Siding Pictures!

 

 

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Soffits and Snowflakes

Vinyl siding is pretty stiff, until you cut off the edges. Then it’s a flimsy piece of crap. 😛 I’m quite disappointed with my homemade soffits and how bumpy they are, but they’re done. I don’t know what else I could’ve used. Anything I could’ve done differently, structure-wise, would’ve had to have been changed way earlier on when I didn’t know how difficult the vinyl was going to be. I think some older houses have wood underneath their overhangs, but that would’ve just added more weight to the tiny house. Besides, only about two inches of the vinyl will show along the sides once the siding is up.

I put up the vinyl under one side eave yesterday, and finished off the final overhang today, just as it was starting to snow! Almost all our snow had melted, but it was only a matter of time until we got more. 😛

The vinyl was easier to attach under the sides, but it was still difficult to avoid ripples. The rafters are 24″ apart and the vinyl sagged between them:

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This was my solution:

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So it doesn’t look great from up on the ladder:

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😦

We’ll see how it holds up.

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The snow’s back!

I should get used to working in the snow. I really need to have my siding up before the end of March or risk damage to my house wrap. I’ll be out working in the cold, hopefully getting everything done very quickly!

 

Hidden Details

The temperature has been above zero recently! We barely have any snow right now, and I managed to get a little bit of annoying work done.

There are some parts of a house that are not talked about, like soffits. I never knew what soffits were or how a roof was ventilated before I started researching, and even after that I found very few examples of how people build the more hidden parts of a house. Some tiny houses don’t even have an overhang, and others simply don’t show what they did for theirs. Some houses have exposed rafter tails, but mine aren’t particularly pretty, and I definitely don’t want to leave any sheltered spots open for hornet nests.

At a building supply store, when I asked for something to use for solid soffits (my roof is not vented because I will be using spray foam), they suggested vinyl siding, which I could cut to size. I bought a few pieces of white siding and matching nails, plus some thin pieces of wood. Underneath the overhang on the sides of the house, the vinyl will be attached to the rafter tails, but under the front and back, there’s nothing to attach the vinyl to. So I planned to nail up those thin pieces of wood to give me something to nail to. The first piece I put up I was able to hammer the nails in straight, but that left no space for hammering the second piece. For the second piece I used nails at an angle, and was pretty proud of myself for getting both pieces up.

The pieces that are attached to the house are nailed in straight, while the pieces attached to the fascia are attached with angled nails. Cut to me trying to put up the vinyl. I’ll give you a list of how many problems I ran into:

  • First off, the vinyl strips I cut were slightly too wide for the front overhang, which led to some very time-consuming trimming and checking, trimming and checking.
  • If the nail bit into the wood slightly over from where I intended, the vinyl would bubble.
  • Trying to leverage nails out by pushing against the very flimsy attached piece.
  • Trying not to hurt my nicely stained fascia.
  • The fact that the nails were designed to be difficult to pull out.
  • The wood had some flex to it I think, which meant that the majority of the time I hit the nail, it wouldn’t move. Ah, how many times I’ve been up on a ladder and swearing.
  • Sometimes a nail would go halfway in, and then just would not go in any further.
  • I was hammering at an angle, against gravity, on a ladder, mere inches from the house and a window.
  • The pieces attached to the fascia started to push up while I tried to nail to them, sometimes ripping out of the nails attaching them. One piece almost completely detached, and I added a nail through the side fascia to keep it in place.
  • The final piece I was trying to attach had split, ripped out of its nails, and the end of it also split when I tried to attach it through the side. It was impossible to nail to because it would just push up further into the cavity. And there was no easy way for me to fix it or replace it with the vinyl already half-attached.

But they’re done:

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If you look closely on the right, there’s a nail sticking out of the fascia that the vinyl is resting on. That’s all I could do. So don’t look close. 😛 It looks good from a distance!

I also cut the rest of the vinyl I need for the side overhangs. It was a lot easier and didn’t take as long because the side overhang is a bit smaller. Instead of having to cut where the vinyl curved, I was able to cut along straight lines:

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Putting the vinyl up along the sides should be way easier as well (except for the fact that they’re ten foot long strips) because I’m nailing into solid pieces of wood. But we had an ice storm today, so I didn’t get outside to work on the house.

Oh, my parents got me some wheel well covers for Christmas. 🙂

When all the snow melted off the roof, I took the opportunity to go up and inspect it, especially around the skylights and the ends of the ridge caps. It all looks good, and I checked the interior as well and it does not seem to be leaking! Yay! Phew!

I also measured all the windows so I can get ready to cut trim pieces. The plan is to cut them inside the tiny house, label them, then transfer them to the heated garage for priming and painting. I’m so excited to break out the purple paint! Then I’ll go from there.

Endless Research

I couldn’t predict every little thing and research it all before starting the build, because I never would’ve started. There are some things that just don’t come up until it’s time to do them. So I’ve had to continue researching regularly as the build has progressed. This month it’s been about siding: installing it, trim, rain screens, bug screens and soffits, what materials to use and how to put it all together into one working system.

Did you know that exterior window trim is not very common at all? Tiny houses often have painted wood around the windows for a pop of colour. That’s how I’ve always pictured my house, but looking at regular houses around here, most just have fake shutters. The siding meets up with the vinyl around modern windows and that’s all you need. So there’s not really any style options for exterior window trim because no one bothers with it. So I’m spending extra money, time, effort, and weight on the house just to add some colour. My mind was already made up, so I decided on simple 1.5″ x 3.5″ wood for the trim, with angled pieces above the windows so the rain doesn’t collect.

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$400 later…

As for a rain screen, it is highly recommended for behind wood siding, if not required. A rain screen is basically an air gap between the house wrap and siding, created by vertical strips of wood, that allows water/condensation to drain down the wall and out the bottom. However, a lot of houses have vinyl siding – which creates its own air gap – these days, so it was harder to find info and materials for a rain screen. Tiny Nest used plastic ventilated strips so the air can move from side to side as well as down, which they were able to order from a local building supply store. When I went asking for those, I was told, “You’re in Nova Scotia, good luck finding that!” Apparently wood siding is more common in B.C. So I went with 3/8″ thick, 1.5″ wide wood lathes for my furring strips. They of course only come in 4′ lengths even though it’d be just a bit easier if they came in 8′ lengths. I considered using strips of plywood, but it wasn’t worth the cutting. I might as well just use what everyone else uses, even though I tried to research and do better.

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My friend Shayne helped me put up all the full-length furring strips. I’ll put the rest up after I figure out how to integrate the rain screen with the window trim.

Then there’s bug screen, a mesh at the top and bottom of the rain screen that keeps bugs from getting into the air gap. That was a pile of research too, because there isn’t really a specific product for it. I was going to use simple fiberglass screens, like you have in your windows, because that’s what Tiny Nest used. I was told that it’s a bad idea because rodents will destroy it within the first year. So I shelled out the $50 for a 12″ wide roll of mesh meant to be used for a ridge vent. Around here, apparently they cut it into strips and use it for the bug screen, so that’s what I’m doing. I cut it into 2″ strips and will hopefully have just enough for the whole house, top and bottom.

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My ingenious way of cutting a consistent two inches.

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All done! 6x 2″ wide strips totaling 120′ in length.

I’ve read that rain screens can function without venting at the top, although they work better with venting at the top and bottom. But then that creates the issue of how to vent the top because there will be soffits there. Most houses have vented soffits so the question is whether or not to vent into them, but my soffits are solid, so I’m having a hard time picturing how that’s going to work. If I put my siding up to my soffits, then that will block off the venting, but if I leave a small gap, it might be visible and strange looking.

Speaking of soffits, what a pain! When I went shopping for a material to cover the underneath of my overhang and eaves, I was told that people often use vented vinyl, so vinyl siding should work. The material is exactly what I wanted and it’s nice and white, but it is so difficult to cut! I have to cut it lengthwise to get the right width and I spent 3 1/2 hours cutting only a fourth of what I need. I’ll have to come up with a better way to cut it than tin snips, but so far they’ve been the only thing sharp enough, and the vinyl is far too flimsy to use power tools on.

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Attempting to cut off the interlocking part of the siding.

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The first strip finished for under the front or back eaves.

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Strips of wood added so I can attach the soffits.

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Underneath the back overhang as well. Under the sides I’ll be able to nail to the ends of the rafters.

So I’ve been trying! It’s just been more than I can do in a month to get this all figured out and done right. That’s why I don’t want anyone else working on the house. Who knows if they would’ve bothered even doing a rain screen! I don’t trust people. Last year, I got a quote to get the siding put up for me, which was $1000 and it would take two days. This year, that same guy never returned my call, and a quote from a different company was $1200 and it would take a week, even though I told him all the furring strips, trim and everything would be already done. I’m not paying someone $1200 to do just the siding after doing all the trim and rain screen and soffits myself! He might’ve just been giving me a bit of a higher quote because he didn’t want to do a small job.

There are some amazing professional builders out there, so I should try to remember that. But I’m very happy with how my little house is turning out to be all straight and square. Check out my previous post for more details about where I’m at right now.

 

Quotes

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris