My original wood siding is in bad shape. Rather than replacing it again with wood, I was considering using fiber-cement siding from James Hardie.
Does any one have any experience with installing this? Thanks.
Hmmm. Your wood siding lasted 40-50 years. Why not wood again?
Stick to what's original to your home. You would be flushing money down the toilet AND detracting from it's original look.
I agree. There's too much monkeying around with Eichlers out there. Stick with the original design. And I'd take a look at using Cabot Stain, rather than paint, which was original. There are a few Eichlers where I am (Sacramento) that are still the original stain and still look great--much better than those that have been painted. The "Eichler" reproduction siding is not quite the same as the original in quality--I've got a little of it on my house and fortunately it is in an inconspicuous place, because it does not match. I'd do a test first, or you might consider making your own, or having it made out of better plywood.
When people change the siding on Eichlers it often makes them look like mobile homes. The siding (particularly the spacing of the grooves) is an integral part of the architecture. I've never seen a siding change that improved the look of the house. There's a great danger that it will hurt the resale value. And naturally, it will negatively effect the continuity of the neighborhood.
I agree with Dave and the others--and as an Eichler owner who loves these homes and was raised in one, I am not a pureist, but I do believe in respecting the home and your neighbors. I can point to two homes in our area where the owners replaced their Eichler siding with something resembling the stuff you are considering and it looks gawd-awful. Not only does it ruin the look of the home (yes, the phrase "mobile home" does come to mind), but that of the neighborhood as well. The two most distinguishing exterior features of Eichler homes, IMHO, are the low roof-lines and the siding. Remove either and you no longer have an Eichler home. Eichler siding is still being made. Look at some of the ads on this site and you will find a source for it.
The best word of advice I can provide to Eichler owners when contemplating home improvement projects is "take a deep breath and think about it long and hard - at least several months." The one time that I failed to follow this advice, I lived to regret it. Do you know anyone that would like a brass, country-style faucet cheap?