Rafter "tail" repair


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Old 09-29-05, 09:05 PM
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Rafter "tail" repair

Hello all.

I am going to be replacing my gutters shortly with vinyl sections from Home Depot. I have been noticing gaps forming between the fascia board and the roof sheathing/underlayment (which the wasps love to hang their nests in ), they've been getting worse in the past year. I just figured the sheathing wasn't secured properly as the roof was replaced, as well as some sections of sheathing 5-6 years ago, just before we bought the house. The past few days have been spent with several cans of Raid killing the nests one by one after removing the old leaf guards...to my dismay, I could see down behind the fascia board, and see that alot of the rafter tails/ends are rotted away, causing the gaps since the fascia board is not secured by much anymore. Now I'm not frightened by this repair, but have no ideas on where to start...I've built a deck by scratch, also built a shed with our own plans, both turned out nice...I just need an idea of how to repair this...how do I know how long the rafters were before the rot? Is there a certain length that they are away from the edge of the sheathing? Will it be sufficient to screw a board on either side of the rot (in the solid areas) and trim to length? I have tons of leftover treated 2x6 from the deck and am hoping to trim and use that to save from buying more. Any input appreciated.
 
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Old 09-29-05, 09:49 PM
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If your rafter tails are rotting, it likely means the roof sheathing near the roof edge is also damaged, and the wavyness and gaps widening seem to suggest this. If no gutter apron is present, that could be a leading factor why it rotted. If the roof is not sloped enough, that could be a factor. If the gutters have been plugged with wet leaves and mud for the past 10 years, that might have something to do with it too.

As far as where to start, that's hard to say. But if you don't care how it looks from below, you can surely add on pieces of 2x6 as you suggest. If the pieces are full length, I would think that adding one piece to one side of a rotted rafter tail would be sufficient, provided you have enough good wood to screw to.

Find a few good rafters and run a stringline from the end of one to the end of another, pulling it really tight and spanning the area where the rot is. Then use the line as a reference to get the replacement rafter tails straight.
 
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Old 09-30-05, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

I spent the day cutting the old alum. gutters off as those spikes were in there pretty good. Pulled all of the gutters off and removed about 1/3 of the fascia board length so far. It's actually not as bad as it looked when peeking behind the board. The ends don't appear to be "missing" any length, just the end has been nailed into so many times before, it's just like nailing into a sponge, there's nothing solid enough to hold a nail firmly...one section of fascia actually fell off when trying to get a gutter spike out ...I'll still have to do the repair with my scraps, just no need to string and measure length.

Suprisingly, the gutter just had sludge and shingle grit, no real clogs...I'm guessing the damage was done before us buying it...when whomever did the roof and siding, they reused the old gutters, which look like they've been dropped a few times...plenty of creases and holes in those creases to not let them get too backed up.

Now onto some somewhat related questions...the house was vinyl sided...it has vinyl soffit as well...when pulling off the fascia, of course the soffit gets removed...under the vinyl soffit, there's plywood running the whole length...doesn't this defeat the purpose of the little vents in the soffit? There's no ridge or roof vents...there are gable vents on each end of the house (26x60 basic straight ranch). I assume it would be best to remove this wood under the soffit to allow better ventilation?

Next topic...The ends of the sheathing are pretty good. The roof is "wavy" in spots, mostly where the sheathing wwasn't replaced. While on the ladder, after the fascia was removed, I see the house was built with 24" centers under what appears to be only 1/4" plywood ...I live in Ohio and we get some good snows often...I'm guessing this is why the satellite guy said "your roof is pretty bouncy". My priority next year is to have the basement waterproofed so hopefully it will hold up 'till the year after. I plan on tackling this myself with friends and family as it is a simple roof, furnace vent and 2 sewer vents, nothing else.

Will it be alright to nail/screw all new 1/4" sheathing overtop of the old? I'm afraid of removing the old and messing up the rafter alignment after all these years (built 1956). If this is acceptable, will the new wood deform to the old, or will it help straighten the old stuff?

I'm upset at myself for not having the house professionally inspected when we bought it, but it was an FHA loan, which supposedly has their own inspection process. This 1/4" business doesn't seem to be near code, I would think it would be at least 1/2", especially w/ 24" centers.
 
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Old 09-30-05, 09:04 PM
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Gable vents used to be sufficient before soffit/ridge vents got popular. You might have soffit vents somewhere in your soffit and just haven't uncovered them yet. Usually they are every 8' to 12' or so. If you add soffit vents and add either can or ridge vents, you ought to close up the gable vents. The two should not be used in conjunction because in the right conditions, they can create a downdraft. (picture a 40 mph wind from the north blowing in one gable end and out the other. This could create a measure of suction at the can or ridge vent, and could pull in snow, or at the least, it's pulling in a LOT of unwanted cold air.) The little vents holes in the soffit do not "need" ventilation above them, it's a question of whether your ATTIC needs more ventilation or not. Soffit/ridge venting is more efficient at cooling a roof, so its great in the summer, but if you're going to increase the ventilation by adding soffit/ridge (or can vents) you had better ensure that you have plenty of insulation up there in the wintertime. I believe that in northern Ohio, that means r-38.

Adding soffit vents is also not just a matter of cutting holes in the soffit. You need to ensure that the rafter bay directly in line with the soffit vent is fitted with styrofoam proper vents, with insulation tucked underneath so as to insulate the top plate of your exterior walls.

Regarding the bouncy roof, my guess is that your sheathing is 3/8", which as you pointed out, is too thin. The builder probably also used undersized rafters, probably 2x6. Thats the way some carpenters did things back then, trying to save a buck. So the bounce could also be due to the rafters, not just the sheathing. Regarding the sheathing, if it's warped, I'd rip it off. You Definately don't want to just add 1/4". That would be like walking on 2 sponges instead of just one- Especially on 24" centers. You need a minimum of 5/8" OSB. You could get away with 1/2" OSB if you used h-clips between the rafters. Tearing off the sheathing is no sweat- either install temporary 2x4 bracing, or get yourself some steel truss bracing that you can install and leave in place. It just unfolds over the rafters and you nail it on 24" centers. Your biggest worry when tearing off the roof sheathing is rain. Have some big tarps just in case.
 
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Old 10-01-05, 04:52 PM
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Well, got the rest of the soffit/fascia off of there today, and there isn't a single vent in the wood behind the vinyl soffit...

"You need to ensure that the rafter bay directly in line with the soffit vent is fitted with styrofoam proper vents, with insulation tucked underneath so as to insulate the top plate of your exterior walls."

Funny thing is, while there are no soffit vents, they took the time to install those styrofoam rafter vents and place insulation under them in between every single rafter. It does get quite hot up there in the summer, so I'll find out if there's any code for how many vents/feet of soffit. There's about an average depth of 8 inches of blown-in cellulose insulation across the entire attic, which seems a little low at an R-value of approx 3 per inch (right on the money, R-38 minimum here), so I'll definately be renting a blower soon after my gutter fiasco is complete.

Climbing around on the roof today reveals my belief that the rafters are ok...you can tell where the rafters are...in between is where the bounciness is, although I didn't want to test fate and jump too hard on the rafters. The roof, provided it doesn't spring leaks or gaping holes, is gonna have to wait 2-3 years as my basement is in desperate need of waterproofing. I will be installing a ridge vent and closing up the gable vents.

Thanks for all of the advice so far, you've been a great help.

I may have more questions, so don't go too far.
 
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Old 10-01-05, 06:39 PM
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glad to help. keep those questions coming!
 
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Old 10-03-05, 08:21 PM
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One thing I forgot to mention, the dummy that did this to my house decided it would be a great idea to run dryer duct from the bathroom fan and terminate it at a hole in the old wood soffit... Black mold from hell on 5-10 feet either side of the vent, on the old wood soffit and the bottom of the roof sheathing...Soffit was garbage, sheathing was bleached, and vent was relocated thru the side of the attic with an actual vent.

All right, on to the gutters.

Researching the subject, I am torn on which to use, I've seen opinions all over that equal each other........"gutter apron" or "drip edge"? I have already bought the drip edge. Then I see posts/ads for gutter apron, which I've never noticed for sale in my weekly trips to Home Depot, only drip edge that I remember.
http://www.gutterstandards.com/img/2_photo-13b.jpg
Apron left, drip edge right, tho you probably know that.
Does the gutter get installed, then the drip edge gets secured under the shingles, then into the gutter? I assume it would defeat the purpose if the gutters went on top of the drip edge.

Or do I take the drip edge back and find this gutter apron? I get more confused after each Yahoo search on this subject, go easy on me.

If it makes any difference, we used 1x6 premium pressure treated fascia board and also have the alum. fascia that gets nailed to it, not yet installed pending above questions. The rafter ends and wood fascia are complete.
 
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Old 10-03-05, 08:39 PM
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You should always use gutter apron along your gutters. It is longer and will direct the water into your gutters, preventing any from dripping behind your gutter and causing more rotted fascia.

Drip edge is best used on gable ends.

I noticed one thing. You said you installed PT wood, and you're planning on installing aluminum fascia cover. That is a bad combination. Bare milled aluminum coil cannot be in contact with today's PT wood due to corrosion between 2 incompatable metals (aluminum and copper, which is in the pressure treated wood). I'm not sure what the solution to this is at this point. It might be as simple as painting the back side of your aluminum fascia cover so that the bare aluminum is not in direct contact with the PT wood.
 
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Old 10-03-05, 09:03 PM
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Yet something else I learned...the alum fascia is painted on both sides, but I really don't want to take the chance of it looking like crap in a few years...I'll definately look into vinyl fascia...no probs with that on pt wood, right?

As for the gutter apron, reading thru this thread...

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=224641

...as OldPete was saying, around here the gutter apron just isn't used...checked 2 neighbors houses, both built about the same time, one with a new roof/gutters/fascia...also checked my parents house, built in the mid 70's, new roof...all 3 have normal drip edge...I'll have to take another look at the home improvement stores, but all of my trips there looking around the gutter and roof isles, I just can't remember any gutter apron...was going there tomorrow for white nails to NOT secure my alum fascia anyway. Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-04-05, 08:36 PM
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Sorry to double post, but just wanted to fill you in on today's findings...I did exchange the alum fascia for vinyl, no problem. Went to buy nails for it, saw the only ones available were alum, so had to buy white "deck" screws, suitable for pt wood.

Here's the deal on the gutters...out of the 6 or 7 people I talked with tonight at Lowe's, Home Depot, Carter Lumber, and a local Ace hardware, only 1 has even heard of gutter apron, and even then he's never seen it used except on very low pitched roofs. Nobody carries it around here and I need to get the gutters up tomorrow before the next rain...

Upon disassembly of the gutter/soffit/fascia area, there was no drip edge, gutter apron, flashing, ice/water shield, I didn''t even see any tar paper under the shingles, NOTHING. What hacks.

The gutter apron will definately be looked into when we do the roof in a couple of years...I could probably reuse the drip edge I'm putting in now for the rake of the roof, since there isn't squat there either...with the ventilation added to the soffits, hopefully the roof sheathing will not warp too much more...we screwed some scraps up there to bring the bad parts down to the fascia...ice and water shield will be installed when the roof is done...I think (hope) it will be alright until the roof is replaced, heck, can't be any worse than what it was.
 
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Old 10-04-05, 08:57 PM
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Well, if you plan on nailing your vinyl fascia you can be glad that you're covering it with gutter. Vinyl fascia expands and contracts just like vinyl siding does, so nailing or screwing it is a bad idea.

Incidentally, they do make white painted stainless steel trim nails. Sorry to hear that no one there knows about gutter apron... tar paper... etc.
 
 

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