Recent comments

Re: What's the Best Way to Install Cedar-Shingle Siding on an Old House?

If you needed some photos to serve as a negative example, we can provide some from our current job. We were called in to paint/stain after the re-shingling was done, but there are a lot of obvious problems.

The exposure is too large for the shingles and the coursing that they used; in many cases we see Tyvek in the gaps. Most of the shingles are face nailed and the nails are all over driven. There are some new dormers and the fascia & bargeboards on the dormer cheeks aren't thick enough/properly packed out, so the top edges of the shingles stick out and are exposed to the weather. The one details that has already caused problems and will continue to do so is that the flashing around the windows was improperly done. We can see the top edges of the drip cap flashing through the gaps in the shingles and the edges of the nailing flanges in some of the gaps. The windows and flashing were simply installed over the Tyvek. This allows water to penetrate behind the flashing and into the wall cavity around the windows. This has already caused blistering of the paint on the window casing.

Re: "I can't install this" - Poka-Yoke on the job site

Nice approach and a welcome change from what a cabinetmaker friend of mine calls, "screw your buddy". When even subs that have worked together for years look out only for their own interests.

This would have been a lifesaver on our current project. We've been called in to paint/stain the exterior of a major remodel, long after all of the other trades are gone. Lots of details like the one in the article were overlooked. We're looking at the spaces between sidewall shingles and seeing Tyvek, bare nailing flanges on window, and the upper edges of drip edges, all exposed to the weather. Like the vent penetration in the article, these may take a few years to cause problems, but when they do, the problems will be major.

Re: Searching for Clues to Wet Sheathing

Our firm just finished a complete re-siding job on a 10-year old house. In addition to re-siding, we had to replace quite a bit of the OSB, as well as some studs that had rotted. Unlike the building in the original article, this isn't a particularly wet area; we average about 24" of precip per year. Still, the poor detailing by the builder of this house led to a substantial amount of water damage in less than ten years. Based on what we saw, the single most critical area is around windows and doors. I have to echo what Matt Risinger posted about poor install details. I have yet to see a new house around here with the housewrap properly detailed at the windows. The most common approach in this area seems to be to "X" the housewrap, fold it in, staple it, install the window, and then put blueskin flashing tape around the window. No sill pan or sill flashing and no "shingled" drainage plane.

The other areas that we've seen that lead to problems are failure to use splines behind butt joints in siding and at corners. Instead, the builders are relying on caulk to prevent intrusion of water.

It seems to me that the best approach is to take steps to prevent water from getting behind the siding, but, more importantly, know that that's inevitable and detail the housewrap, etc. to allow that moisture to escape with a minimum amount of damage.

Re: How to Apply a Weathered Finish to New Wood Siding

I hadn't heard the baking soda trick for this, but I have used a modification of an approach that I learned about from George Frank, either in one of his books or in one of his Fine Woodworking articles years ago. For ebonizing wood, he used a mixture he called "Liquid Nightmare", which he made by adding iron scraps to vinegar and letting them dissolve. Several applications are painted on the wood and allowed to dry. To speed up the process, we used steel wool; the fine threads dissolve faster. When we made up our first test samples, we experimented to determine how many applications were necessary to get the real ebonized look. That's when we discovered that one or two applications led to a nice grey "weathered" look. Like the baking soda mixture, this material, iron acetate, reacts with the tannin in the wood, so high tannin woods work best. We've actually used the same process with lower tannin woods, like pine, by pre-treating them with a tannin acid solution (several application of strong tea) before using the "liquid nightmare".

Re: Patrick's Barn: Priming Siding


One tip is to get those primed boards painted right ASAP. Most primers have a short life on exposed wood: most manufacturers indicate that on the label or in the TDS. Some that we use have to be top-coated within 48 hours or the surfaces need to be washed down and re-primed.

We often will prime and apply one top-coat before installation, just to make sure that this isn't an issue.

Re: Keep a Paintbrush From Drying Out Between Coats

For years, we've used alumuninum foil. At a minimun, this let's us get the brushes and rollers back to the shop for cleaning, rather than having to do it on the jobsite. Brushes and roller covers for oil-based paint can go in the freezer for long-term storage, since it won't freeze. If we've been using water-based/latex paint and won't need the gear again for a few days, we use the 'fridge.

We have a used mini-fridge that we use for this.