The Kuppersmith Project 3: Exterior

By: Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford outside the Kuppersmith Project House during construction

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With the demolition and foundation work out of the way on the Kuppersmith Project, we’re finally ready to start renovating our 1926 Tudor style house to turn it into a practical home any family would love.

Addition Framing

First came the framing for the master bedroom addition which wraps around the back and side of the existing house. To make a seamless transition between the two, it’s important that both the old house and new addition are even and level.

Floor framed for addition

Once the floor joists were in place, plywood subflooring was glued and nailed down to form a sturdy floor. Two by four sole plates were cut to length and secured to the subfloor to form the base for the walls.

The walls were assembled on the floor, then raised and attached to the plates. Temporary diagonal braces kept the walls plumb and square until plywood sheathing and ceiling joists were added.

Walls and roof framed for addition

The rafters for the steeply pitched roof were next, followed by plywood decking and roof underlayment to keep out the rain until the roofing was installed.

Eaves and Windows

One of my goals for the Kuppersmith Project was to make the house as low maintenance as possible, so I used composite fascia boards from MiraTEC and urethane foam crown molding from Fypon on the eaves of the house.

Installation of urethane crown molding and composite eave board on gable of house

To improve energy efficiency, the drafty old windows on the house were replaced with insulated glass wood windows from JELD-WEN Windows & Doors. The outside of the window frames came clad in vinyl coated aluminum for low maintenance. To seal out any drafts, a special tape was applied around each window.

Kitchen Expansion

Big changes were taking place inside the original Kuppersmith Project house as well, including a major expansion of the kitchen. Merillat will be designing all the cabinets for our new kitchen while Better Homes & Gardens magazine will be in charge of the overall décor for the house.

While the footprint of the house upstairs remained unchanged, some of the walls were modified to add closets and doorways. To see all the changes we made, check out our before and after plans for the house.

Danny Lipford inside the Kuppersmith Project house

Roofing Change

One unexpected change I decided to make was to increase the pitch of the breezeway roof that connects the house and garage to enhance the curb appeal of the house. Since a lower pitched roof had already been constructed, we had to tear off the brand new decking and rafters, and start over from scratch.

Exterior Siding

We replaced the deteriorating wood shake siding on the house with cypress wood shakes from the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. While synthetic siding shakes are available in composite, fiber cement, and vinyl; the look of natural wood is hard to beat on such a prominent feature.

Each shake was cut around any obstacles, then nailed up with a Paslode staple gun. This attention to detail makes installation of wood shakes time consuming, but the result was well worth it.

Installing cypress wood shakes on gable of house

The gables on the house which weren’t covered with wood shakes were given a stucco finish. A layer of cement backer board was installed first, and the seams covered by fiberglass tape. Next a base coat of stucco was troweled on, followed by a finish coat.


An architectural asphalt shingle roof, which is thicker and more durable than standard three-tab asphalt roofing, was used on the house.

Installing skylights in back porch roof

As a final touch, Velux skylights were installed to brighten up the back porch.

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2 Comments on “The Kuppersmith Project 3: Exterior”

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  • Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Ron,
    Good tip on the shingles. Thanks!

  • Ron Says:
    February 19th, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I was watching your episode this morning, (2/19/2011) I couldn’t help notice that you installed the cypress shingles before staining. In my experience, we tried that once and after they had shrunk from drying, we could see the unstained parts that weren’t stained. We solved the problem by pre-dipping the shingles before they were installed. Just an idea?

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