Repairing a Rotted Soffit

What You'll Need
Primer and paint
Hammer and nails
Pry bar
Utility knife

A soffit is a construction element on the outside of your home. It lies beneath the eaves on the front and sides of your home. It can rot for a number of reasons, such as water damage and pest infestation. If you leave a rotted soffit unrepaired, damage can spread to adjoining soffits and fascia boards. Therefore you want to complete repairs at the first sign of damage. Check the weather for a day free of rain and inclement weather and schedule your repairs for that day.

Step 1 — Inspect the Soffits

You’ll need to climb a ladder to obtain a good view of the rotted soffit. Make sure to place the ladder securely on level ground.  Once you have located the rotted area, you’ll have to remove any molding that runs in front of the soffit. In the case of much damage, the molding may be missing. Each house is different; however, you usually must remove something before you can fully access the soffits. 

Step 2 — Cut the Seams

Using your utility knife, free the soffit by cutting down each side. This task is easiest once you have found the soffit seams. Your utility knife will cut through all of sealant that holds the soffit in place.

Step 3 — Remove the Damaged Material

Now that the soffit is free from the rest of the wood boards, you should be able to rip it out with ease, especially if it is terribly damaged. If you meet with a lot of resistance, you can use a pry bar to get it out.

Make sure to check for any signs of water damage. Water damage is a common cause of rotted soffits. You can eliminate the problem with a little bit of work.

Birds, rodents and insects can also cause excessive damage to soffits. If you find any evidence of such a problem, make sure to deal with it before you replace the soffits. Before going on to the next step, make sure you removed any leftover nails from the rafters. 

Step 4 — Install the New Soffit

Accurately measure the hole left by the soffit. Cut a new piece of lumber to the same specifications. Select the same lumber as the original piece. If you can’t find the same type of lumber, use lumber of the same thickness and durability. Nail the new soffit in place and caulk the seams for extra security. Don’t forget to replace the molding you removed earlier in the job.  

Step 5 — Prime and Paint the New Soffit

Make sure the wood is dry and weather conditions sufficient before you prime and paint the soffit to match the exterior of the building.