Spring forward

I’m taking a few days off work, working on the outside of 118 Henry Street. Today was spent on the roof in the west bedroom reverse dormer, continuing replacement of the clapboards and trim on the exterior walls.

Because all the angles, sides, and walls of an old house are neither plumb nor square, I’ve had to develop a technique for doing things like the clapboard replacement. E.g., on a modern house with wood siding, you can be assured that all the boards between a window frame and the corner of the house are going to all be the same length, within an 1/8″ or so. Not so on an old house. In this same type of area on an old house, the clapboards may vary in length up to 3/4″ or a whole inch from the bottom to the top of the wall.

In preparation for installing the boards, I cut as many boards as needed to the longest length dimension in the area to be covered. Then, I pre-drill the nail holes to prevent the boards from splitting. Finally, I make a jig out of scrap lumber to use as a spacer for the overlap.  In the case of the west bedroom dormer, all of this prep work is done on the ground.

The tools I take up to the roof (in addition to the normal hammer, etc.) are: a small level, a small roofing square, the caulk gun, and, the secret weapon, a small battery operated circular saw. Each clapboard is visually registered against the bounding trim and marked to length by eye. The roofing square is used to draw a square line and the circular saw makes the small cut to fit the piece to the space.

Here are some pix from the west dormer:

Before with stylish alum siding

Original (rotted) clapboards and wall sheathing

New roof, new insulation, new…you get the picture

The clapboards on the wall with the window were on top of the diagonal sheathing in the previous picture. However on the triangular left side wall, the clapboards were originally fastened directly to the 2×4 framing with no sheathing at all. Needless to say, beaucoup air and water infiltration.

Not done but looking a lot better

Special shout out to Ed W.

Ed, hope all is going well. Don’t worry about getting up on the scaffolding for a while. (Ed’s at home recovering from hip replacement surgery.)

This is Ed’s old house.