ReBuild Windows Siding and Roof

Mastering Home Construction: Insightful Exploration of Windows, Roofing, and Cladding in the ‘Real Rebuild’ Series

Elevate Your Home: Windows, Roofing, Siding Guide

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Let’s dive into episode 4 of the “Real Rebuild” series with Matt Risinger from The Build Show. This episode is not just another walk-through, it’s an opportunity to delve into some critical topics that Matt hasn’t previously discussed, particularly around windows, roofing and sidings (cladding).

Key points to watch out for in this episode:

  1. Windows: Matt reveals that he uses different manufacturers of windows in his house, with about 80% being Jeld-Wen. Matt has three different styles of Jeld-Wen windows and doors and he explains why.
  2. Installation: From prepping the exterior foam to ensuring proper waterproofing, Matt walks you through the process. He also discusses the unique challenges he faced during installation and how he overcame them.
  3. Roofing and Siding: These are giant topics that significantly impact the integrity and aesthetics of a home. Matt shares his choices, the reasons behind them and the impact they have on the overall build.
  4. Sponsorships and Collaborations: Transparency is key for Matt. He openly discusses his collaborations with various manufacturers, providing his insight into the process.
  5. The ‘Test Lab’: Matt’s house is not just a home, it’s a test lab! He tried out different brands and styles, giving him first-hand knowledge of what works best.

Over to Matt.

Elevate Your Home: Windows, Roofing, Siding Guide

Video Transcript

Welcome back to another episode of the real rebuild. That’s right, this is my house. We’re walking through all the steps, we’re rewatching some videos, and on this particular episode, we’re going to really dive deep onto some issues that you’ve never really heard me talk about before. We’re going to be talking about windows, roofing, and siding on this episode. So with that being said, real rebuild, let’s get going.

The real rebuild, a build original series, is brought to you by James Hardy. This episode in particular sponsored by pro. Let’s get going. Okay, so windows, roofing, siding – giant topic, buckle up, we got a lot. We got a lot to talk about here.

So first off, windows. One thing that if you’ve watched my videos, you probably don’t know is that actually I have several manufacturers of windows in my house. When I did this series, I got Jeld-Wen to sponsor the videos, and about 80 plus% of my windows and doors in the house are Jeld-Wen.

But I actually have two different, pardon me, three different styles of Jeld-Wen windows and doors in the house. I also, I hate to say it this way, but I cheated on Jeld-Wen a little bit by putting a couple of other manufacturers in in some random locations. I kind of thought of my house as a bit of a test lab, and I wanted to see what it was like installing and also living with a couple of other small brands out there, not small brands, but different brands out there.

So first off, let’s start with the install, and then we’ll jump into the actual windows. I want to review a couple of details from this video here. This is called “Window Install with Thick Exterior Foam.” Let’s go to this YouTube video and let’s talk about how we prepped for the windows, and then we’ll get into the windows themselves.

So when you see this, actually I’m going to turn off the sound and kind of talk you through this. Here’s an image of the garage on the first floor and the second floor, and a couple things that you want to note here.

You’re going to notice on this video that my exterior foam is installed already and we did not install any foam above the windows, and you’re going to see why in just a minute. But you’re going to notice here if we back up and actually drop the foam off of the house first, I want to show you what’s happening behind that foam.

So you get a gauge now. If you remember my previous video, I talked about installing the foam with a 2×2 pressure treated ledger board at the bottom plate, so the foam had something to drop onto. Below that, I used a bead of pro joint and seam filler, and then above that, we’ve dropped the foam.

So in this photo you’re seeing here, we’ve got the joint and seam filler from pro that’s that kind of pinkish fluid applied going from a couple inches up, let’s say 3 inches up on the ZIP system sheathing to at least an inch, inch and a half onto the concrete. That’s really giving me my ultimate bug and water and air seal at the base of the house.

The other thing I want you to notice on this image here is that the windows have ZIP tape all the way around them, and here’s the reason why. Those windows are part of the air barrier system, and you’re going to notice in a minute, like you see on this window on the left here, that we installed a 2-inch by 1 1⁄2-inch piece of pressure treated rip as a buck for the window so the window had something solid to nail onto. And also we had something to drop the foam onto.

Before that 2×2 went on though, we did a ZIP tape all the way around those windows to make sure that the continuity between the ZIP system sheathing and the 2x4s on the inside from an air sealing perspective was maintained. That’s also a great waterproofing detail to basically run your water and air membrane all the way back inside the rough opening.

So after this video, we put the 2×2 down on the base and then we started installing the foam. Once the 2×2 was up on the window, the 2×2 went on just with a standard kind of deck screw. Spax screws work perfect for that. You’re seeing we’re just putting that all the way around as a picture frame around the window, and did we have to do pressure treated?

No, we probably could have used regular wood there. I think that that’s what I had going and it made sense. Oh, if this ever were to get wet, but certainly you could use regular 2x2s in this case as well, because it’s really out of the rain. It’s in a spot that’s not going to have a problem.

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Now let’s fast forward on this video. Here’s Bill and I now doing kind of that first mockup, that first install on this side of the house. I have a line, you can see there sticker on there. That’s a composite framed window, and now the window is being installed in kind of a quote unquote normal fashion because of that window buck, in other words it’s coming out to the window, is coming out to the face of the install. So now I can basically drop my trim and my siding right up next to it as normal. There’s no recess in this space.

And the reason now you can see that we left that piece of foam on top of the head off of the window is so we could tape properly and put a through-wall flashing that I made custom for that space. And if you were to watch the whole video, you would see us getting into those details.

So what you’re seeing here is we’re using that stretch tape to make a seal pan for the window, and really this is a waterproofing detail in this particular case, not an air sealing detail. And you’re going to notice actually where I am right here in this video,

I didn’t tape any of the seams on the installation where they came together. I didn’t think it needed it. We’ve got the ZIP system sheeting as the face of the air and the water barrier, and the window now is just being installed in a waterproof way so that if those windows ever were to have a problem with a leak through the frame, they wouldn’t get into the building assembly, they would leak to the forward.

And again, we wouldn’t know if we actually had a leak, but we’re still going to run these details the same, even though it’s on top of foam. We’re still going to use a roller and randomly you would expect that if it wasn’t on ZIP system or solid sheathing that you’d have a problem with that stretch tape, but it worked just fine on top of the foam. You can see it right there by Bill and I, we had no problems whatsoever.

Funny enough, I’m wearing my mask, this was filmed during the kind of height of Covid time so we wore masks a bunch. We would certainly not do that today. Okay, so fast forwarding on this, window installed, the rest of the window install is pretty straightforward.

I do want to show you the head flashing details though, I think that’s worth noting. Let’s just kind of zip through this install here. We’ll show you that window install is the same. We’re going to use a bead of a high quality sealant back there. I would use Sashco Big Stretch or lexel on that window flange on three sides. We’re not caulking the bottom of the window.

You also notice that there’s no flashing tape on the top side of the window yet, not necessary at this stage. And if we fast forward here, I really want to show you the head flashing which is next.

Oh, let’s pause here too, another detail I really like is to put horseshoe shims down on the sill. It makes that window come up a little bit, gives a little bit of space so that if we were to get some water past that window, it’s going to be able to run forward. And we’re also going to use a spacer on the bottom flange as well to make sure that window, if it were to have a problem, will leak to the outside.

Okay, where’s my head flashing? That’s really what I want to show you next. Okay, so there’s the horseshoe shims on the bottom. We’re just giving a little bit of leak protection. Also notice we’re not using a pneumatic nail gun. We’re hand nailing this thing. I think that’s really the way to go. I would not use an automatic. You could use screws certainly on windows like this as well.

Here’s a good note from this video – the tape is actually running onto the flange of the window just a little bit, a quarter inch, half inch would be acceptable as well. We’re just trying to give a little extra protection from water getting past there. And by running that up there, that’s going to give us just a little bit boost of some protection.

Okay, so there’s the Horseshoe shims on the bottom. We’re just giving a little bit of leak protection also. Notice we’re not using a pneumatic nail gun. We’re hand nailing this thing. I think that’s really the way to go. I would not use an automatic. You could use screws certainly on windows like this as well.

Here’s a good note from this video: the tape is actually running onto the flange of the window just a little bit, uh you know, quarter inch, half inch would be acceptable as well. We’re just trying to give a little extra protection from water getting past there. And by running that up there, that’s going to, that’s going to give us just a little bit boost of some protection.

Okay, so now we’re using longer tape on the head, and we’re taping over that 2-inch buck that we’ve got. One and a half by 2-inch buck. We’re going to roll that down, and next we’re going to be installing that head flashing.

Okay, here we go. Now here’s a mistake I made on my house with these head flashings. Uh, these were custom bent at a shop here in Austin, Texas. If you’re in Austin, uh, highly recommend Capital Company. Amazing sheet metal workers. I typically, in the past, have used pretty thick gauge steel for my uh, or stainless steel in this case, for my flashings.

And I’ve actually kind of walked that back a little bit. This was 26 gauge, and darn is it hard to, uh, to work 26 gauge. I think I would go up to a 28 gauge or maybe even a 30 gauge steel just to make it a little easier to, to actually work it to, uh, you know, cut it, bend it, all that kind of stuff. These are almost a little too thick. Now, will they last forever? Certainly they will. But I don’t think had I gone down to a slightly thinner gauge, it would have made that big of a difference.

Let’s take a look at this, uh, I’m actually going to go live on this one. Let’s see what I had to say here. “Well, well, what we did is we knew we wanted a back piece of 2 or 3 inches. That’s kind of standard, so we’ll be taping this against the zip wall. Yep, this is our actual buck dimension, so that’s our foam thickness. That’s right, and foam thickness, uh, and then our, uh, the depth of it.

And then this part is actually going to sit over the top of the window frame. And then with our standard quarter inch kick-out and kick down, and with a reverse hem as to not catch any water, um, and then what we did is Matt likes this detail where we, uh, end dam the window. So water’s not actually running down the leg of the window. It kind of coaxes the water to shoot out.”

“Yeah, so any water that comes down here, it’s not going to want to run on the sides. It’s going to want to kick. It’s a slight detail but I like that. I keep it small too, so I could either butt my trim or I could knife that through my trim if I wanted to. And there’s just a little bead of GSL sealant on there.

And here’s what it’s going to look like when it’s all said and done. We’re going to nail that up with a couple roofing nails, 4-inch zip tape here, that way anything above here gets in, it’s going to want to kick out above the window and it’s not going to get this window wet. And then we’re going to, ah man, that’s nice, isn’t it? I love a good head flashing.”

“I will be honest though, there are some places I put head flashing on my house that I’m not sure I needed them. For instance, on the back of my house where I’ve got awnings, if you haven’t seen that yet, there’s a couple windows that I put awnings on. You don’t really need a head flashing where there’s an awning.

And to be honest, if you have a story window with an overhang right above it, do you really need that head flashing? No, not really. These windows that were on a gable side, uh, and this is kind of the south and western face of my house, which will get quite a bit of water. And the overhang is at least, I don’t know, a dozen, maybe 15 feet above these windows. If there’s any amount of water and and wind happening, these windows do get rain that just sheets and cascades down the windows.

So these ones absolutely needed if you’re building your own house. Though I would tell you you could pick and choose where you need head flashing and of course you could save you know at least 50 bucks a window by the time you think about the labor involved and you rtime. Picking those head flashings and actually getting them so if you don’t need it don’t worry about it.

Another thing I will mention though is the aura line does not come with a head flashing and most windows don’t one think I really liked about the uh gelwin sightline windows and I haven’t gotten into this yet but I’ve got some other gel windows in the house. The sideline Windows do come with a head flashing that’s custom matched and my understanding is there’s maybe one or two other manufacturers out there that do include that. So that’s really cool when you’re talking to your window manufacturer. Ask if you’ve got a head flashing included and not just a install flange that’s not a flashing.

You want something that’s going to kick window uh pardon me you want something that’s going to kick water to the face of the window and go back to where wherever your or true water pring layer is. That’s why this head flashing runs all the way back to the zip and after Bill nails it up here uh I don’t know if we’re actually going to show it but uh we’re going to tape that up.

Oh yeah, here we go. We’re going to tape that up and then we’re going to put that last piece of foam that’s missing. And now we’re absolutely bomber uh when it comes to worrying about water on these windows. You’re also going to notice that we ran that flashing long uh actually pass the uh Buck or onto the Buck uh distance and then this part that actually sticks out is shorter. But water that were to come down here would run to the face of that window buck and the face of the insulation.

Okay, let’s spend a few minutes talking about the actual windows that I used in my house and we’ll actually go out and show you some of these from my house as well because it wasn’t real clear in the videos what went where. Jeld-Wen or a line is what I use kind of on at least 60, 70% of the windows in my house.

This is a composite and here’s their website. I think this is a good explanation. I’m actually going to read it from the website: “Introducing Auraline: The Best of Both Worlds, the long awaited alternative to vinyl and wood. This is a composite meaning they fused vinyl and wood together.” I kind of think of a composite deck type material giving the beauty of wood with strength and durability that surpasses vinyl. That is true.

This is a really good budget choice window and remember when I first started the project, I didn’t expect this to be my house. I actually was thinking that this was going to be a rental house maybe I’d resell it in a couple years. I didn’t think I was going to live in it for a decade or two like I do today. So Auraline was a good choice for me. It was a good budget choice. Is it the best window in the world?

No, I would tell you anything below uh a wood window or really below a fiberglass window is a compromise in some way, shape or form. And so I think this is a good window. I chose it for the house, not thinking I was going to live there but thinking that it was going to be a rental house. It was going to last a long time. It met the budget expectations.

But in my mind, vinyl and composite windows, and I would probably lump fiberglass in there as well, are budget choices that have good performance and meet budget expectations. But if you’re really building a custom home for you, for your family that’s going to last, I would upgrade it, spend more. Honestly, these are, there’s some amount of compromise involved with a window like this uh, not to say that they’re bad, but there is compromise and you have to know that going in.

You know, you get what you pay for uh is is a phrase that works in all parts of life and especially with building materials. For my builder friends out there, think about this with boots, you know, would you buy a pair of boots at Walmart that you’re planning on wearing to the job site?

Maybe, you know, it’s your first day in the job, you’re not sure if this is going to last, you’re not sure if uh you’re going to stay doing this, you know, you know you don’t know any better. When you’re a builder who’s been around the block, you realize, “Oh, I get what I pay for with boots.” And a Walmart boot is not the same as a Redwing or some other nice brand of boots that I can reso that have really good leather that are going to actually break in and feel better over time.

So you know, when you pay $150, $250 or more, there’s lots of boot that are even more expensive than that. You definitely get what you pay for. If you spend a $100 bucks for be boots, well guess what? You’re probably going to assume that you’re going to replace those. Is that a perfect example to Windows? No, but there’s definitely a lot of Truth there. So take that for what it, for what it means.

Oraline was what I use for a lot. Sightline, on the other hand, when I made the change from um, a re uh model to a rebuild, uh I had to change some of the window pack and I’d already ordered a bunch of the Oraline but I was able to make a change and move up to Sightline in a few places. The other reason I did this is because I was thinking about rating the house through the Passive House Institute US, PHIUS, and I did several videos on that.

To this point, I have not actually gotten my rating, uh, that’s a whole another separate video. But I followed their guidelines and so I wanted to upgrade my windows, or a lot of my windows, to triple glaze. You actually don’t need to, depending on your climate, have to have every window is triple glaze in your house to meet Passive House requirements uh but you probably need some or if you’re in a more Northern and cold climate, you probably will need all to go to triple glaze.

So I upgraded to Sightline and honestly, I’d only installed one other Jeldwin package prior to this and had pretty good results with it. I hadn’t spent a lot of time with them. I really like Sightline. This is a nice window. Mine were pre-painted black on the inside and on the outside. I mentioned they’re aluminum clad but it’s a true wood window and they came with a head flashing. I really like that, that’s nice.

This is a window that you get what you pay for. It is not the most expensive window in the market. You can certainly spend more uh but I felt like this was a good value for a window that I wanted in my own house and to last and to have really good performance specs. Plus, I like that it was installed normally.

I’m going to get to this in a minute but I’ve got windows and I’ve installed lots of European style windows that are flangeless that you install mid cavity and you have to kind of figure out how to waterproof them, how to install them. It’s different uh those Sightlines from Jeldwen that were triple glaze installed normally, look normal, felt normal. You honestly can’t tell their triple glaze on the inside and they’ve worked really well.

Couple other random things that I did that you don’t know about. I installed one window from Innotech in my house. It’s actually in my wife’s office. If you’re not familiar with this company, I met them a couple years ago when I was traveling in the Pacific Northwest. Innotech is a company that makes their windows uh outside of Vancouver, British Columbia just kind of north of Seattle. I have the sense that they’ve got pretty good representation in the Pacific Northwest.

I’m not sure if you’re going to see them if you’re East Coast or South like I am. But they shipped me one window kind of as a build show gift uh for my quote unquote showroom which actually is my house. I really like it, you know, it looks to me just like any other European window in terms of its manufacturer. It’s a upvc frame. I installed it uh mid or actually back cavity so I have a very deep recess on the outside, little bit of a bummer because it gets dirty on the outside, uh especially my sill.

I have to clean that off on a fairly regular basis. That window is really cool. I really like it. However, it is European style and one thing you have to know about European windows, if it’s a tilt turn window, is that they’re an ins swing casement. I love the action because there’s no cranks, there’s none none of this kind of stuff that you normally see when you think of casements.

You just turn the handle and the window opens. But this is an ins swing window and I’ve got a blind on that window because it kind of faces my neighbor and it also faces my uh propane yard uh where I’m storing stuff on the side of my house. And so if you open that window, you’re swinging your window coverings out of the way and the handle kind of juts into the room. There is some awkwardness there.

So in terms of quality, I love Innotech. You have to know though, any tilt turn window, there is some downsides and I think that inswing for an American house uh where you don’t have exterior shades like they do typically in Europe, that can be a thing uh.

So you know, if you’re thinking about European style windows, I would consider using as many fixed as possible. Next up, Loewen. I have one window from Loewen in my house. Just like Innotech, they sent me a sample window for my model home uh and at the time when I ordered that window, I thought it was going to be uh my house but I changed my floor plan and the window is going to be at my vanity.

But then you, I mentioned in the previous video that Gary Klein helped me kind of redo my floor plan and this window that was going to be on my vanity turned out to be in my master closet .

And that’s where my Loewen window lives. It’s just one Loewen window. Loewen, uh, you think of them as kind of an upper-level product. They’re uh, typically a little more expensive than um Pella, Wen, and Marvin. They’re also a little bit more detailed. Architects really like them because they have lots of options, a little bit more expensive as well.

This could be my favorite window in the house, to be honest, though it is a push-out casement, meaning grab the handle, push it out, and you’re done. That’s all you got to do. There’s no cranks, there’s no action. This is probably not an inexpensive window but boy, is it nice! It also has a bug screen that rolls up like a blind on the inside, and you just push it down and now you’re good to go.

So you know, if if money were no object, I think I’d do a house full of push-out casements and fixed from Loewen. This is also a triple-glazed window in my house. The window numbers were fantastic, uh, I really like that window. Again, it was a freebie, so thank you Loewen for sending that to me.

Lastly, on the back of my house, you’re going to notice that I’ve got a bunch of wind windows that are unclad wood. That’s by a company called Fenster. Uh, Feneralso met them when I was in the Pacific Northwest and saw one of their jobs. They do passive house rated and passive house style, I would say, windows and doors, a lot of European style but also some more American action as well.

I did my lift and slide from them, uh, I did a triple mold, uh, window above my kitchen, and I did two single windows that were uh European tilt turn on my family room, kind of on either side of where my TV lives. I really like them. These are a bommer product, very, very nice. True wood, thermally broken wood, though there’s some uh, cork,

I believe inside the frame. And then the glass on all four of those uh openings on the back of my house is from a Canadian company called Lightzone. I keep expecting there, there to be some big announcement somewhere about Lightzone that they’ve gotten bought by a huge company.

Fabulously efficient, very interesting company that’s actually uh, I believe, quad pane because they’re using somethin’ film technology in the center. And the windows in the back of my house are like R10 plus. I can’t remember what the U-value was, but it was below 0.1, I believe. Uh, I’ll have to look up the specs on that and post that as we uh post this video.

Super cool. I did make one mistake though. I was not paying attention at all to the action of the window, uh, and my kitchen faucet. And when I, and after I installed that window, one of my trades said, “Is not going to hit your kitchen faucet?” And I was like, “Oh no, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” And then sure enough, like, what was I thinking?

Yes, you can’t even open the window in my kitchen because it uh hits my faucet. Super dumb of me, was totally not paying attention, easy mistake. But you know what, I don’t really open my windows very often anyways, in fact I’ve taken the bug screens out of all my windows ’cause we just don’t open them enough to matter.

So it’s not that big a deal. On the end, it might as well be a fixed window. And if I did want to let some air in, I could do the uh tilt feature, which just tilts the window in and allows some air to come in but doesn’t actually open the window. So kind of funny.

And the two windows that are on either side of my TV that are tilt turns, I think I’ve opened those once to check the action of them and have yet to actually use those. I’ve been in the house two years now. These are wood clad on the outside.

I would be cautious about where you’re doing that, but for me, I wasn’t worried about it ’cause I put those awnings above those windows, and I’ve got uh, a really low overhang above my family room area. So those windows never get wet. They are deeply recessed, so I’ve got kind of a sill on the outside which does get dusty. I don’t love that, but they look really nice in the back of my house when I sit on my patio back there and make a fire at night.

Those wood windows just give some warmth and some glow to the house that I really like. I wouldn’t use those if they were facing south west, uh, but in my case, two years later, they look like the day they were installed. They were pre-finished, uh, they’re a tilt turn, inswing, balsam fur with amber clear.

Next up, my front door. I got a custom front door from Jeld-Wen made, and this was something I had learned about from my BFSÒ rep. They actually can custom make to whatever you want, a entry door system out of fiberglass. So when you look at my custom front door, it came pre-painted black.

I didn’t have to paint it on the job site, all fiberglass, all to my dimensions. It’s kind of a weird dimension ’cause I’ve got these ceilings that are somewhat less than 9 feet tall, uh, I think my ceilings on my first floor are like 8’9″, so my doors like 7’4″ or something, something weird like that. They they were able to make it no problem.

Now this is not an inexpensive door. I want to say that door was like $12,000-ish for that entry door system. So so not inexpensive, but exactly to my specs, exactly what I wanted. I actually got it triple glazed as well, so both the side side lights and the front door are triple glazed. It’s really cool. It’s not passive AL certified, uh, it doesn’t have some of the special features like the Fentzer does, like a fiberglass sill and some of that kind of stuff, but it’s a really cool door, it’s beautiful, and I really like that.

And then I also, uh, if you saw on the plans, I had a skylight on my porch, which I eliminated. I didn’t think I needed it. I left two skylights in my family room, though. Would I do those again? I don’t know that they actually give me enough light benefit in that part of the house ’cause they’re kind of facing to the east. Uh, I use Lamiluck, uh, which is a really cool uh European brand.

I got them from 475 Supply, great people, easy to work with. You can custom order whatever you need and they they make it in Germany and send it to you. It says “flat roof skylight” but that is a pitched roof. And I did one fixed and one operable, uh, I’ve only operated the operable window like twice. So in the end, I’m not sure it was worth having it wired and getting operable.

I would probably just go fixed, but I really like this Lalux. It’s a thermally broken frame, triple glazed, uh, laminated glass so that if it were to have some hail or a meteor hit my glass, it wouldn’t smash into the house, uh, also you’re going to notice it’s a curb mount skylight. Big fan of curb mounts, I would definitely recommend curb mount.

But did I need those in the living room? Not necessarily. It was really cool, uh, and I thought it was going to give me a lot of light in that space, which it has. My house is pretty light during the day without turning any lights on, but that’s been really cool.

So let’s switch gears now and talk about my roof. Uh, I did a couple videos on my roof that we can show you, but generally speaking, uh, you know, I’ve done so many metal roofs on client’s houses and done so many videos and tried to promote metal uh in as many way shapes and forms as possible cuz I feel like it’s the best roof out there uh that of course I had to go metal on my house, uh, big shout out to my friends at the Metal Roofing Alliance and Sheffield Metals in particular that sponsored the video on my house.

I love it. It’s a 24-gauge, uh, black painted roof. Uh, it’s got some really cool technology with that black paint that actually provides some reflectivity, uh, and a huge warranty on fade and protection and all that kind of stuff. But my wife was adamant about not doing a galvalume roof on this house like I had on my last house. She just really wanted that black roof. And so, uh, I figured all right, you know, it wouldn’t have been my first choice from a nerd’s perspective. I really like that reflective roof in my hot Texas heat, but I did all the details to make sure it wouldn’t be a problem for me, you know?

You noticed in my earlier videos, I’ve got four lines of rooftop foam. I’ve got that roof on a vent system so that any water that gets past, uh, will drain out, plus it’s going to provide some Radiant Barrier benefits. So I kind of did everything right from a building science perspective, so that I could, uh, get the aesthetic look that my wife was really looking for, uh.

But a couple things I want to mention: we used, uh, a peeling stick underlayment on the entire roof. I’m really like Shark Skin, say I think that’s a great product. We did the same batten method that you’ve seen everywhere in my videos on the higher pitched roofs. On my low pitched roof, though, I used a, um, uh, a dimple, uh, type product, a 3D mesh product, which worked great on that front porch, which was probably like a three and twelve pitch, something like that.

And I also, check out my video on this if you want to learn more. I did a vapor diffusion port. I’m not going to go into all the details on that now, but quickly I would say: if you’re putting a dedicated dehumidifier in the house, in a conditioned attic, I’m not sure you need a vapor diffusion port. If you’re not doing that, though, if you’re doing more production style homes with conditioned attics, spray foam in the attic but no dehumidifier,

I would consider doing a vapor diffusion port. I did it on my house, if for no other reason that I wanted to see what the details looked like and ensure that, uh, I wouldn’t have problems.

But you know, I’ve got a, uh, Santa Fe 70 up in my upper attic and I’ve got a Santa Fe 98 in my lower attic. I’m dehumidifying 10 months of the year. I really don’t need that vapor diffusion port necessarily on my house, but years down the road if someone takes those dehumidifiers out or they break and they don’t get replaced, uh, I know now I’ve got that vapor diffusion port.

And again, that metal roof is going to be on there for many, many decades. Uh, I always say that metal roofs only get replaced for aesthetics, not performance. You know, it’ll be 50 years before someone plus replaces that metal roof. It’ll go through, uh, a hail storm, no problem. It’s just a, a terrific product.

Let’s switch gears, though, and end the video with siding details. I spent a lot of time nerding out on siding, and I also made some really good videos about siding that I think would actually be worth, uh, replaying some of the details to show you guys, uh, what I did.

So before we get to the siding details, I want to direct you to this video, “Siding Prep – Don’t Install Siding Before You Watch This”. I would go back and rewatch this whole video. There’s some terrific parts, but let me, let me show you just a couple highlights from this video, uh, including this section right here on the bottom of that.

I also, just for extra durability, put a bug screen on there that I stapled up here to the, um, zip sheathing. And then I’m wrapping that around that also gives me a little bit of extra protection on the bottom of my, um, 2-inch poly ISO. Now, if you watch my old videos, though, at the bottom of my poly ISO, I actually put a 2×2, uh, pressure treated at the bottom below this. So this is going to land on a 2×2, and then I’ve got this, but point being, this is where air can flow up at the bottom.

Stay tuned for my next video where I’m actually going to talk about all the specific details on my James Hardy install. But at the top of the wall, we also need an air gap up there. That can either be at the top of your siding, like if you have a frieze board, you can put a gap there and you could use another one of these core vents there. Or you could have a vented soffit and have that go into that soffit area, either way. But the idea is water penetrating through that siding is going to hit that air gap, and it’s going to fall harmlessly out of the way.

Now, when I’ve talked about this in the past, I’ve had people say, “Oh, why aren’t you using pressure treated battens here?” You don’t need them. These battens are living behind the siding, they can fully dry, they’ll never have the chance to rot. They’re not touching the ground, they’re way off the ground.

And then that air flow back there means that if there’s a little bit of incidental moisture that gets behind there, no problem, it’s going to drain and dry out. This is a cheap insurance policy for your house. If I messed up a detail back here and let’s say penetrated a wire and forgot to flash it or missed it with this rain screen gap, all of a sudden those small mistakes are not as big a deal.

Back to that same example of the Roman guard with his shield up, little bit of water penetrates there, no problem, it’s going to fall out harmlessly. There’s nothing to force that water in. They’re often referred to as a pressure equalized rain screen because the pressure of that air, that wind forcing that water in, is going to all of a sudden hit that space and it’s going to fall down.

There’s no longer any pressure, so can you install your siding right up against your zip sheathing? Sure, every siding manufacturer is going to talk about that, or up against your, uh, your house wrap. Is that best practice? No, it’s not. This is the best way to do it.

Okay, so we’re prepped for siding, the rain screen on everything back there is sealed correctly. Another video that I’m not going to play the whole video for, but I think would be worth, uh, you guys going back and watching the whole video: It’s called “Mounting Block Details and High Performance Wall Assemblies”. Whenever you’re doing siding, you got to think about your penetrations first, and you’ve heard me say this before. I think one of the biggest rookie builder mistakes is putting your siding on first and then having your trades come into the building.

So mounting blocks are your solution. If your trades are going to come before in, they’ve got to have mounting blocks. You’ve got to figure out those details, and it’s really not that many details. We’re talking about the plumbers, we’re talking about the HVAC guys, and the electricians.

And so if you can figure out those three things that are going to penetrate your house and what’s happening, whether it’s hose bibs or 8-inch fresh air vents or exhaust vents, mounting blocks are a big key of that. Make sure those are ready to go before your siding contractor comes, and if you do that, you’re going to be in good shape.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the Hardy products that I used on the exterior of my house, and how they look two years later. First off, the majority of the siding you’re seeing here is James Hardy’s Hardy plank siding. This is 6-inch and 1/4 smooth, which yields about a 5-inch lap. And man, I absolutely love that look. I’m a big fan of the smooth. Now, this was color plus, which means it was a pre-painted version and this color, this white color, happens to be paper white.

My carpenters did a bang-up job installing, and as we went on the job, they did a little bit of touch-up as you go. They actually give you a really cool, um, two or three different options for like touching up as you go. So here we are two years later, the house looks amazing.

It’s absolutely weathered the storms, the heat, the hail that we had a couple weeks ago, the crazy extreme weather like we get in Texas, and it looks fantastic. I expect this paint job is going to be here long after a normal paint job would need repainted. It’s looking really, really good.

Uh, trim, let me tell you about my trim. I’ve got two different varieties. I’ve got a 3 and 1/2 inch, and a 5 and 1/2 inch, a 5/4 smooth. Uh, this gray color is called asteroid gray. I also really like it on the back of the house here. You see I used a couple of natural colored windows. These are Fencer uh, windows and doors, and just right here in the back of the house.

And because I was covered so well, I had no problem with leaving uh, the unpainted Factory kind of uh, finished uh, wood color or on here. The whole rest of the house though is Hardy products, with the exception of a couple of soffits. These soffits on my back porch here, where my steel awnings are on the side porch as well as the front porch, uh, were from Delta Millworks, and that happens to be an AOA siding product with kind of a natural stain, maybe a light gray stain. The rest of my soffits are all pre-painted Hardy smooth.

And you’ll notice I actually did slightly different uh, venting than the normal Hardy vents or vented soffit product, which I like as well, but I wanted to shove all my vents to the front, kind of where the gutter was. So what you’re seeing there is just a off-the-shelf vent product that I got from my local BFS lumberyard. It’s about a 2-inch wide vent strip, and this is not venting into my attic. It’s literally just venting that overhang so I don’t have uh, an unvented space on the outside of my house.

I want to touch base while we’re talking about my Hardy exterior, real quick, on a few fronts: aesthetics, durability, and maintenance. As you can see, two years later, I have done basically zero maintenance. In fact, I probably do need to wash down the siding on my house just ’cause my landscapers made a big dirt pile uh, and it was like Pig Pen back here in the backyard getting all this landscaping in place. I have not done that yet, so what you’re seeing here in this video, this is unwashed, but man, it is an incredibly durable product.

I also like how Hardy, because it’s a fiber cement product, has very little expansion and contraction, which means that you don’t want to, and in fact they tell you in instructions not to, the butt joints. You’ll see if you watch a video on the install that I did, a flashing detail behind there so if any water got in, it would naturally flow to the outside.

But you do not want to, your butts, and because there’s such minimal movement, it looks great. You know that it’s just a kiss joint, basically between those butt joints. And then where my siding met my trim, it’s probably a little hard for you to see right there. I did not caulk that joint.

Now, I’ve got a rain screen install here, which means that I’m actually hollow by 3/4 of an inch of an air gap back there. And when the guys are installing my Hardy plank siding, they used the even spacer so I’ve got a pretty even joint along there. I left that uncocked.

I figure why caulk it? First, I’m going to have to re-caulk it someday, whereas if I never caulk it, it’ll be fine. And the idea is it’s not about keeping water out, it’s about letting water out. That’s a famous uh, quote from my buddy David Nicastro. If you’re using a rain screen system, you don’t necessarily need to caulk everything uh, you can leave some parts uncocked.

Now one area that I did caulk, and it’s probably going to be a little hard to see here, but between my Hardy trim and these recessed windows, I did put a nice big bead of Lexel, which is a clear uh, sealant by Sashco, in between the wood and the gray, that was asteroid gray, that was pre-painted. And that clear was a really good choice.

That looks fantastic still, but I do occasionally have to clean those sills on there because of that flat sill, and that window being recessed, uh, I have cleaned those sills. I don’t know, once or twice a year just with some soap and water uh, because they do get dirty. It’s a flat surface on the outside of my house.

Let me wrap up this portion talking about James Hardy with this thought right here. I’m really glad that I went with Hardy fiber cement. As a builder, I’ve used these products on my houses for over 20 years, and to finally build my personal house with it, total dream come true.

Now you’re going to see a lot of people that are talking about a lot of other siding choices out there, especially wood based sidings. They’re going to say that they’re cheaper, that they’re easier or faster to install. But for me, Hardy products are the right choice. Yes, you need to take some precautions.

You need to think about the install. It is a heavy product, but as you can see two years later, absolutely durable, absolutely beautiful. This is a product that’s really going to last, and for me, if it’s right for the home, it’s right for me as a builder. So I’m a huge fan of James Hardy and all their products. Big shout out to these guys for amazing products that look fantastic on my house two years later.

Okay, so now that we’re two years in on the Hardy, a couple things that I want to make mention of on my front porch and my back porch where my awnings were, uh, I used some Delta Millworks wood on my ceiling areas because I wanted that um, kind of touch of elegance when you came in.

By the way, my front porch, if you didn’t see it on the on the video, is all Artisan uh, in a vertical fashion, which means I had to vary my rain screen on the front porch, uh, but I went with that wood soffit in the porch, which my porch is pretty small. That’s probably only, I don’t know, 20 square feet, let’s say. That was money well spent.

On the other hand, I also did some wood soffit on my two-story pop-up, thinking it would be a really nice uh, kind of accent element, but I got to be honest, you don’t see it from the street, and when you’re walking up to the house, you’re not looking up at a two-story awning, you’re looking at what’s in front of you. I’m not sure I would do that again. I did Hardy soffit everywhere else on the house. I think I would do that again.  Again, I really like Hardy smooth and Hardy smooth soffit, uh, it worked perfect.

Now, I could have used the ventilated Hardy, which has the pin punched holes pre-punched in it. I decided I didn’t want that look. I wanted something a little more uh, a little more custom for my house, so I used an inexpensive aluminum uh, kind of u-shaped vent channel. And remember, I’m not actually venting into the attic. I’m only ventilating my eave areas, uh, so I didn’t need need that extra amount of ventilation.

You also notice on my front porch, when you look up, that I’ve got some core vent strips on uh, both the front and the back. Anytime you’ve got an enclosed area on the house, especially when you’ve got wood, but certainly when you’ve got uh, Hardy on there as well, you want to make sure that you’ve got some amount of air flow in there so that if there’s any built-up moisture for whatever reason, some condensation that happens, whatever, that there’s that ability for that to dry out and not get trapped in that space.

So be cautious on that wherever you’re uh, enclosing areas like soffit on a high performance house. You want some ventilation into that space. You don’t want it so big that you can get big bugs in there, but at the same time you do want some ventilation.

You know, when it comes to durability, I think Hardy’s second to none uh, in Texas. We get hammered with extreme heat. We’ve had some crazy storms. We had ice storms a year or two ago, and then it was 105 for uh, you know, the entire month of July. This fiber cement, I think, is totally the way to go.

And I did color plus pre-painted, but I’ve done plenty of primed Hardy that we paint in the field over the years and one thing that I always tell people about Hardy and one of the reasons I really like it is, I’ll say the sidewalk example. I’m not sure if the Hardy Plank Folks listening will like this example, but it’s something I use and it resonates with me as a builder.

Have you ever spilled paint on concrete before? And realized, “Oh shoot, I’ve got paint on this concrete?” Well, it’s a pain to get out. You can’t just take a garden hose and get that paint out, right? Because the concrete absolutely absorbs that paint. You got to freaking power wash it off, and sometimes with a teeny little tip to get it off.

I feel like Hardy plank, that fiber cement, is really the same. It’s like that sidewalk. That sidewalk is not going to degrade over time because of that cement-based product, and the same is true. It also holds paint really well. So over the years, when I’ve painted Hardy plank,

I found that that paint lasts much, much longer than especially wood-based sidings, which are going to have some movement over time, some expansion and contraction. It just goes a lot longer before you need to repaint. And it certainly doesn’t have any issues with rot.

Now, that being said, don’t be dumb. Don’t run your Hardy plank down into the ground. I’ve seen this mistake made by a lot of Builders over the years where they run their siding so it’s actually touching the ground. That’s not a good detail for any siding, including fiber cement siding.

Even though it’s a very resistant, you got to make sure that you’ve got an air gap between your siding and the ground. You want that space for that to dry. And then when you install it on a rain screen like I did, let that area have some drainage and drying.

You want that air flow to get underneath that rain screen and behind that Hardy. So when it gets drenched in a rainstorm and some water does get behind there, right, because I didn’t – it’s just going to be able to drain out, and then the air is going to get there and dry it back out.

This is going to be a crazy long lasting exterior on my house. I’m going to have no problems with this. Maintenance is going to be absolutely minimal. So, I’ve done none since I’ve been in the house for two years on the outside. I think aesthetically it looks really good. It also in my case looks fairly traditional. I did a few more modern details in the house with corner with a single corner board rather than a double corner board and a few things, but aesthetically I think it’s really good, low maintenance.

And the color plus, as I mentioned by the way, they – there is a 15-year Keller warranty on that Keller plus. But if you are thinking about it and you’ve got the ability to spend a little bit more on color plus, I think you make it up. You don’t have to be the painters later. You’ve got a baked on factory finish, and as you can see on my house, it just absolutely looks fantastic all these years later.

Guys, we’ve spent a long time on on the house today, but hopefully you learned something. I said I tried to really get personal on this episode and tell you some things that hadn’t been said or maybe weren’t understood super well on YouTube, kind of in my scatter-shot posting about my house. This Series has been a lot of fun.

Stay tuned for next time. We’re going to get into insulation, drywall, and we’re going to get into my bathroom waterproofing. Guys, stay tuned for episode 5. We’re going to get into insulation, drywall, and bathroom waterproofing. With that being said, follow us on TikTok or Instagram, otherwise I’ll see you next time on the Build Show.

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