Step 15 : Side Exterior Panels

Exterior panels are ½ inch shorter than the eave height of the building you ordered.  Always remember when dealing with the exterior panels that you can scratch the painted surface by placing them on concrete or any other place that is potentially abrasive. It’s a good idea when cutting or marking the panels to place them on boards so they’re elevated above anything that could scratch the paint surface.

Start at the front corner of the building working toward the back.  Make sure that the frame is plumb when installing the first panel which it certainly should be by now but make sure because all the remaining panels will depend on that first panel being plumb and square.

Carefully place the first panel at the bottom of the base rail and place the overlap edge on the corner. You’re going to be under lapping the following panel under the edge of the panel you just put on, all the way down the building so don’t put any screws in the that edge. Use the color coordinated #12 x 1 inch panel screws to affix the panel to the frame. Stay away from the edge as your next panel needs to be slipped under the preceding one. You’re going to place a panel screw about ¾ of an inch to one side of each major rib across all the panels along the whole length of the wall but for now, just place three screws in; one at the top, one at the middle and one at the bottom. Be sure to put those screws in the center of the girt.  Now use a straight edge and a marker and mark where each screw should go in straight line.  You can also use a string, hooking it over the first screw and then pulling the string to the center of the girt. Holding the string taut, use a felt marker to mark locations for the remaining screws. You can also use a chalk line but use blue chalk as it won’t put a permanent mark on your wall.

Marking where the screws go like this is important; the end result will be your panel screws in a nice orderly straight line instead of a sloppy line of screws going down the wall.

When putting the panels on the side walls, it is important to make sure they’re not compressing or expanding in width. The panels should be 36 inches from the center of the major rib on one side of the panel to the center of the major rib at the other side of the panel. You can either measure each panel like that or pre-mark the building frame every 36 inches to check the panel width as you go.

When you come to a window or door opening, hold the panel up where it’s going to go and then, from the inside, mark where the cuts should be to accommodate the opening. We like to use the snips to make our cuts.  When attaching the areas of a panel that are right up against an opening, don’t put your panel screws in on the edge of the opening. Later, when you’ve installed your window or door, this will allow you to slip your trim under the panel and then use one screw to attach everything—panel and trim with one screw going through both.

When you reach the end of each side wall, if your wall length is not divisible by 36”, there will be trimming required on the last panel. Don’t worry if it doesn’t fit exactly flush with the corner, the corners will covered up with corner trim. In fact, the panel edge could extend beyond the corner about ¾ of an inch and still fit under the corner trim.

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Step 16: Gable End Panels

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