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Hardie Plank Siding vs. Vinyl: Which Should You Choose?

hardie board plank siding vs. vinyl

Selecting the right materials for your home is essential to creating a safe, comfortable space. When homeowners begin looking into siding materials, there are often two types of siding that come up immediately: Hardie siding and vinyl siding. 

The question remains: between Hardie plank siding and vinyl, which is the better material? 

What Is Hardie Siding? 

James Hardie siding is a type of fiber cement siding that combines the durability of cement with the flexibility of cellulose. This particular siding company has a long history of providing superlative materials, and is a trusted source for siding. 

The Hardie Board Difference

Hardie board siding is highly regarded in the field of home repairs and home maintenance in part for its durable nature, and in part due to the incredible warranties and guarantees that come along with Hardie siding. Pre-colored Hardie siding comes along with a 15-year color warranty. The siding itself also comes with a 30-year warranty, making it an ideal purchase for homeowners in search of lasting value. 

Pros of Hardie Siding

The warranties that accompany Hardie purchases are not the only components to recommend this product. Hardie siding has plenty of benefits to its name, including the following: 

  • Durability. Hardie siding is made up of a mixture of sand, water, and cellulose. This mixture is extremely durable, and holds up well in response to heat, cold, and water. 
  • Construction. Hardie siding is up to 5 times thicker than many of its competitors, including vinyl. The thickness of the material makes it far more durable, but also lends it a more authentic, wood-like appearance. People looking to repair their home in a way that appears similar to wood but does not have the same potential issues as wood typically prefer Hardie products. 
  • Pest resistance. Hardie siding is highly resistant to pests. Termites, woodpeckers, carpenter bees, and other pests are not drawn to Hardie siding, and this offers an excellent warranty against pest invasion. 
  • Insurance support. Some insurance companies have actually been known to lower homeowners’ policies after Hardie board is installed, because it is largely impervious to flames. 
  • Moisture avoidance. Unlike countless home siding options, Hardie board siding is virtually impervious to moisture, and will not swell, chip, or peel as a result of moisture entering the siding itself or gathering behind the siding. 

Cons of Hardie Siding

There are few cons associated with Hardie siding, as the material is highly respected and widely used. Nevertheless, there are some potential drawbacks of using Hardie siding for homes. These include the following: 

  • Up-front expense. Hardie siding is more expensive than vinyl siding. Although Hardie is far cheaper than wood (and holds up better against pests and damage), it is not the cheapest material currently on the market. 
  • Difficulty of installation. Hardie siding is not as easy to install as some other types of siding, and requires trained professionals to do it effectively. Homeowners looking for a DIY project should not attempt to install Hardie siding. Although it is strong once installed, it can be brittle prior to installation.

What Is Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is one of the most popular choices for siding installation for homes of all sizes. Vinyl siding is created from PVC, which makes it lightweight and durable. Vinyl siding is most commonly seen on new constructions and homes that are remodeled quickly as an investment. 

Why Vinyl Siding Is Popular

Vinyl siding has become popular because it offers an aesthetically pleasing, inexpensive way to cover up existing, damaged siding, or inexpensively construct a new home. Vinyl siding is also popular for its ease of use. Many homeowners feel comfortable with siding options that allow them to install siding themselves, and vinyl siding fits that bill. 

Pros of Vinyl Siding 

There are several pros to vinyl siding, many of them already briefly discussed. A more robust investigation of vinyl siding reveals the most common reasons that homeowners and builders, alike, choose vinyl as their siding of choice. 

  • Painting and cleaning practices. This is also frequently regarded as one of the many cons of vinyl siding, but many homeowners are eager to purchase a type of siding that has the color already attached, to avoid the hassle of painting. Vinyl is also useful for people who do not want to conduct a great deal of exterior maintenance. Vinyl can simply be washed with water, and does not easily harbor spiderwebs and insects. 
  • Weight. Vinyl siding is extremely light, which means it does not add a great deal of weight to a home and risk sinking. Its lightweight also makes it far easier to install. 
  • Expense. Vinyl is among the least expensive siding options currently on the market, and many homeowners and builders use initial investment as a measure of value. 

Cons of Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is extremely popular, but that does not mean it is without its drawbacks. The most common issues with vinyl including the following: 

  • Susceptibility to damage. Vinyl siding is lightweight and can be extremely strong, but it can break down quickly and easily when exposed to the elements, with most homeowners seeing a significant reduction in appearance and function after 10 to 15 years. Storms can cause debris to press into and break vinyl siding boards, which must then be replaced, and sun exposure can cause vinyl to fade and grow brittle. 
  • Architectural changes. Vinyl siding has been accused of “flattening” the architecture of a home, and may degrade the historical value of a structure. Because vinyl is so thin, it cannot create a realistic approximation of wood and other siding materials. 
  • Moisture trapping. Vinyl siding can cause moisture to be trapped between the vinyl and the home’s structure, leading to wood rot and further damage. 

Hardie Plank vs. Vinyl Siding: Which Is Best? 

Although both vinyl and Hardie plank siding have their pros and cons, there is a clear winner in terms of durability and value. Hardie plank siding is an ideal building material for long-lasting, color-fast, and durable siding. 

Hardie plank siding comes along with plenty of warranties to provide homeowners with peace of mind when a season has been uncommonly rainy, bright, or stormy. If you are in search of a siding replacement for an existing home, or a new material for a brand-new structure, Hardie plank siding is likely to have a siding option to suit your needs. Contact us today to learn more about Hardie plank siding!

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