Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Siding Project

Our house has horizontal aluminum siding. At least most of it has. When it came time for the final addition the aluminum siding, at least the 12 inch exposure variety, was no longer available so they did the next best thing. They ripped 1/2 inch plywood into 13 inch strips and used that in it's place. Over the years the section at the back weathered badly and was in desperate need of replacement.

Our son builds decks and fences for a living and is a good estimator so when we looked at the job a few weeks ago we figured it was a three or four hour job.  Last week they both had a couple of days off and came up for a visit for Norma's birthday. I started making plans to do the siding, not knowing he was planing a social visit and was bringing the motorcycle and not his work truck with all his tools and supplies. When I found out I figured, "Oh well, what the heck, I have tools".

"The Plan" was to cut Hardie Board, a cement product, into 13 inch strips and replace the old plywood. This product weighs about 100 pounds per sheet and required a special $50 Skill Saw blade to cut. We needed four sheets and had to arrange to have a friend with a truck pick them up since we had no truck.

The removal of the old siding went well. The old plywood boards were mostly pretty rotten and broke up into outdoor fireplace size easily. The old tar paper was shot so I ran downtown for a new roll while Brooks finished the prep work. We were way behind schedule but were getting there.

Cutting the boards was a nightmare. Brooks' respirator was in his truck so he was making do with one of the cheap mouth and nose covering things he got at the lumber store. The dust is very fine, caustic and was not doing his asthma any good at all. Working in cement dust was one of the things that drove him out of his job in the Tar Sands, he simply couldn't breathe up there. It was also covering Norma's outdoor furniture and cushions which evidently we should have reminded her to bring into the house. You can see how well this job was going, and it was not getting any better.

Brooks did not have his nail gun so we had to pre-drill and screw each board up. He did not have his tool pouch and had to go find each tool, tape measure or pencil every time he needed it. He was not a happy camper and was beginning to think he may have chosen the wrong parents.

Well, after about ten hours we had everything up and quit for the day. They had to leave in the morning but all that was left was the caulking, painting and cleanup which I could handle.

Speaking of me, I tweaked my hip loading the heavy boards into the pickup. I have been having trouble with my right hip for a few years and it has been getting steadily worse. It almost feels like it is slipping into and out of joint, like perhaps the joint is wearing out. This plagued me throughout the job and I was having trouble doing my share of the work. I have an appointment with my doctor on Friday to have it looked at.

Anyway, the job is done and my son has not disowned me. He went beyond the call of duty and we are thankful to him. We couldn't have asked for a better son.

The "three or four hour job" ended up taking two full days plus a half day for me to caulk and paint. Norma spent another couple of hours getting the dust off her furniture. But, the job is done! And just in time. The Hardie Board cannot get wet before it is painted and it rained all night and we have a severe thunderstorm going on right now! Finished just in time!

This juvenile eagle spent most of one day watching us from a nearby tree. He was very curious what his neighbors were up to and was quick to give a disapproving squawk whenever we made too much noise with the skill saw or drill. He had a "Bird's Eye View".


  1. Great job! I thought that Hardie Board seemed like a strange choice for siding, but did some research and learned that you very likely picked the best thing for your climate.

    1. It comes in pre-cut siding pieces but unfortunately only in 8 inch exposure size. It is what Brooks used on his workshop / carriage house and it looks great and is easy to put up if you can use the 8 inch size. And like peter says below, it lasts forever.

  2. I am lousy at DIY jobs... As soon as I pick up a tool I start to bleed... The job looks great and that hardy board will last forever.

  3. Nice job, but too bad he did not have his truck and all the proper tools, but done, none the less and looks good.

  4. Hardy plank is a great product. What a job to haul and cut them. Enjoy a wee dram now as you look at your collective work. And the scotch will help ease the hip pain. Well done!