Soffit repair is a fairly common home improvement project for homeowners. The soffit is the material that is fixed underneath various parts of a building. You can use it to complete installation of cornices, stairs, eaves, cabinets and ceilings. However, soffits have a high vulnerability to damage, especially by weather. Insects and small animals also exacerbate soffit damage. Fortunately, repair of damaged soffit isn’t a difficult job. Below is a guide that shows you how to repair wood soffits found underneath eaves.
Step 1 – Remove Molding
You’re likely to find molding where the soffit lies against the exterior wall. Molding is also used to join the soffit with the fascia. Use a utility knife to remove the molding that runs all along the edge of the soffit.
Step 2 – Locate Soffit Seams
The soffit is usually installed in panels or strips. Trace the seams on each side of the damaged area. Cut through the caulking with a utility knife to separate the individual soffit lengths.
Step 3 – Remove Damaged Soffit
Use a pry bar to lift out the damaged soffit sections. Watch out for nails lodged in the roof rafters. If you have to cut through the soffit, use a jig saw to cut out a square or rectangular patch. It makes it easier to install the new portion and helps to maintain the stability of the feature. If your soffit is of the tongue and grove type, be sure to cut along the grooves in the wood.
Step 4 – Identify Cause of Damage
Take some time to inspect the damage. It will help you to determine what may have contributed to the damage. This will enable you to undertake repairs more effectively. The damage could have been caused by some hard impact, small animals, insects or water leakage. Bees and wasps love to nest in the eaves. If you spot any, call an exterminator first to clear them before you work.
Step 5 – Clean
It is best if you install the new soffit in a clean area. Use a soft scrub brush to clear loose dirt and debris from the area. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Step 6 – Take Dimensions and Cut
Use a tape measure to determine the size of the area to be fitted with new soffit. Cut out a wooden panel to fit the area. Be sure the wood is of the same type as that used on the rest of the soffit installation. It is important that the wood has similar width and durability to create uniformity in the installment.
Step 7 – Install
Fit the new soffit into the hole. Secure it to the rafters with a hammer and nails. Apply acrylic caulk to the seams. It is best to apply just what you need. If you dispense too much caulk, it creates an untidy surface and makes it harder to achieve good results when painted over. Smooth the caulk with a utility knife and allow it to dry completely.
Step 8 – Finishing
Apply a suitable primer for wood over the repaired area. You can then paint it with a color that matches the rest of the soffit.