How to fix this soffit?

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Junior Member
Apr 29, 2009
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I'm wondering how to best cut out the damaged area and best way to patch in new material. It's one broad piece of wood, not 3 planks. I don't know how thick it is yet.

I would cut out what was bad and get a look inside and see if there is more bad framing wood. If not then place some flat pieces inside to create a ledge around what you cut out and screw them thru the good wood. Then cut a piece the right thickness and screw it to the ledge you made. With all the screw heads countersunk fill the holes and the crack sand and paint.

The other way to do it is rip the whole piece out and replace it.
Remove the damaged section with like material, but you need to find the source of the moisture or it will happen again. Look for nail heads in the soffit and scribe a line on the framing. Or, you can cut back to the support, cut even with the support, then sister a 2x to it to nail the replacement panel to.
Thanks for the suggestions! I apologize for my delayed reply - normally I get an email letting me know I've had a answer to my question.

What tool do you recommend for cutting out the damaged area? I have a heavy corded circular saw so that's def out of the question.
I'll go with my oscillator, should give me the most control.
I never knew how much I'd use one till I got one.
I never had one until last month. Because of covid19 we didn’t have Christmas with family last year and on the 4th of July we had a party at my nephews and I brought him is Christmas gift and he had mine also. And I got a harbor freight oscillating saw. It is still in the box as I haven’t needed it yet. I might just have to find something to test it on.
Dear Vinny: Two recommendations:

(1) If you use wood again to replace the rotten end of the trim board, be sure to seal the open grain at the end of the board. That's why the original board (and many trim boards) rot. The open grain at the end is an invitation for water and rot. It takes only a few minutes and a little DAP 230 to seal the end grain, and block water infiltration. We do the same thing with stair stringers -- which have ~2x feet of open grain per length, created by the cuts for the steps and risers. Again, it takes only a few minutes to seal all of this open grain with DAP 230 or a similar sealant. (DAP 3.0 works well in temps below 55 degrees F.)

(2) If you need to replace more trim board, I highly recommend cellular PVC. It does not absorb water, never rots, never needs to be repainted, is easy to install and is not significantly more expensive than good wood trim. Plus, if you want a different trim color - cellular PVC holds paint much better than wood, because it does not absorb water. See the attached photo; we replaced all of the wood trim on our house along the shore with cellular PVC Here are some installation tips:

Dining room french doors and windows - 1200 x 715.jpg

A few tips for installation:

(1) Always use stainless steel trim screws or trim nails to attach it, to avoid rust stains.
The FastenMaster Cortex system is the best solution, with matching PVC caps that eliminate the need to fill screw holes. See: Cortex Model # FMCTXT-VA50SMHD, Home Depot Internet #203705494 Store SKU #822865

(2) If you need to join any corners, use heavy duty PVC glue (from the plumbling dept) plus an 18 or 23 gauge brad/pin nail to hold the corner together while the glue dries. Home Depot carries stainless 18 brad nails and 23 gaugue pin nails. You will also need a matching nail gun, e.g. the Ryobi One 18 gauge brad nailer, Model # P320, Home Depot Internet #203810823, UPC Code # 033287139620 Store SKU #632013

(3) If you need to add new window trim, build it as a 'frame' on the ground, then mount the frame on the window as one piece. This will allow you to work on a flat surface and build a nice trim box with tight joints. Pocket screws are helpful for large pieces, and glue all of the corner joints with clear PVC glue. For pocket screws you will need to buy a jig and use stainless screws. See: Kreg Model # K4MS, Home Depot Internet #202711579 Store SKU #1001213548 and Kreg Model # SDK-C2SS-700, Home Depot Internet #202711494 If you need a shorter screw, standard "pan head" stainless steel screws will work with the Kreg system. We prefer 'star drive' over 'square drive'.

(4) Corner boards and special shapes: Many people do not know that Home Depot carries a much wider array of building products -- not simply what is displayed on shelves in a store. This is important for cellular PVC projects. If you need long corner boards for new siding, for example, you can buy pre-made AZEK corner boards (exterior and interior corners) with 'rabbeted' edges for new siding. This saves a ton of time and money, and the quality is excellent. If you need corner boards or another special shape or size, talk to the Pro Desk at your local Home Depot -- and check the AZEK website for the options before you go. An image of an AZEK corner board profile with rabbeted edges is attached below.

Azek corner board - with rabbeted edges.jpg

(5) If you cut cellular PVC and the cut edge will be exposed, you need to seal it -- to avoid dust collecting in the tiny pores which turns gray or green. Sand the edge smooth with 300, then seal it with a clean rag that is damp with acetone. Wear gloves because acetone is absorbed directly through the skin -- and is carcinogenic.

(6) If you need to install siding next to your trim, you can create or order 'rabbeted' edges -- a deep groove along the edge of the trim that the siding boards slide into, covering the ends. We cut rabbets into our window trim with a table saw, and ordered rabbeted Azek corner boards through Home Depot. The photo above shows what a rabbeted edge looks like.

(7) You can mix and match HD Veranda and Azek trim and use the same screws and glue. Both are cellular PVC. Veranda is cheaper for standard trim boards. Azek offers more options, e.g. corner boards and bead board. (A photo is attached.)

(8) Both Veranda and Azek are available with a smooth or a woodgrain / 'frontier' surface, to match your house. You can order different versions from your Home Depot's Customer Service or Pro Desk.

(9) Store the trim flat and covered at your home or job site, to avoid distortions if they get hot in the summer sun, and stains from leaves, etc.

I hope this detail is helpful.

That blue house is very pretty. I've heard good things about the Azek brand. I would absolutely get rid of the wood.

A question though: Shouldn't soffits have some sort of venting?
Dear Zannej: Home Depot's 'Veranda' brand is less expensive and identical for standard trim boards. They also carry sheets. AZEK offers a much wider range of special shapes, e.g. corner boards and rabbeted edges for new siding. These special AZEK boards are available from Home Depot. They carry a much wider range of building products than what you see on retail store shelves, and will quickly deliver to your job site for a small fee -- or free to your local Home Depot. Talk to the Pro Desk or Customer Service to order these products.

RE soffit vents, our last home and this one have sealed attics that are part of the 'conditioned space'. This approach can be more efficient if the underside of the roof deck is well insulated, and the home is well sealed against air leaks -- and is particularly helpful if you have HVAC ducts in your attic. See: Vented and Unvented Roofs - Fine Homebuilding

Bville, thanks for all the suggestions and tips. I'm making this repair for a friend so it's just that small area that needs fixin.' After reading zannej's comment about venting it made me realize they have no vents and it's not a conditioned space.
vinny, I wonder if moisture is building up because there is no venting. Years ago when we had vinyl siding put on, they put on vinyl cosmetic boards over the soffit. Like this:

But every few feet they had some perforated ones like this:
to allow for airflow. I wonder if something like that could be a solition. Vinyl isn't a bad thing to get for the soffit area since it won't rot from moisture.
That would definitely be better but the owners have no interest in changing all the soffits.
I've removed a section of 1/4" plywood and a 2x6. There are several nails which attached the fascia or possibly the gutters to the 2x6. I figured I'd cut the nails, slide in the 2x6 and cut a piece of plywood to fit the space.


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BTW, do they still sell this plywood with the fancy design?
Foursuggestions: (1) Find and fix the water leakage problem first. How did water get behind the soffit trim and rot the ends of the rafters? Is the roofing intact? Is there no drip edge to carry water beyond and over the trim? If this problem isn't fixed, rot will simply recur. (2) Replace the rotted wood soffit trim with cellular PVC, e.g. Veranda from Home Depot. It never rots or cracks, and never needs to be painted. Use FastenMaster Cortex screws and caps to attach it; the caps hide the screw holes. Home Depot carries this as well. See the photo below; all of the trim is Veranda cellular PVC. (3) It appears that you cut the rotted ends off the rafters. Make sure you remove all of the rot, and sister in new extensions. Given the extent of this problem, I would use PT lumber. (4) It is difficult to see the texture on the ceiling panels in the photo. It appears that it may be simply plaster troweled on with a texture.


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Just above the area I'm fixing is a valley in the roof where water pours over the edge instead of going into the gutter because the gutters are often full of leaves and the fact that I found a bunch of insulation in that area that was restricting air flow are what caused the problem.
We had the same problem with our home in Massachusetts. I installed Gutter Guard over the gutters -- and never had a problem again. This stainless steel micro-screen also survived Massachusetts winters. In addition to leaves and pine needles, the "micro-screen" also blocks grit washed off asphalt shingles. You can install it yourself, if you are comfortable on a ladder and can access the gutters and roof edge. Highly recommended! Home Depot carries their standard model -- which I installed. So I also had it installed on the new gutters on our beach house. Again, no problems. See: Home Depot Internet #300276095, Model #THD80, UPC Code #855276003800

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