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Call and ask your contractors these questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It is your money and home. I would ask for references and take a look at samples of their work (especially the low bidder). Make sure all are licensed and carry the required insurance. You don't want to get a bad stucco job, so do your homework first before selecting a contractor; which may not be one of these. Check with your local building department and local building exchange for more references on these and other contractors. Good luck.
Alside is the far superior siding. Another option with the Alside is the Center Lock panel. It locks in the center of the panel, eliminating wind blow-offs,has a 3/4 inch profile, and carries the same warranty as the Charter Oak
Owner, Tom Ghysel Siding Inc.
Both choices have plusses and minuses.
I am partial to vinyl siding myself if it is put on by a contractor that pays attention to details in sealing against water intrusion. The better grades of vinyl stand up to the weater very well. The siding on my own home is over 15 years old and shows no signs of fading or any changes due to sun exposure and have had no problems with water entry around windows or doors. It does not dent like the old aluminum siding did or break if hit by a ball or a rock thrown by a lawnmower. As long as you save a few extra panels even if a rock was to be broken by something like a rock it is easier to repair. I will add that the earlier vinyl sidings did tend to fade but I have seen homes I sided after putting additions on that were done 20+ years ago and they look fine. Those closer to the 30 year mark not as good on the fading though. I gennerally never use the cheaper panels though so I can not vouch for them but I think that as long as it is one of the better manufaturers it seems to be just panel thickness. Just a personal opinion but if you are looking for added insulation I would use one of the 4X8 or 2X8 panels rather than the insulated siding. I can not see how insulation on the back of each panel with all the joints can do much more than stiffen the panels and I would think it would hamper the movement of the panels with changes in temperature.
As for Hardi or any of the other fibre cement sidings it is way more costly and relys on caulk or tar paper strips between the panels to seal out water. It is not very forgiving on install mistakes and must be done perfectly to get the full Hardi warranty. I was just involved with a job where the contractor did not put a few pieces of flashing in properly and his guys lapped a corner board incorrectly and the Hardi lifetime warranty was void. Another thing I did not like is that it is put in with a blind nailing method and even though this house was done to specs in this area of the install the bottom of the siding was not tight to the lower courses in many spots. They did install it to the maximum exposure and I believe if they had gone to a larger panel or even lessened the exposure by 1/2" it probably would have been fine. The other thing I saw was the paint seems to be prone to scratching durring install and to me the house looked like it needed a paint job even though siding was new. I do think that if painted after install a paint job would last many years as the product is very stable and does not expand and contract much. The one big plus I see is it tend to HELP in and area prone to fires such as some ares out West. I put the word help in capitals because it will not fireproof the home but may stop ignition from sparks and moderate heat exposure.
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