by | Dec 9, 2016


Comparing the Pros & Cons of Home Siding Materials

Are you thinking about giving your older home a new look? Or are you a new homeowner looking to makeover new house? Typically, many homeowners look to upgrade their home siding when they want to make a great looking and functional improvement.

But which home siding material should you choose? At Cutting Edge Contracting, our #1 recommendation is fiber cement siding from James Hardie, but today we’ll review the pros and cons of a few different materials to help you decide what’s best for your Portland or Vancouver area home.

Vinyl Home Siding

Vinyl Siding Isn’t Always a Great Choice

Many people in the Portland and Vancouver areas turn to vinyl siding because it’s relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and comes in a variety of colors. However, vinyl siding has one big drawback: by itself, it’s not waterproof.

In our rainy climate, this is a big no-no! Even when vinyl home siding is carefully installed, there can be gaps between the siding and surface of your home. This is where rot and harmful mold can take hold. Worst of all, because rot and mold are growing where you can’t see them, often you won’t spot the damage until it’s too late and costly repairs are required.

In addition, vinyl siding is sensitive to temperature. During extreme cold snaps, it can become brittle and crack. In really hot weather, it can warp or even begin to melt! While we have a relatively mild climate in our area, this is still something to consider if you’re thinking about vinyl siding.


  • Low initial cost
  • Easy installation
  • Available in many colors


  • Not waterproof
  • Susceptible to damage from extreme weather

Wood Siding

Wood Home Siding Might Be a Classic Material– But It Has Drawbacks…

Cedar shake, clapboard, and redwood shingles are just a few of the most popular types of wood home siding materials available to homeowners today. They’re beloved for their all-natural appearance and classic style. But are they the right choice for your home?

Wood does have it’s benefits: it can be cut to nearly any size and colored or stained to an incredible variety of colors. Plus, it’s considered by some to be a sustainable, green choice. However, if you don’t do your homework, you may end up buying wood that’s not from a sustainably managed forest.

Wood isn’t a magic material however. It does require more frequent maintenance than other home siding materials– often needing refinishing as frequently as every 2 to 5 years. Plus, because wood is a natural material, it’s a frequent target of wood-burrowing and eating insects like termites, beetles, and even wasps! Wood is also susceptible to rot and water damage as well. Finally, depending on the type and quality of wood you choose, it can quickly become expensive.


  • Natural, classic look
  • Wide variety of colors and styles
  • Potentially a “green” choice


  • Can be expensive
  • Requires more frequent maintenance than other materials
  • Not rot-resistant
  • Potential for damage from water and insects

James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber Cement Siding Looks Awesome & Lasts For Decades!

At Cutting Edge Contracting, we get questions from homeowners about which material they should use for their home. Based on our experience in the Vancouver and Portland areas, as well as the work we’ve done repairing and installing siding on thousands of homes, we have one answer: Fiber cement siding from James Hardie.

Fiber cement is like a miracle material. It combines many of the benefits of wood and synthetic sidings to create a siding material that’s perfect for homes in the Pacific Northwest!

Fiber cement is a composite material made from a mixture of sand, cement, and wood pulp and other natural fibers. The result is a material that’s very durable, very strong, and very easy to work with.

James Hardie fiber cement siding is more water and rot resistant than any other siding material! Fiber cement siding can last for 20+ years with minimal maintenance and repair. Beyond that, fiber cement is also engineered to withstand high heat (protecting your home against exterior fires) and is completely pestproof!

James Hardie fiber cement home siding is so durable, protective, and strong that you may qualify for a discount on your homeowner’s insurance (ask your agent to find out if you qualify) and you’ll actually increase the value of your home! Unlike other siding materials, James Hardie fiber cement siding isn’t just something to cover your home– it’s an investment!

Of course, function isn’t everything and you won’t love your home if the siding doesn’t look great, too. Luckily, James Hardie has you covered there too! Using ColorPlus technology it’s available in a huge variety of the most popular colors and styles.

If there’s one downside to fiber cement siding, it’s not that compatible with homeowners looking for a DIY project. Fiber cement is heavy and can be tricky to install, which is why most homeowners turn to a siding professional to have it installed.


  • Rot & Water Resistant!
  • Unmeltable & Non-Combustible!
  • Weatherproof & Pest-proof!
  • Doesn’t Warp or Shrink!
  • Looks Just Like Real Wood!
  • Backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!

Have Questions About Home Siding Materials?

We’d love to help! Contact Cutting Edge Contracting for a free evaluation of your home’s siding. We’ll talk to you about the condition of your current siding and explain your options for repairing or replacing it.

We have years of experience and we’re here to help! Give us a call at (360)558-3236 to learn more.

Sean Kelly

About the author: Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly is the COO & President of Cutting Edge Contracting. His background in business, accounting, and the construction industry helped him become the award-winning manager of a nationally-known paint company before joining Cutting Edge.

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