2020 Fiber Cement Siding Cost and Pros and Cons

Fiber Cement as a siding option continues to be quite a popular choice. A review of U.S. Census data for new single-family houses sold in America shows Fiber Cement garners nearly a quarter of all siding materials.

Brick, Wood and Vinyl are on a downward trend while Fiber Cement continues to gain in popularity. Stucco is, perhaps surprisingly, the #1 siding option in America where its popularity in the Western portion of the U.S. is enormous, but so is Fiber Cement in that region. The two materials combined account for a whooping 92% of the overall market out west.

Fiber Cement is commonly referred to as James Hardie, which is the company that originally created this plank board. It’s also called Cement Board, as the materials are made of cement, wood pulp, clay and sand. Fiber Cement is relatively heavy, quite sturdy and will easily last 50 years or longer, while its surface usually needs repainting every 20 to 40 years.

Pricing Information – Part 1

Due to its weight, Fiber Cement routinely requires two workers to install each piece. For this reason, along with the idea that waste adds great expense to the project, the material is not well suited for DIY installation.

There are essentially four styles of Fiber Cement: lap siding is the most common, shake and shingle, vertical panels, and artisan lap, which equals architectural grade of lap siding.

Fiber Cement lap siding costs $9.50 to $15.50 per sq. ft. installed. Other styles usually exceed $12.50 per sq. ft. installed. When going with the lap siding style, the overall project cost for installing cement board on a typical two bedroom American home will between $19,000 to $31,000, depending on project specifics and your home’s location.

As there are numerous factors that can impact the total cost, we will help explain those below, but first let’s break down the costs based on the following example. Note: this is a ballpark estimate example based on the national average cost of materials and job tasks.

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Wood Siding Options, Costs, & Pros and Cons in 2020

Wood siding has many different options. In this guide, we’ll focus on styles such as Bevel, Board-and-Batten, and Split Log.

via Real Wood Siding

There is also a more traditional cedar shingles and shakes siding option explained in our consumer guide here.

The many styles and options of wood siding are what other, competing materials such as Vinyl, Fiber Cement, Engineered Wood and other synthetic materials routinely mimic. Wood though, has a natural beauty that is very hard to match, and yet, with that comes the need for ongoing maintenance.

Two decades ago, wood siding used to be the #1 option for residential siding in America, and historically it has ruled over all others. But, not anymore.

According to the 2015 U.S. Census data, Stucco and Vinyl are at the top, while wood has declined to just 3% of all new-single family homes having such cladding.

Wood still offers much versatility, decent insulation and installation that doesn’t necessarily require as much expertise as some other siding options.

Cost

The labor costs for installing wood siding, particularly bevel and board-and-batten planks, is comparatively low (compared to fiber cement siding). A handyman can do the job, as can a do-it-yourselfer. Like all home improvement projects, a professional contractor will handle installation more efficiently and provide warranties on their service.

Wood siding averages between $6.50 and $14.00 per sq. ft. installed. Split log would be on the upper portion of this range, board-and-batten on the lower end, with bevel being somewhere in the middle. Lots of factors impact the costs for wood siding which we’ll address below.

A typical two bedroom sized home will generally cost between $18,000 and $30,000 for wood siding installed by a professional contractor. That’s for all 3 materials included, which is why the range is so great. If we break down the prices by type of style, it helps understand project costs more acutely.

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2020 Vinyl Siding Cost, Pros & Cons, and ROI

PVC is widely understood as a heavy duty plastic-based material. The “V” in the middle of the acronym stands for Vinyl, which in the home siding market, represents the #1 selling material for most of the US. The PVC used for siding benefits from additives that resist color fading, and increase flexibility while not sacrificing durability.

For residential siding, vinyl is quite versatile. The horizontal plank (bevel) style is the most common cladding option for vinyl, but there are many more ways it is utilized as a cladding material for homes and buildings. On the east coast, its primary competition comes from wood and fiber cement, while stucco dominates the western part of the US.

Cost

Because R-Value is a key factor when considering any siding material, it is important to note that vinyl siding takes this into consideration and that this skews its pricing data.

Generally, costs for vinyl are based on material thickness, with most residential products ranging from .040 to .046 inches thick, or about 1/16th of an inch. At that level of thickness, the R-value is unsurprisingly low.

However, vinyl comes in one of two primary variations: hollow-back and insulated, or foam-back. The foam-back provides at least 3 times (or more) the R-value, while increasing the cost by at most 3 times, or usually doubling it.

In terms of costs, vinyl siding averages between $5.50 and $12.50 per sq. ft. installed. This breaks down to $5.50 to $8.50 on average per sq. ft. for hollow-back and $7.50 to $12.50 per sq. ft. for foam-back and/or deluxe vinyl siding.

On average, hollow-back vinyl siding installation results in a $11,000 to $17,000 overall cost for a typical two bedroom sized home in America. Foam back averages between $15,000 to $25,000 for a similar property.

While “average” is a bit vague, we’ll break the costs down further (next section) and explain the factors that impact costs (2 sections below).

Pricing Info – Part 2

As noted above, usually when you select vinyl siding for your home, you are selecting thickness and whether it is insulated material or not. These aren’t your only options, but they contribute to the costs more than other options.

The style type is another key factor – whether panels are vertical or horizontal and whether making use of shingle or split-log style. Often the nuances within a particular style type, along with contractor experience and product quality are the additional primary factors that impact costs.

To hopefully simplify things, let’s go with 2 examples of horizontal panels and what a job may entail to help understand the costing information more in depth:

Hollow-back Vinyl Siding: 2,000 sq. ft. x $5.50 = $11,000 (includes primary materials, house-wrap, j-channels, supplies, and warrantied labor)
Color Matching Existing Exterior Features: (i.e. outlet covers, wall vents, etc.) = $250
Updated Window Trim: $2,000
(Optional) Detached Garage Update: (with all the above material considerations) x 700 sq.ft. = additional $3,000
Building Permit: $250

Total Project 1 Cost = $13,500 / $16,500

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