Exterior Design
April 26, 2024

Hardie Board vs Vinyl Siding: A Professional Comparison

Explore a detailed professional comparison between Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding and uncover which siding solution best suits your home.

Deciding on the right siding for your home can feel overwhelming, especially with the myriad of options available. Finding something that not only boosts your home's curb appeal but also offers longevity and fits your budget. The debate between Hardie Board vs vinyl siding is a common dilemma for homeowners, highlighting the need for a choice that balances durability with aesthetics.

Enter Commonwealth Contractors, a beacon for those navigating the complex terrain of home improvement. Our expertise in the Hardie Board vs vinyl siding debate equips us to guide you towards the best decision for your unique home. With a commitment to quality, sustainability, and tailored solutions, we ensure your siding choice enhances your home’s exterior beautifully and efficiently.

Keep reading as we delve deeper into the Hardie Board vs vinyl siding comparison, offering insights that simplify your decision-making process. Whether you're aiming for a modern facelift or a durable shield against the elements, understanding the benefits and considerations of each option will empower you to make an informed choice that you'll be satisfied with for years to come.

What is Hardie Board Siding?

Hardie Board, also known as fiber cement siding, is a remarkably durable composite material made from a mixture of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers. This composition makes it exceptionally resistant to harsh weather, rot, fire, and pests.  Hardie Board often mimics the look of traditional wood siding, offering timeless beauty without wood's frequent maintenance requirements. 

What is Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding is made primarily from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic. It stands out as the most affordable siding option and requires very little maintenance. Available in a vast array of colors and styles, it lets homeowners personalize their home's appearance easily.  Vinyl siding still offers a notable boost in curb appeal and protection compared to bare structures.

Pros and Cons of Hardie Board Vs. Vinyl Siding

Choosing the right siding for your home's exterior is a major decision.  Hardie Board and vinyl siding are two of the most popular options, each offering unique benefits and drawbacks.  Understanding these differences will help you select the siding that best suits your needs and budget.

An infographic of the distinct features for Hardie Board & Vinyl Siding
A Comparison of Features for Hardie Board & Vinyl Siding

Hardie Board


  • Extreme Durability: Hardie Board's fiber cement construction equips it with outstanding resistance to weather conditions, rot, fire, and pests. This robustness ensures your home stands resiliently against the elements.
  • Wood-Like Beauty: It beautifully mimics the look of traditional wood siding, offering a timeless appeal without the constant upkeep associated with real wood. This allows for a classic aesthetic with far less hassle.
  • Long Lifespan: Hardie Board is renowned for its longevity, with the potential to last over 50 years. Such a durable investment protects your home for decades, often accompanied by warranty options that underscore its lasting value.
  • Color Choices: With Hardie Board, your color palette is only limited by your imagination. Its paintable surface welcomes a wide array of colors, including the option for custom shades. Its versatility shines with options like Arctic White, which seamlessly adapts to various styles, enhancing the personal flair of your home.


  • Higher Cost: The superior qualities of Hardie Board come with a higher price tag compared to vinyl, including both the material and installation costs. This makes it a more significant initial investment.
  • Professional Installation Recommended: Due to its heavier weight and the need for specialized cutting and fitting techniques, Hardie Board installation typically requires skilled professionals, potentially adding to the overall cost.

Vinyl Siding


  • Affordability: Vinyl siding stands out as the most budget-friendly siding option, offering a cost-effective solution for homeowners looking to improve their home’s exterior without a substantial financial investment.
  • Low Maintenance: This siding type is easy to clean and demands minimal upkeep, saving time and money on maintenance tasks. Its resilience to rust and rot further reduces long-term care efforts.
  • Style Variety: Available in a wide array of colors, textures, and styles, vinyl siding allows for extensive customization. Homeowners can easily choose a look that complements their home’s design and personal taste.


  • Reduced Durability: While vinyl siding is durable in many respects, it's more prone to issues like cracking, fading, warping, and denting over time, especially under harsh environmental conditions.
  • Weather Sensitivity: Extreme temperatures can make vinyl siding brittle, leading to potential damage. This sensitivity to weather variations can impact its lifespan and appearance, requiring more frequent replacements than some other siding materials.
  • Shorter Lifespan: Vinyl is more prone to cracking, warping, and fading caused by temperature extremes and impacts. 

Energy Efficiency in Siding: Hardie Board vs Vinyl

When choosing siding, energy efficiency is a crucial element that affects both your home's comfort and your utility bills. Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding are both contenders in the home improvement arena, offering distinct paths to enhancing your home's energy performance. Here's a closer look at how each measures up in insulation properties and their impact on energy savings, complete with sources for deeper diving.

Hardie Board

Hardie Board may initially seem underwhelming in its insulation capabilities with an R-value of 0.37, but its true value in energy efficiency shines through adaptability:

  • Insulation Properties: On its own, Hardie Board won’t transform your home's insulation. The game-changer comes when it's paired with insulating sheathing products, elevating your home's insulation levels without compromising durability or aesthetic appeal.
  • Flexible Efficiency: This siding's ability to work hand-in-hand with additional insulation solutions positions it as a versatile choice for those seeking to enhance their home’s energy efficiency, allowing for a customized approach to energy savings.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl Siding enters the scene with a natural advantage—an R-value of 0.61, offering a better start in insulation out of the box. But the benefits extend further:

  • Natural Insulation: Its inherent insulating qualities mean that standard vinyl siding already contributes to a reduction in heat transfer, marking it as a dependable option for those prioritizing energy efficiency.
  • Insulated Vinyl Excellence: For maximum energy savings, insulated vinyl siding is the heavyweight champion. With an R-value between 3.0 and 4.0, it significantly bolsters insulation, leading to notable cuts in heating and cooling expenses. This is particularly advantageous for older homes, where such improvements can have a profound impact.

Hardie Board Siding Vs Vinyl Siding Cost Comparison

Deciding between Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding for your home involves considering their cost, potential return on investment (ROI), and how they can enhance your property's resale value. Here's a simplified comparison with bullet points for easy reading:

an infographic of how siding can benefit house price
The Effect on A House's Price With Hardie Board & Vinyl Siding

Hardie Board Siding

  • Initial Cost: Higher, ranging from $3 to $7 per square foot for installation.
  • ROI: Impressive ROI of 80.5% noted in the 2020 Cost vs. Value report, highlighting its financial savvy for enhancing property value​.
  • Resale Value: Boosts curb appeal significantly with a variety of styles and colors, adaptable to different architectural designs.

Vinyl Siding

  • Initial Cost: Installation costs for vinyl siding vary widely based on the style and quality, ranging from $4 to $12 per square foot. For a typical 2,500-square-foot home, this translates into a total cost range of $10,000 to $30,000, depending on factors such as the home's size and design, the quality and grade of vinyl used, and the complexity of the installation process​.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Vinyl siding adds substantial value to a home, providing an impressive 82% return on investment. This high ROI makes it an attractive option for homeowners looking to enhance their property's market appeal and financial value.
  • Resale Value: The wide selection of colors and patterns available with vinyl siding allows homeowners to easily match their home's style, significantly boosting its curb appeal. 

Environmental Considerations: Hardie Board vs. Vinyl Siding

The impact on the environment is a deciding factor for many homeowners. The choice between Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding leads to which option is more sustainable and eco-friendly. In this discussion, we will explore the environmental considerations of both materials, focusing on their production impact, recyclability, and overall sustainability.

an infographic of the Environmental aspects of siding
The Environmental Aspects of Hardie Board & Vinyl Siding

Hardie Board

  • Production Impact: The creation of Hardie Board is less reliant on fossil fuels compared to vinyl siding, offering a greener footprint right from the manufacturing phase. This reduced dependency not only favors the environment by minimizing carbon output but also positions Hardie Board as a more sustainable choice from the get-go.
  • Recyclability: While not as easily recyclable as some materials, Hardie Board's longevity means it seldom needs replacement, cutting down on waste and the demand for new materials. This compensatory aspect lessens the environmental burden by diminishing the frequency of replacements, thereby offering an indirect benefit in waste management.
  • Sustainability: Its durability and long lifespan mean Hardie Board sidings don't require frequent replacements or repairs, enhancing their sustainable value. This resilience contributes to Hardie Board's standing as a sustainably superior choice, offering a long-term solution that’s kinder to the planet.

Vinyl Siding

  • Production Impact: The production of vinyl siding leans heavily on fossil fuels due to its PVC makeup, leading to higher carbon emissions and a more pronounced environmental footprint. This dependence is a significant drawback, contributing to environmental degradation and making vinyl siding a less eco-friendly option from a production standpoint.
  • Recyclability: The challenges in recycling PVC materials render vinyl siding less favorable on the eco-friendliness scale. However, its durability can somewhat offset the environmental impact by reducing the need for frequent replacements.
  • Sustainability: Despite production concerns, the low maintenance needs and long life of vinyl siding offers a degree of sustainability through minimized life cycle impact.

Installation Process and Time for Hardie Board vs. Vinyl Siding

The installation process of siding is crucial in both new constructions and renovations, directly impacting the project's timeline and overall success. Let's compare the installation nuances and timelines for Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding, considering the complexity, required expertise, and tools based on insights from James Hardie and other relevant sources.

Hardie Board Installation Nuances

Hardie Board siding, renowned for its durability and aesthetic appeal, demands a more intricate installation process compared to vinyl siding:

  • Labor Intensity: Hardie Board installation is labor-intensive due to the siding's heavier weight, necessitating precise cutting to ensure an accurate fit. Specialized tools are required to cut the fiber cement material properly, avoiding damage​.
  • Installation Timeline: A complete installation project ranges from 7 to 14 days, varying with the home's size, architectural complexity, and the contractor's experience level​.
  • Expertise and Manpower: The installation process often requires more manpower and expertise due to its weight and the material's nature. Additionally, proper safety equipment is essential to protect against silica dust produced when cutting the siding​​.

Understanding Vinyl Siding Installation

Vinyl siding, recognized for its ease of installation and maintenance, presents a less complex installation process:

  • Weight and Flexibility: Being lighter and more flexible, vinyl siding can be installed more quickly and easily. The material can be cut with standard tools, and its interlocking design facilitates the alignment and securing process.
  • Installation Timeline: On average, installing vinyl siding takes about 4-7 days, benefiting from reduced labor costs and shortened project duration.
  • Temperature Consideration: Although more straightforward, the installation must account for vinyl's expansion and contraction with temperature changes. Installers need to leave a small space at the end of each panel to accommodate this movement.

Key Differences

  • Time and Complexity: Hardie Board installation is more time-consuming and complex, necessitating specialized tools and greater attention to detail due to its material composition.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Vinyl siding offers a quicker and less complex installation process, making it a more cost-effective choice for those looking to save on labor without compromising durability.

Making the Best Siding Choice for Your Home

Deciding between Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding isn't just about covering your home's exterior; it's a reflection of what you value most. Here's a simplified guide to help you align your choice with your lifestyle, priorities, and aesthetics:

an infographic of how to choose the best suited siding for a house
How to Choose the Best Siding for A Home
  • For Durability Enthusiasts: If you value longevity, Hardie Board stands out. Lasts through the years—offering peace of mind with its resilience against time and weather.
  • When Budget Leads: If cost-effectiveness is key, Vinyl Siding shines. It provides an affordable way to enhance your home's look without a hefty investment, akin to a dependable car that offers convenience without the luxury price tag.
  • Eco-Friendly Choices: If you're leaning towards sustainable living, Hardie Board may resonate with your green heart. Its production is less dependent on fossil fuels, aligning with those small, significant steps toward protecting our planet, much like opting for a reusable water bottle over disposable ones.
  • Aesthetic Preferences: Both materials offer a range of colors and styles. If you're drawn to textures that mimic natural materials, Hardie Board could be your ideal match. If you prefer simplicity and smooth finishes, Vinyl Siding could better suit your taste.

Why Choose Commonwealth Contractors for Your Siding Project?

At Commonwealth Contractors, we work to create lasting partnerships and enhance the beauty and durability of your home. With a legacy grounded in integrity, quality, and collaborative success, we stand out as the premier choice for your siding needs. Here's how we make your project distinctively ours:

an infographic of Commonwealth Contractors Exterior remodeling services
Commonwealth Contractors's Exceptional Exterior Renovation Services
  • Personalized Project Management: Our dedicated team, renowned for their commitment to excellence, brings unparalleled expertise and enthusiasm to your project. We foster open communication and a collaborative spirit from the initial consultation to the final inspection, ensuring your vision is realized flawlessly.
  • Superior Material Selection: Our insistence on using only the finest materials, like Hardie Board and Vinyl Siding, guarantees your home's aesthetics and protection are in elite hands. These choices reflect our dedication to blending beauty with resilience.
  • Sustainability at Heart: In our mission to contribute positively to our planet, we offer eco-friendly siding options. These selections promise to reduce your home's environmental impact without compromising on the design or longevity of your siding.
  • Tailored Aesthetic Appeal: Recognizing the unique character of each home, we specialize in bespoke siding solutions designed to complement your home's specific architectural style and your personal tastes, ensuring it shines in your neighborhood.
  • Value without Compromise: We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional value through competitive pricing. Our approach ensures that affordability does not come at the expense of material quality or craftsmanship.
  • Investing in Your Home's Future: Partnering with Commonwealth Contractors for your siding project means investing in your home's longevity, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. Our work is crafted not just to meet your current needs but to provide enduring protection and beauty.

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