Category Archives for "Exterior Decor"

Tiny House Inexpensive Lap Siding Alternative

By admin | Exterior Decor

Learn the advantages of using an engineered wood siding product to create the curb appeal and look of traditional wood lap siding for your tiny house.

As noted at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company website, since 1997, company owner and founder Jay Shafer has championed the idea of tiny houses as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly housing alternative.

Shafer’s company markets construction plans for homes that range from an austere 65 square foot micro house to a comparatively palatial house of 874 square feet to those interested in self contracting or self-building their own home. After purchasing a plan, owner-builders make the decisions about what types of materials to use to finish the small homes inside and out.

In anticipation of retirement in late 2010, Shafer’s tiny house concept captured my imagination. Confident that a small house would meet my needs for housing during retirement I began construction on my own, self-designed 384 square foot tiny house.

Once the house was framed, sheathed and roofed it was time to choose the exterior siding. Cost, durability, and curb appeal considerations were the primary factors that led me to choose an inexpensive yet sturdy engineered wood product for the exterior siding. The means of use and installation of the product selected were altered to meet my own personal preferences and it occurred to me that others might benefit from using this material in a similar way for home construction projects.

Lap Siding Options

While there are many different options for finishing a home exterior fewer choices exist for those seeking the look of traditional wood lap siding. Some commonly used options include:

  • Traditional wood lap siding
  • Cement fiber siding
  • Vinyl siding
  • Aluminum siding

Each of the listed options has unique pros and cons with respect to cost, durability, the complexity of installation, and ease of maintenance.

Real wood offers the most authentic traditional look but with the wood of course termites, maintenance considerations, and rot pose potential problems.

Cement fiber siding, a relatively new but increasingly popular siding option offers a look that closely resembles traditional wood lap siding. Manufacturers also claim that cement-fiber siding holds paint better and needs less maintenance than wood. The material presents challenges however for do-it-yourself builders.

While cement-fiber siding can technically be cut with a regular circular saw, doing so creates considerable silica dust that requires respiratory protection. As illustrated at the James Hardie website, one manufacturer of cement fiber siding, it is recommended that specialized cutting tools and methods be used to reduce exposure to the silica dust. The cost of such tools would be difficult to justify for a one time installation by an owner-builder.

Although reasonable in price, cement fiber siding turned out not to be the least expensive option. Using the prices for cement fiber siding available at my local home improvement stores, cost for the material averaged about $7 per 8-1/4 inch x 12-foot plank or about 85 cents per square foot.

Vinyl and aluminum siding, while popular and cost-effective siding choices, presented some drawbacks for me. First, these materials have a more unnatural, imitation wood look. Living in an area where some fairly extreme weather commonly occurs including thunderstorms with large, damaging hail, the susceptibility of vinyl and aluminum to impact damage and weathering were major durability concerns. Installation can also be too complicated for an inexperienced owner-builder as a number of specialized tools, techniques, and components are required.

Another Lap Siding Smart Choice

After discarding vinyl and aluminum as options I estimated the cost for the material I was leaning toward for my project, cement fiber siding, arriving at an estimated figure of $1,000. While visiting a retailer to price that option I happened to discover another option to consider in a siding product called SmartSide®. This engineered wood siding material offered some similar advantages to cement fiber at a lower cost. It could be installed without the need for any specialized tools or silica dust concerns.

According to the website of SmartSide® manufacturer, LP Building Products, the material is termite and rot-resistant. It is easy to install with common tools and fasteners. A quick inspection revealed that the material even closes up, offered the authentic look of real wood. The 5/50 year transferable limited warranty offered by the manufacturer gave me confidence that the material would likely prove durable.

Cost, the final factor I considered, made the decision easy. Priced at about 51 cents per square foot, I estimated my total project cost using SmartSide® at just over $500.

Installation Of The Siding

SmartSide® was available in my area only in 96″L x 48″W x 3/8″D sheets. The primer painted sheets had six, 8 inch on center planks delineated by grooves between each plank. As manufactured, the siding sheets were designed to be installed as a unit either horizontally or vertically. Desiring lap siding, I easily altered the product by cutting the sheets with a common table saw between the grooves to produce six individual 96″L x 8.25″W x 3/8″D planks.

Since the sheets were primer painted on the front side only, to guard against water absorption, before installation I applied a good grade paint primer to the backside and cut edges of each plank. The planks were then fastened with a 6 inch exposure, just like traditional wood lap siding planks over plywood sheathing covered with 30# builder’s paper using 8d galvanized, ring shank nails. The result was a pleasing, authentic traditional wood lap siding appearance.

Those looking for an attractive, durable, easy to install lap siding option for a tiny house or backyard shed building project should consider SmartSide® siding among the available alternatives, especially where cost is a prime consideration.


Exterior House Paint Ideas

By admin | Exterior Decor

Exterior house color schemes can show off detail, minimize poor appearances and increase curb appeal. Selecting the right house paint makes all the difference.

There are many factors at play when choosing house paint, and coordinating the exterior house color schemes. The age and style of the home, personal homeowner preference, the condition of the home and the neighborhood where the house is located can all have a hand in deciding what house colors to choose. Weighing each component separately and together will produce the right pallet.

The Age And Style Of The Home

Begin by taking into consideration the type of home to be painted. Historical homes can usually work well by using period colors and styles, but depending on their location, it may be possible to produce startlingly beautiful results by painting an older home in modern colors.

If deciding to follow the home’s natural guidelines, it can be an easy job of narrowing down the paint color choices. Victorian paint colors usually have some black mixed into them and are more somber. This results in burgundies, grays, forest greens, and even violets. Homes that have a great deal of trim and woodwork can make use of two or three coordinating colors that have a similar feature or tone about them.

If the home has a change in cladding, such as horizontal wood siding, to shingles, then it is more than acceptable to paint the home in two or more colors. Change the color of the paint with the change in material. This can mean painting one portion of the home a blue-green, while sections of trim are white, moldings are red or burgundy and the face of steps are violets. Follow the home’s clues; if there is a band of trim around the center of the home, then the colors need to change there.

Foursquare style homes will often have a contrasting or bright shade of trim. Outline the edges of the house and window sashes in white, while the house itself is yellow. Or try using a blue-gray house color, with a creamy trim.

Check Out The Neighborhood

If considering painting the home either in historical or more modern colors, it helps to see what the rest of the neighborhood looks like. While it can certainly be attention-grabbing to be the only house on the block with lime green trim, this can be off-putting to the neighbors, and even to potential home buyers.

This is not to say that every home on a block needs to have identical colors and details, but if a variety of homes on the block are painted in period colors appropriate to the type of building, then it makes sense to continue this theme. Eclectic neighborhoods, with a mix of newer and older homes, may be able to handle an older home painted in newer colors, but take care to preserve the style of the home, even while using modern colors.

Take The Roof Into Consideration

Many older homes had roofs that were anything but gray. Green shingles, lavender slate and even red were not uncommon in many homes. If re-shingling the roof at the same time as the painting is being done, consider using a color on the roof to contrast and highlight the rest of the house colors. A green roof on a yellow home with a bright red door and white trim provides a cheerful cap to the home.

Likewise, a slate roof in tones of lavender and gray will work well with a deep green home with yellow trim and a blue door.

The final and most important factor to consider when painting the house is the homeowner’s preference. If bright colors are preferred, but the house is a Victorian style, consider using a brightly colored front door in red or blue, to provide a bright pop of color against the more somber siding.

Likewise, there is nothing wrong with using deep colors in a more modern home. Pay attention to detail and what the house is saying, and the color scheme will be perfect.

Safety

•    Safety is important, and no one should work alone on ladders and scaffolds, should an emergency arise.

•    A safety harness should be used when working on two-story structures.

•    No one should work underneath scaffolds.

Time Saving Tips

If a scaffold or ladder is being used in a spot that is difficult to access, it is possible to finish all of the painting in one pass. Depending on the drying time, this can be accomplished in a relatively short time. Painting the soffit, then the fascia, and finally the wall, in that particular order, and repeating the process for the second coat is one way to keep consistently working on a section while waiting for the paint to dry in other sections. In this manner, the scaffold does not have to be moved back and forth multiple times.

If time is of the essence, then with a steady hand, trim can be painted when the wall paint is dry to the touch. If a spot is particularly difficult to get to, this may be the best option. It is, however, preferable to wait until the wall paint is completely dry.

Touch-up Tips

When touching up the final coat, a brush can be used to fade the edges out to a thin featheredge, which will prevent highly visible spots of lighter or darker paint shades, as paint can sometimes appear lighter or darker in places with multiple coats. Even relatively large areas can be faded in this manner, if necessary, such as when the paint was not mixed properly and there is a slight variation in color or shade.

Painters tape can be used to clean up trim if freehand efforts have failed.

Brushes And Rolls

Brushes should be kept in a bucket of water when not in use. This will prevent the bristles from clumping together. If they are allowed to dry with paint on them, they will be next to useless. However, they should be dried well before painting.

At the end of the day, rinse the paint rolls and brushes quickly, and leave them in a bucket of clean water overnight. If they are not going to be used for several days, wash them carefully until the water runs clear and leave them to dry.

Paint rolls can also be kept in a plastic bag, even overnight. A paint roll holds a large quantity of paint, and washing it unnecessarily consumes both time and paint.

Miscellaneous Tips

Always mix your paints well before application to maintain a uniform color. A small paint mixer bit on a drill works best for this purpose.

The weather plays an important role. It is not a good idea to start a painting project when rain is expected. Most paints should not be exposed to water within the first 24 hours of the application.

Any sprinklers that spray the wall should be turned off.

Although painting is rather easy, it can also be slow and tedious as there is usually quite a bit of surface to cover. Any homeowner can manage the project and it is certainly worth the effort, but it will not be extremely fast. Multiple days should be reserved for the project, and finding extra help is definitely a good idea.

Additional Tips To Paint The Exterior Of A House

By admin | Exterior Decor

Safety

  • Safety is important, and no one should work alone on ladders and scaffolds, should an emergency arise.
  • A safety harness should be used when working on two-story structures.
  • No one should work underneath scaffolds.

Time Saving Tips

If a scaffold or ladder is being used in a spot that is difficult to access, it is possible to finish all of the painting in one pass. Depending on the drying time, this can be accomplished in a relatively short time. Painting the soffit, then the fascia, and finally the wall, in that particular order, and repeating the process for the second coat is one way to keep consistently working on a section while waiting for the paint to dry in other sections. In this manner, the scaffold does not have to be moved back and forth multiple times.

If time is of the essence, then with a steady hand, trim can be painted when the wall paint is dry to the touch. If a spot is particularly difficult to get to, this may be the best option. It is, however, preferable to wait until the wall paint is completely dry.

Touch-Up Tips

When touching up the final coat, a brush can be used to fade the edges out to a thin featheredge, which will prevent highly visible spots of lighter or darker paint shades, as paint can sometimes appear lighter or darker in places with multiple coats. Even relatively large areas can be faded in this manner, if necessary, such as when paint was not mixed properly and there is a slight variation in color or shade.

Painters tape can be used to clean up trim if freehand efforts have failed.

Brushes And Rolls

Brushes should be kept in a bucket of water when not in use. This will prevent the bristles from clumping together. If they are allowed to dry with paint on them, they will be next to useless. However, they should be dried well before painting.

At the end of the day, rinse the paint rolls and brushes quickly, and leave them in a bucket of clean water overnight. If they are not going to be used for several days, wash them carefully until the water runs clear and leave them to dry.

Paint rolls can also be kept in a plastic bag, even overnight. A paint roll holds a large quantity of paint, and washing it unnecessarily consumes both time and paint.

Miscellaneous Tips

Always mix your paints well before application to maintain a uniform color. A small paint mixer bit on a drill works best for this purpose.

The weather plays an important role. It is not a good idea to start a painting project when rain is expected. Most paints should not be exposed to water within the first 24 hours from the application.

Any sprinklers that spray the wall should be turned off.

Although painting is rather easy, it can also be slow and tedious as there is usually quite a bit of surface to cover. Any homeowner can manage the project and it is certainly worth the effort, but it will not be extremely fast. Multiple days should be reserved for the project, and finding extra help is definitely a good idea.

We have some ideas for your exterior house which you can read more here!

8 DIY Windmills For Garden To Make Your Backyards More Beautiful In A Rustic Look

By admin | Exterior Decor

These days, a windmill is a type of renewable energy and this source definitely protects our environment. When it comes to windmills, we think that these are so big and require huge space. Also, it is a nice symbol for a rustic look when getting the windmills to our gardens. Windmills are not new but they have a lot of creative versions.

Mostly, you spend a few hours to complete. Nevertheless, there are some ideas you should do more than a couple of days because they require more details. Depending on how small or big a windmill is; the number of woods and materials are various.

1. Artistic Garden Windmill

This idea is flexible because you are able to buy some in Esty or doing it by yourself. However, please bear in mind that you should spend time figuring the materials and design templates out.

2. Miniature Dutch Style Garden Windmill

Do you want to bring the Dutch style windmills to your house? I drop this idea for you! Just make some mini ones which possibly look nice in your garden or on the porch area. Wood is the main material, but you can get some other pieces. It is also simple to put all together.

3. Four-foot Metal Bladed DIY Windmill

Although this windmill is pretty high (four feet), you still arrange the plans to meet the space in a garden. To reduce cost, choose the sheet metal and it makes your windmill is real. The most important part knows how to trim the cut sheet metal properly and do forget to prepare tools along with materials and protective equipment. This is because the sheet metal might cut your skin due to its sharp points on the surface.

4. Upcycled Pallet Windmill

With recyclable pallet from woods, it is a great idea to make an upcycled pallet windmill. You also pick alternative materials for your garden. Primarily, there is a bundle of materials you can do windmills.

Another amazing point is that you may have a chance to put a traditional Dutch style and your new style in those windmills. You absolutely own a good-looking focal point around your backyards. Summertime is a cool time for showing some outdoor pallets.

5. DIY Decorative Windmill Sign

In case your garden is not big and spacious, add some mini windmill signs is another cool thing. It is often made from recycled materials to build basic frames. These signs even are surely suitable for indoors.

After finishing, take these windmill signs in the entryway, the porch or the living room. It is a new way to welcome guests without making them disappointed or scared them.  

6. Upcycled Ceiling Fan Blade Windmill Decoration Design

Usually, we have to make a windmill if we want to take it to the outdoors. However, this idea does not require you to build anything. Just take old woods from ceiling fan blades and mix them. It sounds difficult to start off, but follow this tutorial video and you probably feel easy at this design idea.

7. Windmill With Wooden Base

This wooden windmill will spend a little time but it often takes less than one week. You freely choose your loved colors. For me, I pick the white and the red one. Then, I paint and match it to my outdoor decoration. This is also a perfect way to save woods after completing other projects. Woods are precious in our world today and do not waste them!

Wooden base also helps us feel rustic and peaceful when walking around the garden. Some public parks also put some wooden pieces to decorate. Probably, rustic décor is suited to nature.

8. Spinning Windmill Garden Feature

Making windmills are boring because this is an old task for making a craft item, but I will show you a little difference. This is the spinning windmill garden feature. Wooden boards are core materials that you can get them from your last project. And you know what…it is a piece of cake to undertake like a puzzle game for children. You must not believe me, but follow the instruction to own yours.

Garden windmills are the latest backyard decoration with a lot of commercial items in the mall or a small store. If you need to get a sweet decoration for your gardens, you will spend time studying the instruction and following. Windmills also make your house cooler in the summer.

Garden windmills are also not ideal for outdoors but also indoors. In this case, you need to do a small one and put it on a table, a shelf or anywhere in your house. Most of the time, I take some and move them to my living room. Making small windmills is also a good way for me to paint and garnish anything on its surface.