Getting started with the siding

Remember the list of things I planned to do in May? It’s looking like I should have one of the three done in June. I’ve ordered Hardiplank siding for the cantilevered bay on the back. This is basically a mixture of sawdust, sand, and cement, similar to asbestos shingles but without the asbestos, that looks like wood siding but costs half as much and doesn’t peel. It gives me a little fire retardance, which is nice since the houses are a weensy bit close together. This photo doesn’t even do it justice since every bay has one about 2 feet away on one side. The green one and the beige one are actually farther apart from each other than they are from their other neighbors. But you get the idea.




Besides that, it looks and feels solid. Doing everything myself means I can choose to be snobby and care about these things. The trim is Versatex, a PVC material that looks and feels almost like wood.

Now you might also recall that I found moisture in the cladding of this section of the house. The new roof probably fixed this as the old one was completely rotten in this corner of the house. But while looking at everything, I noticed that they had flashing installed backwards, directing water farther into the walls, the stucco went beyond the fascia, allowing water to get behind it, the surface of the stucco was extremely uneven, and the pattern of the metal lathe was starting to make rust stains on the surface of the stucco. So we bit the bullet and ripped it all off.

It was important to me that the new wall assembly include everything possible to make it shed water properly. So I’m installing the siding on a rain screen. This is a dumb name. It means that the siding will be installed on furring strips with an air gap behind it, so if any water gets through the siding it can drain or dry out. Problem? At the bottom of my siding is basically a porch ceiling, and I wouldn’t want this gap to show or to let water drip on the house’s beadboard. So, I incorporated another nice thing with a dumb name: a water table. I don’t mean the elevation of the top of an aquifer. I mean a strip of wood with a drip cap on it. That’s what it should be called: a frieze with a drip cap. But I guess in the olden days few people knew much about both hydrology and carpentry so it was ok. The idea of this is that the drip cap will hide the gap if you’re looking up at it, and it will protect the beadboard by diverting any water that drips out from behind the siding away from the bottom of the bay.

Anyways, here’s the look I was going for. This is on an old American four square that my dentist restored to use for his office. So if you’re looking for a dentist in central Delaware County, here’s one to consider, who’s good with teeth and old houses!


My siding won’t flare out over the trim like that, but you get the idea.

Anyways, we thought we would get the siding up this past weekend, but then my order the didn’t arrive at the store. Bummer. But it took the pressure off. My dad said we could get the trim and furring strips up in about 3 hours. Instead, we worked 4 and only got up 3 boards. Now there are a few reasons why. We had other odd jobs and cutting them was hard. I had glued them together with Phenoseal, a vinyl adhesive caulk, and then the trim was too big for the saw. Even the huge 12 inch saw my neighbor loaned me. Also, Phenoseal doesn’t actually bond the PVC boards together, in spite of what the guy at the lumber yard said. So we broke them apart, scraped off the old caulk, trimmed boards, and got most things ready to finish later. Still, 4 hours, 3 boards. It looks like it’ll be more like a 9 hour job when it’s done. And we should be ready for the siding to go up on Father’s Day. Good thing there was a beer festival nearby this weekend because I got to take my dad to something he was excited about in the interest of moving the holiday.

And then we went back Monday night and got the drip caps on. Here’s what it looks like now, with 6 boards in place.

IMG_1526 IMG_1527


Next we will have to bend aluminum flashing (ourselves, without a brake) to lap over the drip caps and up the wall, then add an additional layer of the felt paper that laps over the aluminum all the way up the wall so water keeps getting shed over it all. And then vertical strips of marine grade plywood can get attached over that. Problem? The walls are nowhere near flat. The one on the end of the bay slopes about an inch, and is wavy. The windows and siding are all perfect and flat, so we have to shim out the furring strips and get them somewhere near level. After all this, actually installing the siding (with good help) will hopefully be the easy part.

Oh, and one more thing about this bay. It’s REALLY crooked. I’m keeping the original beadboard on the underside because it’s one of the few things that are original to the house in salvageable condition. But now it looks really weird with this trim attached level around it. More on that later; I’ll leave you with another photo of it. Can you picture what this will look like once I make it look good?IMG_1528


5 thoughts on “Getting started with the siding

  1. Jo

    Good choices and great progress. Can’t wait to see the finish. Awesome having a dad to help. Jo @ Let’s Face the Music



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