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Hiding the House Wrap

7 June 2012 | Category: Building | Author: Clare

You know, siding is like laying sod.

You are up and down a lot, and the process is incredibly repetitious, but at the end of the day, when you look at what you have done, you really can see progress.

The cabin has been cloaked in house wrap, affectionately known as BC siding, for years now.

I am not sure if in reality you run out of money, motivation, or you simply become consumed by the need to make the inside more hospitable.

Whatever the rationale for my failure to cover up that now faded pink Home Hardware advertisement, I am beyond excited to finally see the last vestiges of it disappear under board, after board of beetle kill pine.

Granted the bonnie blue streaked wood is sadly stained down quite darkly, and a lot of the beautiful variants are obscured now from view.

Still, the cabin should weather better, and definitely looks tidier and more like a home.

As a tip for anyone embarking on this process, try to divorce yourself from the notion that you need 8 or 10” boards to pull off a ‘board and baton’ look.

I stumbled across (thankfully not literally) a trailer load of pine. Despite being a good deal, I thought long and hard as the dimensions were not really what I had had in mind.

Being a mixed bag of 1x6” and 1x4” (with some 1x8”s intertwined), this was not classic board and baton; the pattern I had my heart set on.

Obviously when overlapping, I would most likely be left with a 4”, 4”, 4” pattern; a wee bit too uniform for me and not getting across that nice contrast of wide and skinny boards.

I was chatting to a local carpenter about it, when he suggested I go “reverse board and baton”. I thought about it for a minute, and then grinned as if someone had just confided in me the upcoming 649 numbers.

Of course! Stroke of genius, and it worked out beautifully. I am sure you guys can do the math, working with the dimensions this way, I max out the wider boards and am left with a 6”, 2”, 6” pattern, reinstating the proportions that you would normally be looking for with this kind of siding.

The only other hint I have is if you are lucky enough to still be at un-insulated stage, or even just tackling the framing, it is a great idea to put horizontal blocking at (probably 2) heights between your studs.

That gives you something to tie your vertical boards into when it comes time to tackle the siding (if you are doing, for example, board and baton).

Otherwise you are left between studs using just the plywood sheathing to tie into when you are siding. That leaves you with 2” of plank hanging off 3/8” of sheathing; not ideal.

Just another tip, I had seen another guy put horizontal strips (say 6” wide) on the outside of the house wrap. Not only did this increase the grab for the siding when using vertical boards (going from 3/8” to ¾”), but provides a vent gap between the siding and the house wrap/sheathing.

Overall, an interesting and rewarding process.

Granted fiddling around with fat planks of fir to trim out around the doors/windows, and then having to work the siding with numerous cuts around all those openings is a time consuming, and if I am honest, a little bit of a tedious task.

But, for any of you holding back on this particular phase, don’t.

All that jig-saw work, sanding, staining, measuring and cutting is more than worth it.

You feel good when you buy a new shirt, or get a hair-cut, right?

Your building likes it too : ).


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