Step-by-Step: deck and exterior siding

In my last post, I updated you on progress inside the house. Now I’ll talk about what’s happening on the outside of the house…

Work has continued on the wrap-around deck. This next photo shows strips of membrane that were cut and fit to each little section of the supporting frame. The deck boards will sit on top of these.

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You can see how much work went into cutting and attaching each of these little strips! An example of something that takes time and careful application, but doesn’t provide a lot of visual “wow” factor.

When the cedar boards had been milled (see this post), they were cut and tacked onto the deck surface to see how well they lined up. Portable mills aren’t quite as precise as a full mill operation, and we were hoping we could get away with just surface-sanding them, but as you can see from this next photo they are not sufficiently even. So these will be taken off and planed before being put back on, and the rest will be planed, too.

A row of western redcedar boards lie on top of a yellow cedar frame with Douglas Fir support posts. Wood lovers, unite!

A row of western redcedar boards lie on top of a yellow cedar frame with Douglas Fir support posts. Can you tell I love wood!

The above photos show the south side of the 3-sided, wrap-around deck. This side (and the north side) have a “drip through” design, but the east side calls for a waterproof membrane underneath so you don’t get dripped on when entering and exiting the lower level. It took a long time to get that little bit of waterproofing done, because you need completely dry conditions and we got a lot of rain this month, very unusual for our region in July. That caused the membrane guy (also our roofing guy) to get backed up with jobs, but this week he was finally able to come and put the membrane on.

Waterproof membrane on east side of deck.

Waterproof membrane on east side of deck.

After the glue material had dried, the edges were trimmed and flashing was applied.

Not the greatest photo, but it shows the flashing around the edge of the waterproofing membrane. There is a lip along the bottom to direct water out and away from the wooden support frame.

Not the greatest photo, but it shows the flashing around the edge of the waterproofing membrane. There is a lip along the bottom to direct water out and away from the wooden support frame.

But one of my favourite things was the board-and-batten mockup that George and his crew did just to make me happy (well, and also to confirm all the dimensions!). This little corner of the house is my Happy Place, I am just so in love with this siding!

Board and batten siding mockup. The wood was a bit wet here, as it had just rained lightly before they put this up.

Board and batten siding mockup. The wood was a bit wet here, as it had just rained lightly before they put this up.

The wood was drier when I took this photo. It's a better representation of the real colour.

The wood was drier when I took this photo. It’s a better representation of the real colour, especially the sunny portion.

Unfortunately, this mockup had a nasty teasing effect on Husband, who has been asking ever since when the rest of the siding will been done!

Although we had anticipated completing the siding by now, we’ve had a few delays to contend with, such as finding a portable miller to cut the logs for the decking (not many portable mills, busy time of year, and our original guy bailed on us), the deck waterproofing (as noted above), and the miller who is supplying us with extra tall (18 feet!!) cedar boards for the gable ends (he had to wait until some long logs came in). The siding can’t go up on the deck end of the house until the decking is finished (well, at least the supports and floor boards…the railings aren’t necessary for that) and they wanted to wait for the tall boards to come in as well, because they didn’t want to start and stop the job multiple times (it means setting up and taking down various bits of equipment, which is a pain).

They also had to put the outside work on hold when the interior crews showed up (the tile guy and the interior trim guy; see my previous post). The issue was our power supply – there was not enough power for all the crews to run their equipment at once, so the inside guys got priority (because the inside jobs have to be done before other trades can come in, which affects the whole timeline). That meant we lost some outside crew, who filled in the break with other jobs which they had to finish before coming back.

The good news is that, unlike the situation on the interior of the house (see my last post), no other trades are waiting on the exterior work, and we have a few more weeks left before it has to be done, so this particular delay has had no effect on the estimated move-in date. Phew!

And in fact our favourite crew guy, Billy, came back this week to finish the exterior insulation and house wrapping job (to read up on our unusual exterior wall design, see this post). He does beautiful work, and often works extra-long days or weekends to get things moving along quickly. Also, we received word this week that the long boards are ready for pickup. So now that the waterproofing is done, George and Billy can finish putting the deck boards on, and then they are all set to do the siding. A new crew member showed up this week (who I actually know, as he’s the Dad of a local homeschooling family who run an educational permaculture farm where my son goes with his learning centre class during the school year – gotta love small towns!). He is an excellent woodworker, and is cutting the cedar boards for the exterior window trim (the top board over each window has a “slice” taken out of the underside).

Operation "trim boards" is in full effect!

Operation “trim boards” is in full effect!

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So, for this next week work will continue on the decking and siding. Then the week after that, the milled Douglas Fir boards for the ceilings and master suite flooring arrive, and all work on the outside will stop so that this important inside job can be done (many others are waiting for the ceilings and floors to go in, including the painters and the electricians). It should take about two weeks, and then they can return to the outside and get the siding finished well before occupancy.

For my last photo, I leave you with this rogue sunflower that just popped up out of nowhere on the edge of the building site. Somebody must have spat out a sunflower seed while on a break!

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