Siding Showdown: Vinyl vs. Hardie Board

August 24, 2023

It’s a battle for exterior cladding supremacy: Vinyl vs. Hardie Board! These two titans have long dominated the siding arena, each with their passionate fans and devoted users.

If you’re weighing your siding options and can’t decide between vinyl or Hardie board, this match-up will help you compare the key factors. Let’s break down their durability, maintenance needs, aesthetic capabilities, and overall value, naming a decisive winner for specific home styles and budgets.

Here at Contract Exteriors, we have extensive experience designing, supplying and installing both vinyl and Hardie board sidings. We’ll give you an unbiased insider’s look at the pros and cons so you can make the optimal choice for your home’s exterior. Let the siding showdown begin!

Durability Comparison

Long-lasting performance is arguably the most critical factor when selecting exterior cladding. Durability impacts maintenance costs, replacement frequency, and your home’s weather resistance over time.

Vinyl Siding

With proper installation and care, quality vinyl siding will last upwards of 20-30 years. It resists rotting, warping, and insect damage that can plague wood siding alternatives. Modern vinyl formulations and protective chemical additives prevent UV damage and discoloration.

However, cheap or lightweight vinyl is more prone to cracking, buckling, and puncturing that requires repairs. 

Hardie Board Siding

As a fiber cement product, Hardie board offers very high impact and weather-resistance. Properly installed HardiePlank lap siding can last 30-50 years with minimal upkeep. The material is fireproof, resists rot and insect infiltration, and withstands high winds, rain, and hail. Hardie board stands up to the elements like few other sidings.

However, the surface can still chip if hit by objects. Avoiding damage during transport and installation is key to maximizing Hardie board’s unparalleled longevity.

Maintenance Requirements

Lower maintenance requirements save homeowners time, money, and hassle over the years. Let’s see how vinyl and Hardie board compare on upkeep.

Vinyl Siding Maintenance

Vinyl is virtually maintenance-free once installed. Simple occasional washing is sufficient to keep your vinyl fresh and clean long-term. It never needs repainting or restaining. Due to its lightweight, vinyl is simple for homeowners to install, replace, or repair. Any warped or damaged panels can be swapped out to restore the facade quickly.

However, lighter vinyl may dent more easily, requiring replacement of individual damaged boards. Heavier premium vinyl requires less frequent repairs.

Hardie Board Maintenance

One of the top advantages of fiber cement siding is the minimal required maintenance even decades after installation. An occasional low-pressure rinse keeps the Hardie board looking like new. It never requires restaining, repainting, or refinishing over its long service life.

But minor chips and cracks in the surface can occur. Inspecting for damage and prompt touch up every 3-5 years helps prevent deterioration. Due to its heavy weight, repairing or replacing Hardie Plank boards is more difficult than with vinyl siding.

Aesthetic Capabilities

Curb appeal is a major factor for home buyers and owners. How do these two contenders stack up aesthetically?

Vinyl Siding Styles

Vinyl siding now comes in styles that closely mimic traditional wood siding. From Victorian fish scales to rustic cedar shakes, vinyl’s range of textures and patterns is vast. Seamless corners, contrasting trims, and varied widths add further design versatility.With dozens of color options from neutral creams to bold shades, vinyl siding can match any architectural style. Our design specialists help select colors and finishes to achieve your dream home aesthetic.

However, to the discerning eye, vinyl still lacks the truly authentic look of real wood grain that fiber cement siding can achieve. But it costs far less to get traditional styles.

Hardie Board Siding Styles

Both HardiePlank lap siding and shingle shake capture the handsome look of real wood without the maintenance. With realistic grains and textures, you have to touch the Hardie board to know it’s not true cedar or pine.

HardieTrim boards offer built-in corner boards, frieze, rakes, fluted casings and other accents to complete the aesthetic. Any historical architectural style can be authentically replicated in durable, low-maintenance Hardie.

Fiber cement does cost more than vinyl to purchase, but the unrivaled realism is worth the investment for many homeowners. For high-end remodeling or new construction, HardieBoard is unmatched in replicating wood’s classic beauty without the upkeep.

Costs and Value Comparison

Affordability and overall value for your investment are also key considerations when selecting siding. Let’s break down the cost factors.

Vinyl Siding Costs

Vinyl is the most budget-friendly siding option in most cases. Installed costs for basic vinyl siding and trim boards start around $6-8 per square foot. Premium vinyl with thicker planks bumps costs closer to $10 per square foot installed.

While vinyl lacks the full richness of real wood, the affordability and minimal lifetime maintenance provide excellent overall value. Its versatility to embody different styles is also a major plus.

Hardie Board Siding Costs

As a premium siding choice, HardiePlank lap siding costs $9-12 per square foot installed on average. Complex architectural designs can run even higher.

But over decades of near zero maintenance, the unmatched durability and authentic wood-like styles make it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners. For resale value, you can’t beat the aesthetic quality Hardie provides.

And the Winner is…

So who wins this siding showdown? The answer depends on your specific home, budget and needs.

For cost-conscious homeowners wanting good durability and variety, vinyl is likely the best value. The affordability and easy maintenance make it ideal for rental properties or starter homes. The classic styles still bring curb appeal without breaking the bank.

However, for those wanting supreme longevity and natural wood aesthetics, Hardie board reigns as the champion. Its durability and breathtaking realism make it the gold standard for luxury homes and historic renovations. The value is clear in never having to replace or refinish exterior siding again.

Ultimately, the right siding comes down to your individual priorities. The specialists at Contract Exteriors offer free consultations to determine the optimal siding for your home. Whether vinyl, Hardie board or another material, we have you covered, from product selection through professional installation for lasting satisfaction.

If you are in need of new siding, we are currently offering a can’t-beat siding sweepstakes where you can enter to win $15,000 off a James Hardie Lap Siding Reside project. There’s no better time to start your project.

Contact us today to start planning your dream siding project!



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