durable vinyl siding surrounding a home

Vinyl Siding vs Cement Board: What’s the Difference

durable vinyl siding surrounding a home

The type of siding you choose for your home is a very important decision. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding which kind of siding is best. You want something that is going to look great from the curb, but also has the strength and durability to stand up to the extremes of Indiana summers and winters.

Oh yeah, and it would be great if you didn’t have to break the bank when you do ultimately make a decision!

For homeowners looking to update their home’s siding, repair damaged siding, or are choosing siding for their new home, two of the most popular and common siding options are vinyl siding and fiber cement siding, also known as cement board siding.

But with both being popular options, what is the difference between the two? This little rundown should help you determine which kind of siding is right for your home or project.

What is the Difference?

At face value, the differences between the two are the materials they are made from. Vinyl siding is made primarily from PVC, the rigid plastic material used in piping applications, and comes in multiple cuts and styles. This durable and sturdy material makes it an ideal siding material for standing up to the elements, and has been the most popular exterior choice since 1992.

Cement board siding, on the other hand, is made from a combination of wood pulp and cement formed into longer boards or shingles. Cement board is a slightly more environmentally sound product using more sustainable materials.

Decorative Qualities

The range of varieties of styles and textures that vinyl siding comes in gives it a slight edge in the aesthetic category. Vinyl has the ability to mimic real wood or stone, so it can match both modern and historic styles and come in color ranges that will surely match whatever look you are trying to achieve.

Cement board does come available in multiple styles of boards and shingles, but fewer finish and textures styles, so those looking for a certain look may not quite be able to match it with cement board. Cement board often comes unpainted or stained, giving you a little more freedom to customize in that respect.


Though both siding choices are durable in their own way, vinyl siding also gets an edge in overall strength, primarily because of the way they are each installed. Vinyl siding is attached to your home with minimal use of nails and locked into place together instead. Not only does this make it extremely secure, but it also allows the siding to expand and contract as the temperature changes throughout the year. This keeps your siding from cracking and chipping because of the temperature.

Cement board siding is instead installed with the use of caulk and or nails, which while securely attaching it to your home more rigid and incapable of expanding and contracting, as well as cracking during installation if not done by a skilled hand. The fiber content of cement board also makes it less moisture resistant than vinyl siding and can result in absorbing and warping due to moisture.

Upkeep and Maintenance Needs

Regular maintenance is where vinyl really shines as an easy to maintain home siding choice. After installed, vinyl requires extremely minimal upkeep besides periodic washing with a hose or power washer to keep it clean and looking nice.

Cement board requires a bit more work and care. While the boards and shingles are strong, the caulk used to install it needs to be kept an eye on to make any necessary repairs to cracks and deterioration over time. Also, since most cement board is painted, over time and exposure to sun, wind, rain, and snow you will likely need to have your home’s paint job touched up.


Vinyl’s popularity can be attributed to the fact that it is also the most affordable siding option for homeowners as well. Its affordability is due to a combination of low installation cost for labor and a low material cost to manufacture it. As a hidden benefit, vinyl siding is also efficient at helping save money over time too! Vinyl siding is installed with a layer of insulation that can help keep your heating and cooling bills at bay.

While cement board siding is a quality choice for home siding and Lathrop Contracting is skilled in installing James Hardie Board cement siding, the strengths of vinyl siding make it the common choice. Vinyl siding is ideal for Indianapolis homes because of its long lifespan and extreme resilience against high temperatures, heavy winds, and moisture – all things that are very important for Indianapolis homeowners.

If your home is ready for some changes with new siding, make the siding experts at Lathrop Contracting your first call. Fill out our form for a free estimate or call us today at (317) 783-6929 and we will schedule an appointment to evaluate your Indianapolis siding project.


[sc_fs_faq sc_id=”fs_faqxu0f8frjm” html=”true” headline=”h2″ img=”” question=”What is the most common kind of siding?” img_alt=”” css_class=”” ]Vinyl siding is the most common type of siding chosen by homeowners due to how inexpensive it is to purchase and install, its durability, and how easy it is to care for and maintain.[/sc_fs_faq]