We hope you’re enjoying the summer, and having time to spend with your family doing fun things. Our summer, so far, has been really hot and humid, making working on outdoor projects and climbing up and down on scaffolding to replace the gable wall a bit of an adventure. We actually got the scaffolding erected on June 10th and started pulling off the old Masonite siding on the following day.
We decided to use a 3/8” sheathing over the studs, and used sheets of 5-ply Baltic birch. We screwed those to the structural studs, plates and blocking to really solidify the wall. This sheathing also worked great with the face nailed Maze stainless ring-shanked nails as they really hold tight to the sheathing. Over the sheathing, we installed Benjamin Obdyke Slicker HP rain screen and insect screen, prior to installing the cedar T&G boards.
I got to use my new miter saw to cut all the boards, and primed and painted the cut ends before they were installed. I also re-primed the back sides of all the boards to get a uniform coating on them. The saw (a Festool Kapex) has detents for miter cuts at 22.5° (matching the roof pitch), so we made pretty fast progress. When the carpenter wasn’t here, I worked on spackling, sanding, priming and painting any minor surface defects on the boards and priming and painting the cut ends while on the ground (actually, in the basement where it was much cooler to work).
We had some challenges working around the 8 purlins, but our carpenter (an old-school guy) managed to make the necessary cuts and adjustments around them. I had to create some removeable-for-cleaning screens for the 6 attic fan vent openings to keep out birds, bats and stink bugs, and made those from PVC trim and welded stainless ¼” steel mesh. After all the cedar T&G boards were face nailed in place, we installed trim boards the carpenter created on his table saw from a couple of the mildly bowed cedar boards.
All that was followed up with some scraping and sanding of the existing fascia and frieze boards (which are old growth redwood), and the soffit paneling. I primed and painted those, and then did some final edge caulking, and applied 2 coats of Benjamin Moore’s Aura white topcoat to everything. The scaffolding came down last Monday, July 8th. I’m sure the neighbors were as tired of looking at it as we were, and I was pretty tired of climbing up and down on it every day, although it contributed to losing nearly 10lbs in the past month! I will need to get my tall ladder out one more time as I can see some light tannin bleed through on about 5 of the boards on the lower section, despite the mill’s oil primer and 1 topcoat of paint, followed by the 2 more topcoats I had added. I’ll wait until the paint has had time to fully cure for at least another week or two (or three) before doing that extra final coat. We’re looking forward to getting the house painted sometime this summer, and as you can see from the 2nd to last picture, the cedar shakes have some darkening from mildew that needs to be cleaned off first. It’s going to look terrific when all of the painting is completed.
I’m glad we had the extra cedar boards as there was a considerable amount of picking through the boards and cutting out the unusable pieces/sections to ensure the new gable looks perfect. We probably have enough left over to piece together a replacement for the old front porch ceiling, which is approximately 7’x9’, and currently covered with the same grooved Masonite siding that the gable wall had. I sanded, scraped and painted the porch ceiling several years ago and it already has some alligatoring and small blisters showing. So it looks like that’ll be the next project to do. There won’t be enough wood left after that to do anything else (except maybe a small birdhouse)!
I’m attaching some pictures showing the various stages or working through the installation. The grey-bearded guy in the one pic is our carpenter in case you wondered. Hard to believe that we started planning this project in earnest back in late December (although I suspect that Nancy starting planning it earlier than that!), and that it is finally finished. We really appreciate the help and advice you gave us along the way and thank you for sticking with us through some of the difficult times. Have a great week and enjoy the rest of your summer!