An alternative to metal siding?

Q. My small brick house has wood trim, three gables, and fascia, all of which have to be painted. Even good-quality paint fails to last very long. Estimates for metal siding run up to $2,500 or more, which seems excessive. Is there any long-lasting substitute for the siding which would look well? I am a widow with retirement very near and want to get my house in good condition. A reader Litte Rock, Ark.

A. Undoubtedly, you are considering the metal siding to cover the wood only and not the brick. Right?

Because of the distance (southern Arizona), I cannot make a judgment on the estimated cost of the metal siding, since the square footage to be covered is relevant to the price.

Obviously, paint will not last forever. An annual spot paint touch-up program will make the old application last longer.

Metal fascia systems are available from specialty contractors, but they are not cheap. They would, however, eliminate the need to repaint the wood fascia, which, in any case, is a relatively small area.

Should you find that new metal siding or continued repainting is unacceptable or uneconomical, consider a spray-on type of material which is half paint and half plastic. Or you could turn to exterior stucco. Prices for both these types of finishes over wood can be obtained from subcontractors in you area.

Compare prices and expected longevity for plastic overlay, stucco, and metal siding.

In analyzing which material to use, let aesthetics and longevity, along with economics, govern your final choice.

You may find that repainting the woodwork at 3- to 5-year intervals is st ill the best way out.

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