Five reason why you should choose James Hardie Fiber Cement over Vinyl Siding

1. Expansion & Contraction

Because vinyl siding expands when heated and contracts when it cools, meaning it will actually move on your walls, great care has to be used to properly install it. VSI, the Vinyl Siding Institute, instructs that vinyl siding has to be nailed properly to allow the panels to move to compensate for changes in temperature. The diagram below illustrates proper nail placement. Aside from the precise 90° angle, each nail has to be placed so that its head is at least 1/32 of an inch (about the thickness of a dime) away from the siding. Vinyl Siding has to be nailed by hand because a nail gun cannot regulate the spacing required. One wrong placement will cause the panel to bite, which results in buckled siding.

Given the fact that hundreds, often thousands of nails are used to hang vinyl siding, the odds are very slim ever nail will be hammered to meet the VSI specifications?

2. High Winds

Vinyl is applied over a home’s original siding, which is not the ideal substrate to install any type of cladding, mainly because old wood tends to be soft, which can cause the nails to pull out when the house is buffeted by winds.

All siding should be fastened every 16” in order for it to be properly anchored to the stud. In remodeling projects, since there is already sheathing installed, this makes finding the studs impossible, unless all the wood siding is removed.

Vinyl clapboard siding overlaps at each horizontal seam, between ¾ -1” creating a vulnerable point of entry for gusts to lift the siding and pull it from the home. This is why you see vinyl siding torn away from structures after storms.

3. Fading

One of the most talked-about complaints amongst homeowners is fading colors. In time, any painted surface will fade in direct sunlight. Vinyl is more susceptible to fade because it’s plastic, and while various vinyl sidings will diminish at different rates, the lower the quality vinyl, the quicker it will fade. If the siding is a darker color, it is more prone to damage from ultra violet rays. While vinyl siding has been touted as a maintenance-free product, there are pages and pages of references on the internet describing how to restore it once it fades.

4. Melting Siding Syndrome (MSS)

Since the advent of energy efficient windows using Low-E Glass Coatings, a reflective property added to the glass surface to increase performance, vinyl siding has become highly vulnerable to warping and melting due to the reflection of radiant energy. In direct sunlight, radiant energy is reflected off the windows and onto walls of either the existing or surrounding homes.

5. Aesthetics

Regardless of how skilled the installer, at the end of the day vinyl is still just a plastic wrap that is applied over the existing siding, or in the case of new construction, over the sheathing. Because vinyl relies on J-channel to compensate for expansion and contraction, especially along corners, windows, doors and roof-to-wall transitions, the end result is an “artificial” look.

The Clear Choice

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding is an earth-friendly material, made entirely from sand, cement and wood. It’s a genuine exterior cladding, installed much the same way real wood is applied, only without the maintenance. James Hardie Siding along with Hardie Trim Boards can replicate every style home including traditional colonials, the ever-popular craftsman, contemporary masterpieces, and even ornate Victorians.

Hardie siding is non-combustible, won’t rot, and it’s impervious to termites, carpenter bees and woodpeckers. It doesn’t shrink or warp, and will not melt. It has the look and feel of authentic woodgrain while being highly weather-resistant. Vinyl Siding boasts that you never have to paint it, when in reality, it means you never can paint it! James Hardie siding is easily painted, and comes with a 30-year manufacturer warranty. Hardie’s pre-finishedColorPlus® line has a 15-year paint warranty and is backed by the Good House Keeping Seal.

Most revealing is the court of public opinion. Based on the past 30 years’ sales, vinyl’s best days are behind it. The use of vinyl siding for exterior cladding has dropped by over 60% from its heyday of 2004. The latest Cost Vs Value™ report shows the price of foam-backed vinyl to be greater than fiber cement with a lower return on investment.
How would feel if it were 1986 and you were the last person on your block to buy aluminum siding? Given these facts, if you were in the market for a new exterior cladding, what do you think your accountant would advise you to do?

About Mike Damora

Mike Damora is vice president of sales and marketing at K&B Home Remodelers, in Randolph, N.J. You can follow him on Twitter @madamoracatch him on Drift.