While vinyl siding is among the two most popular options of siding in America, fiber cement siding continues to grow in market share. In a heads up comparison between the two, they both have strong and weak points.
According to JamesHardie.com, fiber cement wins in a landslide over vinyl. But let’s take a more neutral approach to this ongoing battle.
Top Comparison Factors
There are several factors to consider in what makes for quality siding. Some are weighted stronger than other considerations, but it’s up to you to decide what you value most. Here are the factors that are often considered most important.
The bottom line, or total cost of siding installed, is often the chief consideration for most homeowners. Vinyl is well known as the most economical siding available.
The basic, hollow-back, version costs just $3.50 to $7.00 per sq. ft. to install. Premium vinyl or insulated foam-back vinyl will run $5.00 to $10.00+ per sq. ft. installed.
Expect to pay between $8.00 to $12.00 per sq. ft. for the installation of standard fiber cement siding.
For a typical American home, the average total cost can range from $8,000 and $20,000 for standard vinyl siding. — Compare that to fiber cement which on the same home will cost $14,000 to $28,000 for full installation.
Total Cost Verdict: based strictly on which option is more budget friendly, vinyl would be a clear winner.
James Hardie brought HardiePlank fiber cement siding to the world in the 1980s and was unchallenged as the market leader for nearly a decade.
Once homeowners realized that fiber cement siding is a legitimate alternative to wood siding, without some of the wood’s hassles, the demand for fiber cement has increased and spurred competition among brands.
Allura fiber cement siding is a top challenger to HardiePlank. Our comparison guide is a one-stop pricing and pros and cons reference for homeowners:
Prices for materials including soffit, trim and accessories for both brands
Installation costs — Total Cost Installed (Materials, Labor, Warranty) Per Sq. ft.
Examples of Total Job Costs to Expect to Install Fiber Cement on A Typical House
Expected Return on Investment (ROI) or Cost to Value Return
Allura vs. HardiePlank Pros and Cons — Product Styles and Options Compared Side by Side
Alternative Fiber Cement and Engineered Wood Siding Brands
Allura Fiber Cement vs. HardiePlank Lap Siding
Allura was originally made by CertainTeed under another name. That explains the marketing strategy behind it.
Rather than come in at a lower cost to compete with HardiePlank, Allura is marketed as premium building material that is worth paying more for.
Allura’s 50-year warranty vs. HardiePlank’s 30-year warranty gives that claim credibility.
Allura vs. James Hardie Pricing
Here is a breakdown of costs for plank siding and shingle/shake siding plus accessories and installation for both brands.
The range of costs for each line is due to differences in product pricing and the variety of sellers. Examples of complete materials and installation pricing for typical homes are found below:
Average total cost for James Hardie siding materials and installation supplies: $3.35
Did you Know?
HardiePlank makes a premium fiber cement product called Artisan Luxury fiber cement lap siding.
It is available in limited areas and in a limited range of colors and styles. It is 5/8” thick, twice as thick as 5/16” standard HardiePlank and Allura siding. The cost is $6.00-$9.00 per square foot for the siding and trim. Installed costs range from $14-$20 per square foot.
Did you know? James Hardie uses a slightly different formulation for products sold in climates where freezing is possible. Additives protect the material from freeze/thaw expansion and contraction cycles that can cause cement to crack.
Products for northern climates are labeled HZ5. Southern-climate and West Coast materials are labeled HZ10. Not surprisingly, this is called the HardieZone System.
The look, feel and performance of the boards are the same. If you’re buying locally, the seller should only have products appropriate for your climate, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Total Cost to Install (Materials, Labor, Permitting, and Warranty):
Allura costs slightly more to install because it is heavier and thicker. Fiber cement installation cost has become more competitive in recent years as more siding contractors become familiar with fiber cement and offer installation.
Expect to pay $7.00-$11.50 per square foot for the installation based on the level of expertise of the installing crew and the complexity of the job.
All fiber cement manufacturers recommend installation by a licensed siding contractor using a crew that is experienced installing its products.
You can always find cheaper installation in the $6.50-$7.50 per square foot installed range, but your results might suffer.
Average fiber cement total installation cost: $8.00-$9.50 per square foot
Did you know? If installing house wrap is part of your home siding project, the installed cost of house wrap will be $1.15 to $1.50 per square foot based on the installation factors discussed above. — This cost is normally included as part of total cost in all professional and warrantied high-end installations