DIY Steel Siding

8:26 PM

Our home has a double deck of sorts.
The main floor has a back deck, which is on top of the walk out basement patio area.

This basement walk out patio needed exterior finishing, but for the most part won't be seen or exposed to the I of course wanted to do something unique.
I also wanted to save money.

Our home has cement Hardie Board siding, which was expensive as far as exterior options go, so I got the idea of finishing the 40' basement wall with sheet metal.
This space will eventually be an outdoor game room, so I thought it would be funky to have metal, making it feel like a room rather than a porch.  Sheet metal was also a durable and inexpensive option.

So I found one post of a home also built in Utah here.
Using it as a guide, I started figuring out how to install my own steel siding.

The sub-contractor we hired for the concrete siding had installed house wrap and sealed around the windows.

We installed aluminum bottom track to help any moisture drain away rather than wick up the wall, with another layer of the window seal along the floor. 


After calculating the required metal, I purchased all our sheet metal locally from Metalmart in Lehi, Utah.
4x10' sheets of 20 gauge cold rolled steel

I liked the silver metal look, but my husband hated that idea.  So we compromised on a rusted, metal look.  So after purchasing our sheet metal, I cut it in half, making 2' tall x 10' long sheets.

I wanted to corrode the raw steel before I installed it, so each piece had a unique pattern.
I used different methods with muriatic acid, white vinegar, and water.
There wasn't a specific method, spray acids on alone, some with water too, some just water.
The natural rust of the steel is obviously in the red-brown realm, but I really loved the black/ blues that came out initially. 

The process was pretty simple.  I planned to install from the bottom left to finish in the upper right. Each panel was 2 feet tall, and I cut the width as I went to create a random look.  
To attach them to the wall, I screwed them to the sheathing using raw steel screws that have a washer built in.  They are more expensive, but really cool if you are into screws.  I've had 3 other sub-contractors comment on the cool screws, pretty funny.
Not only do you save time not needing a washer, but these screws are also raw steel and will rust, so you don't end up with a rusted metal wall and bright silver screws.

I went through a few different methods on cutting the sheet metal.
At first I considered a torch, but it wasn't easy to transport or get a straight cut.
Then I got the angle grinder with 7" metal pads and they'd be gone in a 5 ft cut.
SO I finally figured out and stuck with a metal blade on a circular saw.  Make sure you have a saw with a cord, batteries will die really quickly.
I bought this blade from amazon and it worked great through the whole project and many cuts.
Obviously any time you're cutting, wear ear and eye protection, unlike sawdust, it sends sparks and metal fragments.  I have to admit I felt pretty cool cutting with the spray of sparks behind me.  Metal is scarier, but more fun to cut than metal.
Before installing, I pre-drilled holes 6" apart, with 1/2" from the metal edge.  Make sure to use drill bits manufactured to drill through metal and you save time if you make a template.
I put my first chunk of sheet metal on, and only screwed the left and bottom edges.
Then when I added the next piece, I overlapped it 4" side to side, and the next row .overlapped 2" down
As the wall comes along, you work your way up and right.
You can see below I would chalk a line after using a level to overlap vertically 2 inches on the top of each row.
Of course you will have interferences like windows you need to cut around.
I measured and cut the piece, then installed it.
To allow wiring for exterior plugs, I just drilled a large pre-measured hole in the sheet metal.

When I got to the windows, I knew I would install the window trim later, and therefore wanted the metal flat, not a screw head poking up.  So on the metal edges bordering windows, I used the framing nail gun to attach it to the house. 

As it went, I selected the different sheets of corrosion to add variety in the overall wall.
I loved the way it turned out.
The siding contractor that did all the regular siding begged me to just let him install the same siding down on the basement as the rest of the house. I told him I was doing my own siding down there with metal and he just didn't get it.  After a few different conversations, his final plea was: "Please just let us do the Hardie Board down there, you have this beautiful house and you're just going to ruin it."
I told him I was doing what I wanted, and a few months later he came by to check it out and saw the metal and oohed and aahed, and ate his words saying it looked really cool and a lot better than how I originally explained it.
That was a good moment in the house build.

Building our house ourselves meant our kids were on site...a lot.
But cutting the sheet metal was too dangerous, so I mostly worked on this project at night after they were in bed and my husband was home. 

The look obviously isn't for every home or every style, but I am so excited about my metal siding.
Other than my husband helping me haul the sheets of metal, I completed this project entirely on my own. It got tricky when it was above my head on a ladder, but if an out of shape mom can do it, anyone can!

I am so excited for my final vision of this space!  This metal wall is just the beginning.

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  1. It looks good! I'm glad you came back to share your house stuff, I've been wondering how it has been going :0)

    1. Thanks Shantel, it's nice to know someone is still reading this blog! I hope to share the process, it was such a challenge for us creatively and physically, it's nice to look back at the journey...and be glad it's done!

  2. Super congrats on all that hard work! Love seeing all the new posts! :)

  3. I absolutely LOVE how this turned out! You did a fantastic job--you must be so proud! You mentioned you added it in an area where it doesn't get weather--is it not too weatherproof?


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