Can a city boy build his dream homestead on a mountain, by himself and with no mortgage?

Archive for November, 2009

A sow’s ear?

The weather report says low 40’s and 20% chance of precipitation near my mountain and that means low 30’s and 90% chance of rain in my area. I need to finish the weatherproofing now. I have the vertical siding I need for the door wall, I only need the horizontal boards for the other 2 unfinished walls.

I stand in the Lowe’s debating…to put horizontal planks of redwood or cedar will cost $360 for the back wall and $300 for the big window wall. I just cannot afford it.

I skulk around the lumber department, depressed, carrying my calculator and wall diagrams.

I finally settle on the cheapest horizontal option available. The el-cheapo 6′ dog-eared 1×6 fence boards, pre-stained redwood color. They are $1.67 each. I’ll need 44 so it will only cost $75 for the entire back wall. I decide to save up my 30,000 pennies for redwood for the front wall since it’s the wall everyone will see the most.

I need to use my “design on a dime” chops to make this look good. I ask the bored salesman to cut each of the boards to 5′ on the big saw. 2 each gives me a span of the 10′ width I need, yes with a seam, but I’m confident that enough wood stain will make them look good. If they look crappy, I can always unscrew them in the spring and replace with the expensive wood, no harm no foul.

Installation is a breeze using stainless steel screws.

I splurged on Olympic Maximum Protection Semi-Transparent wood stain in Oxford Brown (the darkest color on the chart). I brush it on and hold my breath.

The back wood wall has dried nicely (it had 1/2 hour of good sun) and the boards look great in person. They look very rough in the photo but trust me, they are gorgeous when you’re standing there.

The weather is not cooperating. A low cloud cover and temps in the 50’s portend rain so I rush to get the vertical siding up and painted as well.  The paint cans say that I’ll need 24 hours with temps above 35 degrees without rain, so I pray to the baby Jesus to keep them clouds away.

Apparently I have no cred with the baby Jesus. The fog rolls in just as I finish painting the rest of the siding. I used Olympic’s solid stain in “California Rustic”. It’s a gorgeous deep rust color that will blend in with the landscape beautifully…

or so I think.

Due to the damp air and cold temperature, the stain will not dry. My tar-paper love shack looks like a whore-orange outhouse.


The paint stir-stick has dried into a beautiful, rich, deep rust color so there is hope for the whore orange siding. I am now praying only to the Holy Virgin Mother (I don’t think I’ve pissed her off yet?) to bring out the sun, dry out the paint and turn my sow’s ear outhouse into the silk purse cabin I keep seeing in my mind.

… the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, amen.

SmartSide on the side…

a wee update…

I had a free day on Sunday so I ran up to the mountains and started on the siding. I’m putting this SmartSide vertical groove on 2 walls and horizontal redwood 1×6 on the front window wall and the back side. Only got this one wall done before I had to leave but I did purchase the panels, paint and stains so the rest can all go up on Friday/Saturday.

The Smartside will be painted a rust/terracotta color and the redwood will be stained a deep espresso brown. I do need to get this all done this coming weekend, it’s getting down to the low 30’s at night now and snow may show up soon (brrrrrr)…

more to come in a few days…


a little *BLING* on top

metal roof

Since I was scheduled to start a new job on Monday, I decided to run up to the mountain and put the metal roof on over the weekend. I was unprepared for just how gorgeous it would look!!!

A quick trip to Lowe’s for some Galvalume panels, drip edge strips, insulated screws and new sawz-all blades set me back $450…YIKES! (way more than I’d budgeted).

In order to cover the 16’L x 12’W roof, I estimated 5 sets of panels (1 each at 12′ and 8′). Since the longest available panel was 12′, I decided to lay down an 8′ panel and then overlap a 12′ panel to give me the 16′ plus some overhang on the front.

Installation was a breeze thanks to the new Lime-green Lithium battery screw gun ($159 Ryobi at the Home Depot, okay I splurged!). My old screw gun was so heavy to hold and with the carpal tunnel thing… the new screw gun is amazing!

Before attempting the installation, I spent some time online reading up on how to do this. It was a good thing because I learned all kinds of tips (like how to lay it all out and get the panels up on the roof without bending).

drip edge

I installed the drip edges, overlapping them easily, in about an hour. The panels simply lay down and get screwed every foot or so (kind of like I feel in this new “hope and change” economy). I let the panels overhang a bit, it looked much better. I sprayed some expandable foam into the front & back gaps from the corrugated shape (to keep out the bees, wasps and other flying vermin).  After silicone-caulking the seams I was done with the panels in under 2 hours.

Although the pictures don’t show the detail on the surface of the roof, it looks magnificent in person. The Galvalume has a glisten and sheen to it that makes the roof look like it’s been overlaid with silver-leaf!

Just plain GORGEOUS if I do say so myself! My buddy MJ came up with me and provided some welcome conversation and the occasional panel-holding help, but this could have easily been done solo.

Turns out I over-bought by 2 panels. You actually get 36″ of width coverage per panel, not the 32″ the website says so I returned the extras to Lowe’s and got a $70 refund!! This day just kept getting better.

I know this post has been sorta self-congratulatory but  DAMN my roof is purty!  Next task is the siding, hopefully next weekend?

peace out… E.M.

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