When you want new, fresh siding for your Des Moines-area home, you can decide between vinyl or fiber cement siding. How do you choose? Two basic measures can help you decide which is right for your needs: price and time. If you plan to stay in your Des Moines-area home for a while, opt for fiber cement siding. Though priced higher at installation than vinyl, rugged James Hardie fiber cement siding will outlast vinyl on looks, maintenance, durability, and weathering.


Vinyl is admittedly less expensive to install than fiber cement. Installation costs will run roughly two-thirds of fiber cement siding costs. Vinyl is a thin plastic and is flexible enough to withstand the occasional stray baseball. It installs easily and tends not to chip or crack. 

The lower materials cost and installation expense is a trade-off, however. With vinyl, you may sacrifice insulation value and longevity, requiring replacement sooner than with fiber cement siding.

Vinyl offers no protection against fire or extreme heat; it warps and melts. Fiber cement siding weathers extreme conditions far better, and fiber cement siding is fire resistant. 

You might be wondering, “How does James Hardie pricing compare to other exterior products?” If you consider how long you will benefit from cladding made from fiber cement and weigh your installation cost against the siding life span, you will find fiber cement is more cost-effective than vinyl. 

Paying upfront for greater peace of mind, energy efficiency, and beauty is money well spent. Vinyl is a workable answer, but fiber cement siding is a worthwhile investment.


How long a material lasts is a function of its durability — the material’s resistance to forces, change, aging, stresses — and maintenance. Fiber cement siding requires a little wash and scrub every now and again. Fiber cement siding washes easily with just a garden hose and scrub brush. Vinyl may foster algae and mold growth. 

If you plan to remain in your Des Moines-area home for at least a decade and want your siding to boost curb appeal and look flawless, fiber cement siding is the right choice. The color you select at installation is the same color you will enjoy 10 years from now, thanks to numerous coats of fade-resistant paint applied and baked on at the factory, not on the job site. 

If you plan to sell your home soon, vinyl might be an economical stop-gap alternative to the more substantial, more attractive fiber cement siding from James Hardie


America is proudly crowded with choices. You might be considering alternatives to vinyl siding or fiber cement cladding.

For looks, permanence, ease of maintenance, color and style choices, few materials equal fiber cement siding. You could spend lavishly on hand-split cedar shakes if your home’s architecture complements them, but you will spend a small fortune on installation and maintenance.

You could get Old World wooden board-and-batten or clapboard siding and spend every summer scraping, cleaning, priming and painting the wood. You could even hunt down someone willing to install aluminum siding (don’t do it; you’ll regret it almost instantly). 

Natural wood is beautiful for indoor furniture, where the elements leave it largely undisturbed. Natural wood outside? It rots. 

Every drop of paint you apply is merely a holding action against natural decay. Snow, insects, rain, heat and high humidity all contribute to wood turning from strong cellulose fiber into lawn litter. 

Fiber cement is made with cement and other ingredients mixed as a slurry and is molded into just about every conceivable texture and style. It does not rot, decay, dent, expand and contract in temperature changes, or burn. Insects cannot bore into it or nibble at it. The baked-on color is layers deep and designed to stay bright for years. 

Fiber cement siding is a great choice when measured against its competitors, including vinyl. And for looks, it has no equal. 


The style and color choices available in fiber cement siding are far greater than vinyl’s choices. Both materials are molded, but vinyl is a thin plastic that offers no depth of detail. You can get stunningly detailed, deeply “carved” looks in fiber cement siding.

When you ask, “Is fiber cement siding better than vinyl?” the answer is a resounding “Yes!” It looks better, offers many color choices, complements your home’s trim, and includes many modern styles.

James Hardie fiber cement siding comes with some of the siding sector’s strongest warranties. The color alone is warranted for 15 years. You get 30 years of protection with products like HardiePlank® HZ10® Lap Siding, HardiePanel® HZ10® Vertical Siding, and HardieShingle® HZ10® Siding. 

The skilled technicians of VanWeelden Company are a quick click away. We are siding professionals. Contact us today to see how James Hardie fiber cement can boost the beauty, value, and longevity of your Des Moines-area home.