For the last week I’ve been preparing to side the house the way a general prepares for battle. I took two days off work –one for framing the windows, and one to get the siding going– and the seven days leading up to them have been a study in cramming every bit of knowledge about siding installation I can find into my head when I’m not a.) doing my Actual Real Job or 2.) trying to track down the most obscure and expensive nails on the planet and get them to my house on time.
So I woke up this morning bright and early, ready to cut some wood, inhale that sweet smell of sawdust, and break in my brand new hammer. (That’s right, hammer. Not nailer, nail gun, screw gun, or other reasonably fast and easy to use fastening device. These boards must be hammered. By hand.) And hey, it’s pouring down rain today!
While I’m waiting for it to dry up a bit, here are my tips on waging war and installing siding. I think they work equally well for either application.
1.) Gather your ammunition ahead of time. The proper nail to use when installing beveled cedar siding is a 10d stainless steel ring-shank split-less siding nail. It took me at least 3 hours on the internet to figure that out, and then another hour to figure out what in the hell they looked like. (Here. So you never have to go through that bit of agony.)
Do you know how many places I had to call to try and find out where I could get these? I finally gave up and ordered them online, paying another $30 to get them shipped to my house on time, which, by the way, they are definitely not here. After calling countless lumber yards, the guys at Renter Lumber (it’s local for to Toledoans) finally put me out of my misery told me to ask for Maze nails, which is the brand name, because no one calls them ring-shank nails. And also to try Menards.
None of the closer big-boxes were even close to having these things, but I’ll be dammed if I’m not standing in Menards late last night and the hallelujah chorus starts playing when I walk down the nail aisle. They have siding nails! 10d! Stainless! (They are not splittless, which means I have to flatten out the point of every nail before I use it, but what the hell, I’m hand nailing them anyway.) And oh, half the cost of the ones I bought online!
Lesson: Could probably have planned better for that one.
2.) Devise a plan of attack. Maybe you can think of something better than sketching out diagrams of proper flashing installation on envelopes after midnight, but I can’t.
I am spending a lot of time on these two websites, reading tutorials and watching videos of Bob Vila siding stuff.
Lesson: I have no idea what I’m doing, but as usual, this probably won’t stop me.
3.) Organize your troops. Thank god for MysteryMan’s parents for pitching in to help us get the trim painted before it goes up on the windows. And by “help us”, I mean “do it for us while we’re working after we call them at the last minute”.
The days I could reasonably take off of work without the universe coming to a screeching halt do not coincide with the days MysteryMan can take off work, and as much as I like to be a one-woman-show around here, these are 20 ft long pieces of siding. Oh, and winter is coming so we need to get them up and painted before all of Michigan goes into a deep freeze. Waiting for the stars to align so we’re free at the same time is not an option. So one of the donkeys may have to hold up the end of the siding for me.
Lesson: Make do.
Also: Be grateful for parents.
I think I hear sunshine outside now, time for me to get to it.