Vinyl Siding vs LP Smartside vs Fiber Cement vs Brick….OH MY!!!

We are well on our way into our house build….I’m at the point of Decision Fatigue….I really don’t want to make ONE more decision.  I’m having a Love/Hate relationship with the Internet right now.   For every decision I make, I spend DAYS researching online everything from performance to durability to best prices…ugh!  I’m all researched out.

One of the things I’ve absolutely HATED about the building process is finding out how much something costs.  As a DIYER, I’m used to doing everything myself, including calculating up costs of projects to decide if I want to do them….well that is NOT how it works in the building industry.  You first contact the person doing the work (ie builder) or go to the store supplying the products.  You then proceed to pick out what you like.  You drive home and wait a few days to get the price or rather SHOCKING price….so then you drive back to the store , repick things out, with the sales clerk trying to direct you to what might be less, then you wait another few days and get back something that isn’t that much less.   Of course by that time, you have your heart set on some of the things you originally picked out because, hey, that’s why you picked them out, right??  So then you end up going over what your allowance is because you can’t accept less, or at least, that much less….so pretty soon all those over-budgets add up to a TON of money and you feel like this whole house build is one HUGE, Gaping, Gushing, Bloody wound and you can’t wait until the house is done so you can stop the bleeding, stitch it up and begin the healing process on your bank account.  Fun times!

Seriously when I walked into the store my builder told me to go to and pick out faucets, I almost turned around and walked back out after not seeing any price tags.  I seriously considered just going to Lowes and Home Depot to find faucets.

So, I’m writing this post as a favor to anyone who is now researching what to put on the outside of their house in hopes it will help you out and then I won’t feel too bad about all that time I spent waiting for quotes and doing all the research.

Here it is the nitty-gritty numbers:

Our house is about 40 feet across the front and 43 feet on the side.  It’s almost a rectangle if you include the front porch.  It’s 1 1/2 stories in the front and a full 2 stories in the back (kind of like a backwards salt box house), so that gives you some idea of the amount of materials we used.  If you want to know exact square footage, ask me now and I’ll ask my builder.

Semi-Bead Vinyl siding Cost (which I think was 6-7″ wide and I think was Certainteed):  $6780

LP Smartside Siding Cost:  9820

cost to paint LP Smartside:  3200

Fiber Cement Cost and Brick Cost:  I didn’t write down the exact amounts but they both where in the 18-20,000 range.  That includes painting the Cement Siding and I’m pretty sure that quote is for James Hardie’s Hardiplank Siding.

so what did we choose????

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LP Smartside Siding New Construction

LP Smartside

I really loved the look of Fiber Cement Siding and I was extremely disappointed to learn that it was super close to the cost of Brick.  We were all set to go with vinyl until I happened to ask a sales guy if he knew of anything that was nicer than vinyl but not as expensive as Fiber Cement and Brick…I mean, there seemed like there should be a middle ground, right??  He told me about LP Smartside, so we had it priced and it was right in the middle of vinyl and brick.  So since that is the look I wanted, we decided to go with it.

Honestly, I would have never guessed it wasn’t Fiber Cement Siding if I hadn’t seen the back of it.  It looks great!!  Let’s see if we still like it in a few years, huh?  🙂

So for all those fellow home builders or soon-to-be builders or even wanna-be’s (hey, I was there once too), hope this helps make ONE of your decisions a little bit easier.

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Next article will be about DIYing Whole House audio…yeah, what was supposed to be having the security guys drilling a few holes for me to run audio wires ended up with me on the ladder with the drill….fun!

Oh and I’ve been meaning to get you my top tips on how to choose a builder since that was a mind boggling task when we first started out too.

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One of my readers, Ashley, left some great info in the comments on her research of LP Smartside and Hardie.  It’s a hard decision (at least for us it was because everyone around here was using fiber cement siding), but she ultimately decided to go with LP Smartside and sent me the pictures of the amazing transformation:

Before and After LP Smartside. Gray and White house

Wow!!  I love the gray and white and the stone!

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47 thoughts on “Vinyl Siding vs LP Smartside vs Fiber Cement vs Brick….OH MY!!!

  1. Thanks for posting this informative article. I have personally installed with my own hands, LP SmartSide Hardie & Vinyl siding products. They all have their goods and not so goods. The LP SmartSide siding is by far one of our favorites. The Hardie is heavy, to much dust and cracks easily when working with. The Vinyl has too much of the plastic look and can have moisture issues behind it. That being said, the LP is on the top of the list for us.

    Thanks, Greg

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  2. Hello admin, i must say you have very interesting posts here.
    Your website should go viral. You need initial traffic boost only.
    How to get it? Search for: Mertiso’s tips go viral

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  3. Debbie Wilson says:

    wondering how LP holds up to wood bees and wood peckers. We live in West Virginia along the Shenandoah river and the wood bees are terrible here. They bore holes lay their eggs in them and then the woodpeckers pick holes in the wood trying to get the eggs out. We had cedar on our house before and they didn’t mess with it but any where there was regular wood they tore it up.

    Thanks
    Debbie

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  4. I see your website is in the same niche like my website.

    Do you allow guest posting? I can write hi quality and unique content for
    you. Let me know if you are interested.

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  5. Timothy Krohn says:

    What about vinyl siding? LPGA smart siding is extremely costly in our area

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    • There are definitely ways to make vinyl siding look better, especially if you go with a vinyl siding that’s a step up from the budget builder variety. We were really close to going with CertainTeed’s Carolina Beaded with some Vertical siding and Vinyl Shake siding in different accent areas. I also really think that going with a thicker trim around windows is definitely worth the upgrade.

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  6. Could you tell me the LP color names of the 2 homes pictured here? Especially the gray & white one?And is it Cedar Creek Summit or Diamond Kote finish? Thanks.

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    • I’m not sure about the finish but the color is called Pelican.

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  7. Be careful with LP siding. It looks great, but does it perform as good as it looks. Back in the 90’s there was a material very similar to LP, looked the same as the current, the oriented strand construction looked to be very similar, but it would retain moisture in it and after few years it would rot out causing many homeowners ton of problems. In fact, there was a class acion suit in which the companies payed out millions of dollars to homeowners, I was one of the homeowners. So, unless the new product is different,
    I would pay more and go with Hardie and avoid future problems.

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    • The new product is completely different. You are most likely referring to innerseal, a now banned product. They learned their lesson after shelling out hundreds of millions in payouts. New stuff is soaked in some zinc borate (or something like that) and repels water way better than hardiplank. Take a water bottle into a store that sells both and test. You will see what i mean. It also holds up way better to impact. Go to youtube and search hardi vs lp smartside. A test done by NASA. I hate when siding cracks or has a corner chipped or big dent from a baseball. No way will LP do that.

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      • Oh forgot, Hardi is also embroiled in tons of lawsuits. Go to consumeraffairs and search james hardi. Some of the experiences people have had are pretty scary, but I suppose there could be a logical explanation, ie installation errors.

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      • Debbie Wilson says:

        How does LP hold up to wood bees and wood peckers? In our area the wood bees are terrible and once the bees bore holes in the wood and lay their eggs then the wood peckers come and peck holes in the wood to get the eggs.

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  8. Your style is unique in comparison to other people
    I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this site.

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  9. Did you read this article about proper installation of LP?

    http://www.startribune.com/problems-with-lp-smartside-installations/330824331/

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  10. Hardy will dent & break much easier than LP. It’s an engineered wood vs fiber cement. It’s much easier to work with since it’s lighter & has the ability to flex without breaking vs hardie. The hardie will soak moisture up like a sponge if not installed properly. You have to install a different product all together 4′ from the ground or your deck.

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    • That’s simply not factual (about denting and extra material) -And everything that is installed should be installed correctly

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      • Ashley Benson says:

        All of what Trey said IS true. LP is much much stronger than Hardie. You can look this up on multiple forums and there are also lots of videos that show comparisons with launched projectiles clearly showing that LP will hold up to potential damage better.

        Installation costs for LP are similar to that of Hardie, but it is specifically lower because Hardie is MUCH heavier, especially when you get into working with full length pieces. That being said, it won’t flex like LP will but rather , Haride will crack if not handled by multiple people. Also, installers that are following Hardie’s proper installation methods have to use specialty tools to cut the material while LP can be cut with regular saws. This is something that unsalted who are installing correctly will upcharge for on installation.

        The only thing I will elaborate on on his post is the fact that he said Hardie will soak up water like a sponge if not installed correctly. This IS true, but it is also true of LP. If either are not installed properly there is a great potential to soak up moisture. If ends are not sealed properly before insall, there is a potential for either to soak up moisture. If joints are not properly caulked, either could soak up moisture. HOWEVER, it has been shown that you can soak both pieces of material in a bucket of water and LP will outlast Hardie any day.

        This is why he also stated that you have to install a different product 4′ up from the when using Hardie. Again, installers may do it either way for you but Hardie specifically says that in order to keep their “great” warranty, you can’t insall it close to the ground, 4′ specifically. Most people then will elect to go with a PVC along the ground and then Hardie once you hit 4′. This is NOT a look that most people are looking for on their siding.

        We literally just went through ALL of the details of these 2 products and decided to do the LP vs Hardie on our project last year, the reasons above being only a couple of the multiple factors that set LP above Hardie.

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    • You have been watching to many LP you tube videos. Hardie is just as durable as LP. The videos don’t have a backer board behind the siding when they hit it with a sledge hammer. And the clearance from the ground is 4 inches, not 4 feet. Hardie is a lot heavier and more difficult to cut.

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  11. Was it 9800 for the Smartside alone or with the installation too? Getting ready to make this leap soon.

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    • That include the installation costs but doesn’t include painting it.

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      • If you go Hardie – you will never have to worry and your house value will go up. Also, your homeowners insurance will cost u less

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        • Ashley Benson says:

          Homeowners insurance will not necessarily go down with Hardie. Look into this with your personal insurer because when we were trying to decide what to do, we called and asked about lowering the cost of the insurance if we went with Hardie and State Farm told us it didn’t do anything for the cost. It could depend on location (in in Illinois) or it could depend on the insurance company you have.

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  12. Bill Elgersma says:

    I installed it on my house in 2007. Absolutely love LP Smartside. Only did it because of a contractors’ promo package, but it is more than great. Hit it with a hammer, it doesn’t dent. After 8 years, the butt joints do need caulking again because of expansion and contraction. Only complaint is it is noisy in hail because I used closed cell foam insulation and it is not noise inhibiting. Just bought a house built in 2004 and it has cement board that has shrunk a half inch in the butt joints. Class action law suit out there with Certainteed. The former owner is chasing it. I will be installing LP Smartside.

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    • Wow, that is great to know!! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m glad to hear that it holds up.

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  13. What was the square footage or linear footage of the house so I may gauge the amount we need…? Did you happen to price up any cedar or pine? Very helpful and I feel exactly like you did a year ago, right now. So frustrating to get pricing! TYTY

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    • We have about 2800 sq ft plus an unfinished bonus room. The outside dimensions of the house are 40 by I think 43 feet. I didn’t price cedar or pine. Good luck, it’s frustrating, huh? I couldn’t walk into any home stores and make any decisions about what to buy for a while after we were done building….ha ha ha!

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  14. We are trying to make the decision right now about what to do for siding. Have you had any problems with the LP? Do you still like it?

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    • Our siding is a year old and it still looks brand new. I’m so glad we didn’t go with vinyl. I still LOVE the color we chose. Our builder was careful that it was installed correctly so we haven’t had any problems. If the LP smartside had cost as much as brick, I would have gone with the brick just because it won’t ever have to be painted again, but I’m glad it was less because I love the siding look more than brick. Good luck!! I was so burnt out on making choices by the end that I’ve just barely started decorating my house, a year later….going into a home decor store used to break me out in a cold sweat! ha ha

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      • If he was pricing brick and hardie the same, that would be laughable. Brick is probably 3 to 4 times what hardie is. Maybe the cost for material is closer but the brick takes 4 to 5 times the amount of labor.

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    • It’s a little over a year old right now, but it still looks brand new….hopefully it will continue. Our house doesn’t get sun for the entire day so I’m sure that will help keep the paint looking newer longer.

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    • Ashley Benson says:

      We just used LP last summer. Love love love the outcome. If I knew how to post a picture on here, I would show you all how ours turned it but I can’t figure it out…

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      • I never thought about the posting pictures feature, I’ll look into it and get back to you. 🙂

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        • Ashley Benson says:

          Awesome! 🙂

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      • You could also just upload your pics to a free hosting site (e.g., http://www.tinypic.com) and then post your link or HTML tag in your reply.

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  15. Hardie doesn’t swell, if it does – it’s installed wrong. You also get what you pay for backed by a non-prorated warranty& a company that standa by it’s product.

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    • Ashley Benson says:

      LP doesn’t swell either… Not sure why this ended up on here as an argument. Also, the LP warranty is compatible to the warranty you get from Hardie. However, Hardie has A LOT more stipulations for installers to follow. If you happen to use an installer that doesn’t follow those stipulations (and there’s A LOT of them) Hardie can wiggle their way out of covering a warranty issue on your build. This isn’t the same LP that first came onto the marker years ago.

      Everyone should do their own research because a lot of these comments are just NOT true but ALL of them, mine included, are opinions. Make sure you do the research and develop your own opinion.

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      • We are considering LP Smartside or Hardie for residing our home. I was wondering if you went with one of the preferred installers from the Smartside website? Do you think it makes a difference regarding the warranty if the installer is not on LP’s list? I’m located in Illinois too and would like to know who installed your LP siding if you’re able to post it.

        Thanks

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        • I just used our Builder, Morgan Parker Builders here in Winston Salem, NC. He was refereed to us from a friend and he had a house in our local Parade of Homes which was really nice because we could see that he had attention to details. It’d be nice if you could see an install job or get references and then also read about how to install it so it’s done right. It’s really important to paint the cut ends, leave spacing between the joints and caulk the joints. Which you have to see if they are doing that while it’s going up. I don’t know about your warranty questions. We’ve had ours up almost 2 years and still really love it.

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      • Better check that LP warranty again. They probably will never pay for any problems as their warranty always blames the installer. They are the same company that sold the innerseal siding that was so horrible so they learned their lesson.

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  16. Ashley Benson says:

    Any updates on how it’s holding up? I am in the same predicament as you are right now. Don’t know what to go with, James Hardie or LP..

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  17. Good article. I’m currently prepping for a new build in the spring and LP SmartSide is on the top of my list. The cost of the James Hardie surprises me though. A quick check at the big box stores shows that the materials price is comparable between the two. I think you actually ended up with a really good deal on the LP.

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    • Hmmm… that’s interesting. I do know that LP Smartside is a lot easier to install than Hardie, maybe that plays a factor in the price too. Our builder was a lot more impressed with the LP Smartside than Cement Siding. He’s repaired a lot of Cement Siding because of the ends swelling. Of course that could be an installation error. The cut ends have to be painted, a expansion gaps need to be left and caulked and the top of horizontal trim (like the tops of the windows) need to be wrapped in aluminum. Good luck with your choice!

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    • Ashley Benson says:

      I’m looking to remodel too Mark and I’m between the same 2 products. I think where it hurts with the Hardie is on the install! Have you made a decision?

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  18. Another great piece. If we DO end up building, I’m going to have to name a room after you.

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    • Lol, thanks. I have more lessons learned about building to write so make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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    • Ha ha ha….thanks!

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