You can give your home a beautiful, stylish look with soffit and fascia. Fascia boards run along the roof overhang, and soffits are the panels underneath the overhang of the roof. Both are aesthetic yet functional components for your home that can be installed by anyone with the right materials and mindset. With these tips in hand, the task is a simple do-it-yourself project.
Keep Supplies Handy
Before you start your project, be sure to have all the supplies you will need at hand. If you choose thin, flexible materials for your soffit and fascia, you may only need basic hand tools such as aviation snips to cut and manipulate it. Heavier materials may require more heavy-duty power tools such as a mitre saw.
When putting on your tool belt, make sure that it is stocked with everything you need, including a hammer, a power drill, screws, a level, and a measuring tape. Because you will be working at roof level, it is vital to have a sturdy, reliable ladder. Unless you have a tall enough step ladder, it may be best to use an extension ladder that can adjust to your roof. This is especially important if the height of your roof changes.
While you are shopping for supplies, your most important choices will concern the types of soffit and fascia that are right for your home. Both items are typically sold in long pieces and are offered in a variety of colours and styles. You will also need to decide what material you prefer to use: aluminum or vinyl. Most contractors prefer aluminum soffit and fascia except when they need very small sections that may need to bend and be manipulated in order to fit into their space on the house; see the next section for a full exploration of this topic.
Aluminum Versus Vinyl
Soffit and fascia typically come in aluminum or vinyl, and which material you choose will probably depend on a number of factors.
Vinyl is a relatively inexpensive material that comes in a large variety of styles and colours. It is durable and doesn’t fade easily over time. It improves insulation, which helps keep your household energy costs down, and is low maintenance. When it comes time for cleaning, a simple spray wash typically suffices.
On the other hand, some don’t like the aesthetic appearance of vinyl, and think it looks cheap. Vinyl can also be subject to mold and mildew, which can cause quite a headache for homeowners, not to mention health problems. Vinyl may also become brittle due to long-term exposure to the sun, potentially causing cracks or chips.
Aluminum is considered a low-maintenance material. It is not prone to mold or mildew, it does not easily become dirty, and it is impacted by neither water nor rust. Aluminum is also highly durable, and does not crack. Because it is such a light material, aluminum is easy to work with and install. Overall, aluminum is more likely to add to the value of your home.
On the negative side, aluminum is a more expensive than vinyl. It is also less effective as an insulator. Aluminum is also weaker than vinyl when faced with heavy impact, such as that caused by stormy weather.
The best thing to do when making this decision is to consider all the pros and cons. As you do this, pinpoint the factors which are the most important to you. Only you know what is right for your home.
Check Work Area
Before you begin cutting and drilling, it is crucial that you get to know your roof. Take a good look at close range to see what exactly you are dealing with. Do you have open eaves or enclosed eaves? Are the undersides of the eaves level and even? Do you have loose shingles, boards or tiles that need to be nailed down? And does your roof need a cleaning thanks to moss, decomposed leaves, and other debris?
Make all of these checks well before you begin. It is also wise to survey the ground beneath your work area to make sure there is a clear, level space where the ladder can stand safely. This extra preparation can save you from delay and extra costs caused by unforeseen problems, and help you to enjoy a smooth and hassle-free experience.
Sealing with Soffit
You have your tools on hand, you’ve picked out your soffit and fascia, and your work area is ready: now it is time for installation. You will install the soffit first, as it is placed along the underside of the eaves before the fascia is fit over the top.
If there is a wood soffit already in place, you will need to screw a J-channel along it. This is what you will fit the soffit into. If there is no J-channel, you will need to purchase an F-channel and screw it along the sides of the house. Always use a level when installing the receiving channels to ensure a straight line from the eaves to the exterior of the house.
If your soffit is in long panels, you will need to cut it into smaller lengths before sliding it into the channel. Once the edge along the house is secured into the channel, screw the outside edge into the wooden fascia. Make sure to install your screws in the groove of the panel and not the perforated area; otherwise you risk breaking or denting the panel. Then, slide the next piece beside the first one, and drill a screw where the two pieces overlap at the groove. Continue in this manner until the entire length is covered in soffit. There is no need to install screws in every groove; it is just as effective to screw into every second one.
Even though the fascia hasn’t been installed yet, once this part of your project is done you will start to see the cohesive, finished look your home will have. And, aside from the aesthetic effect, you will love how the soffit eliminates the need to paint while protecting your home from mold and mildew, and ventilating your attic.
Now that your soffit is installed, it is time to tackle the fascia. Typically the fascia is sold in 10-foot lengths and various heights; adjust your fascia as needed before you begin installation.
Begin at a corner. Slide the wood fascia so the lip of the panel’s L-shape slides over the outside edge of the soffit. Drill screws into the bottom of the fascia, lining them up with the grooves in the soffit. Make sure you don’t drill too tightly; this can cause the pressure to warp the shape of the soffit and create dents. Screw roughly every two to three feet, making sure not to go over a screw in the soffit.
A large part of a successful soffit and fascia installation is preparation. Make sure you have all the supplies you need, and be certain that your work area is ready for the job. Most importantly, never underestimate the importance of safety. Ensure you have the proper footwear and headwear, and consider having a second person on hand to hold the ladder or pass you materials. By staying organized and thinking ahead, your soffit and fascia installation is sure to be smooth sailing.