HardieBoard Fiber Cement Siding Vs. Vinyl Siding

Choosing new siding for your home is a big decision. Whether your siding is beginning to show its age, or if you are just looking for an updated and modern look, there are tons of options to choose from. Today, more and more people are replacing high maintenance wood siding with long-lasting alternatives like James Hardie Siding or PVC based Vinyl Siding. If you’re trying to decide between the two, keep reading to see how these siding materials compare!

What is James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding?

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding is a composite material consisting of Portland cement mixed with cellulose fibers derived from wood pulp. Fiber cement products look like wood, resembling it both in texture and thickness, but do not absorb moisture, cannot rot, and are safe from termites. Hardieplank is generally superior to other siding products like vinyl as it offers greater curb appeal, is fire resistant, and its color will not fade over time.

Visual Appeal

Siding is one of the most visible elements of your house – you, your neighbors, and everyone walking or driving past will see what you’ve chosen. If this wasn’t the case then an argument could be made that the best siding is the cheapest siding – but the reality is your choice makes a big difference in your home’s curb appeal.

When people replace their existing siding they often look to vinyl as it is cheap and easy to install. However, one reason for vinyl siding’s inexpensiveness is that it is incredibly thin. At just 0.05 inches thick, vinyl is physically incapable of offering the visual depth necessary to recreate the timeless appearance of wood siding.

Hardie Board siding on the other hand is as thick as traditional wood and comes embossed with a wood grain. Like real wood, HardiePlank is available in a variety of styles including lap siding, vertical siding, and cedar shake shingle-style siding.

Hardie siding can add value to your homes look

If you are looking for a stucco appearance, James Hardie also offers textured panels, allowing homeowners to recreate the look of stucco with the durability and moisture resistance of fiber cement siding.


Hardie Board is aptly named – offering unrivaled durability. Homeowners can expect HardiePlank siding to last decades, with James Hardie standing by its product with a 30 year warranty. While vinyl siding is much cheaper, it offers significantly less longevity and may begin to warp or fade after less than 10 years. Some budget brands of vinyl siding may begin to experience fading after as little as 2 years, so keep this in mind when selecting new siding for your house!

Both wood siding and cedar shake shingles can also last for decades – when properly cared for- but ColorPlus HardiePlank comes with pre-finished paint colors baked into the product giving you color-fast durability without the upkeep. ColorPlus siding comes with a 15 year warranty that guarantees your siding’s finish won’t crack, peel, or chip.

James Hardie offers two formulations of Hardie Board, one designed to withstand the bitter cold of northern climates and the other designed to handle the brutal heat and humidity of the south without cracking or splitting.


Since Hardie Board is made from fire retardant fiber cement, it is almost completely non-combustible. With wildfires increasing in frequency and intensity around the nation, replacing your siding with HardiePlank is a smart way to increase your home’s fire protection.

hardie siding can be a great alternative to vinyl siding

PVC vinyl siding is susceptible to heat, and will warp, melt, or even catch fire when exposed to extreme heat. Even the sun’s reflection off of low-e windows has been known to cause vinyl home siding to warp.

Maintenance Needs

HardieBoard fiber cement siding and vinyl siding are both low maintenance home exterior siding choices. Unlike wood siding, both HardiePlank and vinyl are available in a variety of pre-painted color options that will generally last for the lifetime of the product.

Keeping these siding options looking their best is as simple as giving them the occasional rinse with a garden hose.

One thing to keep in mind when selecting vinyl siding is that due to its thinness it is prone to cracking. You’ll want to be careful when mowing or edging around the side of your house and avoid leaning sharp or heavy objects against the siding.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is generally measured in terms of a material’s r-value, with higher values indicating that a material provides superior insulation. While generally Hardie Board is objectively better than its competitors, uninsulated vinyl siding typically offers an r-value of 0.6 versus HardiePlank’s 0.13 to 0.15.

Both siding options can be installed with additional insulation laid behind them. In the case of vinyl a wide variety of insulation options are available, providing an r-value of between 1.8 to 4. James Hardie’s Lap Siding with Insulation offers an r-value of 3, providing a sizable upgrade versus their standard HardiePlank.


In a world where money was no object it would be hard to make a compelling argument against Hardie Board. However, we don’t live in such a world and no matter how you cut it, HardiePlank will be pricier than vinyl siding, both in terms of material costs and in siding installation costs.

Hardie Board can cost up to 4x as much as cheap vinyl siding – but it is important to remember that while vinyl siding costs much less, it will also need to be replaced more quickly. This durability is well known amongst home buyers and fiber-cement board siding will more greatly increase your home’s resale value.

If you select insulated vinyl siding the difference in price will be less dramatic – although vinyl’s price advantage will return when compared against James Hardie’s insulated product line.

Final Thoughts

No matter which type of siding you select, you’ll want to make sure it’s installed by a professional siding contractor. Rennison Roofing is a James Hardie Certified Installer and carries a wide range of high quality vinyl siding options. If you aren’t sure which option is best for your house, or have any remaining questions, David (the owner and founder of Rennison Roofing) is happy to discuss your options with you! Schedule an appointment to speak with David and find the perfect upgrade for your home!