Is the National League better than the American League? Is fiber cement siding better than vinyl siding? We cannot help you with some questions—we root for the Sacramento River Cats ourselves—but we can certainly help you decide on fiber cement or vinyl siding.

Tough Stuff

Fiber cement siding is tough stuff. It is made with just a handful of ingredients:

  • Silica sand or fly ash
  • Portland cement
  • Cellulose (wood) fiber
  • Water

These are mixed and formed into rigid, baked, painted, sturdy panels in your choice of texture and color. Because the ingredients are primarily inorganic, fiber cement siding is a food desert for critters. Termites ignore it; rodents cannot gnaw it. Not only does it resist pests, but fiber cement siding also has other great qualities:

  • Wind resistant
  • Long life span—typically 25 or more years
  • Fire resistant—nearly fireproof since it is cement, but legally manufacturers cannot say it is fireproof; it is Class A fire resistant
  • Durable
  • Affordable over its long, long lifetime
  • Easily paintable many years after installation—the baked-on color fades remarkably slowly
  • Very easy maintenance requirements—give it a gentle scrub every few years with a soft bristle brush and a garden hose (never use a pressure washer), and it will reward you with a beautiful, attractive appearance
  • Resists mold and algae formation

Fiber cement siding is wholly human-made, so its surface can be formed to appear in just about any texture you like:

  1. Board and batten
  2. Clapboard
  3. Shingles in straight-edge or staggered-edge
  4. Plank lap
  5. Seagrass (looks like pressed bamboo)
  6. Sculpted clay (looks like slate)
  7. Mounded sand (looks like stucco)

As far as colors go, fiber cement siding shares the same massive palette of hues seen in the best vinyl siding or exterior paint selections at any good paint store. If you can imagine it, the color exists as a fiber cement siding option. 

Why Choose Fiber Cement Siding?

If you plan to be in your Sacramento-area home for a few years, if you want to be proud of the outside appearance of your home, and if you want to worry as little as possible about your home, opt for fiber cement siding. 

Environmentally, fiber cement siding is made from wholly sustainable materials that are not in short supply. Its long life means it cuts down your carbon footprint (replacement every 25 to 40 years means low embedded energy costs and minimal transportation impact). At the end of its life, it breaks down into earth-friendly components (limestone, wood fiber, sand). 

Aesthetically, fiber cement siding is unmatched in getting you the exact look you want. It can be made as smooth panels, seaside shakes or shingles, or woodland clapboards. It fits in any style of architecture, from modern to Victorian and every style in between. 

Fiber cement siding rescues your weekends with its almost non-existent maintenance requirements. It will never warp or rot, sheds water quickly, and comes with long-lasting, strong warranties. 

Vinyl Siding

If installation price was all you used to weigh fiber cement siding versus vinyl siding, vinyl siding would win every time. No argument—it is far less expensive to install than fiber cement siding. 


Vinyl siding can drive down a home’s curb appeal and resale value. If you do not choose your material and contractor carefully, your home could look worse after vinyl siding is installed. 

With that caveat, let’s look at this durable, affordable siding option. Vinyl siding has a little “give” to it that fiber cement siding does not have. That means it can withstand the occasional stray baseball or falling branch. It can handle hail and deal with strong winds. Other benefits of vinyl siding besides its resilience and low installation price:

  • It is human-made from petroleum by-products
  • It is always a precisely fitting product with carefully controlled, embedded color
  • It comes in an enormous array of textures
  • Quality vinyl siding is fade-resistant and scratch-resistant
  • Vinyl siding needs simple, annual maintenance similar to fiber cement siding (never use a pressure washer as it can drive water in behind the panels)
  • Some vinyl siding is available with insulation, increasing its R-value and your energy efficiency
  • Vinyl siding is one of the easiest and fastest siding materials to install; few contractors can get it wrong

Any discussion you have with your siding contractor should include your plans for the future. A rule of thumb:

  • Invest in fiber cement siding if you plan to remain in the home for many years
  • Choose economical vinyl siding if you intend to resell your home soon

Straight Line Roofing & Construction in Sacramento, California, provides a complete line of exterior home services, including siding installation. Contact us today to learn what we can do to help you increase your Sacramento-area home’s beauty, protection, and curb appeal.