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PVC cladding and fibre cement cladding

There are many options for external cladding for your home. All cladding materials have their own particular benefits and fundamentally it comes down to what is important to you and what suits your homes’ needs best. Find out the key differences between fibre cement cladding and PVC cladding in this comparison. 


What is PVC and UPVC cladding?

PVC, also known as vinyl or plastic cladding, is a cladding material made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), in other words a type of plastic. There is a slight difference between PVC and uPVC, PVC cladding contains plasticisers, whereas uPVC (Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride) does not. PVC and uPVC as a cladding material can be used both as interior and exterior cladding and is known to be low maintenance and easy to install. 

What about plastic cladding?

Is plastic cladding the same as PVC cladding or uPVC cladding? Yes, plastic cladding is the same as PVC cladding or uPVC cladding. It is just common terminology that people use when they do not know that the correct term is PVC, UPVC or Vinyl cladding. 


uPVC cladding vs. fibre cement cladding

Whilst there are some benefits that are similar between PVC cladding and fibre cement cladding, such as ease of installation, low maintenance, colours and styles, there are many fundamental differences between the two cladding materials.


The durability of PVC and fibre cement cladding is fundamentally different, PVC will inevitably become brittle and fade over time. James Hardie fibre cement cladding  is very durable due to the nature of the composition of the product: cellulose fibre and cement, both of these are extremely resilient. Additionally, James Hardie cladding such as Hardie® Plank, is climate engineered, meaning that it is specifically designed for the climate zone in which it will be used. Hardie® Plank weatherboard is also more dimensionally stable and can withstand high wind loads. 

Fire resistance 

Fire endurance is probably the biggest difference between PVC and fibre cement cladding. PVC cladding comes with fire classification D-s3, d2, this means it is a combustible material with medium contribution to fire. As PVC is a type of plastic it can melt and warp when exposed to fire. 


All James Hardie cladding products in fibre cement have a fire classification of A2-s1, d0, which means it is a non combustible material with no contribution to fire. Therefore it is a very safe choice of exterior cladding material. 

Learn more about fire ratings and fire resistance of different cladding materials on our Fire resistant cladding page


PVC and fibre cement cladding are both known to be low maintenance building materials. Generally over time, PVC cladding may be susceptible to fading and cannot be painted over if the colour fades or changes. However, James Hardie’s fibre cement cladding products have a baked on paint which creates a unique surface with enhanced protection. Our surface with ColourPlus™ Technology results in a low maintenance, fade resistant cladding material. 


Design flexibility 

In theory PVC and fibre cement are similar in that you can create multiple styles and choose from many different colours - it all depends on the manufacturer. James Hardie offers 21 colours and 2 different textures as well as different types of plank choices depending on which style you wish to create. For shiplap or overlap, use our best seller Hardie® Plank weatherboard, and if you rather go for a V-joint style, choose Hardie® VL Plank interlock cladding.







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