Eichler Face Lift

In mid September we started working on replacing the siding and painting- our biggest project to date.  We decided to do one side of the house at a time, starting with the front, which we figured would make the biggest impact.  Andy began by removing the top layer of siding, which was yellow painted pressboard (basically cardboard):

Under the pressboard was the original plywood siding.  It was rotted so badly there was no way to save it (we were hoping that at least SOME was salvageable- maybe in the protected area by the front door, but no such luck).  The yellow pressboard was also rotted in many places and even had some green moss growing on the outside of it.  Besides being the absolute cheapest type of siding available, It was installed incorrectly (horizontally instead of vertically) which caused water to seep in at the (poorly caulked) seams.  That caused the pressboard to rot and buckle.  Wet cardboard on top of rotted ply wood… not good.  The insulation in the walls was in bad shape too (which we knew from re-doing the walls in the office)… so we replaced that as well.

One of the worst areas of rot was around the spigot:

After removing the 2 layers of siding, Andy discovered that the studs were also rotted- apparently the spigot had been leaking at one point.  This is a pretty tricky spot to work in- it is where the water line enters the house from the street- directly behind the spigot, inside the garage, is the water pressure regulator, an emergency water shutoff and an electrical receptacle.   Andy removed the small section of fence next to the spigot and then started “carefully” using his sawzall to remove the existing studs.  However, there is no such thing as careful when it comes to a sawzall- it nicked the water line extending down from the spigot in the picture above (which was plastic) causing water to gush out spraying everywhere at about a gallon per second.  Andy ran to the sidewalk to shut off the main water supply (forgetting about the emergency shutoff 6 inches away) and I ran to the electrical panel to shut off the power.  Honey was confused.  Andy got the water shut off and rebuilt the wall… it’s a good thing he gets paid so well (in Racer 5 IPA)

Here’s what the new siding looked like once it was primed (which we did in the garage) and hung:

So beautiful!  We kept the windows and the trim around them in place while Andy worked the siding around them- which was a bit tricky but saved having to replace the windows.  After the siding was up, it was time to prep for paint.  That involved a lot of caulking (where the top of the siding meets the beams and the eave and where the fascia meets the eave), digging away the dirt around the foundation, power washing and then scrubbing the foundation with a tri-sodium phosphate solution (basically a strong soap that melted my cute pink rubber gloves), doing some beam repair, and repairing around the front door.  The previous owners had installed the lovely (sarcasm) orange door which was a pre-hung door, meaning it came with its own frame… so they “carefully” (probably with a sawzall) cut out the original framing around the door to get the new door frame in- then covered up the gap left between the two with some trim.  When I removed the trim pieces, the gap was so big you could see into the atrium through the 1/2″ crack all the way around the door.  Nothing some wood shims and a couple tubs of wood filler couldn’t fix though:

I just used some regular Elmer’s wood filler… we’ll see how it holds up… so far so good.  One thing we did notice is that if it gets wet (like when your husband sawzalls a water line 3 feet away) it swells… so be sure to prime and paint it right away.

Painting Eichler siding is SO TEDIOUS!  Because of the thin grooves, the paint has to be applied (with a super wet roller) then the paint worked into the grooves (and the excess paint removed from the grooves) with a brush… so you basically need to brush the whole house… twice (2 coats).  The cheap, fast, easy way to do it is with a sprayer, but that doesn’t get as good coverage and doesn’t get the paint worked into the grooves, so isn’t recommended.  Diane and I did most of the work- it took 2 of us about 5 hours each to get the first coat on (excluding the garage door), then about 7 more hours for me to do the 2nd coat and paint the garage door by myself.  Diane was paid in Racer 5 IPA:

Shawn also helped paint for about 20 minutes.  He’s better suited for siding work though:

We used flat exterior Behr Ultra paint in “Amazon Stone” (one shade darker than “Creek Bend”, the color we used in the Atrium) for the siding, garage door, and most of the trim.  The underside of the eaves and the beams are semi-gloss exterior Behr Ultra in the un-tinted ultra white base.   It’s a fairly new product so doesn’t have a full review from Consumer Reports, but the preliminary review is very good- and it’s about half the cost of Benjamin Moor Aura paint, which many pros swear by.  Interestingly, our neighbor is painting his house in almost the same color with Aura paint… so we’ll have a good real-life comparison of the 2 products.

Here’s what that spigot looks like now (we plan to remove the fence at some point- it’s just there for now to keep my sister’s dogs from escaping the front yard)

The vertical PVC pipe attached to the old spigot went nowhere (probably a defunct irrigation system), so we simply removed it.  Andy custom-made the corner trim pieces with his table saw using 2″x2″ lumber.

Here’s what the doorway looks like now:

(We have plans to replace the front door and paint it a new color… still deciding on hardware and color though)

And here’s the full frontal view.  Maybe we’ll trim that giant maple tree this winter… now that we don’t need it to block our ugly house.

Here you can see the newly painted foundation.  We used Behr’s concrete and stucco paint, also in “Amazon Stone” for the foundation.  It’s not a perfect color match to the house color, but it’s formulated for concrete, so I suppose that’s worth the slight mismatch

(Still working on the grass… probably a lost cause)

Quite the face lift, eh?  We’re REALLY happy with how it’s turned out… and with how much money we saved by doing it ourselves (contractors charge $300 per 8’x4′ sheet just to INSTALL the siding… not to mention the materials, insulation, priming, painting, and re-constructing rotted studs… That works out to about $100/hour- a price we’re not willing to pay).  It was REALLY hard, time-consuming work though… and we have 2 more sides of the house to finish- so we’re not even 1/3 done 🙁 … but at least the house looks really nice when we come home to it 🙂



2 thoughts on “Eichler Face Lift

  1. Pingback: Eichler Face Lift by a Homeowner | My Website

  2. Pingback: Painting Eichler Siding | Eichler-Blog

Comments are closed.