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Repairing Fascia And Soffits

Carpenters originally created fascia and soffits to solve the problems of exposed rafters and open eaves. Fascia are nailed to the cut ends of rafters and prevent water from being drawn back along the overhang and inside the walls. They also provide an even surface to which you can attach gutters. Soffits close off the underside of the rafters, preventing birds and other critters from nesting under eaves or getting into the attic. Properly vented, soffits allow air into the attic, helping to solve moisture problems and increases shingle life, thus extending the life of the roof. Maintenance is essential to the soundness of your fascia and soffits. Solve problems before they affect the structure of your house. Repaint peeling surfaces and replace missing or rotted pieces as soon as you notice them.

MATERIALS: Galvanized nails or screws, fascia material, soffit materials, silicone caulk, primer, paint or stain, 2x2 nailing strip

TOOLS: Pry bar, hammer, ladder, nail set, jigsaw, caulking gun, drill and driver, circular saw, paintbrush

FASCIA AND SOFFITS WORK TOGETHER TO CLOSE OFF THE AREA BENEATH THE ROOF EAVES. The fascia covers the rafter ends while providing a surface for attaching gutters. Soffits prevent birds from nesting under your eaves and often have vents to bring fresh air into your attic space.

WORK SAFELY OUTSIDE - Always use a GFCI-protected cord if working with power tools outside to minimize the potential for a shock.

Installing Fascia Covers And Soffits

VINYL OR ALUMINUM FASCIA COVERS HELP REDUCE MAINTENANCE ON WOODEN FASCIA. They are not, however, a substitute for repairs. Fix any rot or other damage before installing covers. Then nail the covers directly to the existing fascia. If you have or want soffits, get fascia with a channel designed to hold them.

THE QUICKEST WAY TO INSTALL SOFFITS IS TO INSTALL FASCIA COVERS WITH CHANNELS DESIGNED TO HOLD THEM. Hang matching channels on the house. Cut soffits to fit, angle them up into the opening, and drop them in place. Make sure you’ve repaired areas covered by the new soffits before you hang them.

Replacing a section of fascia

1 REMOVE GUTTERS OR TRIM, EXPOSING THE ENTIRE DAMAGED SECTION OF FASCIA. Be extremely careful when handling gutters and long moldings. If they hit nearby power lines, the shock can kill you. Long pieces also can make you lose your balance. Plan to be near the middle of the piece when you finally pry it loose.

2 PRY THE FASCIA LOOSE WITH A FLAT PRY BAR, THEN REMOVE IT. Fascia usually is nailed at every rafter end, except when it is attached directly to another fascia at the edge of the roof.

3 MARK OFF THE DAMAGED AREA OF FASCIA BY DRAWING CUT LINES THAT WILL FALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RAFTERS. Set the saw to cut at a 45-degree angle and cut out the damaged area of the soffit.

4 NAIL OR SCREW THE ORIGINAL PIECE OR PIECES OF FASCIA IN THEIR ORIGINAL POSITIONS, leaving a gap where you cut out the damage. Measure the gap, then subtract 1/8 inch to allow for expansion. Cut the new board to this size with the saw still set at 45 degrees. Prime the back and ends of the board.

5 POSITION THE REPLACEMENT BOARD WITH AN EXPANSION GAP OF ABOUT 1/16 INCH AT EACH END. Nail it in place, driving the nail at an angle through the miters.

6 REPLACE THE FASCIA MOLDINGS, THEN SET THE NAILHEADS AND FILL THE NAIL HOLES WITH CAULK. Prime and paint or stain to match the existing fascia. Reinstall the gutters after the paint or stain dries.

Repairing plywood soffits

1 REMOVE ANY MOLDING HOLDING THE SOFFIT IN PLACE. In order to remove the soffit, it sometimes helps to cut out the damaged area. Find the rafters on either side of the damaged area and draw a line along the rafter edge closest to the damage. Drill entry holes for a jigsaw and then cut along the lines.

2 PUT A PRY BAR INTO THE CUT YOU JUST MADE AND PRY TO REMOVE THE DAMAGE. Move slowly and pry gently so that you maintain your balance. When you've removed the damage, get a helper on a second ladder. Pull on the soffit with your hands to remove it as your helper supports the far end.

3 REMOVE ANY OF THE DAMAGED SOFFIT THAT REMAINS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CUTOUT. In all, you’ll need to remove enough soffit to reveal the seam between the damaged section and its neighbors. Damage is likely to be any place where water has been running through a plywood edge.

4 MEASURE THE SIZE OF THE HOLE CAUSED BY REMOVING THE DAMAGED SECTION OF SOFFIT. Cut a piece of exterior plywood to fit the opening. [Most home centers will cut a section of plywood for a small fee.) If the damaged section had vents, cut matching ones in the replacement panel. Prime the entire panel and let it dry.

5 PUT THE REPLACEMENT PANEL OVER THE OPENING AND SCREW IT TO THE RAFTERS with 1/ 1/4 inch galvanized deck screws. Reinstall any molding that helped hold the panel in place.

6 FILL NAIL HOLES, SCREW HOLES, AND JOINTS WITH PAINTABLE SILICONE CAULK. Paint the replacement panel to match the rest of the soffit, then reinstall any vent covers that you removed.

Repairing length-run tongue-and-groove soffits

1 REMOVE ANY MOLDING OVER THE BOARDS, THEN LOCATE THE RAFTER ON EACH SIDE OF THE DAMAGE by looking for nails in the fascia. Drill entry holes for a jigsaw, positioning them to avoid the rafter. Put the jigsaw blade in one of the holes and cut away the damage.

2 PUT YOUR FINGER IN ONE OF THE HOLES AND PULL DOWN ANY PIECES THAT WILL COME LOOSE. Remove the rest of the scrap. Cut and install 2x2 nailing strips at each edge of the opening in the soffit, screwing them to the rafters.

3 CUT REPLACEMENT TONGUE-AND-GROOVE BOARDS USING BOARDS THE SAME THICKNESS AS THE ORIGINALS. Begin installing the new boards next to the siding, nailing them to the nailing strips.

4 TRIM THE UPPER LIP FROM THE LAST BOARD, THEN POSITION IT IN THE OPENING. Nail it in place, fill the nail holes, and paint the replacement board to match the soffit. Replace the soffit vents, if necessary. Prime and paint.

Repairing width-run soffits

1 PUT A METAL CUTTING BLADE IN A JIGSAW, AND CUT ALONG THE FASCIA WITH THE SAW to free the damaged section (width-run soffits are usually inserted into grooves in the fascia and may be nailed through the groove). Remove support moldings and pry out the damaged soffit boards.

2 CUT REPLACEMENT BOARDS TO LENGTH AND PRIME BOTH SIDES AND ENDS. Insert the strips into the groove in the fascia. When you get to the last board, cut off the upper lip so that you can install it. Reattach the support molding, caulk the nail holes, and paint the boards to match the existing soffits.

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