Wood Siding vs Hardie Board: What’s Better

The siding for your home should be the perfect combination of form and function. Because it’s such a big part of the overall appearance of your home, you want to make sure it looks good. But it’s also the first line of defense when it comes to the weather. So when it comes to wood siding vs Hardie Board, what’s better?

Siding is such an essential component of any house – not only does it offer protection from the elements (think rain, wind, and snow), but it also adds to the property’s curb appeal and aesthetic harmony. Who doesn’t love a beautiful, well-maintained exterior? Your siding blends utility with design, defining a comfortable and inviting living space.

Deciding between wood siding and fiber cement siding isn’t an easy task, that’s for sure. One of the main factors to consider when making your decision is your personal preferences. Do you prefer the natural look and feel of wood, or the sleek and modern appearance of fiber cement?

While it shouldn’t be the only thing you base your decision on, the budget is another factor to keep in mind. And of course, don’t forget about the weather here in the Pacific Northwest. While we may not get the extremes of the South or the upper Midwest, we do get an excellent mix of everything.

Wood Siding vs Hardie Board

Using our decades of experience, we’ve put together a pros and cons list of both wood siding and Hardie Board. There’s a lot to think about that’s for sure.

The Pros of Wood Siding

There’s no denying the initial pull of wood siding and the versatility it offers. Here are some of the benefits of using wood siding:

Natural Aesthetic
Wood siding offers a classic, warm, and natural appearance that many homeowners find appealing. Cedar siding is very customizable, so you can get the exact look you want from your home. For example, what says lakeside chateau more than cedar shake shingles?

There’s a wide range of wood species, finishes, and styles available, allowing for customization. It’s also easy to customize if you have the right equipment, making it easy to create trim pieces and other points of interest to fit your aesthetic.

Environmental Appeal
Wood is a renewable resource and can be more environmentally friendly if sourced responsibly. It can also be recycled, keeping fewer materials out of landfills and decreasing the need for new materials. Wood is also a naturally insulating material, which will help with the energy efficiency of the home.

Damaged wood panels and trim can often be repaired or replaced individually without affecting the entire siding. With the right tools, you can even repair your own trim, and replace a shingle or warped board.

The Pros of Hardie Board

Hardie Board comes with its own list of advantages. In some aspects, Hardie Board has the same benefits as wood while offering a few other perks.

Hardie Board is highly durable and resistant to rot, insects, and harsh weather conditions. Paint won’t chip, peel, or crack because the color is baked right into the siding. With the increase in fires due to climate change, fiber cement is non-combustible, providing an added layer of fire protection to your home.

Low Maintenance
Unlike wood, it doesn’t require frequent painting or staining and the color tends to hold up well over time. When it comes to cleaning your siding, a garden hose will do the trick in most cases. James Hardie fiber cement siding is truly one of those set-it-and-forget-it products that makes it a great choice over wood-based siding.

Hardie Board fiber cement siding generally has a longer lifespan than wood siding. It won’t warp or split like wood and stands up better to little dings and dents that eventually could affect the integrity of the wood. Cedar siding definitely holds up the PNW, but its longevity just can’t match Hardie Board.

We mentioned appearance as an advantage of wood, but Hardie Board can be created to mimic the grain of wood (as well as other surfaces) as well. Hardie also produces trim pieces and other accouterments that are just as visually appealing as wood. This means Hardie Board siding is a good siding option for custom homes, too.

The Cons of Wood Siding

While wood has tradition and an inviting aesthetic to consider, there are some downsides to the material.

Wood siding requires regular maintenance to prevent rot, decay, insect infestations, and weathering. It needs painting, staining, or sealing to maintain its appearance and durability. And there’s not a whole lot you can do outside of replacement when it starts to warp or crack over time.

For sure, initial costs can be lower than Hardie Board fiber cement siding. But all of those maintenance costs can add up, not to mention the time and labor you spend keeping up appearances. And you’ll have to replace wood siding more often than Hardie Board, which isn’t cost-effective in the long term.

Wood is susceptible to moisture-related issues like rot and warping, especially in wet or humid climates. And if your home catches fire, wood won’t put up any resistance. The natural wood siding material just doesn’t have the lifespan of Hardie Board products. Even engineered wood siding–wood fibers bonded with a resin–won’t last as long.

The Cons of Hardie Board

For all of the advantages of Hardie plank siding, there are a few things to consider when choosing Hardie Board.

Fiber cement siding generally has a higher upfront installation cost than wood siding, although many homeowners feel like these costs are recouped because of the low maintenance and durability of Hardie Board. But we understand budgeting will often play a big part in your decision.

If you’re planning on installing the siding yourself, Hardie Board is heavier and can be more challenging to install compared to wood siding. If you choose Hardie Board fiber cement siding, we recommend going with an experienced siding contractor who has a working knowledge of the product.

Limited Natural Look
While it can resemble wood grain, some homeowners prefer the genuine look and feel of real wood. While the differences are negligible from the street, you might be able to discern the difference upon closer inspection.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your priorities and circumstances. If you value a natural aesthetic, are willing to invest in maintenance, and are drawn to wood’s charm, wood siding might be a good choice. On the other hand, if you prioritize low maintenance, durability, and fire resistance, while still having the look of wood, Hardie Board is the more suitable option.

Wood Siding vs Hardie Board: Ask The Experts

To get tailored advice for your unique situation, it’s always a great idea to consult with siding contractors who have worked with both materials. With our expertise and your own research, you can confidently choose a siding solution that will enhance the beauty, durability, and functionality of your home.

Joseph Ketner Construction has been installing and repairing siding in the Portland area for two decades and knows how important durability and longevity are when it comes to siding a Pacific Northwest home. If you’d like to know more about James Hardie siding or any of their other products, please don’t hesitate to set up a free consultation.