Beach House Exterior – Garage Front Done

I was able to finish up the front of the garage this week, taking advantage of the last few hours before the rains came. I’m really happy with the way it turned out.

Getting the hang of it really makes a difference. I noticed I was about twice as fast doing doing the last part as I was doing the first. So here are my lessons learned – or maybe relearned.

  • Do the all the layout on the corner boards and windows at once, not a bit at a time. For that matter, do everything in batch that you can. When I do the front, I’ll paper everything, do all the layout marks, put up all the battens, and so on. In hindsight this seems like common sense, but I tend to piecemeal things without thinking.
  • Don’t mark the felt paper with a black sharpie, use white chalk – then you can actually see the marks.
  • Stay off the ladder, use the scaffolding. Going up and down the ladder with your arms full of stuff is not very efficient.
  • Pull from at least two bundles. It gives the range of sizes to fit almost everything. If you can’t find the right width in just a few tries, cut one down. It wastes too much time to keep hunting.
  • For the shingles you have to cut, use a knife to mark them – not a pencil or sharpie. One less thing to fiddle with. 
  • Put the drip cap on the window trim as soon as possible, so the caulk hardens.
  • Put up two shingles at a time and staple them. Faster than just doing one, and I can’t hold up three in the wind.
  • I’m not going to continue to use the green plastic batten material. It’s hard to handle and staple up. From now on I’m going to use solid wood ones, probably the standard 1/4 x 1 1/2 inch ones at Home Depot. Light, cheap and thick enough to leave a good air space. I will treat the ends of them with PT off-cut solution. Update: I found vented plastic material for this – the best of all options. 
  • My exposure is 5″. At the bottom, I went to 5 1/4 to get even under the window – I had to make up an inch and a half. That is the max I will go, or the batten spacing gets too much. I will probably go smaller rather than larger from now on.


Here’s the before, mid and after.

I don’t miss the wide door at all. I think the building went from a bland, detached garage to something much more interesting.

The long-term plan for the garage is to have a studio / workshop on the left. I will put two more windows and a set of french doors on the side, which will really brighten up the space. That, along with a wood stove to keep it warm, will make it a nice place to work. With all the other things to get done, it will likely be a couple of years before I get to it.

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