Before + After: Garage Siding (…while saving a ton!)

Just before the pandemic shutdowns hit in the latter half of March, we’d been in the midst of collecting bids to have the entire house re-sided, a monstrous chunk of change well into the five digits (like buying a new car). Thank GOODNESS we didn’t move forward at the time, as boy oh boy would that have been a financial mess with my business essentially dissolving and reducing our income by over 75% (and the State now owing me 13 weeks’ worth of PUA because they are working in systems implemented when I was still in high school – and I’m 46, y’all – even thought they received millions to upgrade them over a decade ago).

So we did a LOT of homework and had a good chat with the guy who did our bathroom remodels (who turns out does siding too, awesome as he’s super detail oriented, genuine, kind and won’t rip you off). He said we could do one wall, one section, whatever, as we could afford, and so we chose to do the garage, where the old cedar shingles would regularly fly off in windstorms each winter because the siding was installed so poorly.

Along with splitting the project up (which did not cost extra – it’s time and materials), I wanted to share how we saved a ton by doing three key things:

1) We did all of the demo ourselves, pulling down the shingles and nails, as well as removing the four awful windows, and boarding them up with scrap plywood we had on hand (then tarping over them til the contractor started a couple days later). The windows? A “free” sign next to them on the side of the road – even out here in the sticks – got rid of them in a hurry. 🙂

2) We disposed of everything ourselves, tossing the shingles into the burn barrel and all the nails into the metal recycling, rather than pay them to take everything to the dump, as well as saved a rare few good quality shingles for repurposing.

3) We painted ourselves, which on the garage was super easy as not only is it one story, but the LP SmartSide Engineered Wood (the most eco-friendly we could afford, and for those who are curious, we are not fans of Hardie due to its massive toxic silica) was pre-primed and smooth, and took only a few gallons of low-VOC exterior satin to do ourselves. After learning that using a sprayer wastes a TON of paint (3X as much!) and is not easy for the first-timer to get right, we brushed the whole thing, both coats. Because my own work is not happening, I was able to do 80% of the first coat while he was at work, then we tag-teamed on the rest, finishing with a roller to add a fresh coat on the new trim.

Bonus Tip: We also painted rather than replace our gutters ourselves. We’d thought we’d need to replace them because they were a weird shade of not-matchy blue but then…voila! We realized that was not necessary because I had some leftover white spray paint from a past DIY project that works on metal. Took ’em down (easy), spray painted them (easy), then popped them back up (not as fun).  Woo hoo!

So, here’s the story of our garage siding update, starting with the back (where I documented more) and ending up at the front of the house where I just painted the garage door this morning!

** The carpeting outside of the back of the garage is from the original master bedroom floor, repurposed to keep the grass/weeds dead for the future deck and pergola we will be building in this spot. Ugly for sure…but one of these days we’ll be DONE with this farmhouse work and just sit back and enjoy hahaha 🙂

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