gutter-hell & cladding-bliss

So the guttering… somehow we avoided taking any photos of this process. Maybe it was the fact that they are a lot harder to put up than realised, that jointing curves with straight sections was a nightmare, that your arms turn to jelly from holding the damn thing up for so long trying to figure out why it just isn’t locking in…

Anywho… moving on. A bit of touching up required later down the track and there may be a ‘dent of frustration’ that I’m sure we’ll see every time we look at them but hopefully you don’t. Finished product photos to come.

After this slog we rewarded ourselves with putting up the first section of cladding while still waiting for windows and window flashing (yet to be designed by us!) to arrive.

The cladding & decking timber is our largest single purchase, so when it was delivered back in Feb, on the back of some guy we found on gumtrees truck it was an exciting day. We moved it all into the house under the new cover the roof provided and slacked into piles of similar lengths to help when we later pull it out for fixing to the exterior.

It all comes from a sawmill in Victoria called Radial Timbers who mill in a unique (for Australia) way, cutting logs radially rather than in a grid. This means more usable timber, less waste and also means younger smaller trees can be harvested from their plantations. This means the timber has a tighter face grain so the species we chose meets exterior use rating as well as being a species appropriate to use in bushfire prone areas with a BAL rating of 29 – we have a BAL19 rating so opted up in this respect.
Additionally to its sustainable timber attributes we also chose the B-grade timber – this is characterful timber that may have some aesthetic blemishes but still performs as expected. Sold in lots we purchased all their stock of the required size. Only recently has this grade of timber been embraced for the inherent beauty it holds, it previously would have been considered waste in favour of boards that were uniform in appearance.
These blemishes appear in the form of gum veins, knots, misses (where the saw doesn’t cut properly because the board may be slightly misshaped or an error and is left rough or marked) and checking (surface cracks that appear as timber dries). We hope you agree this features add value to the finished result and embrace the fact it is a natural product.
Getting it to site was a head scratcher though, as the packs weigh a lot and while it could be forklifted onto a truck getting them off would be a challange with no forklift at the other end. This is where an friendly Polish guy on Gumtree come in – with a flat bed truck complete with crane. Unfortunately the packs of timber weren’t wrapped and secured as well as hoped and had some apart in transport making for some sketchy unloading but luckily this guy was unfazed and happy to work through it.

We have chosen to use an oil on the cladding to protect it and help it weather, opting for one that allows it to silver over time. This was a conscious effort from the design process to help the building blend with the colours of not only the bush around us but also the colours of buildings in the valley – old apple shed and canning warehouses that dot the valley, iconic to the area.
We applied a primary coat on all faces before installing and will put on another once the whole house is done. Special mention of thanks to Tessa, Jo & Jake for helping in this job!

Fixed to the wall battens the cladding is tongue & groove, simply tacked on with a couple of nails as we go then going back to mark the screw positions with a chalk line, the Linerupperer 2000 (pat. pending), drilled using a bit that puts a counter sink in at the same time and then the stainless steel trim head screws are driven in. Roughly repeating this for the whole house 12000 times.

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1. snap a chalk line 2. mark positions

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3. Pre-drill 4. Drive in screws
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Trim. Need to be more onto sharpening the countersink to avoid the shaggies.

But this little section spurred us on, a glimmer of what is to come and one of the first things we’ve put up that will still be visible in the finished building!

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