Barnboard Siding Installation

September 4th, 2010 by KTU | Filed under 5. Exterior Materials and Finishes, Park City Mountain Modern.

Jose and gang started installing barnboard siding this week. It looks excellent. The barnwood comes from Trestlewood. They provided edged wood in random lengths and in widths of 4″, 6″, 8″, and 10″. By taking shorter lengths and a fair bit of narrow material, the material ended up costing just a bit more than virgin cedar siding. (A consistent irony of building green, is that reclaimed materials usually cost more than those cut fresh from the forest.) My cost for the barnwood ended up being about $3/sq-ft delivered, while #3 cedar siding currently costs about $2/SF, but usually requires staining, which would probably be another $1/SF. (You could leave the cedar to weather naturally, though, in which case it would be cheaper.) Incidentally, bids for the installation labor for this kind of board-to-board barnwood in Park City came in pretty consistently around $2.75-$3.00/SF including the labor to apply the Tyvek. This is probably on the low side because I have no window trim to install, although there are some fussy blocking details between the rafter tails.

Jorge nailing up barnwood siding. This is "rough gray" from Trestlewood.

Having the material edged (both edges ripped so the board is a consistent width) dramatically improves the ease of installation. The boards fit up nice and tight against each other. Some people don’t like the bright wood edge revealed when boards of different thicknesses are adjacent. It doesn’t bother me a bit and those bright bits will go away within a year or so. Edged wood is somewhat less expensive than wood with a weathered edge, presumably because it allows greater utilization of the reclaimed material, but I prefer it.

Most people install black building felt under the barnwood so that white Tyvek doesn’t show through. I noticed that black felt fades after a couple of years. So, I used professional grade landscaping fabric. It’s really cheap, easy to install, and has excellent UV protection.

We agreed on a strategy for lining up boards at windows which comes out nice and clean. By selecting the assortment of random-width boards across the width of a window, you can avoid cutting out notches in the boards along the sides of the windows, which for some reason annoys me.

I love the look, but this is definitely funky stuff. Some of these boards had some orange spray paint on them (for leftmost board)...that's just more "character." There will be an 8 ft. high band of steel panels above this wood, which is why this first row of siding is just 9 ft. high.

We put 3 inch rigid foam insulation on the outside of the foundation wall. So, we ran a Z-flashing over the insulation and down below the finished grade. (This is the same cold-rolled steel, so it will rust reddish/brown.) The Tyvek is taped over the flashing, and the barnwood is installed over everything.

The completed rear facade.

I trimmed out the garage door and the two regular exterior doors with a 2 inch x 2 inch piece of flashing (with hemmed edges) the roofers had made for me. I installed them with McFeely's #8 washer head combo drive plain steel screws. I'm happy with this solution.

Rear facade in early November.

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6 Responses to “Barnboard Siding Installation”

  1. Anthony says:

    Hi. Did you use any blocking in the framing to fasten the vertically running siding to? I’m getting ready to finish framing on a home owner build, and the framing help is suggesting blocking every 24″ or so. They are concerned about installing the barnwood vertically without solid backing behind the sheer.

    Thanks, and I really enjoy your blog.

  2. KTU says:

    Yes, we blocked every 24 inches. I think this is a good idea. If you block with 2×4 or 2×6 the flat way, then you can still insulate pretty well over the blocking. (We used spray foam.) Usually the blocking just costs you some labor to install, as the framers can usually make use of a lot of scraps for blocking material.

  3. Mike Steckler says:

    Hi, your home is beautiful. Getting ready to install the same type product on a custom home we’re working on. Did you use plywood on the entire house over the stud framing? Have you had any water penetration issues with the Tyvek wrap? I didn’t think that the Tyvek wrap would be water proof enough for the exposed nails. Did you use a Z-metal type flashing over the windows?

    Thanks so much in advance for any information.


  4. baubilt says:

    Mike, we used OSB sheathing throughout. We have not had water penetration issues. This is a desert climate except in winter, so we get very little wind-driven rain. Furthermore, the air is so dry any moisture disappears pretty quickly. However, I used exposed nails on vertical pine siding over Tyvek in Vermont, which has a much more demanding climate. I’ve had no issues — in that little cabin project, I left the framing exposed inside and I’ve never seen any evidence of moisture coming through the nail holes. Those Windsor windows in the Park City house come with an integrated clear plastic flashing. I debated adding a metal z-flashing, but the manufacturer rep insisted the integrated flashing was proven and tested and there was no need for a second flashing. We’ve had no issues there.

  5. Austin says:

    Really like how you did your barn board siding. Have you had any expansion issues butting it tight together like that? Getting ready to try the same thing – but that’s my only concern…

  6. baubilt says:

    The siding does expand and contract. I haven’t had any issues with expansion — it was installed in the early Fall and I think probably at relatively high moisture level (but this is Utah, so things are pretty dry all the time). Gaps do open up a bit with contraction. I used black landscaping fabric behind the siding. As a result, the gaps are not visible from a distance. I would not skimp on the landscape fabric. I think I used a relatively low-cost option, and where there is a big void, say an open knot hole, the UV exposure seems to have degraded the fabric revealing the white Tyvek building wrap.

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