Friday, October 18, 2013

"Hey Honey, let's clad a wall".

"Oooo, yes please", said like no wife ever!
  This poor south facing wall of our house has been an eyesore for our neighbours for many years, luckily there have been a few different neighbours in that time. (Not that we haven't had our fair share of eyesores) Two very wet summers have seen the paint peel at an alarming rate and lessen the obvious waterproofing that comes with a well painted wall. Damage in years gone by, has seen this wall replaced at some stage by a previous owner, with newer chamferboard boards and we have always wanted to reinstate the original weatherboard profile.

There is always a "method to the madness" around here, Mr CH needs the boards for the two end walls of his shed, and we can't waste good hardwood. However, there is always the danger that once he has his wood, I won't see him again.
 So, first the boards first needed to be levered off the wall with as minimal damage as possible. Which is a hard enough job except one of us is afraid of heights. The kind of afraid that shakes the plank and makes you think HE will pass out from holding HIS breath too long. Did I mention that it's just the two of us cladding this wall?

So those of us who like to live in old houses, ignore this if you must, but you're more than likely to have a good pile of this in at least one spot. Would you say a hundred years of cockroach poooooo????
 Water or white ant damage probably determined the replacement of the wall many decades ago.

A big difference in board profiles, the new treated pine weatherboards are quite a bit wider and nicer. (I'd painted these boards months ago, oil based painted on both sides to minimised "cupping" and two top coats of colour, which was why I had to decide to keep/or not the colour.)
 Had a few sprinkles of rain and the threat of a few storms, so there was a bit of temporary waterproofing attempts with sarking offcuts and monitoring the BOM radar daily. Rather than expose the whole wall at once, we decided to work in layers the size of the sarking, to minimise the chance of possible rain damage. It took us three weeks of part days (to avoid the sun) and we just plodded along at our own pace, two weeks holidays and a couple weekends.

Old time bracing -  vj internal wall through the skin of inside walls.

 Noggins from hardwood offcuts. The vj wall is the straight part.
After we were happy with the positioning of the first row of boards, boards were nailed at 150mm up. The boards each side of a window were adjusted (if necessary) with the help of a level, not an easy job working with the ups and downs of an old house. Each board was measured, cut and fitted one at a time while staggering the joins.

Which accounts for a whole lot of trestle climbing.

Last board, in the middle.

One thing I've always loved about old Queenslanders, their open eaves or old school ventilation. Standing near the top makes you realise just how well they work, by midday the heat pouring out on our heads was quite impressive. Mr CH calls them possum holes, he's had a few run-ins with them in the middle of the night.

From the inside they look like this. Thought you might be interested (or not), note Mr CH's attempt to keep the possums at bay, stapled chicken wire, front and back. Makes the roof space bright enough to keep an eye on our roof condition as we still have the original roof complete with the nails with lead washers. Not bad considering it's over the 100 year mark. Hubby always thought this would make a great extra room with dormer windows, plenty of height.

More green paint unfortunately. Had to decide if I wanted a two tone house like the two houses down road (one going on 2 1/2 years now)  I just haven't the heart to re-paint the entire house, just because. Ran out of paint near the end, seems our wall colour isn't "heritage cream", but a custom mix not on file, we had to be difficult.

An extra piece of window surround (the white bit) was added to the newer window to match the other surrounds. Chamfered at the top for water run off.

Which has now has a white surround to match the others. The two other windows could use a repaint, that will be another time.

Food of renovators. Not too many of these were consumed.

Who needs the gym, just climb these 999 times.

While no humans (or their marriage) were harmed during the making of this wall, casualties did include two parlour palms, one (not so) happy plant and countless ferns and Moses-in-the-bulrushes. 
This is not the kind of job I would recommend as a DIY especially if you live in a double storied house, this is our third go at some form of wall cladding and we work like a well oiled machine by now, a job best left to the professionals. Would not attempt to do this without a (coil) nailgun, compound mitresaw, tablesaw, builders square, tape measure, some sort of scaffolding, a good dose of steely determination and at least one person with a total nonchalance of heights.

 That's as good a "finished" pic as I can manage at the moment, Mr CH has decided to make new flyscreens for two of the windows while he has the trestles there. Another DIY job, white aluminium flyscreens, he's never made them this way before. We are pretty chuffed with our work, only a couple of wobbly bits in the whole wall.

Working with wood has it's share of considerations, esp. if the boards are different thicknesses or have a bow or two along the length of board. The builders of the Reno cottage and our home simply planned/chamfered off the difference in height. We decided not to.

Replacing the wall gave us the chance to address a leak issue that a previous owner caused. When under the house was blocked in, they installed a sheet of tin lying flat between the blocks and the house beams. Sometimes when it rained a lot, water would seep inside downstairs and trickle down the walls. We gummed up the problem years ago, but there was never peace of mind and always checking during heavy downpours. So Mr CH installed some flashing we had scavenged from the parents and two bonus bits included in the Reno cottage order. The flashing sits up behind the first board so any rain water will now drain away. Relief. All worth the wait.

Do you think he's a happy boy?
(safe on terra firma)
It's been a busy few months for us labour wise, shed work, new drainage out the back (lots of gravel shovelling and pipe laying), tree trimming and shredding, garden jobs, painting weatherboards, oiling the veranda/s, making four new awnings from scratch (2 for the reno cottage) and then the wall cladding. Think my mojo is returning, enough to think it's a good idea to start a floor-to-ceiling house spring clean.
 The urgency of spring, exhausted thinking about it!


  1. Our walls look like your before pics. We won't be re-cladding though - professionals! Yours look great, what an accomplishment!!

  2. Looking good! I bet you're glad that part of the reno is over and done with. I'm not great working with heights either and I'm sure I've gotten worse as I get older. The paint on your old chamferboards looks much like weatherboards on our cottage. Fortunately for us, the hardwood boards underneath all the peeling paint are still in relatively good condition - not one needed replacing. xx

  3. The wall looks great Simmone! The smile at the end says it all. Sounds like a huge, exhausting job. Well done to you guys.

  4. Oh wow! Looking great. What a huge job. Looking forward to seeing the shed with it's new/old timber cladding:) x PS hanks so much for your comment over on my blog recently. I'm feeling so encouraged:) x

  5. Well done!! That's impressive!! We will likely have a two toned house next year-I'm already dreading the painting... xx

  6. Weatherboards rule!. You guys are really amazing. The treated pine would've been really good to work with - not as heavy or as tough to cut as the hardwoord. It looks great.

  7. You two are a force to be reckoned with, is there nothing you can't do :-). I can understand that fear of heights though, especially wit a nail gun in hand.

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