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How To Replace A Leaking Soffit

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Roof leaks can lead to costly damage to your house.   While you may blame a broken shingle or a hole in the roof for the water leak, your roof surface may not be to blame after all.  Water could be leaking in through the soffit because of clogged gutters, ice dams, or rotted fascia.  The evidence of water intrusion will be evident on the edges and corners of the soffit.  Take a close-up look at your soffits and check for cracked, peeling paint, and curling and rotted plywood.  If the soffit is so damaged that it is letting water into the house, it is time to replace it.  Here are the steps to replace the soffit quickly and easily.

Replacement Process

  1. The first thing to do is to remove the gutters attached to the roof soffit.  Using a pry bar, carefully take off the gutters.  Try not to damage the gutters as you will be putting them back up after you replace the soffit.
  2. Now, take off the fascia board and thoroughly clean it.  You may need to replace broken or mold-ridden fascia board pieces with new ones.  Test the wood by inserting a screwdriver tip into it.  If it crumbles, it's time to replace them too.  Measure the broken fascia pieces and cut pine boards with the same length and width to replace them.  A circular saw would make the cutting process a whole lot faster, but you can always just use tin snips.
  3. Install a J-channel into the soffit framing by using shingle nails.  A J-channel is a piece of aluminum that looks like the letter J, and is used to fit soffits against the house. 
  4. Measure the distance between the J-channel to the outside of the soffit framing and cut replacement soffit panels to size using a circular saw.  Make sure the depth is the same all along the frame.  If you find uneven depths, cut the soffit panels accordingly.
  5. One by one, slide the panels into the J-channel and nail along the outer fascia board using soffit nails.
  6. Install fascia panels on top of the soffit panels by using aluminum nails.  Bend the corners so that they properly wrap around the soffits.  Avoid becoming overzealous with the hammer or nail gun and don't make dents in the fascia.
  7. Replace the gutters and be careful not to scrape the new fascia you just installed.  Before reinstalling the gutters, take the time to clean and remove any leaves, dirt, debris, and sediment.

Water leaking in through damaged soffits can cause substantial damage to your property.  Follow the steps above to replace the leaking soffits and avoid paying for expensive repairs later on.