.

If you have Masonite (Fiber-Board) siding, fanfold insulation and vinyl siding can be installed over the top of the Masonite. This saves a good deal of money by not having to remove all the Masonite and disposing of it. We will elaborate on this further in a future post.

Just like HardiPlank siding, vinyl siding comes in numerous profiles and shapes, including wood grain lap, board & batten, shake style, beaded siding and Dutch-lap. Given the various styles, you’re sure to find the right product.

Vinyl Siding Cons:

The low maintenance and low cost associated with vinyl siding is very alluring, but there are some drawbacks to this product that need to be considered before purchasing.

Vinyl siding has a lower resistance to wind damage than that of concrete siding. The average vinyl siding will resist winds up to 110mph (for additional cost it can be installed to withstand winds up to $175 per square), where concrete siding is rated up to 150mph. Though if you experience winds anywhere near these velocities, you’ll probably have much bigger concerns than the siding on you home.

To attain the different colors that vinyl siding is available in, paint pellets are added to the mixture before the siding is extruded. This means that the coloring as all the way though the product, which is why it keeps its color for so long. Unfortunately, once vinyl starts fading, the only way to restore its original color is to replace the siding. Because of this, it’s important to buy a thicker siding (.042 – 0.46 mils) to extend the life of the color. Higher quality vinyl siding takes many more years for the color to fade out.

In addition to fading, vinyl siding will also begin to oxidize over time. This leaves a white, chalky residue on the siding that adds to the fading look of vinyl. Vinyl can be painted, just like concrete siding, but it’s not practical because the painter would need to get the paint behind the j-trim and corner-posts.

Vinyl siding also has a reputation for being a “cheaper product”. This was true 20 years ago, but todays vinyl siding is much better than the products out at that time. The quality, storm resistance and longevity of the product is comparable to concrete siding, but that’s not always easy to convince someone of.

Being in the storm restoration industry, we can tell you that the most significant negative attribute of vinyl siding is that there are so many manufacturers and that product lines come and go quite often. This means that if you need to repair a few pieces of your vinyl, you may have a hard time locating a matching product. The product may no longer be available. When repairing a few sections or a few pieces on homes, we must send the product off to a company called ITEL for matching. This comes at a cost of $125, just to see if there’s a match still available, and in some cases it isn’t.

Conclusion:
In deciding what siding is right for your home, you simply need to ask these questions:

What do most homes around mine have and does my HOA mandate a certain type of siding?

  • Am I willing to paint my home every 3-5 years? If so, HardiPlank may be for you
  • Am I looking for something that is maintenance free? If so, Vinyl may be for you
  • Is my region prone to large hailstorms? If so, HardiPlank is for you
  • Am I looking for the most cost-effective type of siding? If so, vinyl is for you

Choosing what type of siding to go on your home can be a difficult decision, and you only have one chance to get it right. If you’re still undecided on which product would be best for your home, you can call one of our reps to come assist you with this decision and answer all your detailed questions.

One last tip, purchasing a “Hover Report” for your home will allow you to see what your home will look like with each type of siding and with different colors. “Hover” is an application you can download on your phone. One of our reps will guide you through the process of photographing your home and showing you all the options available. Learn more about our fiber cement siding in detail. You can view all of our siding services here.