If it is important that the outside of a house breaths, lap siding ok?

I'm in the design stages of a smallish addition to our house. I am leaning towards using a cement based pre primed siding (anything good or bad to say about Hardiplank lap siding?). My concern is that after several coats of paint the siding may form a vapor barrier and trap moisture. I live in PA. Is this a concern? I could use Hardishingles which when installed would leave many small channels for vapor to escape, a lot more work and not the look I'm after.
Thank you for any thoughts,
Andy Everett
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I think fiber cement siding as a class of materials is excellent. One has to learn to work with it. I think pre priming is a good idea and suggest painting cut ends. As for paint sealing the house, I can offer this experience: Our weather board / lap siding / clapboard was painted and all the joints caulked closed. ( This was a "gift" from the painter who wanted to do a "good" job.) The paint blistered. We opened every third lap joint and the problem has not reappeared. I think good prep work will take care of the sealing up of joints. TB
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Can you elaborate on this, TB? On the back of our house, the paint blisters terribly - it's ready for a repaint about every 3-4 years, while the rest of the house survives fine with just an annual washing. and new paint about 7-8 years. The siding is cedar clapboard. Are you saying that it's possible the boards on the back of the house are too well sealed for their own good?
I'm going to paint that side this summer anyhow, so thoughts on loosening the seams in the clapboards first would be very welcome.
thanks, Keith

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k wrote:

Google groups search, key words: "painting siding wedges"
http://groups-beta.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&q=painting++siding+wedges&qt_s=Search

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