Siding an old House #7

Well my friends, we’re getting closer to wrapping the old girl in some shiny new cement siding with AZEK accessories. I put the first piece of siding on July 31st and I’ve worked at least 10 hours every day since on this project.

That’s how slow I am.

1 house frontSo now we’re working on the street side – where God and everybody passing by can see me fumbling and stumbling about. And I do stumble due to the metal plate in my ankle that makes me slightly wanting in the off road category.

2 siding paintedTo prepare for the final walls I went ahead and painted the rest of the siding – it’s more than I need – but there’s always the garage to be sided in a future project.

3 cornerThe front was quick to install as it has a big window – and it’s one story high.

4 sealing paintEven though the Hardie siding is factory primed, you have to coat every cut made. I would make the cuts, sand it down and coat the raw edge front and back.

5 1st floor scaffoldingFirst floor scaffolding ran the full length of the side of the house – about 35′

6 light boxesOnce up to the roof intersection trim pieces needed to be made to carry the trim around the eave light boxes up to the soffit overhang. The box has an LED down-light and a weatherproof electric receptacle.

7 trim piecesI love making doodads for trim pieces. Here is the front and back of the light box trim pieces. Stainless steel screws and PVC glue hold these AZEK pieces together.

8 trim installedThose pieces get installed around the light box to transition the trim to the soffits. The rabbet overlaps the siding.

9 2nd floor scaffoldingAnother level of scaffolding goes up. I’ve learned my lesson and make sure safety first. It takes time, but a lot less time (and money) than a hospital stay.

10 siding pieceThe problem is the Hardie siding is it’s 12 foot long and very brittle. I would make the cuts and prop it up against the scaffolding – run up the ladder and hope it was still there. I only lost one to the wind, so I can’t complain.

We’ll wrap up this outside project in the next post. Then we’ll go inside and get to work.




Siding an old house #6 some details

The weather remains good for outside work – so I’m determined to finally get the siding  done. It’s taken six years to get this far, but by golly we’re gonna finish it before the first snowflake falls.

1 sunroom side 1I’ve got the light up over the door – a couple of problems here – One – it’s too big, so we’ll relocate this to the garage when I reside that. Two – I placed the block too high and the arm hit the fascia. Here I’ve already cut out the old block and electric box, lowered it down 6″ and made a new finish block.

2 doorbell blockThe doorbell block is temporarily in place. I used cat5e wiring almost everywhere – just in case we want to add some video door bell or other tech doodad.

3 sunroom side 2The second side of the sunroom is just like the rest – you put one piece up at a time.

4 sunroom side 2 finishedOnce each wall is finished I caulk all the seams and hand brush two coats of paint. The first coat of paint was sprayed before the pieces were installed. The hand brushing really makes a richer finish – well, in my opinion it does and of course it’s a lot more work.

5 sunroom Villa sideThe front of the sunroom is pretty easy – mainly because it’s almost all windows. The corner posts and water table trim add a lot of dimension to the siding.

6 frontThe BM White Heron color works well with the natural limestone. It’s a slight warm white that keeps it from being too bright.

7 trim blockWhen I have a long run of trim that can’t be finished with one piece, I like to add a detail to make the trim sections look more finished. Because the AZEK soffit trim is only 18′ long and I needed 22′ – I used a trim block centered between the windows to make the seam look intentional.

8 figuringFor some reason I always used a carpenter’s pencil. For these more precise trim measurements get yourself a good mechanical pencil. Live and learn.

9 sunroom side 4Finishing up the sunroom – now only 2 more walls to go.

11 gable blockAZEK is a really nice material, but it’s prone to movement from thermal expansion. It can move 1/4″ depending on the temperature. I placed thin AZEK caps over the main gable joints to hide the seam. The bottoms of the gable trim are glued and fastened, so any movement happens behind this cap.

10 flower appliqueI found some small urethane flower appliques.

12 gable block with flowerTo add a little detail to the gables. For 5.00 each they add some inexpensive charm.


More to come – stick around.

Siding an old house #5 Lights and trim

Progress! It is a steady march around the house, siding one wall at a time. Things are moving, mainly because the weather has cooperated with little rain for the past month.

1 patio sidingThe patio side is complete. AZEK trim was used along the soffit and removable trim pieces against the roofing.

2 light blockThe light blocks that I previously posted about have been wired and the mounting hubs bolted to the electrical boxes with stainless steel bolts. Copper flashing keeps everything dry.

3 patio lights 1I used these barn lights with 40″+ arms made by Hi-light in California.

4 patio lights 2I centered the lights over the three windows below.

5 patio lights nightA light test to see what 20w (100w replacement)  LED bulbs would do – it’s a pretty even light over the patio. The perimeter lights on the stone and corners  are 6w LED down lights.

6 base cap partsAll the trim is AZEK. Here I’ve fabricated some corner base caps and glued the corners with PVC glue held together with painters tape.

7 base cap gluedI got a little carried away and glued all the pieces together.

8 base cap repairThen I realized that I couldn’t get the trim pieces on the columns if all sides are glued. Fortunately I figured this out before the glue set completely.

9 base cap installedThe trim pieces create a base for the AZEK corner boards that are mounted above the water table trim at each corner of the building with siding.

10 siding templateSince I have several corners that have to have the siding fit precisely, I’ve made a Masonite template to trace onto the siding. It’s cut with the angle grinder with a diamond blade.

11 siding cap detailAs usual I have all cuts to fit within a 16th of an inch. This is before caulking.

12 siding sunroom startAnd on we go on to wall #3. The great thing about using Hardie siding is that it looks like the original wood.

Hang around – we’ll go inside sometime.

Siding an old House #4

We have been pretty lucky weather-wise in Southern Indiana. No rain for 20+ days. Not so good for the crops – and temps in the mid 90’s, but good weather for a siding project. As a matter of fact – it’s slightly raining today, so a perfect day for a blog post.

1 siding the backI started on the back of the house for a couple of reasons. One – it’s a single story wall with lots of notches and cuts to be made in the siding. Since I’ve not used cement siding – nor sided a house before – I thought this was a good place to start. It’s really pretty easy – even for a one person installation crew. I’m using the Gecko Siding Gauges. These hold the siding at the correct reveal and keep everything in place while you nail them to the wall.

2 cooking lunchOf course, a guy’s gotta eat. My wife was kind enough to drop off some chicken breasts – fresh from the refrigerator from home. Problem is I don’t like ice-cold chicken and have no way to heat it since a kitchen is non-existent. So, like any DIY’er I got out the heat gun, a cut off piece of 6″ duct, a hand saw and had a handy chicken warmer in no time.

3 spray setupAfter lunch it’s back to work. Here’s the set up for the airless paint sprayer. The Hardie siding is available pre-finished or pre-primed. I chose the primed because when I bought this 3 years ago I had no clue what color I would paint it. I sprayed one coat before installing. I do about 70 twelve foot pieces per session. I used Low Luster Benjamin More OC-57 White Heron. Once installed, I’ll hand paint the final coats.

4 siding patioI have eight walls that will have siding – this is wall #2 on the patio side. It’s by far the most complicated with windows and lights and roof intersections. Plus it’s two stories high – this will take a while.

5 siding cutoutTo cut the notches for the windows I used the small angle grinder with a diamond blade. It cuts very smooth and straight – but throws out  a cloud of dangerous silica dust. I always wear a P-95 dust respirator when cutting the notches.

6 siding clampHere the thin siding notch piece is supported by a 6′ level while the adhesive/caulk cured over a couple of days. I’ve used many caulks before, but by far the best I’ve found is Solar Seal #900. It’s easy to use and it’s my go-to caulk from now on.

7 siding progressAfter six years I’ve figured out the scaffold layout. Two sections high with 4 walk boards combined with the scaffold planks makes this safe and easy – well –  except going up and down the ladders countless times a day.

Hang in there – we’ll wrap this building up before winter, I promise.


Siding an Old House #3 Putting it on the wall

The old Misadventures project is moving along – as fast as an old man that walks like a penguin can go. The siding was supposed to be done last Fall, but that didn’t happen. I’m determined to finish it this year before the snow shows up – fingers crossed.

1 corner trimFirst up – the corner trim. There’s only one inside corner on the house where siding meets siding – the others are stone to siding. I’ve made a corner trim piece from 5/4 (1″ thick) Azek stock. I put it together with PVC glue and exterior trim head screws.

2 corner trim installThe trim piece was screwed in the corner with cortex screws on top of the rain screen.

3 stone trim 1One problem that having no plan is that mistakes happen. The problem here is that the 5/4 trim stock was put in place next to the stone when it was installed. This made it too thin to cover the edge of the siding because of the thickness of the rain screen. The solution was to add another piece of stock to build up the width.

4 stone trim 2The same trim piece was added to the stone junctures with siding.

5 felt paperThe 30 pound asphalt felt is continued around the house over the old house wrap.

6 rain screenThe GreenGuard rain screen is attached with plastic cap nails. It is butted up against the black drainage mat to allow moisture to drain into the weeps embedded in the stone.

7 stone beltingI had enough limestone left over so that I could cover the old brick foundation.

8 siding startThe start of siding – finally. I’m using HardiePlank lap siding. This is a cement-based product. I’m using the smooth finish – not the wood-grain texture, as this is what would have been originally used. I’m using a 6″ reveal, so the total height of each piece is 7 1/4″. They come is 12′ lengths.

9 siding kickerYou are required to use a 1 1/4″ spacer (kicker) on the bottom of the 1st course, to keep the angle of the siding the same. I used a 5/16″ thick piece of PVC trim, you can use a strip of the siding for this spacer, but I though the PVC would be waterproof. .

10 siding notchesThe Hardie siding was notched with a diamond blade in an angle grinder. All cut edges are sealed with the same paint. The color is BM White Heron Low Luster. More on painting later.

11 water table spacersThe good thing is that the water table is level and makes putting on the first course easy. The second course required spacer blocks that kept the reveal at 6″. The stud locations were marked on the rain screen and the siding nailed into the studs. The siding is attached with stainless steel 2″ ring shank siding nails. I’m using a Bostitch Coil Siding Nailer.

12 joint flashingAt each siding joint a flashing is required. I used the recommended coated aluminum coil stock behind each joint. You must use a coated aluminum material, as raw aluminum will react with the cement in the siding.

So not too exciting, but we are making progress…


Siding an old house #1 Water Table Trim

Well, what can I say – it’s been awhile since updating the goings-on at the Misadventures project. Oh, there’s lots of activity – it’s just that it’s not so photogenic.I put in a full day every day – but it’s pretty lame stuff pictorially.

Since the weather has been decent, I’ve started the siding project. But before we slap up some Hardie cement siding, we have to get the Water Table trim on.  This is a traditional trim detail at the bottom of the building and acts as a skirt board band to separate the siding from the foundation. My house never had this originally – and I haven’t seen one house around here that has it – but what the heck let’s put some on.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1 stone flashingWe’ll tackle the hard part first. Pictured above is the first step. A flashing membrane is added to the top of the stone to prevent water from going behind the stone and lath and freezing. Behind the stone is the MTI rainscreen which is applied over 30 pound asphalt builders felt which is over the weather resistive house wrap. The rain screen has weeps in the lower part of the stone to let the moisture escape. The siding will also have a rain screen that ties into this weep system. Makes sense? Even I’m confused.

2 treated wood nailerOnce the flashing is installed the kiln dried pressure treated nailer goes on. This is a combination of a 2X4 and 1X4 – use kiln dried pressure treated lumber if you want a straight and stable base to fasten your Azek trim.

3 change anglesOf course, nothing at the Misadventures goes that smoothly. So after I installed all of the nailers I took them all off again. Why? Because I only beveled the top 5 degrees instead of 12. Five degrees is just not enough to effectively shed water. You can see the difference of 5 vs. 12 above. After reinstalling, spray foam was added to the gap underneath between the wood and flashing and cut flush to the wood face.

4 water table startOnce the nailers were on the Azek band board and angled top were added.

5 water table patioThis was also added to the stone band that runs the width of the patio. This is recessed into the wall, so the trim is much narrower.

6 wood flashingTo prep the old portion of the house that only gets siding – the lower three feet of the house wrap was removed to wrap flexible flashing over the metal cap at the bottom of the 1/2″ CDX plywood that overlaid the original lap siding. This is to keep water from entering between the plywood and metal.

7 building feltNew housewrap was installed and a layer of 30 pound builder’s felt was added. Typically you won’t need this – but remember the house wrap is pretty old. It’s exposure rate is about 3 months maximum, not three years. So I added the felt just to make sure things keep dry.

8 green guard drainageOver the felt goes the Green Guard rainscreen. This allows the wall to drain any moisture that may rot the wall sheathing over time. This is attached with 1 1/2″ plastic cap nails.

9 new building wrapAnd we do the same thing around the bottom of the old house. See that I previously put the new underground electric box on a Azek base so that the siding will butt up against this, making a clean transition.

10 jigThe Azek trim is routed with a channel that fits around the metal lip with flashing. This allows the moisture a path out of the building. Since Azek is 18 feel long, putting this floppy stuff up by myself is a challenge. I made this handy Azek -holder-upper using an old floor jack.

11 water table cornerGoing around the corner it goes over the rainscreen. An angled cap goes on top of this – and then the corner boards will be added. So, not very interesting unless you’re doing the same thing – which you probably aren’t.

Stay tuned – it’s gotta get better than this.