tongue and groove siding

Finishes, paints and coatings

tongue and groove siding

Postby Lightfoot » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:01 pm

Well I've been reading this site for a couple of years and eventually joined a little over a year ago. Way too many ideas and grand plans that never materialize got me to swing by Harbor Freight on an impulse to just bite the bullet and buy a 1720 lb trailer. Hey it only took me a year.

I love the looks of wood and the Casual Turtle trailers in particular. I've spent hours trying to find teardrops on this site built with tongue and groove siding but were talking hens teeth, that in itself should probably tell me something. Tongue and groove siding is pretty common in the Tiny House movement. Is it weatherproofing, weight, difficulty of install or something else I'm missing?
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Re: tongue and groove siding

Postby QueticoBill » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:29 am

I'm thinking about it - partly because I have a lot of it left over from another project - but it is just a skin, like aluminum, and not structural. I suspect that is reason you don't see it more.

Always fun to Google for images. "Teardrop trailers tongue and groove" showed quite a few.
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Re: tongue and groove siding

Postby JaggedEdges » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:17 am

If you've got a trailer for camping, you want to tow it frequently, and if it starts raining on a Sunday, when you've got to be back at work Monday morning, you're going to tow it in the rain. Hence, any skinning method you use, you want to be water tight, not just from rain falling in predictable straightish lines from vertically above, but from water and air pressure driven spray from all directions. Watch in the car when you're driving in the rain, there's drops running UP your windshield and side windows in places right?

As angib used to say, water has such a magnetic attraction for bedding, it will run uphill to get to it... It will, really, on tow it's air pressure driven, if you've got a skin or window or roof to wall join in front that's only weather resistant by virtue of the fact that it's got the higher piece overlapping the lower piece, then driving into rain and spray, it will get through.

Tiny houses may "get away" with this because A) they are towed seldom and B) you might be able to pick your weather for a relocation, and you probably should.


Therefore, if you're determined to build a small trailer with it ....

It is likely to be superflously heavy compared to other methods, on small trailers you can "deal" with this, but as soon as you start going much past 12ft, the weight will really build up on you.

Either, build a water tight skin, then add siding over it to suit your cosmetic preference, knowing that it's dead weight and being okay with it. Or, select the thinnest, clearest boards, no knots whatsoever, use a glue with great spacefilling properties, and lay up a panel, clamped together while setting, such that each tongue and groove is sealed and a strong mechanical joint, and then use this as if it was a plywood panel as outer skin, sealing all fastener holes and coating it with a superior grade clear finish, like a clear epoxy resin.... or spar varnish if you really want to redo it every 3 years.

Personally, I have been contemplating use of tongue and groove 1/4" cedar closet lining, made up into a panel for the interior of my build, this because cedar will be about same weight as 1/4" ply when panelised, and will have natural insect/rodent/rot repellance, and the sealing/knottiness is not a problem for the interior wall. Also should look nice, so partially a cosmetic consideration. Also an economical consideration because it can be as cheap per unit area as the cheap 1/4" ply, where the cheap ply might be composed core garbage, so you'd want to spend more to do it in ply.
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Re: tongue and groove siding

Postby Woodbutcher » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:25 am

A friend had tongue and groove siding on his custom trailer and ran into issues out in AZ with the extreme heat and dryness out there. The wood started to split from movement. If you intend on moving around in different climates I would address that. Either allow for expansion and contraction in how you install the siding or do as Jaggededges suggested. It would not be a material I would probably use on the exterior.
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Re: tongue and groove siding

Postby JaggedEdges » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:43 am

Yah, fresh material is practically green at the store these days. I've seen 2x4s that if you grafted onto rootstock would probably be a tree by next spring. So you may want to ensure it's as dry as can be when you build with it. Then seal it super well, so it doesn't go the other way and expand on you in a persistently damp spell.
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Re: tongue and groove siding

Postby Lightfoot » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:21 pm

Interesting, I hadn't thought about wind driving water "up" into the overlap joint. Yup, looks like a problem waiting to happen. I'm not against re-applying a coating every couple of years but have a hard time with the aluminum look. Perhaps glass is going to be my answer?

I've got the trailer together and should have the wiring done this weekend.
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Re: tongue and groove siding

Postby Woodbutcher » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:25 pm

Lightfoot wrote:Interesting, I hadn't thought about wind driving water "up" into the overlap joint. Yup, looks like a problem waiting to happen. I'm not against re-applying a coating every couple of years but have a hard time with the aluminum look. Perhaps glass is going to be my answer?

I've got the trailer together and should have the wiring done this weekend.



How about a woody design. Plywood sides with a contrasting solid wood for the trim. I have done 2 without any problems.
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