As you consider a home exterior siding project, one of the most important questions to answer for yourself is, what siding option is best for your home — cedar siding or fiber cement siding? While both siding materials have their benefits, you’ll want to weigh each option against your specific needs for flexibility, choices, personal style, budget and more.
Here at JD Hostetter & Associates, we understand the value and satisfaction of having a home exterior that looks beautiful, protects your investment, and makes you proud of your home. And we appreciate how useful it is to be knowledgeable about your options when it comes to remodeling your home’s exterior in the way that suits you best. So, here are some practical facts to help you understand the difference between cedar siding and fiber cement siding, so you can choose which is right for your home.
How Each Siding Is Made
Cedar siding is a natural wood siding made from either red or white cedar, both native trees in the United States. It is a popular wood for home building because it is among the more durable natural woods. Cedar siding often takes the form of horizontal lap panels, shingles or shakes.
Fiber cement siding is a man-made home building material consisting of sand, cement and cellulose fibers. This material can be shaped into siding planks and shingles and is highly durable, making it a popular choice for home construction.
Appearance and Style
Both cedar siding and fiber cement siding offer homeowners flexibility in design and appearance.
Cedar siding’s aesthetic advantages include:
- Can be painted or stained, and the grain can still be seen and appreciated
- Comes in many styles including lap siding, bevel, shakes or shingles
- Both modern and rustic looks can be achieved
Fiber cement siding also has many aesthetic advantages:
- Comes either in pre-painted colors for convenient installation, or primed and ready to paint for a more customized look
- Can be used to create many looks, such as lap, clapboard, shingle and board-and-batten
- Effectively mimics the appearance of wood grain
- Can give either a smooth modern finish or a rustic look
An important element of doing any home improvement project, your budget can give you a good idea of what type of siding to use. Some factors to consider include:
- Neither cedar siding nor fiber cement are the least expensive option. Vinyl siding is least expensive, but it is also less attractive and less durable than the other two forms of siding.
- Fiber cement siding runs a few dollars less per square foot than cedar siding, and requires more labor to install because it is heavy and, hence, durable.
- Cedar siding is more costly to maintain than fiber cement siding because it needs to be treated or painted more often.
Durability and Maintenance
When it comes to durability and maintenance, fiber cement siding has many definite advantages over cedar siding.
- Because cedar siding is made with natural wood, it is subject to the effects of wind, rain, ice, snow and hail. Fiber cement siding is designed to be long-lasting and resists weather damage better than cedar.
- Cedar is subject to termites, woodpeckers and other pests that love natural wood. These pests don’t eat fiber cement.
- Cedar siding must be repainted or re-treated every 3-5 years, while fiber cement siding, especially James Hardie® siding products, can go for many years without needing to be repainted. In fact, it simply needs to be washed with a hose every so often — saving you time, effort and expenses.
Protection and Safety
When it comes to choosing a home siding option, it’s important to consider safety issues. Damage due to fire and water can be a major concern. So, how do cedar siding and fiber cement siding compare?
- Because it’s a natural wood, cedar burns easily, especially if it has not been treated to resist flames.
- By contrast, fiber cement siding is rated as non-combustible. It doesn’t burn or melt when exposed to flames and high heat.
- Cedar can also rot when exposed to water damage, while fiber cement siding will never rot.
If making a green choice matters to you, be assured that cedar siding and fiber cement siding are equally eco-friendly. Cedar is a natural wood and is therefore biodegradable, while fiber cement’s makeup (sand, cement, cellulose fibers and water) will not release toxins into the environment, making it a sustainable option. And because it’s so durable, fiber cement siding has less of a footprint than other, less durable manmade materials, like vinyl.
The Bottom Line
As you choose the right siding option for your home, be sure to consider all the elements that can affect your decision for years to come. Consider long-term maintenance needs and expenses. Remember that although cedar siding can be a beautiful option, it also requires careful, frequent maintenance to retain its durability and attractiveness.
Fiber cement siding, by comparison, is less costly to install and less costly to maintain. It is simple to care for, long-lasting and attractive, mimicking the look of real wood without being subject to the damages that real wood can incur.
Your Home Exterior Siding Experts
Here at JD Hostetter & Associates, we care about helping you make the right decisions for your home exterior needs. And as a James Hardie® Elite Preferred Contractor, we maintain the high standards of installation, customer service and reliability set by the James Hardie® company. You can rest assured that our expert installation team will make your home look its very best.
Let us answer all your questions about fiber cement siding installation for your home, as well as the full benefits of the amazing James Hardie® warranty — among the best in home construction today.
Contact us now to receive your free siding installation consultation!