The weather warmed, and the shop was ready for some finishing touches on the exterior. I had thought over and over about what the exterior finish was going to be. The original idea - way back when - was to use a board and batten, of cedar. The method of construction didn't lend itself well to a vertical siding, however - and cedar was much too far outside of my budget. Next I thought maybe I could do a cheat of a board and batten - basically use a plywood and nail battens on top of it. This was most tempting, but truthfully it didn't match the neighborhood, nor did it match the house, which is currently T1-11 Besides that, the plywood used today simply doesn't have the quality of the plywood used just 20 years ago unless you buy the highest priced stuff out there - which kind of defeats the purpose of using the stuff to my mind... . So - for those same reasons I considered T1-11 and just as soon abandoned it. Another choice could have been steel or vinyl lap siding - but that just doesn't turn my crank at all. I hate the monotonous fields of vinyl lap siding cropping up in cramped subdivisions, so I wrote those off of my list.
In the end, it was budget that made the call, I'm sad to say. There were two choices in my price range - fiber cement lap siding (HardiPlank by James Hardie) and composite wood lap siding and trim (LP's "SmartSide"). It was a tough decision to make, believe it or not... Tough because I didn't like either option - but basically needed to put something up, so here's how I decided. Whether it makes any sense is up to you, but it seemed all quite logical. Of course if I had my druthers it would have been something a little more elegant, but then again one has to draw the line somewhere. It's not like I live in a neighborhood of million-dollar homes, nor do I have that sort of income. Read more about Bulding the Wood Shop: Part X - Siding, Soffit, and Paint