Siding Comparisons: Vinyl vs. Cedar Lap vs. Fiber Cement

If you are considering re-siding your home, you have several good options to choose from. Here in the Pacific Northwest you’ll see homes with log siding, redwood siding, and steel siding. In addition, you are just as likely to see vinyl siding, cedar lap and fiber cement board siding. Rather than try and address all of these different types in one article, we’ve decided to focus on just three: vinyl, cedar lap and fiber cement. We’ll follow up on the other types later.

exterior cement fiber siding

Cement fiber is a durable albeit expensive option.

There are usually four main criteria that drive the siding selection process for homeowners: appearance, cost, maintenance and durability. So let’s take a quick side-by-side look at these criteria:

Vinyl Cedar Lap Fiber Cement
Appearance Several styles and colors available that simulate the look of wood lap siding. Smooth and rough-sawn textures available in a variety of widths. Lap and shake style options with natural looking wood grain textures.
Maintenance Virtually maintenance free. Requires ongoing maintenance of stain or paint every few years. Low maintenance. Long-lasting finish available with occasional painting recommended.
Durability Various grades and qualities of this product are available, depending on the manufacturer. Susceptible to woodpecker and other wildlife damage. Extremely durable and long-lasting.
Costs (Including Installation) Lowest cost Highest cost and requires the additional cost of applying a finish. Higher cost, but not as high as cedar

 

Vinyl

If cost is your primary consideration, then vinyl siding is definitely your best option. Not only is it inexpensive for the initial installation, there is no ongoing maintenance to pay for. Down sides? Though the appearance can look similar to other lap siding options from a distance, with a closeup look it will be obvious that the product is not true wood siding.

Vinyl siding is manufactured by many different companies and even one manufacturer can sell a variety of different grades. The authenticity of the look and the colorfastness of the siding will vary between manufacturers and grades of quality.

The other concern you might have with vinyl siding is the ability to match your siding in the event that you choose to do an addition to your home or need to repair an area that has been damaged.

Cedar Lap

Cedar lap siding has been a longtime favorite in the Portland-Vancouver area. Stone and brick accents combined with cedar siding make the perfect rustic exterior when set against the beautiful backdrops provided by the scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

Of the three options listed, it does require the most ongoing maintenance. Stain needs to reapplied every 3 to 6 years to keep it protected from the weather elements that it is exposed to in our area. Homeowners who chose this option generally have appearance as their number one priority.

Fiber Cement

One of the aspects of this choice that isn’t listed in the chart above is its high sustainability rating. Being made from a high percentage of recycled material and having a very long life has earned a higher thumbs up from environmental certifiers.

The product can be purchased primed and ready to paint, or completely prefinished. The fact that it is primed on all sides creates a strong seal against the high moisture content that we find in the air year-round in the Pacific Northwest.

The Final Decision

When deciding between these three siding options, determining your priorities will be your first step. If appearance is top priority, then cedar or fiber content may be your choice. These two will also increase the value of your home more than the vinyl. If low maintenance is your greatest priority, then vinyl or prefinished fiber cement will be your best options. All three will adequately protect your home when installed properly by professionals.

As always, if you are looking into residing your current home or are looking to build a custom home, we invite you to contact Fazzolari Custom Homes and Renovations for a free consultation.

4 Comment(s)

  1. I searched on exactly “cost of Fiber Cement Lap Siding” Complete lack of $$.$$ here. News FLASH, After reliability Cost is everything. What are you thinking? Save the excuses about cost and area and etc. and etc. Anything in the way of a basic cost estimator would be helpful. It seems everyone of this type of site intends to force the customer to go get direct quotes from any number of sources. Time and pressure sales, little truth.

    William Boyce | Dec 1, 2013 | Reply

  2. Love the chart. I would agree with everything said in the chart. I would maybe argue durability of vinyl in that its not as timeless as cedar. Cedar siding if you can get a good price on it is the clear choice. Thanks for the breakdown.

    Landon | Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

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