Garage: Decorative Trellis And Siding

The architecture plans for the garage called for a decorative trellis. This single structure was the source of much debate in the garage build; unusual for two people who usually make their decisions quickly.

Without the trellis, the garage was going to have a very large, um, “forehead” (monotonous stretch of shingles above the garage door). The trellis would act like bangs and help add visual interest and help break up the shingles. The issue with adding the trellis is it had to be done before the shingles could be installed. The shingles had to be installed before the roof cap and flashing could be put on. And the exterior electrical work could be done. The roof cap and flashing and electrical work were essential to pass final inspection.

So one decorative feature had the potential to slow the entire project down. Added to the challenge, weather was the constant wild card. The project started in the snow (on the summer solstice!) which slowed excavation down and created longer cure times for concrete. September had arrived and the likelihood for snow was only increasing. The decision was made, and aesthetics won.

Jess was deemed competent enough to stain the pieces of wood that would make up the trellis, allowing Dave to focus on work and other garage tasks. Dave poured over architectural and engineering plans working out how to execute what was draw. This truly was the hardest part – determining how to mount the supports to the wall, making sure everything was positioned properly, and ensuring everything was even.

After that, getting a 16 foot 6×6 beam installed on the trellis support provided some suspenseful moments. Fortunately, Jess’ parents were in town, so Evan and Alex would be well cared for if the beam crushed Jess and Dave to death. As always, the job site is in no way OSHA compliant, so Jess and Dave hoisted the beam into position by each taking an end and climbing up a ladder. The beam had three pre-drilled holes to slip over the bolts in the trellis cross bracing; for the safest installation, all three bolts had to go through the holes simultaneously. To add to the challenge, one bolt was slightly askew, thwarting the simultaneous positioning plan. 2 of the 3 bolts were secured, and Dave used a mallet to get the third bolt through the beam. Jess’ parents were a huge help in ensuring that the beam installation was successful. It was definitely a 4 person job to position the beam.

After the beam was placed, work on the siding began. The finishing details of the trellis could wait until after siding was installed. While the architectural plans called for plank siding, there were concerns how it would look against the horizontal logs of the house. Other options were weighed -specifically shingles and vertical siding. The staggered shingle was the preferred choice.

To ensure we weren’t straying from mountain home style, an informal survey was done by driving around town to determine if other houses/businesses used shingle siding. It was determined that yes, shingles are used more frequently than thought, and using them on the garage (and eventually house) would not be outside of design norms.

To help improve the house’s fire resistance, HardieShingle staggered panels were used. We were familiar with the product, having used it previously on our Delaware house (straight edge panel). Based on that experience, we ordered the circular saw blade specific for cutting cement board siding. We still had the shears, but knew that the saw blade would give us cleaner cuts.

The initial siding work went quickly, but slowed down once the trellis and angular trim pieces were reached. Careful cuts had to be made. After this point, the challenge was holding the shingle only pieces in place as the construction adhesive set. With the siding completed, waiting for the roof to be finished could begin.

Skill level: Expert. Sorting through the engineering plans and executing them was the challenge. The plans were triple checked – the scale is critically important. Problem solving skills are key.