Last week, we discussed some signs that your siding may need to be replaced. This upgrade is one of the most important ones you’ll make as a homeowner, so choosing the right siding for your home is not something you should rush into. This week, let’s review the advantages and drawbacks of two of the most common siding materials you can choose from: vinyl and fiber cement siding.

Overview: Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is made from PVC, which is one of the most common and durable plastics in the world.  And vinyl siding is the most commonly installed type of siding in the US. It’s available in smooth and textured finishes, and comes in varying widths. Vinyl siding can be installed horizontally or vertically.

Vinyl Siding Advantages

This durable siding option is weather-proof and fade-resistant. Vinyl siding is also a very affordable option; both the materials and the installation are less costly than other types of siding. Because vinyl can be finished in a variety of textures and shades, including wood-like grains, homeowners are able to choose the look that corresponds to their home’s architectural and aesthetic qualities.

In addition to these benefits,  vinyl is a very low-maintenance siding option. It doesn’t require any regular upkeep beyond washing every so often, and newer models are fade-resistant. It also doesn’t chip away the way paint on wood siding does.

Vinyl Siding Disadvantages

There truly aren’t many disadvantages to vinyl siding. As Michael Franco, writing for points out, “Vinyl siding will eventually fade, but usually only slightly. If you’re not happy with the less-than-vibrant color, consider adding a coat of a latex exterior paint, which flexes in keeping with the expansion and contraction of the siding.”

Another potential disadvantage is that vinyl siding is, after all, a plastic product. Some homeowners living in older or historical homes may find this option to be too modern to fit in with their home or neighborhood aesthetics. Vinyl siding will look noticeably different amongst homes outfitted with wood siding, so this is an important consideration if you’re living in a historic home or neighborhood.

Overview: Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is made with wood pulp and cement. It can take the form of long pieces of siding or little shingles. Shingles come in a variety of shapes and can be stained or painted many different shades or colors. It is also available prepainted.

Fiber Cement Siding Advantages

Fiber cement siding is a durable option, and will effectively protect your home from the elements. Because it contains wood pulp, this option mimics the look of real wood very effectively. For this reason, if you live in a neighborhood with a historic designation, it’s likely that you’ll be permitted to install fiber cement siding.

Fiber Cement Siding Disadvantages

Fiber cement can absorb moisture, so over time it’s possible for this moisture to make its way into your walls. This option also requires more maintenance over time than vinyl siding, as it will eventually need repainting and caulking.

Both vinyl and fiber cement siding are good options for residing your home. Which is right for you? If you’re still unsure, we’re here to answer any questions you may have!