The Never-Ending Story

Siding the house is an endless chore. It seems conceptually simple to cut vinyl courses the right length and snap them together. But details at the top of every exterior wall make the job far harder, as do cold weather and increasingly difficult access. We ran into all three of these complicating factors on Thursday, when we sided the south façade up to the gable. This peak is about 34 feet off the ground, and to reach it Terry set his longest ladder on the bed of his truck. A complex configuration of J-channels, F-channels, aluminum fascia, and vinyl soffit complete the gable end. Working in sub-freezing temperatures with a gathering wind, we agreed this façade was one of the toughest things we’ve done so far.

South façade. Terry trusts his equipment.

South façade. Terry trusts his equipment.

The cold temperature means more than just discomfort: it turns the vinyl brittle. If I use snips to cut an opening through a cold piece of siding, I will more than likely crack the vinyl in an unwanted place and render the piece unusable. So I set up cutting stations inside the heated house. For some reason the circular saw doesn’t crack the vinyl, so I’ll use that outside, but whenever I need the precision of snips I’ll bring the piece indoors for a few minutes before I try to cut. It’s a good excuse to warm myself, too!

Before we could finish siding around the grill deck, Terry had to complete a unique detail at the eave of the breezeway roof. And to finish siding the north façade up to the gable peak, we set up two ladders on the sloping shed roof below. Both are now done. Altogether, siding is about 80% complete.

Breezeway eave detail just off the grill deck.

Breezeway eave detail just off the grill deck.


North façade access.

North façade access.

Additional outdoor tasks abounded this week and had everybody praying for a spot of sunshine. I assembled lumber-and-plywood boxes to finish around the four corners of the Barn roof. I also wired and cover-plated some outdoor electrical outlets. The sockets are all GFCI to handle their increased potential for water infiltration, and the really exposed boxes (the ones not covered by a shed roof) are rated “Weather Resistant” as well. Terry installed the last few joists under the shed roof, enabling Colin to put recessed lighting over the porch. He can light up our façade at night now, and it really looks great. Yet another item checked off our seemingly bottomless to-do list…

Colin installs lighting cans. Eventually we'll hide all the roof joists with soffit.

Colin installs lighting cans. Eventually we’ll hide all the roof joists with soffit.

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