Soffits are those things on your roof that cover the underside of the overhang. They’re not something you necessarily think about, or worry about, that is, until they break, or something goes wrong. Or if you see a wasp’s nest or beehive hanging from them.
The main function of soffits are to shade your exterior walls and protect them from bad weather. They also keep rain away from your foundation and typically provide ventilation for your attic, keeping it cool and dry.
There are several pieces that surround the soffit that make sense to cover off so you’ll know just how important they are in the scheme of things.
Gutter and downspout. The purpose of gutters is to catch rainwater flowing down the roof and direct it to your downspouts. They can fill up with leaves so this is something to be aware of. If they get clogged, they can put strain on your roof and the surrounding areas. Cleaning them is something we have help you out with.
Shingle molding. An exterior molding that’s installed at the top edge of the fascia board and is adjacent to the shingles.
Fascia. The vertical piece that connects your roof and the soffit.
Lookouts. The rafter tails that cantilever from your exterior wall and support the roof, providing a surface for fascia and soffit to attach.
Rafter tail. Roof joists that support the roof surface.
Soffits. Exterior ceiling panel that covers the bottom side of the rafter tails.
Crown molding. This is attached to the exterior wall and supports the soffit.
How to Know if Soffits Are Going Bad
Usually, you’ll see peeling paint or brown stains. This can indicate water issues. When wood gets wet it will warp, shed its paint, and rot. Sometimes even holes can appear.
How to Fix Your Soffits
Unless you’re pretty skilled at home improvement, this is a job best left to the professionals. But here’s a quick glance at what the process looks like.
- Remove the shingle molding from the fascia. A flat bar is the best tool to use. If the molding is salvageable, great, you can put it back on. If not, you’ll need to replace this, too.
- Remove fascia. When doing this, be very careful because this might be rotted.
- Remove soffit. You might be surprised what you find in here, as squirrels and other critters like to set up camp here.
- Remove the rafter. Reciprocating saws work well here, but this is NOT something a novice should try.
- Attach cleat. This helps support the new overhang.
- Seal the new soffit. Prime the top and bottom, and paint with sealant to protect it from water damage.
- Attach new soffit. These are usually made of plywood, Hardie® board, or fiber cement board.
- Replace crown molding. This helps secure and bolster the soffit to the wall.
- Attach new fascia. Use galvanized nails and putty the holes.
- Attach shingle mold. Use a tape measure and level for a consistent look
As you can see, repairing your soffits is a complicated, detailed task, something we’re ready and waiting to help you with. Remember, at Peak, we guarantee all our work and are just a phone call away.