The Siding Adventure

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I originally envisioned the outside to be finished in red vertical steel siding, with the roof in silver vertical steel — very barn-like. I got estimates from local siders and roofers and they were all coming in at over $7,000 for the siding and $5,000 for the roofing. That seemed a little steep to me for the Punxsutawney area, but part of what was driving up the price was the high cost of steel this year. I weighed my options and decided, in order to keep the project moving, I’d go with vinyl and install it myself. Also made the decision to put off the roof till summer of ’09, budget and time permitting.

Shopped around for colors and patterns and settled on Crane’s American Dream in 5″ double Dutch lap. Cost from the suppliers was about $70 for two square — a square being 100 square foot. The great thing about vinyl is that it’s pretty easy for a person to install without help, no special tools required, and there is very little waste. After doing the whole house, I ended up with just a few garbage cans of unusable material. In the end, with the cost of J-channel, corner pieces and gutter replacement, my total bill for the job was under $2,000. I ended up using about 20 square of siding, including extra pieces for future repairs or construction. My first siding job came out pretty well, and I loved the idea of saving $5,000. Luckily, I didn’t fall off the ladder or the scaffolding, which at times seemed like an imminent possibility.

Preparing the front of the house:

Preparing the front

After I tore the awnings and porch roof off and replaced the windows, I hired a backhoe to get rid of the crooked old porch and sidewalk.

Scaffolding legs

Got a lot of rain throughout this project.

Cutting my portal

This was kind of fun, cutting my portal. The round window opens to the bedroom walk-in closet, which will be expanded and remodelled in the near future to become a small sitting and desk area.

Before siding

Before and after of the south-facing side.

Front siding

Round window in place. I don’t have the gutters back on in this shot. I know, the roof doesn’t match, but the shingles I have picked out will go well with the new siding color. I’m debating whether to tackle the roofing myself next year. I know it doesn’t look it, but it’s pretty high, and rather steep. Almost impossible to walk on the old shingles without sliding off — I know this because I tried.

Next, the back of the house:

Taking off the porch roof

I liked the wraparound porch, but there were just too many problems, it had to go. The slabs had cracked and pushed up over the years, and the roof kept the kitchen in the dark. Was able to salvage the slab in front of the door, which will save me some work when I finish the driveway and begin landscaping later.

Tearing out concrete slabs

This is the backhoe that dug out the front porch. He made quick work of a few tons of concrete. You can see my test wall here. Basically where I learned to install siding. But also a test for color, and to see if the occasional unevenness of the old Insulbrick siding that I left beneath would cause problems — it didn’t. A side benefit of the excavation was that it allowed me to examine the foundation. I discovered some rotting in the timbers, which was not a surprise given the pitch of the uneven concrete. The old porch floor was basically funnelling water right down against the foundation. Soon I’ll post a brief entry about the repairs I made.

The test wall

Dad came by to help put up the scaffolding, then it was off to the races.

Goodbye window

Here I’m closing up a window that seemed out of place. The light lost from the window’s absence was more than made up for by the new louvered door.

Taking shape

Skeletal porch roof

This is my new back porch roof. There will be another, slightly larger one, that goes over the front door. I finished it off with clear corrugated plastic on top. It looks pretty good and was cheap to make. I’ll update the photos next trip.

Porch roof frame

I need to pour the back porch floor soon. At the moment the dirt is still removed to reveal the foundation. I’ve installed new drain pipe for the gutters along the back wall, too, and will put in an adjacent French drain before backfilling.

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I posted new photos in the Extremely Homey Makeover section that show the finished siding, new roof and the beginnings of some landscaping.