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.
Soffit and Fascia Repair
1. Remove Shingle Mold
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
Remove the rotted section of fascia. Be careful not to damage any nearby roof shingles or flashing.
3. Remove Old Soffit
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
Use a reciprocating saw to chop out the rotted rafter. Cut a replacement piece from pressure-treated lumber.
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
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
Protect the edges of the plywood soffit from water penetration with a waxy sealer, such as AnchorSeal.
8. Attach Replacement Soffit
Fasten the plywood soffit to the underside of the eave or rake after priming both the top and bottom surfaces.
9. Replace Crown Molding
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
Slide the new fascia into place, then attach it with galvanized nails. Set the nails and putty the holes.
11. Attach Shingle Mold
Attach the shingle mold along the top of the fascia. Use a tape measure to maintain a consistent reveal.