We're in the process of putting up the HardiePanels in a stucco finish. So far, so good.
I bought some electric shears to cut it, and boy am I glad I did. The shears cut through it so effortlessly, and they're so light (5lbs) you can easily make cuts while precariously dangling atop your house.
The siding however, is not light at all. We used 4x10's for the bottom course, and 4x8's all cut up for the top course. Lifting these panels alone is impossible, but we had a crew of 5 which made it very doable.
We tried to use a roofing nailer with a galv coil of nails, but something made the depth it drove them inconsistent (either the compressor or the nailer--we're not sure), often overdriving them which is a 'no-no' with Hardie's product. So, we ditched the nailer and hand drove aluminum nails. We had few problems hand nailing, except where we had used aluminum flashing, and in those places we just pre-poked using an electro-galv nail and then drove the aluminum nail right through. I have a very small house and we're only siding the front right now, so I imagine if you have a large house or several houses to side, you'd want a pneumatic nailer.
We stored the panels under a tarp outside, so the top sheet got some yuck on it...I'm hopeful that painting will cover it just fine, there's no evidence that the panel was structurally comprimised in any way.
I can't think of anything else that would be useful to share, but if anyone has questions, I'd be happy to help. Just ask me
We're not finished yet, still have a little more Z-flashing to do, caulking, and trim. Fortunately for my aching legs & back (and my hubby's too) it's been raining all day. I'll update when we've more to share! Here's a pic of where we are now: