Fiber cement vs. vinyl siding -- Cost and value found in details

Fiber cement vs. vinyl siding -- Cost and value found in details

Two of the most cost-efficient housing sidings nowadays are vinyl and fiber-cement, both man-made products that give better performance than the old wood-lap standard. While they compete in the marketplace against wood siding, all three are very different products. Take a look at how fiber cement and vinyl siding compare to one another.

Fiber cement vs. vinyl, debating the details

If you are considering just the cost of the raw product, vinyl is cheaper by about 33 percent. But overall costs can vary widely, when you factor in quality. While both products are extremely durable, warranty length can bring the long-term investment into better focus.

Cheaper fiber-cement siding may be as thin as a quarter-of-an-inch. It is likely to be more brittle and need to be pre-drilled before nailing. You can buy it unprimed, primed or primed with paint.

Vinyl siding offers a range of quality. Variables include the vinyl's thickness and pigmentation quality. While premium vinyl includes an inner coat of insulation, most vinyl siding does not carry even the most minimal insulation factors of wood or fiber cement.

Average prices and several ways to save

Prices vary across the country. That said, standard vinyl siding should range from $3 to $7 a square foot, depending on quality. Vinyl siding does require special trim for windows, doors and corners, as well as light fixtures and water bibs. So add $500 to $1,000 on to the final price tag for vinyl siding.

Vinyl siding offers huge savings in two key areas, installation and maintenance. It is the easiest, therefore cheapest, siding to install. And it needs almost no maintenance beyond an occasional washing.

Fiber-cement siding usually costs from $4 to $11 per square foot. Fiber cement installation usually costs significantly more than vinyl. It is 50-percent heavier than wood and requires more workers to install. Great care must be taken to ensure that it is watertight; and special cutting tools are required to reduce dangerous cement dust. Unlike vinyl, fiber cement siding requires periodic painting. Most people give the aesthetic edge to fiber cement.

For cost of materials, installation and maintenance, the fiber cement vs. vinyl siding debate gives the solid advantage to vinyl. For aesthetic appeal, the scales tip in favor of fiber cement, and greater curb appeal often means better resale value.



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