#%*&@ leveling siding!

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Old 12-11-11, 06:21 PM
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#%*&@ leveling siding!

I live in a ranch and I have my old siding off and am ready to put up vinyl siding I have purchased. Please bear with me as I have been trying to figure this out for a while. I have done a ton of research and have read everything I could find on the subject of leveling and/or getting your siding to look straight.

I had tried using a masons line to obtain level and found that no matter how tight I got the line it was always off in the middle. I then got a length of tubing (around 13 ft) filled it with water and had my son help me carefully move the tubing and mark along the house to get a level around the house. When I got back to the corner I started at it was at least an inch off. So we went back around again, even more carefully and found I was off 2 inches this time!! This confused me greatly.

I have read some things about just measuring down from the soffits but I am just really nervous about coming back to where I started the siding and finding and obvious mismatch where it meets back up. If anyone would be willing to stick this out with me to figure it out I would be very grateful.

I have posted some pics here. Please try not to hurt yourself laughing and forgive the ramshackle tar paper and furring strip look I currently have. I do plan on stripping that all off and putting up fresh 30# felt paper (no tyvek housewrap for me, done my research and sticking with tried and true tar paper).

thanks,

Mark
 
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Old 12-11-11, 06:38 PM
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Mark, tar paper isn't tried a true breathable house wrap. Sorry to bust your bubble. A good quality laser level and receiving unit will give good level measurements. A cheap one won't. If you are going to use a water level, it will need to be longer than 13'. It should probably be as long as the longest portion of the house. Measuring 13' at a time, someone has to move it and there is where your error is coming in.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 02:36 PM
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Chandler,

Thanks for your response. Any chance I can get some more details on this? Am I to just mark level points on the corners of my house? If I were to run a chalk line between these points aren't I going to end up with the same issue I had with the masons line? What happens when I get my level line and find my soffits to be varying measurements from that line at different points along the house. How do you compensate for that?

thanks,

Mark
 
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Old 12-18-11, 04:23 PM
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You should go rent a transit and tripod, and shoot the house from 3 points. Picture a large triangle around a square. the square is your house... set the transit at the 3 points of the triangle to establish lines at every corner of the house. From your first point, you can establish a point on every corner that can be seen from the transit. Transfer these lines around the corner with a level. Move the transit to the 2nd point of the triangle, measure up or down to the mark which was transferred around the corner, and mark every corner that you can see from the 2nd point of the triangle. Transfer the last mark around the corner and move the transit to the 3rd point of the triangle, and do the same thing. You should come pretty close to meeting the lines, provided you were accurate in levelling the transit and measuring your lines.

Then chalk lines from point to point. This will be the most accurate way to measure a level line. This line can then be used as a reference point to make any other line you need.

I have not had problems using a water level, but as chandler said you probably need a longer hose. Transferring your line 13' at a time is probably where you are coming up with such large errors. Using a transit, and only moving it 2 times reduces any possibility for error.
 
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Old 12-18-11, 05:34 PM
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I have a laser level like XSleeper mentioned. Luckily they have gotten much less expensive since I bought mine. My house has a lot of angles on the outside. I found a couple points off out in the yard where the laser could mark the most house possible. I did it during the day so needed the laser detector to sense it in the sunlight but I completely marked a base line around the house before starting to make sure it matched up after going around the house. If you don't want to buy, tools like that can be rented for a day or half day. It could be the best $40 you spend.
 
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Old 12-22-11, 09:26 AM
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Yeah, even self-leveling laser levels aren't expensive these days unless you need a daylight version. Get a cheap one and mark the lines at dusk or at night.
 
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Old 12-22-11, 12:04 PM
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IMO a cheap one will not be accurate enough. I have an expensive PLS180 that is pretty accurate, and it can't go around a house with the accuracy needed because of the margin for error. Which is why shooting 3 points with a transit will give you the best chance of making your lines meet up.
 
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Old 12-22-11, 12:23 PM
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What research lead you to believe you should use tar paper instead of Tyvek?
 
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Old 12-22-11, 02:28 PM
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Not sure where Tyvek came up in this thread, but here's some research putting them about equal, in fact it seems to lean toward felt near the end:

UMass Amherst: Building and Construction Technology Housewraps, Felt Paper and Weather Penetration Barriers
 
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Old 12-23-11, 09:01 AM
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Felt makes sense for wood siding but I would stick with Tyvek with vinyl.

Just my 2
 
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Old 12-23-11, 09:48 AM
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Fiber-cement? ?
 
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Old 12-23-11, 09:51 AM
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Yeah, that's a good question - not sure which I'd pick with fiber cement; I'd have more research to do there.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 04:30 PM
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Thanks fellas for helping keep my thread alive. Mitch, when I go into a project I do not take it lightly and I tend to do a LOT of research, ask a LOT of questions and educate myself as much as possible. I am looking towards the long-term with all my projects. In the research I've done on different types of wraps, and in learning of the first-hand experiences of various professionals who have removed older siding from houses, and seen the breakdown of the tyvek material. Also should any water get behind the tyvek it would take a very long time to exit as opposed to felt. For these reasons and others, I have decided to go with the felt paper. There is a lot of debate on this on various forums and I did keep going back and forth for a while but now feel confident with my decision.

Something else, though, I still want to know. Once I get my sweet level line on my house as a reference, what does one do if say the soffits are not equal distance from that line across the length of the house? How do you adjust for that?

thanks, you guys are the best!

Mark
 
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Old 01-01-12, 04:47 PM
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That's a good point. Weather its level or not, if it looks crooked it is crookedas far as appearance goes. On the other hand you want the laps to line up at the corners.
 
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Old 01-06-12, 01:23 PM
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Level: I would use the top of windows or doors as your baseline because if the heads of windows are running downhill then your siding may have to run downnill to look right.
Corners: depends on the look you want but corner boards will cover up a lot of sins.
Housewrap: I am with you Mark on the felts over tyvek. Either will work but I think you are going the correct direction.
 
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Old 01-06-12, 02:40 PM
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And vinyl siding can be pulled when installing it. After the starter strip is installed I like to measure up to the bottoms of windows and to the soffit. You can pull the siding up 1/8" or more per strip to make the lines line up with windows to help hide things that are not quite proper.
 
 

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