When comparing fiber cement and vinyl siding, the fiber-cement might prove to be a better choice if not for one thing: the significant price gap. Vinyl siding is a lower-cost choice for so Siding project in Ottawa, plus it has a few other qualities that just might put it on an equal footing with fiber-cement siding.
Vinyl siding is always less expensive than fiber-cement siding both in terms of the product and labor costs since it can be installed faster.
Vinyl is far thinner than HardiePlanks at between 0.040 and .046 inches thick. This means that vinyl siding is about 2 1/2 times thinner than HardiePlank.
HardiePlank is significantly thicker than vinyl siding. HardiePlank averages between 5/16- and 1/4-inch thick.
HardiePlank is difficult to burn. James Hardie Industries considers HardiePlank and all of its fiber-cement products to not be “explosive or flammable.” HardiePlank is only considered to be fire-resistant, not fireproof.
Vinyl is more affected by fire and extreme heat. Vinyl siding is treated with fire retardant, but this only retards or slows down the spread of fire. Houses with vinyl siding neighboring a burning house will badly warp in response to the adjacent heat. Often, a burning house will affect an adjacent house with vinyl siding. Barbecue grills set too closely to vinyl siding will warp and distort the siding.
Texture and Realism
Because HardiePlank is thicker, it offers deeper texturing than vinyl siding. HardiePlank’s thickness allows for deep embossing, and as a result, it looks closer to real wood than vinyl siding. At the same time, fiber-cement siding’s embossing is uniform enough that it will rarely be mistaken for real wood.
Vinyl Siding is too thin to allow for the deep textures found on HardiePlank or real wood for that matter.
HardiePlank and vinyl siding are both very durable, surpassing wood lap siding (which needs regular painting) and Cedar Shakes (which needs regular treatment).
Both HardiePlank and vinyl siding have little to zero appeal to destructive insects, mainly carpenter ants and termites. Birds that eat insects are rarely interested in either product because neither product harbors the insects that appeal to woodpeckers.
HardiePlank, being essentially a long, thin sheet of concrete, will crack upon impact. HardiePlank will not warp or melt.
Vinyl siding can become damaged when impacted by a lawnmower or shovel. Freezing temperatures make vinyl siding more prone to cracking. Heat will warp it. Place a barbecue too close to vinyl siding and it will be warped beyond repair. Typically, panel replacement is the only fix for warped vinyl siding.
At the same time, vinyl siding is far more flexible than fiber-cement siding, so it can bend without breaking or cracking.