By Bruce W.
||This garage originally had two sliding wood doors. They were
miserable. They didn't keep much weather out. They let critters get into
the building. They were very hard to move. They looked awful.
Over several weeks I helped the homeowners make some repairs to the garage,
such as rebuilding the structure of the wall that faced the alley. This garage
went from being an unusable "2-car" garage to being a very usable
one-car garage. At only 18 feet wide, there just wasn't enough room to park two
|After I had built two short walls at the sides of the new
garage door opening, I covered the plywood sheathing with tar paper. Even
though the original garage had been built with the redwood
tongue-and-groove siding nailed directly to the studs, I wanted the extra
rigidity of plywood sheathing.
In fact, it occurred to me that the primary reason the garage developed such
a drastic lean over the years was the lack of some form of diagonal bracing,
either let-in bracing or wide solid sheathing boards.
||A close-up of the ends of the original sheathing. Of course
I couldn't locate a supplier for this shape of wood siding, but I was able
to find T&G siding almost the exact same width, without the
|The original siding on the gable was in good condition,
except for the lowest piece, which had several splits along the bottom
I decided to remove this piece of siding. It took a couple of minutes
with a reciprocating saw and some pry bars to undo the nails.
||I installed the first rows of siding, working from the top
Note how there is siding missing above the garage door.
I barely bought enough siding, even though I bought 20 per cent extra. I kept
discovering more badly damaged boards, like the one above.
|Instead of discarding that old piece of siding with the bad
edge, I ripped it narrower on the table saw.
I needed a slightly narrower piece of siding above the garage door, and
it didn't make sense to slice up a perfectly good piece of new siding when
this old one was mostly intact.
I stripped the paint with the Metabo power paint remover. A heat gun and
scraper also work well for paint removal, but not as quickly.
||Then I sanded the visible face of the siding with a random
orbital sander. This removes the coarse marks left by the rotating cutting
The edge of the sander worked well for getting into the curved
"scalloped" part of the siding
|In fact, I sanded all of the siding with the random orbital
sander, using 60 grit paper.
Coarse sandpaper leaves a surprisingly smooth (almost satin-like)
surface when used on a random orbit sander.
||The profile of the new siding. It's almost identical to the
original siding, except the lower edge is rounded instead of square. This
is a small flaw that the homeowners decided they could live with.
The top-down approach to siding installation is about the same as the normal
|After a siding piece was cut to the desired length, I
placed the tongue into the groove of the board above. Then I gently
tapped the bottom of the board with a hammer, just to get the boards to
There are lots of tongue-and-groove products that are machine-made and very
precise, so they fit together easily. But wood siding isn't so easy. Not many
boards are straight, so there is always the challenge of fitting boards
together. Just getting the tongue started in the groove can be a
Note: The board above this new piece has not been completely
nailed yet. I left out all the nails along the bottom portion, so the board
could be tilted outward, making it easier to get the new piece started.
||Once the tongue was definitely started in the groove, I
placed a scrap of siding in the groove below and hammered the new board
I clipped off the groove on this scrap, so it wouldn't get mangled so
|I checked the board with a level. This can be a slow process
for picky perfectionist people like me.
||I drove in 2 inch Maze Split-less siding nails, but only
along the top portion of the board.
These are hot-dipped galvanized ring-shank skinny little nails that are
almost impossible to remove. Their small size reduces the chances of
splitting the wood.
|Then I nailed the lower portion of the board
I nailed into the studs where possible, giving me a 16 inch spacing between
nails. I snapped chalk lines over the stud locations prior to installing the
siding. You can see the blue lines in some of the above photos.
I also used a nail set to sink the nail heads just below the surface of the
||The completed wall. Note the different color board above the
garage door. That's the old piece that I salvaged.
|When installing siding on two sides of an opening,
one has to make sure that each side is spaced exactly the same, or else
one side could end up at a taller height than the other, causing alignment
problems with boards above the opening.
Remember that my top-down approach is not the normal method of
installing siding. This only works when the siding is face-nailed (nailed
through the visible face, as opposed to nailing at the tongue). I used this
odd-ball method because I had to work with the existing siding over the garage
door. This method won't work for vinyl siding, but vinyl is so easy to remove
that re-doing an entire wall is quite simple.
||The completed siding project. I also installed 1x4 trim
around the opening.
|Later I removed the paint from the gable.
I spot-primed the knots on the pine siding with Zinsser's BIN Sealer,
which is a shellac-based coating that stops the sap in the knots from
bleeding through later.
The original redwood siding only had one or two knots on the entire
||The finished project.
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