Gratz Industries HQ: Siding with the Enemy

>> Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's been a while since we had a Gratz Industries HQ update here, I know. I'd like to say that it's because we were very busy--which is partially true--but our frequent Project Runway and Project Barbie posts belie that. The truth is, not much has happened to the house since it was handed over to us. It got door hardware, and a spiffy new trench with little landscaping flags and everything, but the house still stood in its underwear--until now.

Doesn't look like a thousand dollars worth of siding, does it? But it is. This is cement board siding called HardiBoard. They make it with wood grain and faux board molding, but you know we're too weird to do it straight up like that. We have a very different look in mind, which we'll get to in a minute.

Jo is leaning on enough siding to do about one and a half exterior walls--give or take a few panels. We overbought (we hope) for the first wall both because we're new at this and want to make sure we've calculated right, and because we're going to rip some of that stuff to become the battens, the little strips that cover the siding seams. We figure we can use any overage on the next wall anyway.

Work began by hefting the dang things into place and then hammering them into the sheathing already on the house (hidden behind that "BreatheEZ" housewrap there). Each of these panels is 4 x 8 feet, and weighs about 70 pounds. I kid you not. Lifting them into exactly the right place is a four person job, for which of course we only have two people. Nailing them is a one-person job, which allowed a particular persona non grata to take a shot of my butt. (Which is better than seeing the bald spot on the back of my head, I guess.) Jo likes playing in the rocks we put down to keep the mud from splattering back up on the house, but I was able to enlist her help eventually:

Jo's pushing the paneling flat for me while I nail it in.

Each side of the house is exactly four panels long. Coincidence? Perish the thought. We deliberately designed the house so that we could use 4 x 8 panels without having to cut them. Until we come to the windows, of course. We chose to start with the back wall, here in the shadows, for that reason--only five windows, and not until we get up high. (This is the northern, cold wind side, which is why there are fewer windows. It also faces the woods.) The other reason we started with the back side of the house? Years of weekend warrior experience have taught us a very important lesson: always begin with the least visible place you're working on--that way all your terrible initial mistakes are hidden and by the time you get to the visible stuff you know what you're doing.

Does this tool belt make me look fat?

Two full rows finished! That's as high as we're going on each wall until we rent some scaffolding, so we can spend as little time (and money) on it as possible. Now it's time to paint the stuff!

Remember what I said about us never doing things nice and easy? Our grand plan is to paint each of the 4 x 8 panels one of three shades of greenish/gray, to give the house a graphic design kind of look. Here's our game plan, printed out in the four walls of the house:

The top left is the back wall, the one we've started with:

Those dark lines in between the panels are the battens we'll have to attach to keep the elements out and hide the seams.

Wendi begins with the lightest color paint, and I get revenge for that butt shot. Woohoo!

And the paint goes on. Wait! It's the same color as the primer! Dang. Still, has to be done, just not as satisfying as the other colors:

Now we're talking! The paints haven't dried yet, so the two lighter ones look very similar. That will change.

And here it is later in the day as the sun sets over the mountain behind us.

We're 1/14th of the way there!

Oh man, that's a depressing thought.


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