When planning to upgrade your exterior with new siding, the more you know about material options, the easier it is to make a great decision on which one will work best for your long-term needs.
If you’re deciding between cedar wood siding and James Hardie fiber cement, understanding their makeup, maintenance needs, durability, and more will help you make an informed selection so you can move forward with confidence in your choice.
Read on to gain insight into the distinction between cedar wood siding and fiber cement.
The Difference Between Cedar Wood Siding and James Hardie Fiber Cement
How Are They Made?
James Hardie fiber cement siding is made of cement, sand, and cellulose. It’s known for its durability due to its resilient makeup.
Cedar siding is a natural wood siding made from red or white cedar trees.
What About Their Style and Appearance?
When renovating your home exterior—your curb appeal, your home’s architectural style, and your personal preferences all play a part. Cedar and Hardie siding deliver diverse benefits.
James Hardie fiber cement siding comes in a variety of styles: horizontal lap siding, vertical panels, and the board-and-batten look. It can also take on the appearance of cedar shakes and comes in either a smooth modern finish or a textured rustic look.
Hardie siding can be installed either pre-primed—so you can paint it any color you desire after installation—or you can opt for Hardie’s ColorPlus technology. This durable, factory-baked-on color resists fading, chipping, and cracking and comes with a 15-year warranty.
Cedar siding typically comes in shakes or shingles but is also available in horizontal lap siding. It offers a rustic look that adds charm and character to a home exterior. Cedar can be painted, stained, or left untreated depending on the look you desire.
How Vulnerable Are They to Pest Infestation or Weather-Related Damage?
James Hardie fiber cement siding resists moisture intrusion from rain, snow, and ice so you can rest at ease that your home is well protected. The Hardie company studied the impact weather has in each region of the country and engineered siding to withstand the specific climate in which it is installed. This brilliant approach ensures your home is fortified against the costly effects of moisture infiltration, high winds, and more.
Hardie siding is not attractive to pests or woodpeckers, so you won’t be subject to the costly hassles of extermination and repairs.
Cedar siding can be impacted by the weather including rain, snow, ice, hail, and high winds. It is also subject to pest infestation—including termites and carpenter ants—due to its makeup. Woodpeckers are attracted to it, and they can create costly home exterior damage annually.
Are They Fire Resistant?
James Hardie fiber cement siding is non-combustible and won’t contribute to fire like other siding materials. Insurance companies often give a discount to homeowners with Hardie siding due to its fire resistance.
Cedar siding is natural wood and burns easily, particularly if it has not been treated to resist flames.
How Much Maintenance Do They Require?
James Hardie fiber cement siding is known for its low maintenance. Simply wash it twice a year so it maintains its stunning appearance. If you choose ColorPlus technology, it only needs to be repainted every 15 years.
Cedar siding needs to be repainted or stained every 3–5 years. This tedious job is a hefty maintenance requirement. If staining or repainting is left unaddressed, your home is more vulnerable to moisture infiltration and pest infestation. Cedar is subject to rotting, creating the need for repairs or siding replacement.
Are They Environmentally Friendly?
James Hardie fiber cement siding and cedar siding are both environmentally friendly. Cedar’s natural wood makeup means it is biodegradable. Hardie siding is a sustainable choice, and with its life expectancy of up to 50 years, it has a smaller footprint than other siding materials like vinyl.
What About the Cost of Each Siding Material?
The initial investment for James Hardie fiber cement siding is slightly less than that of cedar siding.
Hardie siding requires more labor to install due to its heavy, durable, makeup. Cedar is a bigger investment to maintain over its lifetime.
How Does Their Durability Compare?
James Hardie fiber cement siding is so well made that it comes with a 30-year, non-prorated transferable warranty. When it is well maintained and installed properly by a reputable team (like ours!), you can expect it to last up to 50 years!
The longevity and durability of cedar siding are impacted by whether it is left in its natural state (and more vulnerable) or stained and well-maintained over the years. In general, its life expectancy is 20–40 years.
If cedar isn’t properly sealed, it is known to expand, buckle, or crack due to its 24/7 exposure to the elements. Moisture infiltration can lead to mold growth and wood rot—and if left unaddressed, it can cause structural damage to your home over time. Some cedar siding products come with a 25-year warranty.
Choosing the Best Siding for Your Home Exterior
Now that you know the basics about these popular material options, it’s up to you to decide the best siding for your long-term needs. It’s easy to see that there are positive qualities about both cedar and Hardie siding.
Update Your St. Louis Area Home with Beautiful New Siding
At Lakeside Renovation & Design, we install America’s favorite fiber cement siding: James Hardie. In fact, we are James Hardie Elite Preferred contractors, so you can rest at ease that your siding will be installed with precision and according to the manufacturer’s best practices.
When Hardie siding is being installed, you will not get a third-party crew, but our own in-house team. We are founded on the principle that if we invest in and care for our team, they will invest in and care for our customers.
Discover more about James Hardie siding.