With any luck, the gallery includes pictures of the completely sided west wall of our garage. As of early Sunday morning, this was not the case. I’ve been fortunate throughout the summer and early fall to be able to count Saturdays as work days. However, two of the past three weekends have included a washed-out Saturday. My employer is flexible when it comes to scheduling vacation but swapping a wet Saturday for a sunny Monday isn’t an option.
Now I find myself studying the forecast as if I were launching a rocket to the Space Station. This week, it looks like Wednesday and Thursday are my best bets for making progress – sunny and 61°f (16°c) – fine working weather. Still, that means dragging my butt out of bed on Friday and going to work. I like a little break between the physical labor and the sitting-behind-a-desk work week. That’s what Sundays are supposed to provide, but I’m counting on this particular Sunday to provide conditions in which I can finish that long wall. According to NOAA, my chances are officially “ify.”
“Patchy drizzle before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 54. Light south wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.”
Light wind is OK, as the Tyvek is already up. Last week, I stopped short of tacking up the Tyvek because we had 40 mph (64 kph) winds to contend with. If you’re not familiar, Tyvek is that white fabric-like stuff that goes on the walls before siding. It comes on 9-foot by 100-foot rolls and, ideally, you cover your space in one sheet. A 28-foot (figure roughly 3 feet to a meter) piece of Tyvek makes a dandy sail, and since I have to start the process on a ladder – no. I made the decision not to try, knowing full well that the Editor would have made it for me. She’s picked me up off the ground too often.
The west wall is wall number two in a four-wall package, but it’s tied for #1 on a difficulty scale. The back wall segments each involved sections requiring the siding to be cut at 45° or shallower angles on both ends, and
endless countless numerous OK, 18 trips up and down a ladder. I say “up and down” like pilots say “takeoffs and landings” – you should never have one without the other.
The west wall hasn’t required much ladder work. I am able to reach the top of the wall from a rolling scaffold thingie. On the other hand, this wall required repairs and contains obstacles. First, a window had to be replaced. Similar to the other three windows, the opening required for the new window was remarkably different from the one that was already in the wall – cut more off of here, patch in a new section over there. The entry door also had to be replaced. Of course, both the new window and the door became obstacles once installed. The other obstacles include an outdoor light fixture, an outlet, a wall lamp, the power connection from the house, two brackets holding up the new roof over the entry door and the Editor’s cabinet-style garden shed. The cuts are all 90° but there are a lot of them.
The way obstacles are treated with vinyl siding, is with the use of blocks and J-Channel. J-Channel, as the name implies is shaped like the letter J and provides a weather resistant pocket at the protruding side of a door or shed, in which the siding can hide. Vinyl siding expands and contracts with temperature, so you cannot butt it tight into a corner. Blocks, like the ones supporting the lamp and light fixture, are plastic blocks that cover the electrical connections and are faced with a frame. The gap between the nailing flange of the block and the overhang of the frame creates a channel for the siding. It sounds easy, but it means that somewhere in the middle of a 12-foot piece of siding, a notch has to be cut to go around the block/window/shed/outlet…well, you get the picture. The brackets supporting the roof and the power-feed from the house required that I get creative and fashion my own bit of protection.
Next up is the front wall. Despite the need for ladders and staging, it actually will be somewhat easier than the back and west walls. I am saving the east wall until last, because there are no obstacles. It includes the east wall of my workshop, presenting me with 40′ (12m) of no-cut siding.