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A Siding Comparison of Cedar Wood vs. Hardie Board Siding Performance

Do you love a traditional American look for your DC home exterior? Are you looking to replace your wood siding? Are you debating whether to stick with cedar, or switch to low maintenance fiber cement siding—which mimics the look of wood?

Your choice in siding materials will impact your home exterior’s looks and performance. It’s wise to educate yourself on siding material options so you can get the best long-term solution for not only your home exterior’s beauty but also its important job of protecting your biggest investment.

Hardie Board Siding—also known as James Hardie siding—protects the homes of over 8,000,000 Americans. It’s known for beauty, durability, and an outstanding warranty. In contrast, wood siding may have been the original siding on many historic homes, but its old-fashioned charm comes with a price: it attracts pests like termites, and can cost you time and money for its upkeep. In the end, many DC homeowners choose Hardie Board Siding for it’s many benefits while meeting historic home requirements also. Although some choose to invest in vinyl siding over fiber cement, James Hardie proves it’s durability and return on investment over and over.

Let’s take a closer look at wood siding vs. Hardie Board siding.

Siding Makeup

James Hardie siding — This durable siding is made of cement, sand, and cellulose. These ingredients combine to create a strong, lasting siding that needs little to no maintenance.

Cedar wood siding — Western red cedar is primarily used for cedar wood siding, but white cedar can also be used. Its genuine beauty gives a classic feel to a home exterior.


James Hardie siding — Hardie Board siding stands up to severe weather including ice storms, hurricane-force winds, rain, snow, hail, and extreme heat or cold. It resists rotting, warping, and cracking. Homeowners in hurricane and tornado prone areas install fiber cement for their long-term protection.

Cedar wood siding — Wood siding tends to split or crack over time due to its exposure to weather elements.


James Hardie siding — Hardie Board is Engineered for Climate® and was created specifically to stand up to the weather in your geographical region.

Cedar wood siding — Wood siding expands and contracts when climate conditions change, and as a result, unsightly swelling can occur.

Moisture and Maintenance

James Hardie siding — Hardie Board resists moisture penetration and delivers low maintenance so you can spend more time doing the things you love most. This low maintenance siding only needs a simple wash with a garden hose twice a year to keep it looking fabulous.

Cedar wood siding — Cedar is a durable species of wood that resists wood rot better than other types of wood. It’s vital that you minimize cedar wood’s exposure to moisture to prevent wood rot. The best way to do this is to maintain a finish coat of either paint or stain to seal your wood siding from moisture penetration. Cedar siding’s paint needs to be scraped and repainted every five years—which is a tedious job. Cedar’s stain needs to be reapplied every three years to prevent moisture penetration.

Sun Exposure

James Hardie siding — Hardie Board stands up to sun exposure. It won’t fade, warp or crack due to extreme heat.

Cedar wood siding — Cedar siding maintenance is extensive due to the nature of wood, and its looks can change due to sun exposure.

Color Performance

James Hardie siding — Outstanding ColorPlus® Technology gives you baked-on color that lasts. Its warranty guarantees it won’t fade or chip for 15 years.

Cedar wood siding — Paint on wood siding can crack, peel, or lose adhesion quicker than ColorPlus® Technology.


James Hardie siding — Noncombustible Hardie Board siding won’t fuel a fire.

Cedar wood siding — Wood siding fuels a fire readily unless it is treated to be fire-retardant.


James Hardie siding — Since Hardie Board is made primarily of cement, it’s not vulnerable to pests like termites and woodpeckers. You can rely on its outstanding protection for your home.

Cedar wood siding — Cedar wood is a durable species of wood that resists pests better than other wood types. It is vulnerable to woodpeckers. When woodpeckers drill holes in wood siding, your home’s protection is compromised, and it leads to insect infestation and moisture penetration.

Design Options

James Hardie siding — Many styles can be achieved from Hardie Board siding. The popular board-and-batten look is easily attained, giving modern homes a gorgeous Farmhouse design. Choose from horizontal or vertical siding panels, and add James Hardie trim to accent your home’s features.

James Hardie siding is so thick, it can mimic the look of wood siding—minus the maintenance wood requires. Hardie Board has been approved to replace wood siding in historical districts throughout the U.S. This durable siding gives you the full spectrum of design options homeowners love while saving you time and money from its low maintenance and durability.

When it comes to curb appeal, James Hardie fiber cement looks so much like wood from the curb, it’s hard to tell the difference. If you get within an arm’s reach of it, you may notice the grain is a bit too perfect to be real wood, but that’s it!

Cedar wood siding — Homeowners choose from horizontal lap panels, bevel, or traditional shingles or shakes when they choose cedar wood siding. Once it is installed, it can be either painted or treated with stain or oil. Some homeowners choose to leave it untreated to attain a weathered look.

A contemporary, seamless look can be achieved with tongue-and-groove cedar panels. A rustic chic Farmhouse look can be created with a board-and-batten look. Wood’s authentic beauty draws the eye and creates a classic appearance that is consistent with historic homes.

The Choice Is Yours

Now that you’ve seen our siding comparison, it’s up to you to decide which siding material will best meet your needs. At Alco Products, we recommend James Hardie fiber cement siding for its long-term performance and beauty.

To learn more about siding, take a look at our Siding Guide.