Ranchwall Exterior Siding

This weekend we started on a job at the camp that I have been putting off for several years. Putting some new exterior siding on the boat shed.

What I call the “boat shed” is also known as the “garage” “shed” “boathouse” and “Little Camp”. It got the little camp name because it was the original camp my father built around 1964.
Here is a picture of the old building before we began replacing the exterior siding.
"old camp needing repair"
Calling it a boathouse is rather ironic too, in that it hasn’t had a boat in it for 10 years, and calling it a garage is another misnomer because a car won’t fit inside….

Necessary For Storage

However, regardless of what we call it, the building is a necessity. It provides storage space for all the “stuff” you need around a camp, as well as a workbench and tools etc. It’s especially important given we don’t have a basement in the main cottage building.

The building is 20′ X 12′ and the current exterior siding is tongue and groove boards that were popular for camps and cottages back in the 60’s. However over the years the weather took it’s toll on the siding boards, water got inside in places, and it was almost impossible to keep paint on it.

To make matters worse, when we put it into service as a boathouse, we cut one end out and installed two large barn doors to allow us to put two aluminum boats inside. Unfortunately, those doors were facing the lake and suffered the ravages of wind and rain. Eventually they leaked.

Here is a picture of the old doors. You will notice I had covered them with a piece of plastic last year in an attempt to keep the rain out.
"old boathouse"
When stuff leaks…other stuff eventually rots. In this case, it was the edge of the floor along the front and the studs and framing on one corner.
"interior of an old shed"
On top of that, the old building was looking pretty rundown. In fact, it had become an eyesore, and everytime I looked at it, I shuddered, knowing it needed to be repaired and soon.

All this is a long roundabout way to explain that we repaired the shed this past weekend. I took my usual approach, bought some ranchwall exterior siding.

Ranchwall Siding Great For Exterior Siding

I find ranchwall siding great for fixing up a camp. It is already stained a red wood color on one side and comes in 4X8 sheets which are fairly easy to install right over the existing wood siding. Sheets of ranchwall are not cheap, costing about $25 per 4X8 sheet, however they are fairly easy for two people to install, and they have a ‘rustic’ look that I like on the camp. I don’t think I would want it on a house in the city.

The rotted studs and corner pieces had to be cut out, and replaced with fresh lumber. However, this was not without some risk. There was a possibility that the building may come apart, or twist, when we removed the doors and cut out the corner.

In order to minimize that risk Kevin rigged up a bracing system inside the building to hold the walls together once we had cut out….well essentially one end of the building.

Once we had the building walls braced, we were able to remove the old barn doors and related framing. In addition, we had to cut out the corner where the wood was rotten.

Luckily most of the rot was contained to the bottom end of the corner framework, so we only had to cut it back until we reached solid wood.

Then we began rebuilding the end, replacing the corner studs we had removed, and then building a wall frame to close in the end where the doors had been.
framing a wall

Installing Ranchwall Exterior Siding

From there it went fairly straightforward. We put the ranchwall exterior siding up one sheet at a time directly over the old siding. The new plywood siding added some much needed strength to the building.

On the end where we had removed the barn doors, we replaced the rotten studs, then built a 2X4 wall to fill in the hole where the doors had been.

Building the wall and replacing the corner took the most of our time as it required a fair amount of time to tear the doors off, and cut out the rotten wood, then the measuring and cutting to fit in new pieces. But once that was done, things picked up speed.

Ranchwall exterior siding is the same exterior building siding that I put on the main cottage last year. At that time Kevin and I put up quite a bit of it, so we had become fairly well versed in the process.

Here is a picture taken about halfway through the project. This shows the front of the building with the new exterior siding and the old tongue and groove siding being covered.

It’s important to get the first sheet of ranchwall up and square. From then on, it is fairly easy to put up until you come to windows or doors. At that point the openings have to be measured, marked on the ranchwall siding and cut out.

As you will see in the pictures, the new exterior siding changed the appearance of the old building quite dramtically. While I admit the ranchwall probably covers a mulitude of problems, at least the old building now looks much better. In fact, until you look close, it looks like a new building.
"ranchwall exterior siding on a building"
For the only remaining door to the shed, a man-sized door, we installed a piece of ranchwall over the existing wooden storm door. That resulted in a nice clean look to the side of the building.

It also made the door seem to disappear, at least until we added the hinges and door handles etc. Here is a picture of the front of the building showing the door now covered with ranchwall siding.
"ranchwall siding on shed"
Eventually I will add some trim around the door which will make it show up a little more. I also will be replacing the door sill which has dropped down.

The corners of the building were a bit of a challenge, mostly because the old building is not particularly “square” anymore. So lining up the corners was a little tricky, but we accomplished it in a fashion.

The corners should look OK when I am finished, as they will be eventually be covered with some trim which will close up any small gaps etc.

In total, factoring in the cost of 20 sheets of ranchwall exterior siding, the nails, and 10 pieces of 8 foot long number 1 2X4 studs, the project cost me about $1000.00. I can add another couple hundred to that for the trim.

Tips For Installing Ranchwall Exterior Siding

Installing ranchwall plywood siding is not difficult, but it’s a two person job, one person to hold the plywood in place and the other to nail it.

You will need to be able to cut it for peaks and around window and door openings, so a circular saw is very helpful.

Inspect each sheet of the ranchwall to match the edges to the next one. Each sheet is engineered with one edge grooved and the other edge not. That means you need to ensure you put the ranchwall up so that a grooved edge meets a non-grooved edge.

Use wood siding nails, they have a rounded head, that is designed to bite into the wood for greater holding strength.

Do your measuring first to ensure you are starting and finishing each piece on the center of a stud for solid attachment. A chalk line, is essential, so is a level and square. All the usual carpenter tools come in handy.

Ranchwall siding can be stained or painted. The pre-stained plywood can be left as is for several years if you prefer.

The project is now about 75% complete. I will update with more pictures when it is finished. Up next, finish the back exterior wall, add the trim and stain.

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