I am looking to put new siding on. I live in the mid-west and need something good for adverse conditions and so on. I know that vinyl has certain advantages, like no painting and durability. I am also looking at Hardie plank - which does require painting. Is what better than the other in my climate? What about the cost of vinyl versus hardie?
Kyle M. ~ Des Moines, Iowa
Kyle, either HardiePlank siding or a premium vinyl siding panel could be a good choice for your house, although there are several differences in both cost and installation that you should be aware of before making your final selection. There are also some aesthetic issues for you to consider as well, because both Hardie products and vinyl siding are available in many different styles, textures, and colors. In order to make an apples-to-apples comparison, let's look at HardiePlank's 8 1/4-inch horizontal lap siding and Certainteed's Mainstreet 8" Horizontal Vinyl panel.
HardiePlank Lap Siding
HardiePlank is a fiber cement siding product that is extremely durable, has an embossed wood grain pattern and comes pre-primed from the manufacturer. When installing HardiePlank siding, you blind nail the board just like a traditional wood lap siding, but cutting and nailing the siding can be a bit more difficult because the fiber cement is dense and oftentimes brittle. The siding boards come in 12-foot lengths that cost about $8 per stick, and of course the factory primed products do need to be painted on site.
Certainteed Mainstreet Vinyl Siding
This siding product is a premium grade of vinyl siding that should perform way better, but costs more, than most entry level vinyl products. This type of vinyl siding is a good comparison to the HardiePlank, because of its similar aesthetic qualities. The Mainstreet siding series offers a horizontal panel that has an 8-inch lap reveal, an embossed wood grain, and is ready to install right out of the box. Of course, most vinyl products do not need to be painted, but they do need to be installed over a flat layer of exterior rigid insulation. The panels come in 12-foot lengths, and Certainteed's Mainstreet series has a beefed up nailing hem and locking mechanism, which the company claims gives the panels a better wind and weather resistance. The siding sells for about $130 per square, which is approximately $10.30 per panel.
Although there are many less expensive vinyl sidings available, they are not going to perform as well as the HardiePlank. If the HardiePlank is beyond your price range, then you should consider Certainteed's fiber cement siding, which looks similar to the HardiePlank but is less expensive ($6.35 per 12-foot stick). In general, I like fiber cement siding better than vinyl siding, especially for its wind and rain resistant qualities. When weighing your siding options, it would probably be good idea to talk to a few siding installers in your area and look at some examples of their finished projects, this way you can see both siding products on actual houses. Good luck with project, and let us know how it comes out!