Shingling the Back Porch

May 26, 2011

We have old, cheap, poorly applied vinyl siding on the house.  I hate it.  No matter what we do to the house, it only looks as good as the siding - and that's best viewed at night.  "Eventually" (god, who knows when) I want to re-side the house, better siding, maybe even a different color.  In the meantime, and after putting new windows in the porch last summer, I just wanted the back porch to look better, right now.  The front porch is shingled, so I thought - why not?  Besides, shingles are pretty inexpensive.

Okay, I didn't exactly get a "before" picture, but at least this time I took one pretty early on in the project!

After removing the old, cheap vinyl siding, I found old, cheap, very thin insulation.  Ugh, I bet the whole house is "insulated" with this stuff!

It's always a scary proposition when you start digging around an old house, you just never know what's under there. Well, in this case it was clapboard. Old, broken, weak clapboard.

I decided not to remove the clapboard, after all - you just never know what's under there!  So I covered the clapboard with 1/2" plywood.

I'm always paranoid about wood and water mixing. So I Googled "applying cedar shingles" and got the idea to cover the plywood with 30 W tar paper...

See that horizontal board? I got the idea on Youtube...Hang the board, level it and installing each course of shingles becomes quicker, easier and leveler (I know, I know). Beat the heck out of chalk lines!

That's it (for now). Still have to decide on a stain color. I don't think I would like the gray "weathered" look, so - what color? I'm thinking "coffee", but I don't make all the decisions!

All-in-all it was a simple and satisfying job. Next will be the side wall of the porch, and then maybe the upper half of the porch...who knows! Maybe even more of the house!

New Semi-Wattled Garden Fence

Here's a glimpse of a "before" picture and the somewhat pathetic fence around the garden:

It was initially put up years ago to keep Bruegger, then Linus out.  It was made of furring strips and chicken wire and was only planned to be temporary.  Of course, 14 years is temporary, but nonetheless...a little longer than planned!  But I have to tell you - it still beat the original garden fence, what we thought would keep our beagle named Bruegger out -

Abject failure!!

Anyway, as is so often the case, this was one of those spur-of-the-moment projects.  It was a Saturday morning and I was looking around the yard for a quick project.  My eyes settled on the garden fence...the rest as they say, is history.  About five minutes later the old fence was gone...

I started out with some post holes.  Lucky for me it's been a very wet spring so the post holes (three of them) took about 20 minutes.  Then I stood back and planned what to do.  Off to Lowes to get a couple posts, crawled under the back porch and pulled out a few 2x4s from an earlier project - and I was under way!

This picture is pretty obvious...posts in post holes.  Two things to notice though - first, I love my post level (that green thing on one of the posts), it really makes a one man project a lot easier!  Then...and here's the BIG one - I had presence of mind enough to pull out some cardboard to put the dirt on instead of just in the yard.  I know this may not seem like much, but I can't tell you the messes I've made over the years just because I wouldn't think of that until too late!

After the posts were in, I built some frames and just used deck screws to fix them to the posts.  As you can see, I did a semi-wattle here.  Last summer we lost one of the apple trees and a large part of the birch trees, so we saved the branches with something like this in mind...

It was starting to look like something, almost like a wattled fence!  We ran out of birch branches, but figured over time we would find more branches and add to it!

Just another shot...

Then it was just a matter of staining...I used Baer Semi-transparent deck stain in "coffee" color.  I thought with everything else in the yard things were starting to look a little too monochromatic...thought this would be a nice contrast.

So there you have it.  The 3 hour, $30, semi-wattled fence!

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