Fact or Fiction: James Hardie Siding Is More Expensive than Vinyl Siding

March 10, 2022

26% of new homes in 2020 had vinyl siding. 21% had fiber cement siding like James Hardie board siding. With these two types of siding almost equal in popularity, how can you choose between them?

The cost is one important factor in your decision, but it’s not the only one. James Hardie and Vinyl siding both have different features that you should consider when you’re looking at home siding options.

Learn more about the cost of Hardie board and vinyl siding. Find out how these types of siding are different from each other and which one might be the best choice for your home.

What Makes James Hardie Board Siding Different from Vinyl?

James Hardie and vinyl siding are both synthetic types of siding. They’re made from different materials, though.

Vinyl siding is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. PVC is a type of plastic. Vinyl siding has been around since the 1960s when it became an alternative to aluminum siding.

James Hardie created Hardie board siding in the 1980s as an alternative to vinyl siding. James Hardie siding is fiber-cement board. It’s made from sand, cement, wood cellulose pulp, and water.

These differences in composition affect how each type of siding performs as well as the cost of materials and installation.

James Hardie Siding vs Vinyl Siding

Understanding the differences between Hardie board siding and vinyl siding can help you understand the cost differences between them. Both types of home siding are durable and relatively low maintenance. However, each one has pros and cons that affect their price.


Hardie board is thicker than vinyl siding. The grooves and grains make a more realistic imitation of wood siding. The siding has more dimension and a more high-end appearance.

Vinyl siding and James Hardie siding come in a range of colors. James Hardie board siding can mimic different textures better than vinyl, though.


Vinyl siding and James Hardie siding resist rot and pests. They can both withstand water and wind damage. However, Hardie board siding gives you a higher level of protection and durability.

Hardie board siding is fire resistant. This is because its main components are sand and cement. It has the highest fire rating of any type of siding.

Modern vinyl siding is more durable than in the past. It’s thinner than Hardie board, though, and objects like rocks or tools can puncture it.

Vinyl siding can get brittle with age. Exposure to hot or cold temperatures can damage it over time.


James Hardie siding and Vinyl siding are low maintenance compared to traditional wood siding.

Vinyl siding won’t rot or disintegrate as it ages. You don’t have to repaint it. Washing vinyl siding with a hose or power washer is basically all the maintenance it needs.

You’ll need to wash Hardie board siding periodically with soap and water. You’ll also need to re-caulk and repaint it every five to ten years. If you get siding with ColorPlus technology, the color is baked in and doesn’t need painting.

Installation Process

Vinyl is lighter than fiber cement, which makes the installation process easier. Vinyl siding is easier to transport.

Vinyl siding weighs around 60-70 lbs per 100 sq ft. The same amount of James Hardie siding weighs around 300 lbs.

Installing Hardie board siding takes more planning. The installation requires a larger labor force and can take longer.

Energy Efficiency

Using energy-efficient products in your home can reduce your utility bills while also helping the environment. Siding alone provides a relatively low level of insulation for your home. Vinyl siding has a slightly higher insulating effect on its own than James Hardie siding.

However, insulated siding gives you better energy efficiency. Insulated versions of vinyl and James Hardie board siding are available. An insulated house wrap is another way to get the most energy efficiency from your home siding.

Ecological Impact

The Green Builder Magazine Readers’ Choice survey gave James Hardie siding an award for “Most Sustainable Product” in 2019. Hardie board is made from natural materials that don’t emit hazardous gases or chemicals. The company uses sustainable manufacturing processes.

The process to make vinyl siding is energy-intensive. It creates byproducts that can harm the environment.

Plastic materials like PVC stay in landfills for many years because they don’t decompose easily. However, you can repair segments of the siding instead of replacing all of it. This keeps waste out of the landfill.

Cost of James Hardie Board Siding vs Vinyl Siding

It’s true that James Hardie siding is more expensive than vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is popular in part because it’s a very economical option. The cost of materials and installation for vinyl siding is lower than for Hardie board.

However, the durability and premium appearance of James Hardie board siding makes it well worth the cost for many homeowners. James Hardie siding comes with a warranty ranging from 30 to 50 years. You can count on James Hardie siding to protect your home and keep it looking beautiful for decades.

You can ask your siding contractor about financing options. Financing lets you start enjoying the benefits of new siding while making manageable payments.

How to Choose Siding for Your Coastal South Carolina Home

When you’re trying to decide between vinyl siding or James Hardie siding, you have many factors to consider. Both types of siding have pros and cons. The cost is an important factor, but it’s not the only one.

Durability and weather resistance are very important given the chances of storms and extreme weather in our region.

A low-maintenance product saves you time and stress. The way the siding looks is another important consideration. It affects your enjoyment of your home as well as the resale value if you decide to sell.

Homeowners in the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas are increasingly choosing James Hardie board siding. A siding installation expert can help you decide which type of siding is right for you.

Contract Exteriors Siding Contractors

For your home siding, Contract Exteriors is the trusted choice. We’ve been serving South Carolina homeowners since 2009. We’re the only Elite Preferred James Hardie contractor in Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

We supply and install a full range of vinyl and James hardie board siding.

Contact us today to get a free estimate. Let us help you find the best siding for your home.

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