This was done last week but I just now got some pictures taken. We had some high winds that made doing the top pieces a bit challenging, but I am really happy with the way it turned out.
The weather has been amazing for over a week now and I've started with the inside of the shed. I pulled almost all of the old pegboard out and the insulation. It was covered in mouse crap, old bugs and was just nasty. Over 5 bags of trash came out. I went back with 1/4" OSB and the inside should be finished tomorrow. I am still missing four pieces of siding and a piece of trim on the outside, but it won't get here till next Friday. In the mean time I have to get all of the completed areas sealed against rain. Once thats done it will be a quick fix to put those last pieces in place. Then we are sealed for winter.
The locust trees are turning which is always sort of sad, as it means the end of fall and winter will not be far off.
Here's a shot of the doors up and locked. I will need to pull them down again and add sweeps as well as finish out the backside.
Here is a picture from the east side.
Here's a closeup of the critter insignia I put over the middle of the door. Since it was operating as a condo for squirrels, skunks and who knows what else, it only seemed appropriate to add this......
It was a beautiful weekend here. A little bit chilly, and a few sprinkles early Saturday morning but after that sunshine. Below is a picture of the fascia that I milled from the Trex. You can see a couple of things in this picture, first is how the slot and miter cut work together to hold the soffit in place. You can slightly see some of the repairs that had to be completed to the rafter ends where the squirrels had chomped through. A lot of this stuff is not pretty and nothing that should be in Fine Homebuilding. But I have to complete this within a fairly tight budget because we are trying to keep our expenses in the U.S. fairly low. And it has to be able to last for a long time with minimal maintenance while I am out of the country.
I finally had everything sealed and the soffit in place by late Saturday. The next step was install the vinyl corners and get them to fit around the roof line. I want to do something interesting for the soffit ends so I hope this comes out right. The other thing about vinyl is you have to allow for expansion and contraction with the temperature. Once I had all four aligned I went back and set them up permanently. Then I set the metal starter strip and utility edge to completely trim the west wall. Then it was time to install the first piece. I had some problems initially but once I had the first two pieces in place the rest went much more smoothly. The picture looks a little weird, but I am happy with the color and I think it will look really good. Plus Annie likes red so this should make her excited :-)
A steady four days of rain and wind outside of Chicago. Its been like late October or early November weather here. The doors for the shed are finished but I am going to need to get a hand hanging them. I will try and get that done on Friday.
Meanwhile I have been working to solve the problem caused by Menard's inability to obtain fascia and soffit material in the correct color. As well as fixing the rafter ends that were destroyed by rot and squirrels. I decided to try and use Trex, it is a composite material made from recycled plastics (such as bags, bottles etc). Because it is color impregnated it should last for 15+ years without fading or needing to be painted. There are some downsides to it, first of all it is not as rigid as wood, and it is substantially heavier. It is also expensive at $21 (134 RMB) per board. I only needed two boards for the fascia so it was not a huge expense, but on a larger project it would really need to be considered.
Because this is really decking material it needed to be fabricated into fascia. That required me to mill a slot in the backside to hold the soffit material and to create a downward slant on the outside facing top edge to allow moisture to escape from the roofing. I was able to rip the top edge using a 30 degree tilt on the table saw without any issues. Even the the material is recycled plastic it mills smoothly. The main thing to consider is feeding it in too fast as this can cause excessive heat and it will begin to melt. Next step was to create a jig for a feather board on the top of my table saw fence and then use a stacked dado blade to mill the soffit slot. It took about 6 passes on each 12 foot (4 meter) board but there were no problems at all.
The sheathing is complete for I wasted almost the entire day making multiple trips to the Menards in West Chicago. First I picked up the vinyl siding that I had to special order. Then they forgot to load several pieces and I had to go all the way back (30 minutes each way). The real problem is these pieces are 12 feet (4 meters) in length and are very flexible. I have to use a 2x6 board secured into the back of the truck and then tie the pieces to this in order to transport them back to my home. Each trip to pick up different pieces requires this. Then they didn't have the color I needed in stock and they gave me white fascia and soffit material at a completely different store. So this morning I have to find a way to fabricate a new solution. At least I can return the unused material for a refund.
I got lucky today and there was no rain. I was able to finish sheathing the entire shed except for the two middle pieces in the front gable. I used quite a few tubes of silicone injecting it underneath the walls and I hope this will slow the rot. I went ahead and removed all of the sheathing I had already installed (yes... fun times) so I could go back and apply the silicone.
This next picture shows the entrance after I built a new header and tied everything together with cedar. This was water sealed once and I will do it twice more. I am hoping because this faces north and is not in direct sunlight that it will last four years before I have to reseal it.
And last is a picture of the big surprise I got when I pulled the soffet off the side of the shed that faced the garden. The squirrels had gnawed the holes in the sides and door, but they did not stop there. They climbed up into the soffet and then gnawed a nice passage through the rafters so they could expand their condo. This might explain the large deposits I found in the shed, because these guys were certainly getting their share of roughage.
It was just an amazing day today with about 74F temps and a nice breeze. I went ahead and ripped the doors and most of the front off of the shed. Below is a picture of the wall footer and the problem with rot I was describing. This is one of the worse areas. I decided to go back and pull the plywood and run silicone around the bottom.
The top of the doors had a single pine 2x4 that functioned both as the jam and supported the siding. I was suprised to see it had no vertical supports. When I went to pry off the old siding it wiggled like a noodle. That was not satisfactory so I removed it and built a new header.
New header, this is only partially completed. I added a fat cedar cross beam and reinforced that by tying it to the sides. I also doubled up on the studs closest to the door opening. The main thing is to try and avoid any sag in the doors over time.
And last a picture of the back window. My neighbor helped me cut the glass to fit this today and it is complete.
We had a really great day after the last few days of rain and I finished up building my back window from ipe that I had saved from the patio table. The stuff is ridiculously durable and it will never need to be painted. That was the main reason I wanted to fabricate my own window, I know this thing will last far longer than the shed itself.
And that brings us to the real problem. After I had completed the back wall I ripped the side wall off, and I chose the one that was in the worst condition (other than the back). I could not believe it (I didnt think about it on the back wall) but the footers are regular 2x4 pine sitting right on the concrete slab. This is beyond stupid and violates any building code in any city. The moisture has wicked right up into them and they are badly rotted. And of course there is no way to replace them without tearing down the entire shed - they are lowest piece in the structure. I am at a loss as to what to do. The shed could last 10 years, or 5, or it could fall down next year. And what pisses me off is this siding and all of the things I have built should be at a minimum a 15 year solution, and probably more like 20. I don't know, I am just dumbfounded.
I did not figure it out until about an hour before dark and I had to go ahead and sheath that side wall to prevent moisture from getting in. I ended up working past dark and had to rig up some lights. And to make it all the more tasty that entire area on the inside was covered in mouse feces and some big leftovers from a raccoon or skunk. I took a shower asap when I got done.
I don't know, I guess I could try running pressure treated lumber around the bottom edge with a fat bead of silicone to try and prevent any more moisture from coming through from the outside.. There is not a straight piece of pressure treated lumber on the planet though, and I know that will be a huge headache. I could do a 1x4 of cedar decking material and do the same thing, maybe even rip one in half so its not so bulky and then flare the vinyl siding over it. That means pulling all of those sheets off the bottom and re-sheathing the whole thing. Thats a real pain, and we have rain coming in again on Thursday. I really, really do not want that plywood to be exposed to moisture again. Time is running out and I am going to have to decide if it is worth it to try and protect the bottom of those walls.
First thing this morning I cleared all of the old stones and bushes out from around the garden shed. It was a pathetic sight as shown below.
I ripped the back off of the shed and it was a royal pain in the ass. Someone had went nail happy and nailed the hell out of the masonite siding. It took me almost half the day just to pull it off the back. We are expecting some rain tomorrow afternoon so I am only doing one side at a time. I got quite the surprise when I found that there was not any sheathing under the masonite, but they had insulated the bottom walls. This makes absolutely no sense as the top walls (nor the roof) are insulated at all!! This presented a problem because I had not planned on having to sheath the entire outside of the shed, but its the only way to do this right. The next question was whether to use chipboard at $8 (51 RMB) a sheet or use the longer term solution of 1/2" (1.25 cm) plywood at $12 (76 RMB).
I went with the plywood because the vinyl siding will be a 15 year or longer solution. With that plywood sheathing the shed should go for a long time without any issues as long as we maintain it. The other problem with having to sheath the garden shed is each piece weighs between 30 - 40 lbs (13 - 18 kgs) and that is heavy when you are working by yourself. Holding those sheets, especially on the ladder will be tricky. I did manage to rough in the window to replace the rotten wood and sheath the bottom half of the back wall before it got too dark to see. I am truly beat. Between the gym and the plywood my shoulders are so sore I hate lifting my arms tonight. It is tough on an old man.