Fiber Cement Board vs Insulated Vinyl Siding: Which Is Best

A home’s foundation is not just its pillars but also the walls or sidings. They are protecting your family from what’s on the outside. And throughout the century, house walls are developing. Today, we have various options to choose which material to put on our walls.

Choosing the right material for your house wall can be challenging if you don’t know their differences.

Here, we will focus on home walls made of fiber cement board and insulated vinyl siding. We will discuss in detail the difference between these two materials and which suits your home best.

Here’s the ultimate guide on fiber cement board vs insulated vinyl siding, along with some of the alternatives you could consider for your home, as well, whether you’re building a budget 3-bedroom option or something else.

Functions and Benefits

The most evident is that it is critical to protect your property from the weather and ensure the security of your home while also aiding in proper home insulation. Water may enter your property without this overlaying structure, causing severe damage such as mildew or structural issues.

Also, it helps to improve your home’s aesthetic appeal, which is vital in increasing its value if you intend to sell it in the future.

Moreover, it can also help you save money on your electricity bills. A poorly insulated home can cause your heating and cooling equipment to work harder all time, which will automatically raise your power costs.

Insulated Vinyl vs Fiber Cement

Both look excellent and can withstand extreme weather, insects, and temperature. They are two of the most adaptable materials, which have several pros and cons (will be discussed below).

In terms of the cost, durability, and water resistance as compared to other alternatives, they are less expensive, more durable, and more moisture resistant. The two types of sheathing are worth paying a bit extra for something that will last.

beautiful landscaping

Understanding Insulated Vinyl

It is a more advanced version of traditional vinyl siding. On top of the benefits of the standard version, it has a rigid foam backing that increases a home’s energy efficiency by up to 20%. Another advantage of installing this is that it can lessen outside noise from animals, traffic, and other sources.

If you have noisy cats or dogs in your neighborhood, you’ll know you can still get that lovely sleep at night if you install insulated vinyl.

It has long been the most popular choice among homeowners who want to update their exterior. This type comprises polyvinyl chloride (PVC), blended with additional materials for texture and color. And when it is set to the home in such a way that it may expand and adjust freely in response to fluctuating temperatures.

It can survive much longer in locations where there isn’t a lot of rain or a lot of humidity. It has intensified stucco, and it now lasts considerably longer than it used to by adding polymers, making it more flexible and hard to break.

When you go shopping, you may see a range of thicknesses. The material is far more durable, requires less maintenance, with flawless aesthetics, never needs painting, and is less costly.

The installation of this type of overlayer is a cost-effective and efficient way to improve the appearance of the house’s exterior. Many homeowners may find it an intimidating option, yet it is an excellent choice because of its longevity and appearance.

outside of a home

Pros

  • Affordability

One of the most primary reasons is it is cost-effective for many households since it is available at lower initial pricing. Furthermore,  It is also less expensive to install because no painting or caulking is required, and low maintenance cost. It is budget-friendly in the sense that it always has options for you, whether you have a tight or large budget.

  • Resilience and durability

They are designed to last for decades. Because of its resilience and long-lasting nature, the material is an excellent choice for outdoor décor. It is tough by nature due to the materials employed in its construction. This implies that it will not rust, distort,  chip, or corrode. Furthermore, it deters bugs and termites. It is far more durable than its equivalents, making it more preferable to walling material.

  • Customizability

While it comes in various sizes and forms, sheets may be customized to meet specific needs. Furthermore, manufacturers make it in almost every color and texture. It looks considerably nicer and so contributes to your home’s curb appeal.

It’s widely utilized and acceptable in terms of style and appearance. From a distance, it appears to be attractive.

  • Ability to resist moisture and heat

Due to its moisture resistance, it has quickly become a popular choice among homes. This attribute has made it more effective than any other alternative. The rain blocking and drain properties decrease the probability of moisture, mold, and deformation over time. It is not quickly damaged or fractured, and does not rust, and can endure the effects of heavy rain or storm.

The material is also more difficult to ignite and naturally flame retardant since it is mainly made of PVC, which has a chlorine basis. PVC will not usually contribute to the spread of a fire. Because of the low oxygen content, this material extinguishes pretty quickly.

However, when in contact with extreme heat or a flame for an extended time, it will most certainly melt. Even nearby sources of external heat might cause damage.

  • Reduces home heating and cooling costs

The right type that helps you save money on heating and cooling by better insulating your home.

Consider insulated as the most logical strategy to avoid heat leakage between the wall framing. In most cases, insulation is installed between the wall studs. When the studs are joined to the exterior siding, they deplete heat. The insulated joining functions as a protective blanket over the studs, keeping the home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, making it a cost-effective alternative.

  • Colors, textures, and designs availability

There is a large selection of colors, textures, and designs to pick that complement those of wood, stone, and brick can also be used. However, if you want to give more substance to the elements, it is best to employ a color combination. Modern versions are pretty well shielded from UV deterioration, so they retain their structure and color well. The most common styles and colors include clapboard, board-and-batten, thin brick courses, and Dutch Lap.

vinyl siding

  • Portability and Installation

The material is usually light and portable. Because it can be transported in non-commercial vehicles, this quality has made it a popular choice, particularly for small construction personnel.

Installing vinyl will help you reduce the amount of exterior repair you do. If you choose to do it yourself, you should be better prepared and have a complete grasp of the installation process.

Because it is lighter than cement and does not require painting, it requires less fuel to transport.

  • Low Maintenance

Its key selling point is the significant reduction in maintenance required when compared to other materials.

Another advantage people prefer this over other materials is its minimal upkeep costs. It can preserve its original forms for years since it is resistant to bugs and ravages like rot. In contrast to other materials, it does not need to be painted. A quick washing with water every once in a while is required to keep it in good condition.:This allows you to save money on maintenance, as opposed to other materials, such as wood, which takes a lot of upkeep.

Cons

  • High vulnerability rate

In severe winds and hail storms, it is somewhat vulnerable to damage. However, with the latest generation of rigid panels to withstand high gusts of up to 240 mph, this can also be a feasible alternative.

  • Not so eco-friendly

It’s a non-reusable material since it comprises PVC, generates harmful dioxins when scorched, and discharges significant paint-related pollutants into the environment.

Fiber Siding Cement

It is often known as Hardiplank or Hardie board; it is fashioned into long planks or shingles and erected similarly to wooden products by nailing attachments to the house’s façade.

The material is an excellent example of combining natural materials and innovative engineering results in a unique walling material. The resultant panels are made from a sand, cement, and polyose fiber composite that has been blended with water, waxes, and resins. The fabric is next autoclaved, which is a process in which the mixture is exposed to carefully regulated steam, which pushes the material into its final form.

Pros

  • Long-term investment

Many people say that fiber-cement wall panels can last for over a half-century. The most practical aspect, though, is that it is pretty pricey but long-lasting. However, it is a bit more costly than the latter.

  • Resilience and durability

When it solidifies, it becomes an object resistant to fire, insects, water, hail, wind, or flying debris. Better still, it is fire resistant, and some manufacturers offer a limited transferable warranty. It also looks like wood, but termites won’t consume it, and it adds an extra layer of fire safety to your property. For better results, it should be painted presently, much like wood siding. But in terms of pricing, they are somewhat more expensive than the latter, and weight is some factor.

Furthermore, it aids in the prevention of hail and rain damage as well as cracking. It is the most outstanding equivalent for painted wood, yet it will never be harmed by fire, natural disasters, or termites.

They are more durable than vinyl counterparts, come in several sizes, and can be painted whatever color you like. Because you cannot patch vinyl, it has to be replaced in sheets. While fiberboard can be quickly fixed, caulked, or replaced if something goes wrong.

  • Customizability

Fiber panels are also manufactured in sheet form. Because it can be molded and cut into many different boards, you will have several options for width, vertical vs. horizontal, varied textures, and colors.

In general, it is the market’s fastest-growing walling product. The first step in installing it into your wall is to remove all previous panels entirely and, if absolutely required, all trim boards. They may be painted whatever color you like, or they can be purchased pre-finished with more extended paint assurance. What’s more, it’s non-combustible and available in a range of designs and quality levels.

They are used as a protective cover, side/eave lining, and tile underlay on decks and in ditches. If you want to have a low-maintenance house, having this is one of the simplest ways.  It is solid, highly paint-resistant, and does not expand or contract.

  • Designs

Cement flex, an eco-friendly alternative. Most preferred material by prominent architects and designers to form imaginative designs while remaining environmentally aware.

Make sure to read our articles on single phase to 3 phase converters, converting watts to amps, zero waste life as well our article on utility sinks.

Cons

  • Dusty

Because the main ingredients are cement and fiber, there is a significant concentration of sawdust. Sawdust absorbs practically everything, especially water. As a result, the first layer of cladding closest to the ground, maybe more in higher moisture conditions, as well as other high moisture places, will eventually begin to soak up water like a sponge. It doesn’t take long once it turns mushy.

  • Weighty and fragile

It’s pretty hard to work with and very weighty. Very fragile, if not handled upright at all times, it will snap on quickly. It’s only available in 12″ lengths, which is why it’s so hefty; even at 12″ sizes, it’ll snap in a split second.

  • Requires specific saw blade

Aside from the fragility and weight, it’s a pain to cut and not cut with a knife or shears. Although it is not as difficult to cut, it does fly through your saw blades and is quite dusty. It’s also difficult to attach to walls. Every nail you use must have a pre-drilled hole in the siding, or it will damage the siding. That is to say. Even with pre-drilling, there will still be some accidental breakage.

  • Absorbs moisture if unsealed

During the winter, a daily melting/freezing cycle, the paneling will absorb part of the runoff moisture. Even if the backside is primed, moisture would still be trapped, creating a massive water catch if not sealed.  Even if the moisture level is low, the damage is significant and visible.

Because it cannot be sealed at the end joints, house insulation is a required pre-installation process. When the ends are not completed and sealed, the home is subject to dampness.

  • Complex installation

It’s nearly complicated for one person to install due to the weight and overall flimsiness of the material. And installation needs the use of a specific saw blade.

  • Fades

After some time, the surface begins to fade, and you’ll need to repaint it when the impacts of nature begin to appear.

  • Increases initial costs

Special saw blades and other workforce are only two of the numerous considerations contributing to the installation’s upfront cost. Labor expenses are higher since delivering and installing need more personnel. The price might be two to three times that of vinyl.

The bottom line is that this option provides a layer of fire safety to your home’s covered areas. In some cases, this can be a significant advantage.

The cons, in my opinion, outways the pros. For example, it is more costly than its equivalent. Because of its weight and being somewhat more challenging to cut, it may cost more to install. It may decay like wood without maintenance, but it takes longer.

The benefits are that it lasts a long time and requires little maintenance. It is classified as a masonry product by insurance providers. It has ten years or more lifespan with no care if correctly placed with flashing and painted and caulked. It will even last a lifetime if properly maintained.

How Long Do Both Last Outside?

Any construction that is built and properly maintained can have an indefinite lifespan. Externally, vinyl will need to be changed after around 30 years to preserve resilience to the weather. It is mainly destroyed by UV radiation after many years. Brittleness is a typical failure mode; it will begin to break and lose its resilience. It will fracture if it is affected.

Fiber siding cement will last a lifetime. However, you need to repaint it every 5–15 years. Paint deteriorates when exposed to the elements and UV radiation.

What is the Average Price?

Vinyl does not have a predetermined price. Prices will vary.  Suppliers determine the overall cost and are sometimes reasonably different from one consumer to the next. If this is a one-time purchase, go with a reputable brand and ensure that the thickness is 0.44.

Vinyl is less expensive at roughly $250 per 100 square feet, whereas fiberboard is more expensive at $400 per 100 square feet. Bear in mind that these are trade estimates, and prices may and will change regularly. There is an estimated cost from the housing business range. The numbers are from $4.50 to $9 per area unit or $5,600 to $11,250 for 1,250 external square feet, and they always vary.

Painting

There are several colors, profiles, and textures to select for your chosen wall. You need to paint anything prone to water and moisture.

Paint helps shed water, preventing water from accumulating, settling on it, and allowing rot to form and eat away at your wood. They recommend that you pant 4″ up on the backside. That is because water from rain and snow can get inside and cause it to deteriorate due to dry wrought.

Painting Vinyl

It has paint specifically for this purpose. It is best to carefully follow the instructions and adequately prepare the surface to ensure proper adherence. But don’t expect it to last as long as the walling. I’m sure you’ll need to repaint it in a few years. It is, however, a less expensive option than replacing siding entirely.

Before painting, get a broom or feather duster to clean it. Remove all bird droppings and anything else on it. If you power wash it, wash it from the top down because you don’t want water getting into the siding. Choose the best paint. As for me, I don’t use a dark color as dark draws the sun and heat and will warp the siding if it is too dark; light colors, tans, and green olive color are acceptable.

But because it expands and shrinks often, the paint eventually—inevitably—peels off in lengthy strange chunks, leaving the piece looking like a shredded mess.

The painting necessitates precise attention to detail; the smaller the surface, the less chance for error. If you are unsure about completing the task yourself, always search for a contractor who will complete the job professionally. But, if you are confident in your painting ability, it’ll save you money.

Painting Cement Fiber Boards

Painting this type of house wall is pretty straightforward, and its paint can endure weather for up to fifteen years. However, you may install an already painted board. Painted fiberboards looks like a wood wall in appearance. It’s strong, has good impact resistance, and won’t decay.

FC boards are manufactured in factories and are often painted throughout the manufacturing process. The paint is applied uniformly and baked into the fibers, making it highly durable while saving time when painting it.

Other Alternatives

Stucco

When it comes to fire, stucco has an advantage since it is fire resistant. But if you don’t install stucco correctly, troublesome things can happen, such as water coming into the wall without a way out, rotting away your sheathing and portions of your frame. Stucco, like vinyl, is a superior insulator. As a result, having a stucco façade naturally cools the house, lowering the frequency with which the air conditioner is used.

Wooden Walls

Although some people like the look of wood siding, it is less adaptable, more hard to install, and does not provide the same value, cost, and benefits.

Brick Walls

These days, brick is mainly used to cover up wood. A brick home would be costly to build. Either that or it’s brick over a block, although it’s usually brick over wood and sheathing. It looks great, doesn’t need to be painted, and lasts a long time, but periodically requires expensive re-pointing.

[FAQ]

What was the main problem with fiber board cement?

The major drawback is the weight, as well as the initial and upfront cost and technical installation. If you decide on FC, be sure you know how to put it up. There’s a craziness about it. For example, behind each joint, you must attach a steel flashing piece. There’s no need for caulking.

What to look for when choosing a veneer?

It depends on the type of siding you have. Check out the life expectancy, then about how long you’ve lived in your home to get an excellent objective idea of whether or not it’s time to replace it. There are specific techniques to extend the life that can delay the cost for years.

Before making a purchase, you should think about a few things.

Cracks or dents are an obvious sign that your siding needs require replacement. Mold or fungus growing on your property are indications of leakage. Everything has a life cycle, and wall covering is no exception. If you begin to see the effects of the atmosphere, it is evident that a patchwork is needed.

Consider the material first, then the quality and how long it will endure. Most importantly, how does it interact with its surroundings? Durability, fashion, installation, and, of course, pricing are the next factors to be considered.

You may get an idea of what has to be done through these. However, because the work is pricey, it is usually best to contact a specialist.

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