Cedar shingles or fiber cement shingles?

Which one is the right one for you?

Our clients frequently ask us which shingles is best to install in their homes: Cedar or fiber cement? There is no right or wrong answer and therefore we suggest customers to explore the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each.

We should understand that cedar and fiber cement shingles are two completely different materials. Cedar is a beautiful type of wood and shingles are made mostly from western red cedar but there are also white cedar shingles available. Fiber cement on the other hand is a man-made material composed of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers.

We start by analyzing four categories:

  1. Cost of materials
  2. Durability and Maintenance
  3. Finishes
  4. Fire Resistance

1 – Cost of materials

Neither wood siding nor fiber cement are the cheapest options in home siding.

  • Cedar shingles range from $5 to $8 per square foot. (Average $6.50 per sqft).
  • Fiber cement shingles range from $3 to $6 per square foot (Average $4.50 per sqft.)

2 – Durability and maintenance


Although cedar is a wood with high resistance to the elements, pests and rot, when compared to another type of wood, this does not mean that it does not need maintenance. In fact, we suggest painting every 5 years and in case you have applied ink, it should be replaced every 3 years. It is not only important to keep the paint and ink in optimal condition, but also to inspect the wood for holes or cracks that allow insects to enter. For some reason of nature that we do not know, cedar is one of the favorite woods of woodpeckers

Fiber cement

This material is the undisputed champion when it comes to maintenance. For this material, maintenance requirements are minimal. Manufacturer James Hardie guarantees no issues for 15 years. It is also resistant to pests, termites, woodpeckers, and other pests.

3 – Finishes


Cedar siding comes in many different styles, including lap siding, beveled, and traditional cedar shingles. You can also get a modern, seamless look with shingles but also a more rustic look using cedar shakes.

Shapes of cedar shingles

  • Diagonal
  • Fish scale
  • Diamond
  • Square
  • Half-cove
  • Hexagonal
  • Octagonal
  • Round
  • Arrow

Fiber cement

Shapes of fiber cement shingles

They are available in a variety of finishes that mimic wood, from smooth to a more rustic finish. It comes primed and painted and also allows painting once it has been installed.

  • Perfection shingles
  • Random square straight edge
  • Random square staggered edge
  • Half-Rounds
  • Octagons
  • Individual shakes

4 – Fire resistance


As with all wood that has been dried, it will help spread flames in the event of a fire, unless it has been treated with a resistant fire-retardant material.

Fiber cement

This is one of the most outstanding advantages of this coating and according to the classification, it will not contribute to the spread of flames and will not ignite when exposed to direct flames or excessive heat.

As with all building materials, these have pros and cons, but the important thing is that you do your own research and analysis and we also suggest that you see installations made with both materials so that you have a complete idea of how the materials look once installed and ultimately decide which material suits you best for your needs and expectations.

If you have questions, queries about these types of shingles, or how you can see these materials in person, do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists.