It beats me! I try to keep a practical outlook on life, figuring that you get what you pay for, but that there is no need to spend bundles on something simple.
As a contractor specializing in vinyl siding, I talk to a lot of people who want to improve the appearance (and value) of their home, while decreasing the expense and frequency of maintenance. Lately I have had many more people ask for Hardie Plank/Board than vinyl, even though the costs to purchase and install it are higher. Costs are almost double the cost of vinyl, and exceed the expenses for wood and composite siding.
I am a practical guy, and have had a house with cedar or composite siding myself. I stumbled onto a house with stucco, otherwise I would have preferred to have a house with lifetime vinyl siding which is inexpensive, low maintenance, and NEVER NEEDS PAINTING.
My partner and I feel that vinyl got a bad name due to BAD VINYL, that is vinyl that was not designed sturdy enough, nor designed to withstand 300 local Sunny days nor the occasional extremely cold winters we have in the area. On the West side, I have found very thin vinyl that would fade and become brittle if used here. We prefer using thicker vinyl designed for the area by the world’s oldest company to make vinyl siding, and who GIVE IT A LIFETIME WARRANTY. (Mastic, an offshoot of Alcoa Aluminum)
Hardie plank is sturdy and fairly resistant to sun and moisture. It is made for only two zones, HZ 5 and HZ 10. They recommend HZ 5 for northern areas, and HZ 10 for Southern, Hot, and Humid areas. The HZ 5 is not a very good match for our area which experiences even more heat than southern areas, though without the humidity. THE WARRANTY FOR Hardie is LIMITED TO CERTAIN STATES OR CERTAIN ZIPCODES, AND ELEVATIONS BELOW 2000 FEET. (Local zipcodes are included.)
The Warranty is PRORATED AFTER THE FIRST YEAR on most products (still working on regular warranty that is NOT prorated), and is VOIDED if there is any problem with storing, shipping, or installation; or if there is contact with soil or water at the base of the house; or if the house settles. It is VOIDED for IMPROPER MAINTENANCE: for example, failure to sand and paint immediately with acrylic, if color is not baked-on. THERE IS NO COVERAGE FOR MOLD OR MILDEW. IT MUST BE BRUSHED AND CLEANED EVERY 6-12 MONTHS, PAINTED EVERY 5-7 YEARS, OR THE WARRANTY IS VOID.
Patch kits are available, but the WHOLE PLANK MUST BE REPLACED if the damage is BIGGER THAN A DIME. Problems must be REPORTED within 30 DAYS, protected and NOT repaired, for warranty, and only THEY are the judge of “excessive fading.”
WE WILL APPLY IT, IF YOU INSIST ON INSTALLING THIS STUFF, however!