Hey folks, I wrote part of this and never published it, but thought it might be helpful/interesting to other Tiny Housers:
The time has come to make another commitment and buy some house siding.
It’s a rare thing in this world to get what you want when you want it, and siding is proving to be no exception. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, wood siding isn’t that common a material. We appear to be quite deficient in wood products in general. What is available, is with limited options. I’ve been able to find beveled cedar siding, beveled and primed pine, and pine shiplap siding with a 6″ reveal.
My ideal, however, is a 3-4″ reveal raw pine shiplap. This is nowhere to be found. The closest I came to that exposure, even, was a 4″-4 1/4″ beveled cedar that would cost me about $1300. Mind you, it would cost about half that if I were living in the Northwest. I just can’t get excited about trucking some cedar across 3,000 miles and I’m feeling a little cheap about siding considering all of the interior purchases still awaiting me. (think: interior paneling, water heater/tank/faucets/plumbing, wood stove parts, electric, fridge, tub, cabinets, etc.) Otherwise I might just say to hell with shipping mileage, just splurge lavishly and get a gorgeous hardwood siding like those shown here: http://www.advantagelumber.com/shiplapsiding/
Nice, right? 😉
I decided to compromise. I could have bought 1×12″ boards and cut my own shiplap, which at my pace would have taken months and a year from now I would still be grumbling, finishing up this build. I also could have invested in the cedar, since everyone says it’s so great for siding…. But after as much research as I could muster (I’ve been quite disappointed with the level of information I’ve been able to encounter on the interwebs lately – must mean I’m on the fringe?!) I found that pine siding has been ubiquitous on the East Coast for some time now, particularly in the Northeast where it clads many a barn and in the Southeast as well. People were reporting 100-year-old buildings with their pine siding still going strong. Granted, I’m sure that was a much higher-quality old-growth, but nevertheless, this appears to be a totally viable option. So I found two local shops carrying this 1×8 shiplap: one for $1.22/LF and the other for $.89/LF. Sold!
It arrived a few days ago via a lovely delivery guy and the wood is just beautiful. After some super aggressive and rude paint department guys at a couple of Home Depots and Lowe’s basically yelled at me for trying to stain wood when it’s already so cold outside, (apparently acrylic products won’t stick below 50 degrees and oil-based products won’t dry below 35… and they were just being blatantly sexist, something I run into a lot with this project) today we moved a few boards into the basement to stain. I ended up with a slightly darker stain than I wanted (I’m using an Olympic semi-transparent in Espresso, which is an acrylic-oil mix) but I think it will fade and be a nice contrast for the turquoise windows. The wood is really gorgeous, so psyched to put it on the house! This will be a painstaking process though.
FYI, I chose this chemy stain after doing thorough research into waterborne stains and vegetable oil stains. I found a tremendously helpful article detailing the best ones available here: http://patrioticpainting.com/blog/eco-friendly-wood-stains-sealers and came very close to using Benjamin Moore’s Arbor Coat, but decided against it because the sample I got looked really washed-out and it required two coats; a stain and separate seal, which was just too expensive ($76 per gallon of coverage) and too much work to deal with at this point in the build (and season).
Today was actually a gorgeous day outside, but our plans to spend the whole day roofing were thwarted when we discovered the roof manufacturer recommends a foam closure strip along the bottom inside edge of the roofing, along with butyl sealing tape to protect the underside of the roof from insects and rodents. I became enraged because no one had mentioned this piece when I ordered the roofing, or when I ordered the drip edge… And I had seen zero mention of such things in all of the material I’d read on roof installation. My unbalanced state was of course compounded by the fact that it was Saturday and none of these manufacturers are open on weekends to answer questions. So I’m sitting tight until Monday, when I can get some sure answers. Then maybe another week of being roofless if I have to special order the closure strips. I did have the idea to use generic weather strips from the hardware store, but when I went to look, none of them were thick enough (1″) to fill the corrugated gap. It’s comical, these pitfalls of a completely inexperienced housebuilder, no? And yet rather agonizing in the moment.
To add to the comedy, we then moved on to windows, thinking, Why waste a sunny warmish day? Let’s put windows in! After going back to the hardware store for the third time in one day to get self-sealing flashing for the sill, we read the window instructions thoroughly and watched some YouTube videos. Unfortunately, the windows I ordered, beautiful as they are, are wood windows with a pre-installed flat trim. NONE of the YouTube videos instruct you in how to install wood windows, let alone with this trim. It’s really just an issue of how to flash/waterproof them that had us stumped. So we got as far as we could before deciding that intuition alone was not sufficient to proceed, and once again customer service was closed, so again – wait til Monday.
Moral of the story? Learn these things far in advance, don’t do big new things on weekends, and chill the freak out. Of course there’s always a silver lining to every insane, meet-a-wall-at-every-turn-day: I got to chat with some super nice local people who came to pick up some supplies I had put up on Craigslist.
Dan, an electrician for 20 years, is building a garage to store his motorcycles and various recreational toys in, and came to buy the lumber I had lying around from that structure I build (and finally took down!!!) around the tiny house. He was a really positive, light guy, very curious about the casita. He came in for a tour. He said he used to be a carpenter and was impressed with my craftswomanship. (Whew!) He also gave me some info/feedback on the electric radiant heat I’ve been considering as a backup for the tiny wood stove and showed me a strip of it he had in his van. Then Steve, a plumber/electrician and his wife came to buy my leftover Tyvek rolls for an addition they’re putting on their house, and they talked my ear off in the most lovely way. They were also super enthusiastic and positive people. I have to say that as cynical and selfish as people can be here in the Mid-Atlantic, those whom I’ve met through Craigslist have been nothing but kind and open-minded.
I will be really happy to have a house to live in, but my gosh getting it done has been no graceful matter. I’ve been at my worst through a lot of it… but I have also learned that construction will not be in the running for future career paths, so that’s cool to narrow down the field. Although I might consider building a cob home if I ever have a fleet of friends wanting to help… 🙂 Then I wouldn’t have to worry about straight lines, fasteners, synthetic products, sharp edges, etc. etc. etc….
Have a great week, everyone!