Residing Garage questions

I'm considering residing my garage. It is detached with dimensions of approximatly 20x26'. Currently it has a masonite type fiberboard siding. The 4x8 sheets are begining to fail around the bottom edge due to rain/sprinkler splash.
Can I just cover this up with new siding, or do I need to take it off?
I like the look of hardi plank, but it seems brittle and hard to work with. Are there any engineered wood products that have similar durability?
Thinking about acquiring a nail gun for this project. It will probably get little use afterward. I assume I'll need a framing nailer. Is that correct?
Suggestions appreciated.
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Before you tear off the masonite, you might check to see if it is the product that was subject to recall and free replacement, due to nonwaterproof glue and warping, 12-15 years ago, or more. I forget the brand, but there is recourse for some brands. Perhaps others can recall which companies they were.
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Yes, there was a class action settlement - search masonite class action for some good info. There are deadlines to claim and ways to verify that your siding is covered. Here's a good start point: http://www.masoniteclaims.com /
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snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

I don't know if it is OK to leave the old stuff on there so I won't even guess. However, removing it and then insulating the garage walls and adding a Tyvek vapor barrier might help keep it cooler in these hot months. It's just a thought.
I have used hardi plank and I don't share your concerns with it. It's actually easy to work with and has a 50 year warranty. I recommend it but I would love to hear about better alternatives.
If you don't need a nail gun after this project then consider renting one. Sometimes the rental prices make it almost worth buying though. But I do recommend at least looking into it.
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wrote:

I am hoping to avoid the demo work of taking down the existing siding. Except for a few spots it is structurally sound and holding paint well. I could Tyvek over it as an improved vapor barrier, There is no wall insulation. I also remain concerned that the Hardie is more brittle than wood products (I've seen where a kids skateboard punched a hole in a sheet of siding), and the backer would seem to help that issue.
At the speed I generally work I may as well buy the gun as rent.
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