It’s not like these are the only siding options available. There are plenty of brick, stone and other options, but most Tampa home builders offer these two options.
Now for many people, this isn’t really much of a decision. The style they want drives the siding. Mediterranean homes require stucco and bungalow and craftsman homes need hardie.
For those who can’t make up their mind on the architectural style, this is a topic of interest.
So what is stucco and hardie? Neither are structural elements of a home. They are the material that is placed on the exterior walls of the home.
Stucco is usually a mixture of sand, Portland cement, lime and water. Many manufacturers today use a variety of additives to provide greater flexibility and strength. The mixture is applied wet and when it dries, it becomes hard and dense. It can be applied over both frame and block exterior walls. It is done in multiple layers. The positive for stucco is its durability and low maintenance. The negative is that it needs to be mixed and applied properly or it can become brittle and crack over time.
Hardie siding has become a default name for fiber cement siding. In reality, James Hardie is the manufacturer for one brand of fiber cement siding and there are plenty of other manufacturers. Hardie and others make fiber cement siding in a variety of shapes – 1) lap siding, the traditional long horizontal boards, 2) shingle, the ones that look like cedar shakes, and 3) panels, more of a vertical board and batten look. The positive for hardie is that bugs and termites hate it and it’s impervious to moisture. Both are great attributes for Florida. The negative is that it is brittle and heavy (remember it’s fiberous concrete), so installation can be tricky.
From a cost standpoint, stucco does cost less than hardie. If you do go with stucco and choose the Mediterranean style, these savings will likely be eliminated due to the tile vs. shingle roofing. Maybe a topic for another day.
As a Tampa builder, I believe both stucco and hardie are great products and well suited for our area. So if you can’t decide on a style to drive the decision, you won’t lose with a good flip of the coin.
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