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Blog > Home Improvement > Siding Match Up: Fiber Cement Siding vs. Cedar Siding

Siding Match Up: Fiber Cement Siding vs. Cedar Siding

Unless you live in a brick, stucco, or stone home, the outside of your house is covered with siding. Old homes use wood for siding, but every few years, the wood siding needs to be repainted and sealed. Despite our efforts, circumstances beyond our control often do things to the wood that require us to think about the available choices.

We want to help our customers learn about the best siding materials that the construction industry recommends to homeowners who are looking for suitable replacement siding.

What is Fiber Cement Siding?

Fiber cement is a man-made, factory-produced synthetic composite product that is made of pressed sand, cellulose fibers, and cement. The material can be made into shingles or planks. This type of siding usually comes primed and painted, but homeowners can choose to have it finished after the siding installation.

Fiber Cement Style and Design Options

Fiber cement siding was designed to have a wood-like grain that is hard to distinguish from cedar from far away. It can be used in the same way that cedar shingles are used, including board and batten, lap, shingle, and clapboard. Painted fiber cement looks a lot like painted wood.

Historical districts throughout the United States approve of fiber cement siding and allow property owners to use fiber cement as replacement siding for their historic homes.

What is Cedar Siding?

Cedar siding is made of solid wood – most commonly from Red Cedar Trees, but occasionally White Cedar is used. Cedar comes in two forms: horizontal panels or shingles which are also called “shakes.” Cedar can be stained, painted, treated with oil, or left in its natural condition.  

Horizontal panels can be installed as lap siding or beveled siding. Board and batten installation creates a rustic look while a tongue and groove technique creates a clean, modern look. Traditional cedar shingles can be laid in a straight or staggered edge arrangement. Round-edged White Cedar shingles create a beautiful, but less traditional look.

Longevity and Maintenance

Cedar is an outstanding wood species to use outdoors because of its pest and rot resistance. Moisture is the worst enemy of cedar. It needs a protective paint or stain coat to give it a moisture-proof barrier.

On stained cedar, the treatment has to be reapplied every five years. Every three years, painted cedar must be scraped before painting it again.

Cedar is prone to damage that woodpeckers cause by drilling holes into the wood with their beaks. Those holes leave Cedar vulnerable to insect damage and moisture-related rot.

Fiber cement is the ultimate low-maintenance siding material. The finish should last for at least 15 years ( under the James Hardie siding guarantee.) Nothing other than a hose is required to cleanse the siding.

Fiber cement resists termite, woodpecker, and other pest damage. It is also resistant to moisture, crack, rotting and warping damage. It is extremely durable and will withstand the rigors of coastal New Jersey living, including salt spray, humidity, torrential rains, snow, extreme heat, and the strength of hurricane-force winds.

Cost Considerations

When you’re considering the best siding material for your home, the cost will always be a factor. Fiber cement costs less than cedar siding – just for the materials. There are added costs associated with cedar that include replacing damaged shingles and refinishing. Over the long run, fiber cement siding will save you money because it is almost maintenance-free.

Given the weather conditions that New Jersey homeowners have to face, any siding has to tolerate salt spray and be able to withstand hurricane and Nor’easter conditions.

Let the replacement siding experts at American Home Contractors help you choose the best siding for your home and the level of upkeep you’re willing to do. Trust the siding installation experts at American Home Contractors.  To get started on your siding project, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation and quote.