Monthly Archives: January 2012

Teal paint, siding and jigsaw-cutting window notches…


The last few days I’ve been working on siding and making new window borders. The previous ones my dad and I made didn’t end up looking as nice as I’d like them to so we rethought and started over. Darned waste of the 4 hour intervals I waited before applying new coats of paint, but never mind.

This time I measured far more times than necessary (just in case it changed while I wasn’t looking) before cutting, sanding and painting. I bought some new stuff with primer in it and much to my delight, it looked beautiful after only 2 coats instead of the previous 3; I do hold quite a grudge against that particular colour of primer white.

I was so excited to get the siding up around the shiny new borders today that I almost didn’t care that I spent 3 hours cutting out the 2 notches and messed a whole board up before getting it right. I had tried to use a single, long board but didn’t find it physically possible for one of me (RIP cedar board) and settled with 2 instead.

I think it still looks alright so I’m letting it go; better 2 concise than one sloppy, even with the break between them.  I put up a few more boards around the windows in the dying light and it looks lovely indeed, but my moment of photographic opportunity had passed by then.

I feel I ought to tell all of you wonderful commenters out there how very much I appreciate your words and suggestions. I know I’m guilty of not replying to all of them, but rest assured that they generally leave me smiling like an idiot and bouncing around the house. Thank you 🙂


Wall paneling, insulation and rainbows…


It’s been fairly lousy weather as of late; the shifty, cloudy type where you can barely feel your fingers and are never sure when it will turn drippy. Not too terribly much work got accomplished this weekend as a result, but we got the off-side ready for cedar siding.

Today the rain came. Rain, then rainbows, then snow, then rain again, but I set up inside my house with the light and many layers on to get some work in. I finally sourced my 1/4″ pine tongue and groove wall paneling last week sitting innocently on shelf at Lowes (after being told by several rather rude chaps at Home Depot that this combination was not possible and didn’t exist) so I’ve been dying to get some up since.

With the electric in, I began on the window bump out for my learning curve since it will most likely be hidden by a bench or somesuch. I worked from the bottom up and insulated as I went, placing my sheep wool into each cavity and thoroughly enjoying myself. I used my dad’s pin nailer to hold the boards onto each 2×4 stud and it did a fine job, leaving perfect little little silver dots where each went in.

This part is brilliant in the visual department, so I spent nearly as much time standing back to stare as I did putting everything together; it’s almost therapeutic in the pattern of it. Who needs a shrink when you can stuff wool into a wall?

Siding and insulating around the wheel wells…


After my roof sitting jaunt, I wasn’t feeling incredibly inclined to do much of anything on Sunday that involved walking or moving, so my dad and I settled with just putting lath and redwood 2x4s on the near side of the house.

Monday I went to the hardware store and picked up some spray foam for the inside cavity around the wheel wells. I really hate the thought of that sort of stuff, but after wracking my brain for an alternative that would keep air, water and varmints out, I gave in and bought some.

It smelled of a sort of spray paint-y, headache inducing yuck, but it filled the largish space so there you go. It also stuck to my hair quite well, not really sure how it got there…

Today I cut and put up more cedar siding while my dad was at work. This meant dealing with the blasted wheel wells yet again, but this time I knew what they were going to throw at me and made my way around jigsaw cutting the boards to fit without frying my brain too much.

It’s just as well I was in no particular rush because it took me the better part of forever to get each one just so. I’m sure if any carpenter saw how many times I repeated my method of holding up a board, taking it back, cutting a hair off and so on they would likely be appalled, but it works for me and as long as it ends well.

The hardest part of today was the fitting, cutting and attaching of the long, 16 foot boards after the wheel wells. They started out as 20ft boards which I had to wrangle out of the stack, wrangle into the garage, cut to what I hoped was right, then wrangle onto the house. There was a lot of wrangling going on out here.

I came up with a nice system of propping a block of wood against one end while I worked on the other, and emerged with siding up to just under the windows and feeling rather pleased with the outcome.

I’m finding carpentry to be very similar to sewing (another craft I bash my way through) but with slightly more rigid fabric. Saws are the scissors, clamps are the pins, drivers or hammers are the needles and screws or nails the thread. Of course, if you suck at sewing, the worst case scenario doesn’t get much worse than sticking yourself in the anywhere with a small pointy object. Carpentry, not so much. Right, there went the fabric/wood tangent…


Roof finished…


Little Yellow is roofed! What a thought 🙂

My dad has been trying to work out a way of getting to the ridge without my having to clamber up there, but in the end I convinced him on the practicality of being able to access both sides, and to the roof I went. Although it’s nearly 14 feet from the ground, I found it far less nervewracking than being at an equal height on a ladder, if a bit more awkward.

I think the icing on the cake were the nearly identical looks of befuddlement directed toward my house by the two cars that made accidental turns down our cul de sac this afternoon. Guess this must not be the general method of roofing, but how the hell else are you supposed to get a ridge cap on a 12/12 roof pitch?

In the interest of repelling the ever-so-persistent entrance artist that is water, we put up lengths of sticky foam followed by some funny metal flashings called ‘z closures’ before the final cap.

So it’s more waterproof, the roofing company recommends the top of each panel be bent up about an inch before the foam and z closures are put on, but we’d missed this in our previous viewing of the installation guide and the amount of screws up there made the squeezing of any metal bending tool into the virtually non-existent space highly improbable.

Instead, we used strips of tape-like, tar-smelling window flashing to span the distance between the panels on either side of the ridge. Because they hang over by about 2 inches, any aspiring water that fights its way up should be directed straight off the other side and down again.

The ridge cap (or in this case, 2 overlapping 10’6 caps) got screwed into each panel rib and although they aren’t quite perfectly straight, they work well enough and I was happy to get both feet on the ground. It really wasn’t so bad up there, but even after a few hours I can imagine how people who rode long distances on wide horses must have felt back in the day.

Siding started and gable closures to the rescue…


Saturday we picked up some redwood 2×4’s for the outside corners and spent most of our time trying get the hitch end ready for siding. Much of this involved sorting out the (more confusing than it probably ought to be) task of putting up lath. Each piece of 1/4″ lath is intended to be placed over one of the 2×4 studs in the wall framing, leaving a little space between the siding and the housewrap for water to escape.

It sounds simple enough, but by the time we got up the window borders and the redwood 2×4’s on the corners, the number of studs that hadn’t just been covered amounted to all of 2. And naturally these happened to be the two surrounding the window, which become no longer useful a few feet up when the borders start.

We ended up screwing some boards on the inside wall of the house along the windows and at each side to which we eventually attached the lath. This is accomplished by a nifty little tool called a stud sensor which, in theory, beeps to inform you when a 2×4 is present under the plywood. In reality, our sensor seems to be a bit confused and/or broken and either beeps all the time or refuses to do so, and the process was extended by a good while and several bouts of cussing. It was nearly dark by the end of the lath labyrinth, but we put up a few of the cedar siding boards to improve the aesthetic.

Sunday was a glorious sort of day. Not only did the gable closures I ordered for the roof finally arrive, but they happen to cover my uneven plywood issue so brilliantly that we have dodged the feared act of house sawing, and that will do wonders for making any day glorious.

We got all but the last one on, and they look so very nice over the redwood facias. My neighbor also came over to put the shiny electric plug thingy on through the siding. Technical term, you know.

Today marks the first where I have worked entirely on my own. Last night, my dad gave me a severe lecture on the use of the big circular saw and several other implements of construction, so I set off this morning with determination and a healthy fear of power tools.

I managed to problem solve my way through the little issues that came up and got the siding on all the way to the top of the window. It’s really amazing what you can learn when it’s important you do so! That said, some parts look slightly funky up close, but that’s why you start at the end least likely to have viewers 🙂

Window borders and the painting of them…


The other night, my dad and I went to Lowes and choose the paint for my door (yellow, of course) and the window borders we’ve started making (teal). I’m happy to report that the paint department had quite a lovely selection of colours and much to my dad’s relief, I was able to pinpoint what I wanted without staying there to debate until the store closed.

We’ve made the window borders from good ole 2×4’s; the thought process being that the 1/2″ siding will go up against them but they’ll still stick out to show off the colour. Each window has a rim about 3/4″ off the sheathing, so we ran the wood through the table saw to create a little notch and they fit on nicely now.

Being an artist, I would have thought that the painting part would be an enjoyable change from screws, nails and saws, but there are so many shapeless, repetitive 2×4 cut offs that it feels a little like putting 4 coats of slow-drying paint on firewood.

The primer is what really gets my goat. It’s white, it has to go on all sides of every piece, and since it’s so very far from the colour I’m ideally aiming for, it is not very rewarding. It also shines clearly through the first layer of paint which results in an awkward sort of half teal, half white business.

The second coat just about covers it and after the third it’s totally gone, but it apparently takes 4 hours before another coat can be applied, so there’s plenty of time to admire the uncertain colour combination. Ah well, I’ve only 10 windows…


We got electric…


As much as I love Little Yellow and bumbling my way through things with an ‘I’m sure it will be fine’ outlook, there are a few parts of house building that I am terrified of, have no interest in doing myself, and would rather be several miles away in a deep hole while the entire process goes down.

These parts (electric, plumbing and propane; in no particular order) have literally kept me up til unnatural hours of the morning thinking about electrocution and my whole house blowing up. Pretty much anything with pipes or wires…

Anyway, I am extremely grateful to have avoided direct involvement with the expensive wires and outlets thus far. My neighbor (who built his entire, not so tiny house by himself) is quite knowledgeable in all of the frightening, above-mentioned procedures, and has been so kind as to help me out.

Yesterday evening he got just about everything in order, so we set up a test bulb where the main light will be and flipped the switch. Light! Power! Woohoo! I’m so pleased 🙂 At the entrance of 2012 last night, my sister and I were sat on a cold workbench in the window bump out watching my one, beautiful light bulb.

As a result of my self induced exclusion, I don’t have much to report on the electrical workings, but I can tell you that it involves hole drilling, bright yellow wires and blue outlet boxes. And a very small circut breaker that is rather cute, as far as circut breakers go.