Re: Getting New Siding..........Aluminum or Vinyl???
You CAN get it prepainted, but they're going to nick and scratch it up during shipping, delivery and installation and you're going to have to paint it again anyhow. So I wouldnt pay the premium.
One suggestion if you go ahead with it is to ask specifically for them to cut it with the power shears instead of a circular saw.
Cutting it with the shears leaves some nice easy to throw away shards. The saw makes a lot of fine dust that takes a long time to go away and is moderately lethal if inhaled. Just like breathing concrete out of the bag.
For installation, you have the choice of installing trim over the hardi or installing your trim and then running the hardi butted up against the trim. I recommend the latter...put in your harditrim, caulk the crap out of all the seams with silicone, then run the plank up flush with the trim (to manufacturers shrink/expand recommended gapping), then caulk the seams a second time. Your maintenance is now painting every now and then.
We also used Hardibacker on our shower and flooring. Best backerboard out there.
As far as benefits, its concrete board...doesnt rot, split, crack, warp, superior sound insulation, holds paint 1.5-2x longer than wood, can be cut/nailed/screwed just like wood so you dont need a lot of extra knowledge to install it.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.