Siding will typically last 20 plus years although it will be showing its age by then and can negatively affect the value of your home and also make you not so in love with your home as you once were. Siding is the biggest improvement you can make on the outside of your home from a curb appeal perspective but it is also typically the most costly. If your siding is fading, cracking, or denting its probably time to start thinking about new siding. If you can see wood sheathing behind your siding your home isn't up to current building code and replacement should happen sooner rather than later.
The 4 main types of siding typically found are Vinyl, Aluminum, Wood, and Fiber cement(aka Hardie).
Vinyl will split, crack, fade, and show imperfections in the wall surface.
Aluminum is more rigid than vinyl but dents easily, fades, and is an energy user.
Wood will rot, requires a lot of maintenance, and is susceptible to insect damage.
Fiber Cement is difficult to install correctly, requires maintenance despite what many companies will tell you, and is very difficult and costly to insulate.
A house wrap is a moisture barrier that protects the wood structure of your home from water infiltration and damage. It will also help reduce drafts in your wall cavities. It is required by building code for all new construction and absolutely should be apart of your siding replacement project.
Hardie board is a great looking product and the debate will rage on forever on what products are the best for the outside of a home. As good as Hardie looks its comes with some disadvantages. It is typically more costly than regular siding. It does require paint and maintenance despite what some companies will tell you. It is difficult to add insulation and make you home more efficient. It becomes brittle with age and its often installed incorrectly. We are big fans of insulated siding. You can get a comparable look to hardy without the maintenance. Your home will be more insulated and also quieter inside. Insulated siding is more rigid than regular siding. The cost is comparable to Hardie but the benefits far surpass it.