More in Roofing

How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

A pro shows you how to rebuild the water-damaged edge of a roof

Photo by iStockphoto.com

Roof repairs typically involve replacing damaged shingles and rusted flashing, but the overhang of a roof is often the first area to succumb to rot, peeling paint and other weather-related problems. The good news is, unlike most roof repairs, you can fix an eave or gable overhang (rake) without climbing onto the roof.

Soffited eaves and gable overhangs are susceptible to water damage caused by ice dams, improper flashing, torn shingles, and faulty gutters. And once water has seeped in, the rot spreads quickly because the wood stays soggy inside the dark, dank space. Damage is also caused by birds and squirrels nesting inside eaves. These animals have been known to chew or peck through a perfectly sound eave, but they're especially attracted to a water-damaged fascia or soffit, which offers less resistance. Bees and hornets also build nests in and under eaves. Call an exterminator if you notice bees or hornets congregating around an eave — even if you don't see the nest.


Steps // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit
1 ×

Remove Shingle Mold

 
Step One // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Remove Shingle Mold

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Pry the narrow shingle mold from the fascia using a flat bar. If it comes off without splitting, reuse it later.

 
2 ×

Remove Rotted Fascia

 
Step Two // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Remove Rotted Fascia

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Remove the rotted section of fascia. Be careful not to damage any nearby roof shingles or flashing.

 
3 ×

Remove Old Soffit

 
Step Three // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Remove Old Soffit

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Pull down to remove the old soffit. Note that a squirrel had built a large nest above the soffit shown here.

 
4 ×

Remove Rotted Rafter

 
Step Four // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Remove Rotted Rafter

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Use a reciprocating saw to chop out the rotted rafter. Cut a replacement piece from pressure-treated lumber.

 
5 ×

Attach Cleat

 
Step Five // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Attach Cleat

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

5. Attach cleat

Use a powder-actuated nailer to attach a 2x4 cleat to a brick chimney. The cleat helps support the new overhang.

 
6 ×

Attach New Rafter

 
Step Six // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Attach New Rafter

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Clamp a 1-by backing board in place and screw the new rafter to it. Screw the rafter to the chimney cleat as well.

 
7 ×

Seal Replacement Soffit

 
Step Seven // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Seal Replacement Soffit

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Protect the edges of the plywood soffit from water penetration with a waxy sealer, such as AnchorSeal.

 
8 ×

Attach Replacement Soffit

 
Step Eight // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Attach Replacement Soffit

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Fasten the plywood soffit to the underside of the eave or rake after priming both the top and bottom surfaces.

 
9 ×

Replace Crown Molding

 
Step Nine // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Replace Crown Molding

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Replace the section of crown molding along the wall of the house directly beneath the rear edge of the new soffit.

 
10 ×

Attach Replacement Fascia

 
Step Ten // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Attach Replacement Fascia

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

10. Attach replacement fascia

Slide the new fascia into place, then attach it with galvanized nails. Set the nails and putty the holes.

 
11 ×

Attach Shingle Mold

 
Step Eleven // How to Repair a Rotted Soffit

Attach Shingle Mold

A rotted soffit is revitalized.

Attach the shingle mold along the top of the fascia. Use a tape measure to maintain a consistent reveal.

 
 
 

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