I understand the lure of modern building materials, I really do. I understand that vinyl siding is incredibly maintenance free. I understand that fiber cement is practically fireproof. And yes, I understand that wood siding is outdated. However, it would have been a crime to wrap a timber frame home in anything other than a natural material.
And before you ask, yes it was fairly pricey, but I find it well worth the investment. I sourced cedar bevel siding from a distributor out of Scottdale, Pennsylvania. The customer service was greatly lacking and I am thrilled that I’m done dealing with them, but the product is very nice and there were only a handful of boards that were unacceptable. The total price for 900 square feet was $2,200. It’s much cheaper than what I could source anywhere else.
The size of the siding was 1″x8″ and came in varying lengths up to 12′.
The initial row was the most important and had to be equally distanced from the eaves of the roof. Keeping the siding level was important, especially when it came to trimming around windows, but an entire house from front to back tends to be out of level here and there… especially if I’m the carpenter.
So once my starter strip was installed (just like you would with shingles, but this helps create a rain flare on the base of the wall) I was able to go right up with the siding using a jig I had made. You can purchase a special jig online that is meant for fiber cement and wood bevel siding that allows you to clamp both ends of the board ensuring that they are spaced correctly. However, they are expensive and I was able to have help when installing the siding. With two people, a jig works fine.
As you can see, it makes a drastic difference to the overall appearance of our tiny home.
There were some special techniques I had to use for certain parts of the install. When installing vinyl siding, there are no butt joints. One piece simply slides over another. With wood siding, you don’t have that luxury. Some installation manuals recommend that you caulk the end of each board where the two meet. And while this would certainly suffice, the proper way is to put a piece of flashing behind each butt joint that overlaps the next course of siding so that every little bit of water that gets in the crack finds its way out. This took some extra time, but I’m pleased to know that it’s that much more weatherproof.
The next thing to consider was the point of contact between the top of the window trim and the siding. Caulking will eventually fail and windows are the number one places for leaks on a wall. So I installed some homemade aluminum flashing above the window that I shaped into the form I wanted. I could have bought the flashing in the big box store, but this saved me a few bucks and I kinda like the metal-worked look it has to it.
The last technique I had to consider was whether I would face nail or blind nail my pieces. I understand the argument that comes with blind nailing, but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave that much of a board unsupported. Plus, my siding tapered to around an 1/8″ on the top of the board. With that little material to work with, the nails were very prone to split the boards. So yes, nails are exposed on my house, but no, it does not bother me one bit.
What we did next made many people, including ourselves, sick. We painted the gorgeous stuff. I know what you’re thinking… “How could you??” Well, let me defend myself. I want this siding to last as long as possible. Stain/sealer will extend the life of wood siding by many, many years; but only paint can give a true waterproof protection that makes it last for 100 years. I didn’t want to re-stain my house every 3-4 years and I like the option of being able to change the appearance of our home with a few coats of paint in 10 years time.
So, we primed it, and painted it an earthy green. Pa calls it OD green (which I’ve concluded is some kind of green he was very familiar with in the Army). With the rustic cedar trim, which is stained, it really pops. Faith and I love it a great deal.
Now that the siding is done, I’ll begin electrical and add a front porch before my Summer runs out.
Here’s some finished pics with my wife’s phone. Not as good quality, but it’s the finished result. Eventually we’ll add a stone veneer to the foundation.