HardiePlank vs. Vinyl Siding: Which One Is Right for Your Home?

Learn the pros and cons of each material before choosing to re-side your home in HardiePlank or vinyl.

It will be evident when the time has come to put new siding on your home because there will be noticeable physical deterioration. Your old siding may start to crack and look dull or worn out. Old siding can significantly hurt the curb appeal of a home, but new siding can create an entirely different appearance and make your home’s exterior look almost brand new.

Before you can begin the siding installation process, however, you’ll have to select a siding type. 

Vinyl siding and HardiePlank, which is made from fiber cement, are two of the most popular materials on the market, but do you know enough about them to make an informed decision?

While both siding types offer excellent value, each provides different benefits.

The benefits of HardiePlank

HardiePlank is a relatively new construction material that first appeared on the market in the mid-1980s. Since that time, it has become extremely popular with homeowners because of its extensive list of positive attributes.

One of the main reasons homeowners go with HardiePlank is its durability. The material won’t break or crack unless it incurs a significant strike and typically comes with a limited 30-year warranty, so you’re covered in the unlikely event that it does break down under day-to-day use. Hardie board usually withstands damage when facing major storms and salt spray, too, and it is insect-proof and rot-resistant. 

If there’s a fire at a neighboring house, you won’t have to worry about HardiePlank melting with the heat, nor are environmental factors like extreme heat and cold notable issues. Other materials can melt with heat or crack in extreme cold, but that isn’t the case with HardiePlank. 

The fact that HardiePlank will likely be the last siding you ever have to put on your home is reason enough to consider it.

Another factor that HardiePlank has going for it is its appearance. The material looks just like wood and you can order it in a variety of colors, too, allowing homeowners to create the exact aesthetic they desire. 

If you live in an older home and want to recreate its original style, but don’t want to deal with the constant maintenance of wood siding, Hardie board is worth considering. Hardie board comes in forms that replicate cedar shakes and other historical styles, creating a vintage look with modern durability and convenience.

The material is also paintable, allowing you to alter the color of your home or match it to other components around your yard. You won’t have to replace the siding to make a color change like you would with vinyl.

Hardie board is also quite thick, creating a more robust appearance than vinyl and other materials. Many homeowners value the curb appeal that generates.

Don’t overlook the eco-friendly qualities of HardiePlank either. The material doesn’t produce any environmental toxins during production, and since it lasts for at least 30 years, less siding ends up in landfills. Although the environmentally friendly qualities might not be the first reason for choosing Hardie board, it’s certainly a bonus for homeowners who care about their environmental impact.

Overall, HardiePlank looks great and will last for decades, making it a top choice when re-siding your home.

Where HardiePlank is lacking

HardiePlank has all kinds of benefits, but there are some areas where it falls behind other materials like vinyl, and you should be aware of these drawbacks before making your decision.

For starters, Hardie board is more expensive than vinyl. The actual cost of the material depends on its quality, but it’s important to remember that the more you spend, the better you can expect your new siding to withstand the elements. 

Hardie board also requires more labor for installation. Since the material is more cumbersome than vinyl, your contractor will need more employees to install it. Specialized tools, such as Hardie board cutting blades, are necessary, as well, which add expense to the job as a whole.

Finally, your Hardie plank will need more maintenance than vinyl siding over the years, but that maintenance could help it look better for longer. Hardie board comes with a 15-year warranty on its ColorPlus Technology. Once the 15 years have elapsed, you might have to repaint it to keep the material looking good. Failure to do this maintenance could leave the siding looking tired, and you unhappy with its appearance.

Hardie board requires significantly less maintenance than wood siding, but you will have to take care of it if you want it to last.

Vinyl siding’s advantages

Many homes in your neighborhood likely have vinyl siding. The material’s popularity dates back to the 1960s when contractors introduced it as a low-maintenance alternative to wood siding. Ultimately, vinyl has many positives that make it worth a look when putting new siding on your home.

Vinyl siding looks great on most homes because it’s sleek and comes in a variety of different styles. The material is made to not only mimic the look of shingle or plank siding, but also comes in varieties that give it a board and batten, Dutch lap, or clapboard appearance. Whichever style you’re looking to create, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in vinyl.

You’ll have a lot of color options when going with vinyl siding. If you want to match your siding to a fence or other painted object, you have a decent chance of finding the right colors. 

Numerous vinyl textures are available, depending on the exact look you’re trying to formulate. You’ll want to look at a large variety of samples when choosing a vinyl siding style because the combined texture and color options are nearly endless. 

Another benefit of vinyl siding is the cost. Vinyl is less expensive than Hardie board, and it’s cheaper to install, as well. One reason for vinyl being more affordable is the production process. Rather than forming planks of fiber cement, manufacturers use a technique called co-extrusion to combine two pieces of PVC. While this process uses a lot of energy, it uses minimal material, and most of the job is automated, cutting down on labor.

The lower installation cost of vinyl siding has to do with the material’s weight and thickness. It’s easier for a smaller team of contractors to carry and install vinyl siding, and they won’t require specialized tools to cut it, so the installation process is faster, easier, and more cost-efficient.

Finally, vinyl requires almost zero maintenance once you install it, so you don’t have to worry about painting or re-caulking. HardiePlank requires periodic paint jobs and re-caulking, but all you’ll have to do it keep your vinyl siding in good shape is spray it with a hose once in a while or possibly wash it with soapy water.

Vinyl siding is a top-notch siding option because it is adaptable to nearly any style of home thanks to the myriad of colors and styles available, and it will save you money upfront.

The downsides of vinyl siding

Of course, vinyl siding isn’t perfect. It does have some drawbacks you should consider before making your decision. 

One of the main issues with vinyl siding is that it’s a thin material that can easily be damaged if something strikes it. Generally, vinyl siding is only about .042 inches thick, so if a rock or sharp tool hit it with any force, there’s a chance it will puncture.

Once vinyl punctures, it opens itself up to an entirely new set of problems because a crack will spread if you don’t have the piece repaired or replaced. Keeping a steady eye on the state of your vinyl siding is crucial if you want to avoid this issue.

Vinyl also gets brittle as it ages or if it’s exposed to extreme heat or cold. As the material gets brittle, it becomes more susceptible to damage from seemingly innocent elements like hail and flying debris in your yard.

As vinyl gets older, it starts to fade, as well. The material isn’t paintable because it contracts and expands in cold and hot weather, so you’re stuck with the faded siding until you replace it.

Heat is a problem for vinyl because it causes the material to melt or warp. If a neighboring house catches on fire, it can cause significant damage to your siding, and even operating your barbecue too close to your home could cause issues. Generally, you should keep heat away from vinyl siding as much as possible.

The manufacturing process that makes vinyl siding less expensive is also responsible for making it harder on the planet. The creation of vinyl siding uses a lot of energy and has byproducts that can harm the environment. It’s also more likely for vinyl siding to ends up in a landfill because of its inferior lifespan.

The choice is yours

In the end, both HardiePlank and vinyl siding will add value to your home by making its exterior look as good as new. When the time comes to redo your siding, you really can’t go wrong because these materials will significantly improve the appearance of your residence. 

Your choice will come down to what you value in a siding: Vinyl is the most economical option while HardiePlank is far more durable. 

Blue Nail Roofing provides residential roofing, siding, window, door, and gutter installation and repairs in Morris County New Jersey. We’re a certified installer of CertainTeed Vinyl Siding, James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding, and Everlast PVC Siding, giving you a choice when selecting the perfect material and style for your home. Visit our contact page to learn more or to speak with us about getting started on your project. 

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