Vinyl Siding vs. Fiber Cement Siding Cost: Side by Side Comparison

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.

fiber cement lap siding porch

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.

Price Factor

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.

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How to Install Vinyl Siding – DIY Guide

Arguably, the best way to install lap vinyl siding is to get a professional siding contractor to do the job for you. That’s also twice as expensive as the alternative approach of doing it yourself. Since vinyl siding is only moderately challenging to install, at least on simple one-story homes, let’s walk through the process.

What this guide entails:

1. Tools and Materials for hanging siding
2. Insulation
3. Removing Old Siding
4. Quality Window and Door Trim
5. Preliminary Steps for Hanging Siding
6. Guide for Hanging Siding Pieces
7. Wrapping Up

Tools and Materials For Hanging Siding

The must have tools include:

  • Hammer – for fastening all pieces
  • Tin Snips – for cutting all pieces
  • Level – for aligning pieces horizontally and vertically
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk line – ensures material is on a level line
  • Ladder(s)

via VinylSiding.org

Additional tool considerations:

  • Speed square – marking pieces with straight edge or as miter square for marking angled cuts, also as a protractor for measuring roof pitch
  • Circular Saw – alternative tool to tin snips, need to use a proper blade
  • Saw Horse – if using a circular saw
  • Stud Finder – to locate the optimal place for nails that hang siding
  • (Do not use) A Nail Gun – Siding is hung, not tightly fastened to walls
  • Pencil and paper – for notes along the way
  • Another human – Not really a tool, but this isn’t a project you can do alone, get a friend to help

Materials:

  • Nails
  • Housewrap – also known as underlayment, provides moisture barrier, and sheathing over exterior walls
  • Siding system – which usually includes:
  • 12 foot siding panels (of your choice)
  • J-channel – often 12 ft. in length, trim pieces used for inside corners and around window, doors, etc.
  • Utility channel – also known as utility trim or undersill (often used under windows)
  • Corner moldings – also known as outside corner posts
  • Starter strips – where to start all walls that will receive siding
  • Drip Caps – additional pieces placed along top surfaces of doorways and windows.

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