Siding: Exterior Aesthetic

After picking up some reclaimed corrugated steel siding from Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage and some cedar siding left over from a friend's house remodel a few years ago, I was excited to get it installed on my house. I had originally thought I would put vertical corrugated siding on the tongue end and then run it horizontal on the short long wall with open joint cedar siding on the tall long wall and back end. However, a friend suggested putting the corrugated on the two long walls which made me think of putting it on the two end walls with cedar on the two long walls so I would not have to deal with cutting and flashing around the windows. I would, however, be challenged with cutting diagonals to match the slope of the shed roof.
A friend and I installed the eight 2'x8' panels in a few hours which probably could have went faster if I was not so meticulous with it being plumb and level and matching the existing structure. I put off figuring out, cutting and installing the top angled pieces until last weekend when I took the measurements and drew the sketches I needed for each of the eight pieces. I attempted to use an angle grinder to cut the line I wanted after the piece was clamped to the table with a sacrificial guide. However, since I am new to metal working, I was unprepared for the amount of sparks created and the sounds associated with cutting steel. I also felt like I needed my sturdy Carhartt pants to better protect myself so I decided to postpone it until yet another day. One of the founders of the site where I am building who is a welder offered to help me cut the pieces one evening but he ended up having other commitments so yesterday I decided to buy a metal blade for my circular saw, put it on backwards as suggested for this task, and go for it! At least the circular saw is a tool I am familiar with and it has a fence to better guide the blade through the material. Still a bit intimidating though.
I marked my cut line on the corrugated and then clamped down a piece of wood to guide the saw fence in a straight line. Then I put on my safety glasses, ear muffs and leather gloves (one time where gloves are necessary when using a saw), started the saw and made the cut. I definitely felt an adrenaline rush the first time through as I was unsure how the saw would react to the steel. I was told it would cut like butter and while I did not find that quite true, it was just fine. The sparks flew to the opposite side of where I was cutting and it cut through the corrugations somewhat easily though the blade wanted to tilt the saw when going over the ridges. I made the cut on the finish side so the burrs were left on the backside. I think if the saw blade was put on in the other direction, the burrs would have been on the finish side.
I made all of the perpendicular cuts this way and then used right and left handed snips to hand cut the diagonals just to see what that was like. I actually liked using the hand tools because it was quieter, didn't use as much energy and felt safer. They also did not leave burrs which I had to file off from the circular saw cuts. The steel I have is pretty thick, probably about 22 gauge. The newer stuff is much thinner and so cuts easier. This experience has made me feel less intimidated to install my roof which is also metal.
The cedar siding I picked up from a friend was sitting outside covered for the last 3 years so it had a slightly weathered look to it. Much work had already gone into preparing it to be used as siding including jointing, planing and ripping to the final dimensions. Some of it even already had one side stained. I had not planned to stain it so I could watch it weather over time. I did consider leaving the back side stained so it would be more resistant to moisture but then some friends mentioned that wood will cup if you only stain one side. I had heard of the reverse, painted siding that cupped since the back had not been primed, so moisture could cause the wood to swell. This made sense to me along with the fact that I have an air cavity behind my siding which allows moisture to drain and a convection current to dry it out. I sanded the one side that was already somewhat smooth and then started to plane and sand the other side since smooth surfaces repel water easier than rough ones, but quickly realized that the portable powered hand planer we have on site really needs a new blade to be effective in creating a smooth surface. So I just decided to install the boards with the smooth side out.
I used 5d stainless steel siding nails that I found at Parkrose Hardware to install the cedar with two nails through the siding into each furring strip. My build buddy, Lina, later found out that Home Depot carries 6d stainless steel nails after I was going to have to special order more or wait until Parkrose got more in stock. Such a great find! I had friends help me install the longer pieces since it would have been more difficult alone and I installed the shorter pieces solo. It was a little tricky figuring out the spacing of the boards since I didn't want to have to notch around windows and also wanted to minimize the amount of waste that would be created by ripping them down. I also had a limited supply to work with so I spent much more time deciding which pieces should go where which I would have not had to do with new cedar, but the material I found already has so much character that I love. After three trips to pick up the siding, I had enough for both of the long walls and I think they look great!
For more photos, check out my flickr!

Door Install

My door arrived on site last week and I was so excited to get it installed! I realized, however, that I had some more prep work to do before I could do so. I ordered a fiberglass flush glazed full lite Codel door with a composite jamb from Medallion Industries because they offered me a combination of good price and customer service. I chose to order a door for a 2x6 framed opening even though my framing is 2x4 but I have an exterior insulation wrap and rainscreen system that thickens the wall a couple of inches. I also chose to go with an outswing door so I would have more space inside and hinges to the front of the trailer which someone suggested would be safer if it happened to open when traveling down the road. I learned that the place where you screw the door jamb into the framing is directly behind the weatherstripping. You just peel off the weatherstripping while installing the door and then cover up the screws when you press it back into place. Pretty awesome. However, with my wall system, the place for securing screws was to the outside of the framing somewhere in the Roxul insulation. So I needed to fur out my framing with ripped 2x4 material. I used cedar since it would be more exposed to the elements and since it is what I am using for the trim and siding on that wall. I originally thought I would trim the door out like the windows, but then realized that it would look better to have flat trim to cover the gap and create a consistent reveal around the door jamb. Since I made the rough opening for the door the standard 82 5/8" high and then learned later that outswing doors are about an inch shorter, I also needed to add some blocking to make the opening shorter. I decided to do this by adding a 2x6 on top of the sill plate since I had trailer bolts I would have to shim around anyway and this was a more solid solution. I'll have to figure out the transition to my floor later since I don't know yet what thickness of material I will be using.
Once the opening was ready for the door, we moved the door into place, tipped it back to apply silicone under the sill to prevent water from entering, and then carefully set it in place with one person on the inside and one on the outside. To screw it to the frame, we started with the top of the hinge side, added some shims so there was a little wiggle room between the jamb and framing, made sure it was just slightly proud of the outside, and then put a screw in. Next, we moved to the bottom of the hinge side, lined things up, checked for plumb, added shims and another screw. Then we added another screw next to the center hinge. Finally we shimmed, leveled and plumbed the latch side of the jamb and then screwed it in place at the top, bottom and next to the latch and deadbolt strike plates. The woman who helped me is a finish carpenter so she had little tips and tricks to get the door looking good with micro adjustments for the reveals. I am so excited it is in so I can paint and trim it out and then start siding!
More photos can be found in my flickr album.

A Little Bit of Everything

This post is going to be a bit of a catch up on what I have been working on lately. In my last post I talked about siding sourcing having finally found a place to buy reclaimed corrugated metal siding. I met with Lewis from Taylor Metal on site yesterday to figure out ordering my roof as well as some install questions. In addition to being very helpful to a novice metal worker, Lewis also asked if I needed more corrugated since he had some he wanted to get rid of. If only I had met him a couple of weeks earlier! Perhaps I will take him up on his offer anyway since I could store it under my house until I build my porch roof or for the next tiny house I build...
I made a couple of trips to pick up some reclaimed cedar siding from a friend. It was interesting to see how much my Subaru's roof racks could handle as well as the looks on the faces of the people I drove past on my way to site. I will probably have enough for the tall long wall, maybe even enough for the short long wall. If not, I'll likely head over to Shur-Way for the rest since they are located close to my house, have good prices on cedar siding and are really nice people to work with.
I picked up some 2x4 cedar from Shur-Way to build out my window frames. I had originally planned to install flat trim boards on top of the furring strips but due to the depth of my windows, it would have looked weird so I came up with a new solution. I had to cut back the Roxul insulation around the windows first so that the 2x4s on edge could frame the window. Then I ripped the sills with a table saw to have a 10 degree slope. I made the headers the same way since it was a little beyond the point where I could have installed header flashing as well as for aesthetics of not seeing flashing but still providing a way for water runoff. I cut the ends of the vertical pieces to 10 degrees with the chop saw. Then I lightly sanded, stained with Sikkens Cetol SRD, and screwed each frame together.
Ideally, I would have face screwed the frames into the studs but that would have required me to also screw through the window flanges which I did not want to do. I thought about finding a way to glue them to the house but learned that was not really possible due to the stain. So I finally decided to screw furring strips to the sides of the frames since I would need them there eventually anyway. Once screwed to the frames the furring strip/frame combo could be screwed into the wall studs. This worked quite well with the help of shims ensuring that the gap between the window and frame was even all around. I was a little concerned about installing the upper two windows, but they actually went in quite easily. I think they look quite beautiful!
I had previously primed and painted the windows after install with spray paint since Lina has been a strong advocate of doing so. I could have painted them before we installed them but then I would likely had to touch them up which would have been somewhat difficult. Despite the wind's repeated attempts (and successes) at blowing off my window masking, I eventually applied two coats of flat red primer and two coats of heritage red paint. I am happy with the results and glad I did not choose the expense of having them factory painted though I may disagree with that decision for the interior.
My door arrived on site this week so I am excited to get that installed and painted soon as well!
We hosted this month's tiny house mixer on site last evening and it was fun to talk to people about their visions, tell them about my house, and play the guessing game as to whose house is larger, Lina's or mine. Mine is only 5 sq.ft. larger if you don't count the loft!
For more photos, check out my flickr!