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Cheap way to put siding on wall no one will see

thegiz | Posted in General Questions on

I have an exterior wall on my garage that is facing a small alleyway that no one will see.  it is currently just wood sheating.  Which option is the best:
1. Prime and paint it then leave it alone 
2. apply house wrap and add cheap siding

if I go with option 2 what is the cheapest way to side it, no one will see it.


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  1. Expert Member


    Clad the back of the garage with whatever siding you have on other walls, whether people can see it or not.

  2. walta100 | | #2

    If you want an outside of the box idea, cover it with roof shingles.

    If that is too far out there T1-11 plywood if you have not installed any plywood or vinyl siding if you have.


  3. Expert Member
    Akos | | #3

    My budget siding is a couple of sheets of galvanized steel nailed up with a roofing nailer and the nails and seams covered with battens to make it look like board and batten. Prime and paint (use the right primer as most won't stick to galvanized).

    Probably outlive the garage and virtually critter proof.

  4. artisanfarms | | #4

    Ag steel would be a low cost option, quick to install and never need any maintenance.

  5. tommay | | #5

    Vinyl is cheap and maintenance free...

  6. Expert Member

    Come on guys - that's absolutely bush-league. The site promotes good construction practices, but as soon as it's something not energy related are we just going to say it don't matter? Imagine the next owner? Or ask yourself why the small alley is so unpleasant to be in?

  7. Expert Member
    Peter Engle | | #7


    While I agree somewhat with the sentiment, the replies are mostly on-target to the OP question. Even while being green, we should be able to handle a request for "cheap and cheerful."

    I particularly liked Akos' suggestion. Galvanized steel sheet is probably 80% recycled content and recyclable at end of life, and, considering its durability, probably one of the greenest possible siding choices. Vinyl, maybe not so much.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #8


      There is a long tradition of subdivision housing the uses nice materials on the front, somewhat less scenic materials on the sides and almost completely giving up caring on the back. The idea being of course the only what the neighbours see from the street matters. They get away with it to some extent because usually they still think about the building in three dimensions, not as separate facades. So that's my first concern, that the back is being treated as though it isn't connected to the rest of the building .

      But I also think it's a big mistake to treat part of any building as throw-away. Alleys, loading docks, side yards, can be designed to have the same level of delight as any other space. It doesn't mean they need expensive materials, it means they need to the thought of as being worth caring about. That's where my perhaps too blunt comment came from.

      My sheds are made of left over metal panels, exterior grade plywood and framing lumber. No one ever sees two sides of them, but they all got the same attention.

      1. Expert Member
        Peter Engle | | #9

        And there's the difference between architects and engineers right there. You guys want everything to be pretty. We only care if it works.

        1. Expert Member
          MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #10


          Well I've got to claim Joe Lstiburek for my camp:

          “All buildings need to be maintained but if a perfectly sustainable and correctly constructed building is ugly, it won’t be. So our primary job is to build beautiful buildings which will be then be loved , and will last and be well maintained.”

          1. Expert Member
            Peter Engle | | #11

            Joe's a special case. And, he's married to an architect so he has to behave.

          2. Expert Member
            MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #12

            Just shows how ineffectual architects are then, if what we see of Joe is supposed to be someone behaving.

        2. Expert Member
          Akos | | #13

          You can probably guess which side I fall on. Front and back of my shed.

          1. Expert Member
            MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #14

            Your secret is out. Your infamy exposed for all time. The Canadian builder with a two faced shed.

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