Friday, November 16, 2007
Soffit and Fascia Repair
REPAIRING A ROTTED CORNICE
When the elements start coming inside the house, things go downhill fast. Our house in Dallas had a wonderful front porch with wrought iron trim. Unfortunately, the right front fascia and soffit has started rotting away under the roof of the house in a five foot section. The fascia on the porch was rotting away in about a 1 foot by 1 ½ foot area.
It was a war with the squirrels on the left rear side of the porch, where they had eaten away part of the soffit so they could come inside to the attic and rear their families. I cut a piece of hardware cloth a little bigger than the squirrel hole and screwed it to the soffit until I could get to that to fix.
Those rats with fancy tails couldn't get in. I then let our cat spend a couple of nights in the attic with cat food, water, and any remaining squirrels up there. No more squirrels. The cat and I were both happy.
Step one: I used a saber saw and made a cut square on the remaining good wood side of the damaged soffit and fascia. I then used a screwdriver and pry bar to remove the damaged wood.
I was careful to miss the rafters where the fascia and soffit were attached. These are called lookouts and these boards anchor the rafter ends to the house. Fortunately, the rafters were undamaged.
If they had been damaged, I would have cut pieces of new treated 2 X 6 lumber to match the shape of each damaged rafter and fasten it far enough back to good remaining wood. All damaged wood must be removed.
Step two I cut new fascia and soffit lumber to the correct dimensions from treated wood and attached it where it belonged. Step three I then sealed each joint at each end with exterior grade paintable caulk to keep future water out.
Step four Paint and cleanup.
The squirrel war was won by doing the same soffit repair where they ate it away. I also temporarily screwed a square of hardware cloth over where I did that repair to prevent future incursions. Being creatures of habit, they tried to gnaw another hole in the soffit. I found scratch marks on the new wood where they tried to re-enter. But they finally gave up, so I took off the hardware cloth and repainted.