I will use vinyl siding for a maintenance-free building. I followed the installation manual downloaded from The Vinyl Siding Institute:
March 26. First I installed soffit panels under the east eaves.
I installed vinyl channels named for their cross-section shape. I nailed F-channel to the wall, J-channel to the rafters. The nails, galvanized 1 1/4" roofing nails, are never nailed down tight. All vinyl should slide in the nail slots:
I measured the distance from wall to fascia and subtracted a 1/2" to allow for expansion. I set up my radial arm saw with a reversed plywood blade, then marked the saw fence with a mark at 11.25".
This allowed me to quickly cut lots of panels:
I forced a panel into the two channels:
Too much like work! I found I could slide panels into the channels where there was a break in the channel. Slide them down and lock them together by grabbing two panels and squeezing. About half-way done the east side. You can see the breaks in the channel clearly in this picture:
March 26. East side done. The little triangular hole is apparently just the right size for some little birds looking for a nesting place. Must cover that up soon.
March 27. West side done!
March 28. I nailed gray starter strips all around the garage except for the front by the garage doors since they don't have any trim yet. As per instructions, I put some flashing at the corners, left over from the skylight. The inset shows the blue chalk line I snapped to line up the starter strips. How easy it is to line everything up because I was so careful about getting the foundation level all those months ago!
Then I nailed on corner pieces. I left a 1/4" gap between the top of the corner piece and the soffit channel, and extended the corner 3/4" (or so) below the starter strip:
March 29. Siding! Here is the start of the first course, one 12' piece:
Here is a close up of a nail. Never nail it all the way in. The siding hangs on the nails so they can expand and contract with changes in temperature:
Two courses up:
Now it gets a little trickier because the siding has to be cut to fit under the windows. The instructions call for a special trim piece under the windows, and for a special punch to extrude "snap locks" in the vinyl. Instead, I cut slots in the vinyl using my air cutter:
I installed the piece and I could have put nails into the slots using a nail punch (and I can do so at any time), but the piece sits quite firmly, and it is further secured by the next piece that I slid over it. Here is some detail showing how the siding fits around the window. There should be a 1/4" gap between the siding and any trim:
I did the same under the next two windows. Near the end of the day it looked like this. Notice I have covered the bird entrance with a scrap piece of soffit:
April 11. The back is done except for a thin slice of trim at the top:
April 19. The south wall is done except for some PVC trim:
April 26. Since the radial arm saw is set up for vinyl, I can't easily rip and cut the pine trim for the garage doors. I fit and measured a couple of small pieces of trim, and drew lines for the J-channel. Here is one corner of a garage door with mitered J-channel nailed up:
At the end of the day:
April 27. I finished the front except for the very top, then worked on the stairway inside.
May 4. All the siding is on. Here is the north wall:
May 9. There is still a bit of trim to finish. I cut and ripped pine boards to fit the inside of the garage door openings. I primed all sides of the boards with exterior primer/sealer and top coated the faces with exterior semi-gloss. I didn't do vinyl here because wide PVC trim is expensive and this trim is susceptible to damage by side swipes. This trim will be easy to repaint when necessary:
May 10. I top-coated and nailed up the molding around the garage doors:
May 11. In some of the pictures above you can see a narrow strip at the top of the siding, a gap between the siding and soffit. Here is a close up:
I closed this gap on the back by cutting off the lower portion of many short scrap pieces and snapping them on to top vinyl course:
On the front, I closed the gap using long scraps left over from the long pieces over the garage doors, then finished with the bottom of a new course. Here is the garage with all the vinyl on, including the downspout:
Looks good :-) Small changes make a big difference.