James Hardie Siding vs. Vinyl Siding: A Guide For Huntsville Homeowners

Find The Best Siding For Your Home

Are you contemplating a siding installation or replacement project in Huntsville, AL, and can’t decide between James Hardie siding and vinyl siding? Are you overwhelmed by the sheer number of siding materials available?

If so, you’re in the right place.

This blog post will delve into the key differences between James Hardie siding vs. vinyl siding, providing you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each siding type and why one might be a better fit for your Huntsville home.

In-Depth Comparison: James Hardie Siding vs. Vinyl Siding

FeatureJames Hardie SidingVinyl Siding
Thickness5/16- to 1/4-inch0.040 to .046 inches
Fire ResistanceHighLow
TextureDeep, wood-likeShallow, wood-like
Initial CostHigherLower
Aesthetic AppealHighModerate

Siding Thickness: A Closer Look

Closeup of blue vinyl siding on house

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie siding, also known as HardiePlank or Hardie fiber cement siding, is renowned for its thickness.

Averaging between 5/16- and 1/4-inch thick, this robust siding material offers superior durability and a solid feel. The thickness of a fiber cement board also allows for deeper texturing, enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your home.

Vinyl Siding

In contrast, vinyl siding is considerably thinner, measuring between 0.040 and .046 inches thick.

However, it can be backed with foam sheathing or insulation to increase its exterior thickness. This additional layer not only enhances the siding’s thickness but also improves your home’s energy efficiency.

Combustibility: An Important Consideration

Closeup of off-white vinyl siding on home

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie fiber cement products stand out for their fire resistance.

Composed of cement-like materials and about 5- to 10-percent cellulose (wood) fibers, HardiePlank is difficult to ignite. It’s considered fire-resistant, not fireproof, making it a safer choice for homes in areas prone to wildfires or high temperatures.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding, while treated with fire retardant, is more susceptible to fire and extreme heat than HardiePlank. The fire retardant only slows down the spread of fire, and under direct flame or extreme heat, vinyl siding can warp or melt.

Texture And Realism: The Aesthetic Factor

Man installing wood look-alike fiber cement siding

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie siding is favored by homeowners for its authentic wood siding appearance.

Thanks to its thickness, HardiePlank offers deeper texturing than vinyl siding, looking closer to real wood. This realistic texture enhances the curb appeal of your home, making it stand out in the neighborhood.

Vinyl Siding

While vinyl siding does have a wood-like relief, it is too thin to allow for the deep textures found on HardiePlank or real wood.

However, advancements in vinyl siding production have led to more realistic textures and a wider range of colors, making it a more attractive option than in the past.

Cost: An Investment Perspective

White vertical lap siding

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie siding, while more expensive initially, offers a better return on investment due to its high quality.

The cost of James Hardie siding in Huntsville includes both the product and labor costs, which are generally higher than those for vinyl siding. However, when considering the resale value of your home, James Hardie siding is the better choice.

Homes with James Hardie siding tend to sell faster and at higher prices than homes with vinyl siding.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding, on the other hand, is cheaper initially.

The cost of vinyl siding in Huntsville includes both the product and labor costs, which are generally lower than those for James Hardie siding.

However, vinyl siding may not offer the same return on investment in the long run, especially if it needs to be replaced or repaired due to damage from extreme weather conditions.

Durability: A Long-Term View

Home with different siding styles

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie siding is thicker and more durable than vinyl siding, which can become brittle with age and is vulnerable to damage from high temperatures, wind, and hail.

Hardie board siding is designed to withstand these elements, making it an excellent choice for homes in Huntsville, where weather conditions can vary greatly.

Vinyl Siding

While vinyl siding is resistant to many common forms of damage, it is not as durable as James Hardie siding.

Vinyl siding can become brittle with age and is vulnerable to damage from high temperatures, wind, and hail. Additionally, vinyl siding can warp or melt under extreme heat, which can affect the appearance and functionality of the siding.

Maintenance: Ease Of Upkeep

Maintaining vinyl siding on house

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie siding, or Hardie board, is known for its low maintenance requirements.

With Hardie board, you won’t have to worry about frequent repainting or repairing rot. Its ColorPlus® Technology ensures that your siding will not fade from UV light exposure, keeping your home looking fresh and vibrant for years to come.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding maintenance, while being also low, can be subject to warping and melting, which can affect a home’s curb appeal. Over time, vinyl siding may require more maintenance than James Hardie siding, especially if it becomes damaged by extreme weather conditions.

Aesthetic: The Visual Appeal

Gable with tan shingle and shake siding

Fiber-Cement Siding

James Hardie siding, with its ColorPlus® Technology, ensures that your siding will not fade from long exposure to the sun. This means that with James Hardie siding, your home’s exterior will maintain its beautiful siding color for longer, enhancing its curb appeal and increasing its value.

Vinyl Siding

While vinyl siding also offers a range of colors and textures, it can fade and discolor over time, especially with exposure to sunlight. This can affect the overall aesthetic appeal of your home and may require additional maintenance or replacement over time.

More to Read: Aluminum Siding Vs James Hardie Siding For Homes In North Alabama

Types Of James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

James Hardie Siding Installation

James Hardie fiber cement siding comes in a variety of styles and designs to suit different architectural styles and personal preferences. Here are some of the popular James Hardie fiber cement siding types:

HardiePlank® Lap Siding

HardiePlank® Lap Siding is, without a doubt, the most popular brand of siding in America and can be found on over 8 million homes. With its strength, wonderful aesthetic, and durability, HardiePlank® siding enhances and protects homes in all kinds of areas of the world.

HardieShingle® Siding

HardieShingle® siding has a similarly warm and authentic look as cedar shingles, yet it is resistant to rotting, cracking, and splitting. It’s beautiful as a primary siding or as a complementary siding to other styles of James Hardie siding.

HardiePanel® Vertical Siding

HardiePanel® vertical siding provides value and long-lasting performance, which is especially valuable in today’s modern architectural designs. As with all of our exterior products, HardiePanel® siding is engineered for climate and will stand up against the harshest weather conditions.

HardieTrim® Boards

HardieTrim® boards are ideal complements to any James Hardie siding. Both of these products offer long-lasting protection from the elements and a beautiful, natural look.

Types Of Vinyl Siding

House with vinyl siding and stone siding

Vinyl siding also comes in a variety of styles and designs. Here are some of the common types:

Clapboard Vinyl Siding

Clapboard vinyl siding is designed to look like long, narrow boards or panels laid horizontally with an overlap. It’s the most traditional style of siding and is often used on colonial-style homes.

Dutch Lap Vinyl Siding

Dutch Lap vinyl siding is similar to clapboard but has a decorative groove at the top of each panel. This style is often used on traditional or historic-style homes.

Beaded Vinyl Siding

Beaded vinyl siding features a rounded bead at the bottom of each panel for a decorative touch. It’s often used on cottage or bungalow-style homes.

Vertical Vinyl Siding

Vertical vinyl siding, also known as board and batten, features long, vertical panels. It’s often used on contemporary or modern-style homes.

Shake And Shingle Vinyl Siding

Shake and shingle vinyl siding is designed to look like cedar shake siding. It’s often used as an accent on gables or other architectural features.

Pros And Cons: A Quick Comparison

Dark vinyl siding of a house

James Hardie Siding


  • Fire-resistant
  • Authentic wood appearance
  • High resale value
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Low maintenance


  • More expensive initially
  • Installation can be more complex

Vinyl Siding


  • Lower initial cost
  • Variety of colors and textures
  • Easy to install


  • Less durable in extreme weather
  • Can warp or melt under high heat
  • Less authentic wood appearance

Get The Best Siding For Your Huntsville, AL, Home With Freedom Exteriors

After considering all factors, James Hardie siding emerges as the clear winner for homes in Huntsville due to its superior durability, aesthetics, and return on investment. While the initial cost may be higher than vinyl siding, the long-term benefits of Hardie board siding make it a worthwhile investment.

At Freedom Exteriors, we specialize in replacing and installing siding on homes in Huntsville. Our team of experts can guide you through the process, ensuring that you choose the best siding for your home.

Ready to upgrade your home’s exterior with beautiful, durable James Hardie siding? Fill out our contact form today, or give us a call. We’re here to help you make your home the best it can be.

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