James Hardie Compared to Exterior Vinyl Siding

 James Hardie Design


The Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas experience their fair share of harsh, stormy weather throughout the year. And winters can be particularly hard on home exteriors, so it’s vital to choose wisely when selecting a siding replacement material for your home. Siding material should not only protect your home from the elements and pests, but also look fabulous and last for years to come.

At Alco Products, we understand how frustrating it can be deciding which siding product to choose for your home. After all, your dwelling is your biggest financial investment, and siding protects your investment year-round. We’re here to guide you through the decision-making process so you get the best product for your particular needs within your budget guidelines. You’ll find our team of professionals eager to educate during the selection process, and accurate in the installation of your siding replacement.

Fiber Cement Siding Replacement vs. Vinyl Siding Replacement

Two popular choices to consider in siding materials are fiber cement (also called HardieBoard) and vinyl siding. While HardieBoard clearly outperforms vinyl in most areas, vinyl tends to be more budget friendly. Here are some facts about both to consider before choosing what will work best for your home.

Which siding product is more durable: Vinyl or HardieBoard siding?

The strength of your siding material impacts its performance and look over the years. Although vinyl siding is strong, HardieBoard is stronger. It withstands wind, heat, and snow and ice storms better than vinyl (which can be dented with the forceful launch of a rock from your lawn mower). Vinyl siding is thinner, and therefore more vulnerable; it can warp from the heat, and crack from the extreme cold. In contrast, HardieBoard’s makeup of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers stand up with ease to the elements. Vinyl is usually warrantied for 25 years, and if it is well cared for, can last up to 40 years. HardieBoard is generally warrantied for 30-50 years and can last decades longer than that when it is well kept.



Want to know more about the siding options for your home?

Alco’s “Residential Siding Installation Guide” is a great resource.

Which siding material resists pest damage: Vinyl or HardieBoard?

No one wants to deal with the hassles involved in pest infestation or woodpecker damage. Termites look for wood to feed on. Actually, both vinyl and HardieBoard materials are unappealing to pests like termites and carpenter ants. And neither material attracts woodpeckers, and their costly, destructive tendencies.

How thick is Vinyl siding vs. HardieBoard siding?

HardiBoard runs approximately 1/4” thick, which is significantly thicker than vinyl. In contrast, vinyl siding is .04” thick (about 2.5 times thinner than HardieBoard). Vinyl siding has the option of being backed with insulation—boosting its overall thickness and insulation properties. When either HardieBoard or vinyl siding are installed on a home, their thickness contributes to their overall strength, and therefore impacts their long-term performance.

How combustible is Vinyl vs. HardieBoard siding?

Clearly, vinyl siding is impacted by heat and fire more than HardieBoard. Since HardieBoard’s makeup is primarily cement, it resists both extreme heat and fire—making it appealing to homeowners for this important safety feature. It doesn’t burn, isn’t explosive, and therefore doesn’t contribute to a fire. In contrast, fire retardant treated vinyl siding only decreases the speed at which a fire spreads. It warps as a result of the extreme heat of a fire.

Which siding product’s texture looks more like wood siding (minus the hassles of wood siding’s upkeep)?

Vinyl siding replacement is not thick enough to create the deep textured look of wood. In contrast, HardieBoard’s thick makeup gives way to deep engraving which makes it look more like wood. So if you desire the genuine look of real wood without the high maintenance wood requires, HardieBoard will best accomplish that for you.

Which siding material has the lower initial cost: Vinyl or HardieBoard?

Initial cost is a factor in any home remodeling project. However, it’s vital to take into account that the initial cost and the longevity of the product are often directly impacted by each other. Vinyl is more budget friendly in its initial cost than HardieBoard, making it an attractive option to investors with rental properties and first-time home buyers. However, initial cost is not the only cost to look at when choosing new siding. Consider the long-term benefits of investing upfront in the top siding material in the nation: HardieBoard, and then sit back and enjoy the benefits of your investment because it is built to last decades! With the greater initial cost of HardieBoard, you gain the long-term results of your investment, saving you time and money in the long run. You’re sure to enjoy the low maintenance of HardieBoard, and the superior performance it offers.

What are vinyl and HardieBoard siding composed of?

Vinyl siding is made up of PVC, so it’s lightweight and relatively easy for contractors to install. It is often shaped to look like stone, tile, or cedar. HardieBoard siding’s makeup consists of a mix of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers, and can mimic the look of stone or wood, creating a beautiful look for your home exterior.

What about the aesthetics of Vinyl vs. HardieBoard siding?

Both vinyl and HardieBoard siding are customizable in their color and texture. They both also come in pre-painted colors direct from the factory. HardieBoard siding also has the option of being installed primed, and painting the color of your choice after installation. When it comes to the possibility of color fading, vinyl siding is more likely to fade with time—particularly if it’s a darker color.

Looking for a Licensed Siding Contractor in the Washington D.C., Maryland, or Northern Virginia area?

Protect your home with beautiful, durable siding you can trust for years to come. Get detail-oriented installation from the reliable professionals at Alco Products. We simplify the selection and installation process, making your home upgrade seamless. Check out what others are saying about our services, and get a free consultation.


Is James Hardie Siding right for your home?

Our “James Hardie Siding Guide” can help you decide.