Last week in Part 3 we showed the singlehanded errection of the framework for a 14 x 6 x 3 metre shed that will become my new home workshop. This week it’s time to put on the cladding – something that sounds really easy, right?
With the framework erected, all that is required to clad the walls is to place the sheets of Colourbond vertically against the wall framework then, using the supplied Teks, screw them to the frame.
Said that way it sounds really easy. But in fact this was the process I followed for each sheet:
I didn’t ever time how long it took to do each sheet, but it was considerable. For the end walls, where the sheets had to be positioned (as per steps 1 – 7 above), marked and then taken down again to be cut at the correct angle, before the whole installation process was again undertaken, the time doubled.
In fact, while erecting the complete framework took me 3 days, doing the wall cladding alone took 4.5 days. That time included adding the trim pieces at each corner and around the two front roller door openings. These trim pieces were pop riveted into place.
The gutters clip into brackets that are attached to the wall sheeting. The instructions for the shed said to use Tek screws to attach these brackets, but the ‘bite’ of a Tek screw into very thin sheeting seemed to me to be poor design so I pop-riveted the brackets into place, using two large pop rivets for each bracket. The brackets were placed at roughly 1 metre intervals.
A downhill slope was provided by mounting the brackets at slightly lower heights in sequence towards the downpipes.
During installation the gutters needed to be clipped into the brackets (easy!) and, where the 3.6 metre lengths joined, ‘nested’ into one another (not so easy!). These joins were secured with pop rivets and sealed with silicone. The openings for the downpipes were made with a metal nibbler and the downpipe adaptors siliconed and riveted into place. End caps for the gutters were held in place in the same way.
I found the installation of the gutters fiddly and time-consuming – to install the 28 metres of gutter took 1.5 days.
Cladding the roof was also more difficult than it first appeared. The problem wasn’t in singlehandedly getting the sheets onto the roof – in fact, this was straightforward. What I did was to place a rug on the gutter, lean a sheet against it, and then climb on top of my ~1 metre retaining wall and slide the sheet onto the roof.
Nope, the main problem was to stop the sheets ‘fanning’ as they were screwed into place. This needs a bit of explanation. The roof sheets overlap along their edge, and as they’re put into position you’d expect that they would remain parallel to each other and at 90 degrees to the long axis of the roof. However, what invariably happens is that they start to ‘fan’: to spread out more at one end than the other.
But surely to stop this fanning all it needs is a bit of care? That’s what I initially thought but when, no matter how careful I was, the fanning occurred, it was time to stop and think. And then I got it – the reason that fanning was occurring.
Unlike the wall sheets, that are held in place with screws inserted through the ‘valleys’ of the sheets, the screws on the roof sheets are inserted through the ‘peaks’. As these screws are tightened, the ‘peaks’ get squeezed a little, and if the screws are inserted from (say) left to right, the sheets can in fact get wider at that end than the other. And, the closer these screws are positioned to the end of the sheet, the more likely that fanning at that end will occur.
Once I’d worked out why it was occurring, it was easy to address. If I wanted one end of the sheet to spread a little (ie to correct fanning occurring at the other end), I’d insert the screws in sequence to cause the slight spread. If I didn’t want any spread to occur, I’d put in the last screw first and then work back towards the already installed sheets. Very small corrections could then be easily made, keeping the sheets parallel and at right-angle to the walls.
The other problem I had was in denting the sheets. When I’d bought the shed, I’d asked the supplier if it was fine to walk on the roof. “Sure” he’d said confidently, just adding that you needed to walk in the valleys rather than on the narrow peaks of each sheet. When he’d delivered the roller doors and screws, he’d added a further point – be very careful when turning around that the heel of a foot didn’t put extra weight on the peaks.
Maybe the fact that he was fairly small and light man had something to do with it – I dented a sheet within moments of walking on the roof. Furthermore, despite taking enormous care, during the installation of the roof sheets, I put in another two dents! I weigh about 90kg and I kid you not, less than a quarter of that weight placed incorrectly caused a crimp in a sheet.
To check for fanning and to mark the locations of the upper screws, I made a simple wooden gauge. This improved accuracy and speeded installation up a lot.
Installing the roof cladding took me 2.5 days, not including trim prices like the roof capping.
The roller doors came with their own instructions – and looked quite straightforward. But again, as a beginner, I found their installation complex and time-consuming.
Here are two examples of the difficulties I experienced. When I did the wall cladding, I installed the trim bits around the door opening. But, to install the doors, all these trim pieces had to come off again!
Secondly, the doors – that arrive wrapped in plastic – are installed with the plastic in place. It’s only in step 5 (of about 8) that the plastic is removed. The doors need to be positioned so that the door unrolls in the correct direction - but when the door is wrapped in plastic, it’s hard for a novice to determine what is the right direction! Inevitably, I installed one door backwards before realising that a band of orange tape on one end of the axle indicated the right-hand end of the door...
As anyone who has ever installed a roller door will well know, getting the door to work correctly requires that:
If any of these are wrong, the door will jam, it will roll up and down making awful crunching noises, and it will assume odd angles! Ask me how I know...
Furthermore, despite their apparent depth, I found the instructions missed important steps. Steps like having to cut the locking bars to the required length... I spent perhaps half an hour puzzling over why the locking bars were so long, wondering how I’d installed the lock incorrectly. Then it was out with the hacksaw...
Installing a 2.7 x 2.2 metre roller door normally requires two people, but again I did it by myself. I used my engine crane equipped with the jib extension to lift one end of the door, while I manually lifted the other. This process worked quite well.
It took about 1.5 days to install the two doors.
Trim Pieces, Roof Capping & Whirligigs
The roof capping and whirligigs (rotating ventilators) were installed next. These were (once again!) straightforward but fiddly, the roof capping requiring cutting with snips to accommodate each ridge in the roof sheets. The holes for the whirligigs were cut with a power nibbler.
Finally, the end trim pieces that cover the gap between the top of the walls and roof sheets were installed.
Doing these tasks took 1.5 days.
So after 14.5 days of work (spread over 3 weeks) the shed was finished. So was I exultant? Well, not really. More like: relieved!
To be completely honest, I was happy for about the first 10 days of work, but after that I got bored and irritated. It was all the fiddly stuff that was tedious – the gutters, trim pieces, roof capping and whirligigs. These seemed to take forever and were easy to stuff up.
However, here’s something to think about. The professional errection of the shed was going to cost AUD$3650. By doing it myself, I was effectively being paid $252 a day!
And I’ll tell you something else.
At this stage the shed was not actually finished. Before it was finished it had to be inspected and signed-off by the local council, and they’d want to see where the rainfall caught on the roof went, and how effective the drainage was around the shed...
I actually debated whether or not to include these aspects in the series – but it’s being done because it’s required, not because I like organising downpipes and drains... So, next week – downpipes, drains and a council inspection!
Go here for the next in this series.