Fiber cement vs. vinyl siding: what DIYers must know

Fiber cement vs. vinyl siding: what DIYers must know

If you want new siding for your home, and you have experience with do-it-yourself (DIY) construction and home projects, perhaps you are considering tackling this one on your own. It's a big task, but if you are confident in your skills and know-how, it can be done!

You can save a significant amount of money in labor costs and feel good knowing the job was done with the utmost care. Your first step is deciding which type of siding to use, and for many of today's homeowners, the choice comes down to fiber cement vs. vinyl siding. Which one is preferable for a DIY-er?

The DIY battle: fiber cement vs. vinyl

If the look of both siding products is equally pleasing to you and your family, examine some other factors to determine the most sensible choice for your home. Take a look at cost, availability, colors and designs, and local climate considerations before selecting between fiber cement and vinyl siding.

Do some research on the tools, skills, and steps required to install each product. A little digging and discussion with siding professionals is likely to uncover that when it comes to DIY siding installation, vinyl knocks it out of the park in these terms:

  1. Cost: Vinyl siding DIY panels usually cost between $1 to $7 per square foot (depending on grade, style, and thickness), whereas fiber cement often costs $3 to $12 per square foot from home stores and siding distributors.
  2. Ease of use: Vinyl siding is extremely lightweight, flexible, and easy to cut and tailor. Fiber cement is much heavier (usually requiring more than one person to handle and apply each plank or panel), rigid, and more time-consuming to cut and customize.
  3. Time management: With vinyl siding, its ease-of-use during installation makes it generally far less time consuming to install than fiber cement.
  4. Worker safety: Cutting fiber cement siding produces a toxic particle dust, making it imperative for installers to wear masks and/or respirators. Vinyl siding does not disperse significant residue.

According to The Vinyl Institute, recent studies sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) have also shown that insulated vinyl siding provides homeowners with significant savings in energy consumption and energy cost.

So after a job well-done on your home's new vinyl siding, you can do three things: feel proud of your advanced DIY skills, happily watch your utility bills decrease, and enjoy the fresh new look of your home.

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