The Outside Layer

November 20, 2012

People wear different clothing depending on where they are and what they are doing.  What you see on them, whether it be a banker in New York or mountain climber on Everest or a surfer in Hawaii, reflects both the function they’re engaged in as well as their personal taste.  The mountain climber will likely wear several different layers such as the base layer to wick moisture away from their body, some middle insulting layers to keep warm and some outer layer that serves as wind and moisture barrier to stay dry.  All of them expressed in whatever color, style, and material to be fashionable.  You can think of the house in the same way where different layers serve different purpose and the styling and color reflects the owners’ taste.

In this post we’ll cover the exterior look of Midori Haus.  We’ll continue the story from the exterior mineral wool insulation.  You may recall from the insulation post of this blog that 3.25 inches of rigid mineral wool insulation (Roxul Toprock DD) was nailed on to the outer surface of OSB sheathing.  Over that Tyvek Home Wrap was applied.  This is the layer that protects the home from wind and rain that could penetrate the exterior siding. 

Tyvek Home Wrap over mineral wool insulation

Then furring strips were nailed over the Tyvek Home Wrap. The furring strips are used to fasten the sidings.  If you would like to see example of furring spacing, number of screws and other details for attaching furring strips have a look at this article from Green Building

Furring strips
Screws used to attach furring strips

Extra care was taken around the windows to prevent water damage.  For details on why windows flashing are important and how this is done, see article in Fine Home Building.  (Note: this article doesn’t describe what was done on our house)

When we were asked about the details of trim around the windows and doors Kurt and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s look at examples in the neighborhood and agree on what we like.”  So we took a walk down our street as well as some of our favorite local streets with Arts and Crafts style homes.  We showed David, the lead carpenter, the style of trim we liked and he mocked up a window trim.  This was really helpful in getting the decorative detail in a way that felt subtle and classic.

Is the flared skirt look on the side of the building called “Battering” or “Flared Siding”?  At one point someone told us that it was called battering but I can’t seem to locate a source that calls this battering. Anyway, the original house did not have the cute flared skirt but Kurt really liked the look of having this flared siding to give a a bit more of Arts and Crafts look.  So the crew of Santa Cruz Green Builders cut many pieces of wood to shape the flared skirt look for the house, including the trim of the door.

Cement fiberboard siding product called, HardiePlank, was used as the lap siding material for the body of the house. We selected this material because it is durable (resists rot, won’t burn, termites won’t eat it) and the company has a sustainable manufacturing practice.  While we could have chosen different types of surface that simulates different wood grains, we decide to go with the smooth surface.  For the top area above the belly band we used the Hardie Shingle product.  

Hardie Plank Lap Siding
Installing Hardie Plank Lap Siding

Hardie Plank Lap Siding with the flared skirt effect

Hardie Shingle siding
Installing Hardie Shingles

One of the outcomes we want for our house is the aesthetics and curb appeal of the 1920’s Arts and Crafts look of a California Bungalow.  We chose to reflect these in the grill pattern on the windows, trim around the windows, lap siding, front porch, the hint of flared skirt effect on the siding, and keeping the original footprint of the house.  A slight deviation from the Arts and Crafts aesthetic is the decks outside of the kitchen and bedrooms but this adds the indoor-outdoor connection we wanted for our lifestyle.  For reading on bungalows, I invite you to read The Bungalow: A Short History on the Arts and Crafts Home page.

About the Author

Chie Kawahara

Chie is one of the co-creator of Midori Haus. When she is not sharing her stories of transforming an old house and giving tours, she enjoys trail running and hiking.

  • Chie says:

    Just got an answer on this:

    2-inch roofing nails were used temporarily to hold the Tyvek on until the battens were in place.

  • Chie says:

    Hi Frederique, thank you for your question. I believe the house wrap was either stapled or taped. My contractor is on vacation right now. I'll ask him to post a comment.

  • How to you attach the housewrap to the rigid wool before installing the furring strips ?

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