I thought I would take a few moments to share a few of the details for the siding installation, as most of the fiber cement has now been installed. We were stepping slightly outside the normal bounds of siding installation (especially for the builder) and I wanted to share how we are achieving the results. We wanted a simple pallet of materials that still allowed for an interesting end result.
The primary exterior cladding for the home is fiber cement. However, we did not simply want to install fiber cement lap siding in a traditional fashion. We wanted a vertically oriented pattern, to contrast with the horizontal nature of other features of the home (overhang, cedar rainscreen, etc) but did not want to simply do this through the addition of a batten on top of 4×8 fiber cement sheets. As a result, we decided to reorient lap siding vertically. We took 12″ lap siding and ran it vertically.
Further, we know the value of a rainscreen system for cladding a home and wanted to incorporate this design element into the house. The basic concept of a rainscreen is to allow for an airspace behind the cladding material, allowing the cladding to breathe. If water penetrates the outer cladding layer (which it almost always does at some point), the air space behind the cladding allows for the water to exit the system and to also dry out faster because of the movement of air within this cavity.
We have achieved the air space behind the fiber cement lap siding by running fiber cement furring strips vertically at every joint, spaced 12″ apart. We then chose to leave a 1/4″ reveal between each of the 12″ vertically oriented lap siding pieces to express the joint and to create a subtle shadow line. We noted the use of caulk at the joint between the lap siding and the furring strip to ease the worries of the contractor, though we believe this is overkill as the system is designed to breathe and dry out. You can essentially think of the design as a reverse board and batten system, with the batten beneath the seam instead of on top of the seam.
I have to say, it has been quite a challenge convincing the builder of the feasibility of the design and also the merits of it. In the end, though, I hope he understands the value of the system, both aesthetically and also fucntionally speaking.
*Will post some pictures of the actual installation soon.