Sorry for another long delay between blog posts – we've been working our butts off here – too much doing, not enough blogging. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know…we'll work on changing that. So the siding is about 3/4 of the way done now, with the door side, driveway side and garage side of the guest house done. We are currently working on the back of the house and have all the trim done so it's just a matter of getting all the siding cut and up, then caulking and painting before we call it done. We are hoping to have it all done and buttoned up before the raining season hits here in Santa Rosa, which is the same thing as saying winter since that's all it really does in winter is rain and hit lows of about 40 degrees – not bad at all. I consider this mostly a 2 season town; it's pretty much long spring, long fall and a tiny summer and fairly non-existent winter. I can totally deal with that – pretty much the opposite of NY lately!
This siding project has been VERY slow going and we realize why – siding isn't really your average "do it yourself" project. We are sort of addicted to the DIY network show "10 Grand in Your Hand" where they show you how to knock items off your contractor's bid and save yourself money by doing some work on your own. They typically do things like demo, doors, windows, cabinets, tile, wood floors, etc. I've seen them do a little siding patching but never a whole siding project as a DIY undertaking. Now we know why – this is some labor intensive stuff and it's not as straightforward as you may think – there are a lot of layers and a lot of detail that go into it. I'm sure it becomes second nature for people who do it every day, but for us it was slow going and lots of double, triple and quadruple checking.
Shown here, first off we had to trim sections of the bottom of the water table (base trim) board to accommodate a concrete bump out in the slab – you can see where it is uneven on the bottom in the pick below but we'll put some wine barrel planters in front of the eventually so you will never see it. This PVC trim board will be water resistant and also has a built in drip cap to help with water run-off. The yellow mesh on top of the Tyvek paper moisture barrier is a rain screen that helps to guide water down and out if it gets behind the siding and the black mesh between them is a bug screen that loops behind and then in front of the rain screen at the top and bottom where it meets the upper and lower trim – should prevent most bugs and critters from getting up behind the siding which is good because we found all sorts of fun dead things under the old siding when we demo-ed it! All this is done before you can even start thinking about siding. I'm willing to bet most places don't do this many layers of protectant – if you want it done right you deal with the hassle of doing it yourself!
I should note that before all that sheathing went up we marked all the joists off and then used a laser level to draw them out on the Tyvek paper. This way we knew where to put nails and staples – thinking ahead saves so much time later on!
The bottom row of siding was by far the hardest as it needs to be perfect level--it is the foundation that all the other rows of siding will build upon. These boards are heavy and they don't like to stay level so it just requires good old fashion strength and coordination to hold it while securing it to the sheathing. The kind of thing that would be easy it we all had 3 hands. Then you nail around an inch off the top of the board into all the joists and that is covered by the overhang on the board above it.
Once the first row is done things get a little easier. We got these clips called "Solo siders" which clip onto the board below and then the board above rests on them. You adjust for level and then nail 'em up. The biggest consideration is staggering the siding joints and leaving 1/8 of an inch on either side for expansion of the board. Also for every cut piece you need to prime the cut end to seal the fiber cement board. And don't forget that tar paper (that black square) that needs to be nailed behind any siding joint.
Then it's just a matter of accurate measuring and cutting and remembering all the steps above – it's easy to miss a step so you have to take it slow and be methodical. Once you're in a grove it gets easier, but it's never "easy"
Last row being done of the driveway side of the house – the siding is just primed, not yet painted its final color – a colonial blue. The PVC boxes around the light fixtures will be painted the same while as all the trim. We will also be putting a top trim board up but we still need to order that so that will be the last things we do. You can't really see it anyways since the soffit hangs over and it's protected from rain if we don't get to it ASAP.
Half-way done door side of the house – we'll be repainting all that concrete you see below the trim on the left and doing a raised planter bed held with a retaining wall around that left side of the door and wrapping around to the corner to the back side of the house. A project for next summer—goodie! As if we didn't have enough!
There will also be base trim around the door to finish all that off. I love that door – I think it looks great and people are shocked when we tell them it isn't real wood. Can't wait to see how it looks with the white trim and the blue siding!
Will post more picks of the finished siding but the really exciting thing coming up is the blue paint – cannot wait to see how that turns out…all in good time…