Below is a useful article on the difference between Hardieplank vs. Vinyl Siding. The article is undoubtedly biased towards fiber-cement siding products, however, all of the points in the article are true.
The original article can be found here
“When you’re siding your house, often you begin with big ideas, and those big ideas gradually shrink as reality hits you in the face. The HardiePlank vs. vinyl siding question is not so much a debate–all factors being equal, pick HardiePlank–but a process of starting big and working downward. Here are the factors that may help tip you in either direction:
Hardieplank is thick, just like real wood lap siding. While thicknesses do vary, an average thickness of HardiePlank is 5/16″, or over a quarter-inch. Vinyl siding is mere millimeters thick.
In terms of outward appearance, though, thickness doesn’t really matter, except in the case of texture (below). Once both products are installed on a house, you cannot see the total thickness. In terms of durability (below), it does matter.
HardiePlank is composed of cement-like materials and about 10% to 15% cellulose (wood) fibers. Contractors complain because the stuff kicks up clouds of cement dust. But their pain is your gain: HardiePlank will not burn. Vinyl siding is treated with fire retardant, but this only retards or mitigates the spread of fire. Firefighters regularly comment on how houses with vinyl siding neighboring a burning house–up to 60 feet away–will badly warp in response to the adjacent heat.
HardiePlank’s thickness allows for deep relief, so that it looks like wood. Vinyl siding usually does have a wood-like relief, but the product is too thin to allow for the deep textures found on HardiePlank (or real wood, for that matter).
Vinyl siding is far cheaper–both the product and labor costs. Basically, the maximum you can expect to pay for vinyl siding is the minimum you can expect to pay for HardiePlank and other fiber-cement siding products such as Allura.
HardiePlank is more durable, though each product is flimsy in their own way. The classic way that vinyl siding gets damaged is when an errant lawn mower or garden spade hits the siding, punching a hole or creating a gash. Freezing temperatures makes vinyl siding more prone to cracking. Heat will warp it. HardiePlank, being essentially a long, thin sheet of concrete, will crack upon impact. It will not warp or melt.”