Friday, 22 February 2008

Top roof shingling done, and main roof fascia

As my family are getting increasingly fed up with having the dining table tied up with my Willowcrest building project, I have been pressing on with the shingling. The top roof is now done (apart from final painting). As you can see in the 'before' picture, I used the Greenleaf wooden shingles for the main panels, but finished the ridges with cardboard shingles from Bromley Craft Products which bend easily and look realistic when painted. I used pre-painted shingles in places that were touching up against other finished paint work, then gave the whole roof a base coat of Anita's Rust Red when finished. Once the mansard roof is also shingled I will be darkening and toning down this red colour.

In preparation for shingling the mansard roof, I have also glued on the main roof fascia board. This went on fine, I only had to adjust the shaped end to fit around my clapboard a bit better, and I am doing a bit of filling on the exposed ends.

Next step will be mansard roof shingling, and after that perhaps I can return the dining table to the family and use the picnic table instead.

Saturday, 9 February 2008


Now that the clapboard is finally out of the way, I have turned my attention to shingling the roof. I am using the thin shingles that come with the kit. The instructions advise you to draw lines on the roof at a set distance, and they warn that when the roof encounters another roof line, the angle will be different. The instructions say to continue the previously drawn lines across the new roof angle, although the gap between them will now be different.

Well, I decided to start with the top roof (where the chimney is), thinking that it will be easier because it is at a shallow angle and fairly simple in shape. I shingled up one narrow end, and then started across the back. I was dismayed to find that the rows of shingles on the back side were not matching up at all with the shingles on the side roof, even though I was butting up to the lines I had drawn. I had to remove the shingles from the back roof, which destroyed them so hopefully there are extras in the kit. I know it is something to do with the differing angles but I can't get my head around the problem. So I am drawing new lines that match up to the first shingled side, one row at a time, and checking each time to ensure that it looks ok visually. It is a bit of trial and error but I am slowly getting there. The tip in the instructions to put masking tape on a row of shingles works really well, and I am finding that I can easily trim them with scissors. The pic shows some masking tape on a pre-painted sheet of shingles, before I cut them into strips.

I've also painted my foundation, and finished painting the porch, and installed my cellar windows. I decided that I don't like the acetate windows that came with the kit, mine are really scratched because they were just kicking around with all the shingles and clapboard inside the box when I opened it. And they look really shiny and unrealistic. I've got some heavy vinyl so I cut some of that to replace the cellar windows. Not sure what I am going to do for the main windows.

Friday, 1 February 2008

I finally finished the clapboard!

I glued the last two small pieces of clapboard on this morning, and it is finally FINISHED!!! I can't believe how long it has taken, this was a supremely fiddly job and I am now sympathetic with the builders who just stucco the whole outside of these houses. It looks really good though, and I am very pleased with how the house is looking so far. I need to go back and touch up the paint job here and there but overall it is getting close to being finished.

I was fairly miserly with my use of the Greenleaf individual clapboards that came with the kit, re-using shorter pieces whenever possible. After clapboarding all four sides, I have leftover 14 whole sticks, and a handful of shorter bits, so there is enough if you re-use everything that you can. I kept a Tupperware for all the really short pieces, which you sometimes need to fit into odd cracks around the window mouldings etc. I think I used up about 3.5 travel-toothpaste-size tubes of solvent-based glue to do all four sides (like QuickGrab, UHU, Bostik etc.).

I appealed on the Greenleaf community board for tips on how to shape the clapboard around intricate window mouldings. On my own, I had come up with pressing a stick of BlueTack (an office product, like a sticky clay for sticking paper to walls) around the moulding to take an impression, then tracing around that onto a board. A very clever suggestion from the group was to run a compass point along the moulding edge, while the pencil end simultaneously traces the shape onto the board that you hold up in the correct position. My cutting shears were invaluable for quickly snipping straight cuts into the boards, and I used an X-Acto knife for curved cuts. My Dremel tool with a medium sanding drum was also useful for shaving off small amounts for final fitting, particularly from curved cuts. I pre-painted all the boards, and before applying each board, I touched up any raw wood showing from being trimmed. I also painted a narrow band of the clapboard colour around all mouldings so that if there were any gaps at the ends of boards showing through to underneath, it was less obvious.