For the most part, our house is a very traditional form (long gable roof with hip front porch roof), so we wanted some elements of the exterior to bring in a little bit more of a modern aesthetic. At the same time, Joey and I are both drawn to old things and wanted the exterior to somehow tip off that the interior is an eclectic mixture of old and rustic and crisp and modern. Ultimately, we thought cor-ten metal siding would bring this all together.

Cor-ten (A606) is basically a weathering steel that contains copper, chromium, manganese, and nickel. Cor-ten resists the corrosive effects of rain, snow and ice by forming a coating of dark brown oxidation over the metal. The weathering (or rusting) process occurs after the panel is installed. It eventually decreases and from that point on the finish acts as a protective coating for the base metal. This protective coating essentially stops the corrosion. Laboratory analysis of the rust film have shown that the alloying elements in the steel, particularly copper, chromium, and nickel produced insoluble compounds that clogged the pores at the rust/steel interface, thereby ending the regeneration.

We’ve had the cor-ten on site in our backyard for about a week. Just in that week, the piece of metal on top of the stack, which has been exposed to the elements has already started to get a great rust patina on it. You can see the difference between the first and second course on the house.

We went with a 22 gauge 7/8″  corrugated panel that is 3′ wide and had to get some panels almost 30′ long as we are running them vertically along the house. Needless to say, it’s been interesting hoisting them into place. Tom, our resident “idea man”, has already come up with some tricks involving bottle jacks, c clamps and strapping to make life a lot easier.

Overall, it’s going up really fast as we can obviously cover a large swath with just one panel. Plus, this is the first house where we haven’t had to put on firring strips, which is time consuming, as the 7/8″ corrugation provides a huge drainage plane.  I’ll try and do a post on our window trim detail later in the week.