For many years, homeowners looking for an alternative to wood siding that would last longer and require less care turned to vinyl to cover their homes. A type of molded plastic, vinyl siding has a color that goes straight through the material, so it doesn’t require the same scraping and painting that wood does. Unfortunately, vinyl siding owners found out only too soon that while the material may be low maintenance in some ways, in other ways it’s even more demanding than wood can be. So, what do homeowners choose when they want something that’s going to have the low upkeep of vinyl, but with more durability and a better appearance? Fiber cement siding is the answer.
The Problems with Vinyl
On its surface, vinyl siding seems to be a great alternative to wood. It won’t peel, chip, or fade, and can be cleaned fairly easily with a hose. Unfortunately, while vinyl does have its attributes, it also has a number of drawbacks and disadvantages as well that most homeowners will run into at one point in time or another.
The first issue that most vinyl siding owners face is its appearance. While the material is given a texture to resemble wood, the plastic nature of the planks is clearly obvious right from the road. In addition to have a heavy molded underside, vinyl also has an overlapping seam that emphasizes the thinness of each plank; there is no mistaking vinyl siding for anything other than what it is.
Vinyl also only performs well long term in very moderate climates. Houses with a vinyl façade that are located in cold climates are likely to find the siding cracking and developing holes over time, as extreme cold weather can cause the plastic to become brittle, breaking with even moderate impact.
On the other hand, vinyl siding installed in hot climates may actually begin to melt and warp as the plastic heats up in the sunlight. Direct hits from things like tree limbs, hailstones, and stray baseballs may cause the siding to crack if enough force is used.
All of these cracks and holes eventually lead homeowners to the need for replacement planks. Because vinyl is a molded material, however, it can be extremely difficult to match the new planks to the old. This is because dye lots can vary subtly from one to the next; trying to combine two lots on one wall can give your home a patchy appearance. And because vinyl can’t be painted, it’s difficult to conceal the repairs.
A Better Alternative
Most homeowners ultimately chose vinyl siding for their homes because they wanted a lower maintenance alternative to wood. Fiber cement siding is a lower maintenance and longer lasting durable alternative to both wood and vinyl.
Made of a mixture of sand, cement and cellulose fibers, fiber cement siding is incredibly dense and durable. It won’t crack, form holes, or rot when exposed to moisture even when used in extreme climates. Since FC siding is very stable, the finish looks better longer. Flexible substrates like wood cause cracking, peeling and cheeping.
Fiber cement planks are also available in a wider range of styles and colors than vinyl siding. This enables you to create a custom appearance for your home whether its style is contemporary or Victorian. Fiber cement planks are made to have a wooden appeal, so they have a more realistic texture and appearance than vinyl. They’re even available in natural-looking wood stain colors, so you can get a more realistic wood look for rural or rustic homes. And with architectural panels that have a great variety of textures, including smooth, it’s possible to trim out windows or create a sleek, modern façade for your home that vinyl or wood is incapable of producing.
Fiber cement siding is also more environmentally responsible and sustainable than vinyl. While vinyl is a type of plastic that both releases VOCs when produced, and cannot be easily disposed of, fiber cement can contain both natural and sustainable materials, which are more easily broken down, so it’s not going to end up in landfills for centuries the way that vinyl will.
Make a Better Choice
If you’re looking for a naturally durable, low maintenance material with a lot of style and options, don’t turn to vinyl siding – look to fiber cement to do the job instead. Fiber cement siding is the best alternative not only to wood siding, but to vinyl siding as well, making it the ideal choice for homeowners who want to invest in their home’s longevity and curb appeal. Make the better choice for your home and choose fiber cement siding over vinyl each and every time.