When It Comes To Siding Replacement, A Cheap Price Will Cost You Dearly.
By Jason Quillman, Owner
If you’ve read my article about the time I (foolishly) installed non-ProVia doors on my home, you know why I’ve put a strict Zero Compromises policy in place at XteriorPRO. In a nutshell, going “cheap” on any home-improvement project will almost certainly cost you much, much more in the long run. And this is especially true with siding replacement in the St. Louis metro area.
Vinyl is the cheapest siding material for a reason. It’s not very durable, and it tends to fade quickly. Not only that, but it tends to be the siding that cheap, Chuck-In-A-Truck guys use. As a result, I am constantly replacing vinyl siding for homeowners who had it installed by another contractor just 15-20 years ago.
Think about that. These homeowners spent at least $10,000 on siding just a few Olympic Games ago… and now they have to do it AGAIN.
This is why I altogether quit installing vinyl siding. It just wasn’t providing my customers with the quality they deserved. Now, I only install James Hardie fiber cement siding. Because while it costs more up front, it provides 10x the value of vinyl in the long run.
When I tell homeowners this, I sometimes hear the following…
“Okay, that’s understandable. I know Hardie is higher quality, so it costs more than vinyl siding. But how MUCH more?”
This is THE one wrong question to ask (no offense!).
Vinyl siding comes in all sorts of grades, thicknesses, and models. You could drive to Home Depot right now and get the thinnest vinyl siding you’ll ever see for half the price of James Hardie. You could also buy the best quality vinyl siding on the market, and it will still cost you around 15-25% less than Hardie (unless the contractor has inflated their prices).
In other words, vinyl siding is cheaper than James Hardie fiber cement siding 99 times out of 100 on the front end. But vinyl provides nowhere near the same longevity, durability, and return on investment.
That’s why the best question to ask isn’t “How much?”
Instead, it’s “What will provide me with the most VALUE?”
With that in mind, let’s look at why Hardie costs more up front… and how those very same aspects will save you BIG dollars in the long run.
Why James Hardie Costs More: Installation
A motivated DIY homeowner could install vinyl siding competently. But James Hardie? That’s a completely different animal. Because it’s built to perform so much better, Hardie requires vast technical knowledge of the product and laser-beam-precision craftsmanship. The best-practices guide alone is 130 pages!
To give you an idea of how much more complex Hardie is, consider this: We at XteriorPRO could do a vinyl siding job on an average home within a week. If we were to put Hardie on that same home, it would take us two to three weeks. Hardie requires THAT much more attention to detail.
It’s true that the technical details of the installation add to the cost of Hardie. But that’s only because of how much BETTER and LONGER LASTING the installation actually is. When Hardie is done right, it will last at least three times as long as the best vinyl siding.
Why James Hardie Costs More: Materials
Another reason James Hardie fiber cement siding costs more than vinyl in the St. Louis metro area? The materials from which it’s made.
Here are a few examples of how James Hardie’s premium materials provide better long-term value…
- Resistant To Fire & Hail: Fiber cement is a Class-A fire retardant. It also doesn’t dent anywhere near as easy as vinyl siding. A hailstorm can make mincemeat out of vinyl siding; on the other hand, it would take cantaloupe-sized hail hurtling at high speed to dent Hardie.
- Looks Like Real Wood: Hardie is a better investment because it has a deeper, more polished beauty that replicates real wood and shingles. You can even choose the gorgeous (and value-enhancing) aesthetics of wood… with none of the wood-related hassles.
- Paintable: You can paint faded panels on vinyl siding, but it’s not ideal. Vinyl expands and contracts quite a bit, which can cause cracks in the paint. Vinyl and typical acrylic latex paints also don’t bond well, which can cause the paint to deteriorate prematurely. This means full-on replacement is really only the option for vinyl if you want new-looking siding.
- Hardie siding, on the other hand, expands and contracts very little. In addition, fiber cement and paint go together like PB&J—they bond perfectly. This means painting is an excellent (and cost-effective!) way to freshen up Hardie siding down the road. Just a simple cleaning, and you’re ready to paint!
Why James Hardie Siding Costs More: Manufacturing
Because fiber cement is higher quality than vinyl, it requires more skill, effort, and resources to create. As such, the engineers at the Hardie manufacturing plant are true artisans who utilize the latest and greatest equipment and practices.
For example, Hardie siding is custom-created for different climates. In Missouri, the HZ5 Hardie product line (with special paint and moisture adhesion tech) is ideal because it’s crafted for freezing weather and extreme seasonal temperature swings. The level of custom-engineered quality just isn’t possible with other siding materials.
Bottom line: Hardie fiber cement costs more up front than vinyl because it’s simply a superiorly made product.
So… What’s The TRUE Cost Of Replacing Your Siding?
It’s true that James Hardie fiber cement siding in the St. Louis metro area costs around 15-25% more than vinyl siding. But in terms of actual VALUE, Hardie crushes vinyl… hands down.
Hardie provides higher return on investment. It lasts at least three times longer. And, in the hands of the right contractor, it’s installed to the most rigid industry standards. When you factor in how much more you get for your money, you see how investing a little more up front can save you thousands in the long run.
This is why people in their “forever homes” typically choose James Hardie fiber cement siding. There’s no other siding material that provides the same long-term value—period.
If you’d like a fair and honest quote on James Hardie siding in the St. Louis metro area, get in touch today.
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