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What are these horizontal pieces called? They're starting to pull away, so I want to replace them; perhaps with something more durable.

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It's called a skirt board. Ideally you would slip a Z flashing under the bottom of the siding and over the top of the skirt board.

If you use wood, be sure to back prime it and use cedar or redwood. LP Smartside might be a good choice as it's termite resistant. I would be reluctant to use a plastic product as it may expand/contract too much in Arizona.
 

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As you can see the caulking failed, allowing moisture to get behind the wood. Termites and insects are always looking for a way in.
 

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I ended up fully wrapping my sister-in-law's house with a reflective foam insulation board, a Z flashing at the bottom and putting on vinyl siding. Won't have to caulk / paint that thing any more...
 

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After the last hail storm, the wood sides of my house looked like a really bad day in Da Nang. All the first story is brick, but a lot of the 2nd story is wood siding on the sides and back. The contractor offered to put in concrete board (it came in 4 x 8 sheets, if I recall) and was textured like wood. I had them do 2 sides of the house that were hail blasted, plus the front of the house had a tiny amount of wood, and they replaced it for free. The East side was not replaced as weather here comes from the south west or north west, and the neighbor to the East has a 2 story house, so that side is protected from weather.

I have been very happy with the concrete board.
 

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After the last hail storm, the wood sides of my house looked like a really bad day in Da Nang. All the first story is brick, but a lot of the 2nd story is wood siding on the sides and back. The contractor offered to put in concrete board (it came in 4 x 8 sheets, if I recall) and was textured like wood. I had them do 2 sides of the house that were hail blasted, plus the front of the house had a tiny amount of wood, and they replaced it for free. The East side was not replaced as weather here comes from the south west or north west, and the neighbor to the East has a 2 story house, so that side is protected from weather.

I have been very happy with the concrete board.
James Hardie is probably the biggest player in the cement board siding market. It is very durable, but one must be careful to follow all their install instructions. As one might expect it is pretty heavy.
 

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That looks like the exact same stuff I used on my shed. Home Depot sells it.

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