Home Siding Comparison — Why We Choose Vinyl

There are so many siding options for exterior cladding these days that it can be difficult to decide what will work best for your exterior renovation project. From vinyl siding to brick to fibre cement siding (such as Hardie plank or Allura) — it’s important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each option before committing to a certain product.

The exterior is your home’s first chance to make a good impression. It’s also your frontline defence against the elements. High-quality exterior cladding helps keep your family safe, warm, and comfortable for a lifetime of seasons to come. Before you start your next major exterior renovation project, learn how popular home siding options compare.

Brick Built Homes: Built to Last? Or Cladding of the Past?

While perhaps not the top home siding choice for the Big Bad Wolf, brick has long been considered a standard of quality in home building. Brick is durable, long-lasting, and weather resistant. It offers a traditional look that accentuates the curb appeal of character homes. Other benefits of brick are that it is fire resistant and offers excellent insulation and temperature control.

The main disadvantage of brick is that it is expensive to install. The labour-intensive process of brick-laying can result in installation costs up to 420 percent higher than vinyl siding installation. And while brick is relatively low maintenance, over time pointing (the mortar used to attach bricks together) can break down. Repointing the mortar is necessary to ensure the integrity of your brick exterior.

Colour options for brick are limited compared to vinyl siding, which features dozens of colours and styles, and painting brick is no easy task as the natural grooves and notches must be covered evenly for a professional result. Depending on your budget and the style of your home, brick may not be the best option in terms of overall value and choice.

Vinyl Siding: For a Superior Exterior!

When it comes to overall affordability, comprehensive colour and style selection, and long-lasting durability, vinyl siding can’t be beat. Installation is relatively simple, and when completed by qualified installers, the end result looks great and lasts for up to 25 years or more. To keep your home exterior looking great, minimal vinyl siding maintenance — essentially washing away dirt and dust — can be easily performed using your garden hose.

One of the greatest advantages of vinyl siding is the sheer breadth of colours and texture options available. At Gienow, we have a wide selection of Mitten by Ply Gem Siding to fit any budget and design.  

In terms of drawbacks, vinyl siding can crack if struck by something (like a baseball or even a powerful pressure washer, particularly in extremely cold weather). Conversely, some vinyl siding can melt or warp if exposed to extremely high heat (such as a BBQ too close to the house). And while vinyl siding has come a long way in terms of a more natural-looking wood-grain texture, some people prefer the look of brick or real wood cedar shakes.

Allura Fiber Cement Siding: The Next Generation of Fiber Cement

While it’s been around since the 1970s, the use of fibre cement siding (sometimes referred to as hardie plank) is on the rise. Gienow offers Allura fiber cement siding products, which are gaining popularity for their unparalleled durability and long-lasting quality.

Manufactured using a mix of wood pulp and portland cement, Allura fibre cement siding boasts an incredible 50-year warranty that guarantees the product will resist damage caused by hail or termites, will resist rot and remain non-combustible, and will be free from manufacturing defects in material and workmanship when it’s installed by a professional. That being said, Allura will require repainting and resealing over a period of time, which means that unlike vinyl, it can absorb water that leads to decay.

Featuring a variety of colours and options, low maintenance, and ease of installation comparable to vinyl siding, the incredible longevity and durability of Allura’s fibre cement panels make it an excellent choice for homeowners who want to extend the return on investment for their exterior home renovation project.

Compared to vinyl siding, there are higher upfront product costs, but when you spread those costs over the 50+-year lifespan of Allura fibre cement siding, the return on investment is actually quite comparable if not better.

Home Siding Comparison Chart: Brick vs Vinyl Siding vs Allura Fiber Cement Siding

BRICK VINYL SIDING HARDIE PLANK / ALLURA
INSTALLATION
  • Labor-intensive process equates to higher installation cost; about 420 percent more expensive than vinyl siding
  • Lowest total installed cost of any exterior cladding
  • An independent agency ensures that certified vinyl siding installers are trained and tested on ASTM-accepted application techniques
  • Ease of installation comparable to vinyl siding
  • Allura boards are reversible, which increases yield and makes installation easier with fewer cuts
  • Should be noted that installation involves exposure to silica dust, which can have harmful health effects is not
MAINTENANCE
  • Over time pointing (the mortar used to attach bricks together) needs to be replaced
  • No long-term maintenance costs
  • Over time, the paint on Allura products needs to be repainted. That being said, Allura offers 15-year colour-fade warranty.
COLOURS & OPTIONS
  • There are multiple colour options for brick, but choices are limited compared to vinyl siding
  • Difficult to paint brick evenly
  • Homes with brick often feature high-maintenance trim and finishes (such as wood) to complement the look
  • An extensive variety of profiles and shapes to suit virtually
  • any architectural style
  • A wide spectrum of colour choices
  • Comprehensive architectural trim options and accessories in matching and complementary colours
  • Excellent selection of different profiles, colours, and size specifications
  • Choose from realistic textures including deep, authentic wood grains and ultra smooth finishes
  • Wide variety of matching and complementary trim options and accessories
  • Allura offers a custom colour program
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
  • Per BEES* software analysis, effects on global warming are three times greater than those of vinyl siding
  • According to BEES, production of brick and mortar generates almost 10 times the dioxin generated by the production of vinyl siding
  • Per BEES software analysis, vinyl siding has lower environmental impact than brick in total embodied energy, global warming potential and criteria air pollutants
  • Manufacturing and finishing processes incorporate recycled content and use an energy conservation process
COST & VALUE
  • -Nearly 400 percent more expensive material cost than vinyl siding
  • Ongoing re-pointing maintenance adds to life cycle cost of the home
  • A cost-effective exterior cladding with the lowest total installed cost
  • Allura fibre cement siding was awarded the Best Home Improvement for Your Money 7 years in a row by Remodelling Magazine
  • Some estimates peg the ROI in terms of increased home resale value as high as 84.3%
DURABILITY
  • Brick is very strong, durable, and withstands the elements
  • Insect resistant
  • Provides excellent insulation and fire resistance
  • Vinyl siding is weather resistant and can withstand winds up to 313 kph
  • Extremely fade resistant colours with lifetime fade protection
  • Insect resistant
  • Does not absorb water
  • Roll-over nail hem for a sturdy finish that resists bowing and buckling
  • Allura siding products are backed by an industry-leading 50-year warranty
  • Fibre cement siding products are extremely durable and can withstand all types of weather
  • Insect resistant
  • Rated A1 non-combustible
  • Moisture and fade resistant

*Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability Software (BEES) developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Wondering which type of siding Gienow recommends? For overall value and variety of options, vinyl siding remains the top choice for exterior home renovations.

Take a look at Gienow’s Vinyl Siding Catalogue or learn more about Vinyl Siding Maintenance.