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pgraff99 10-06-2008 11:18 AM

How to replace a partially rotted soffit that's sandwiched in
 
4 Attachment(s)
I checked all the posts on soffit & fascia repair and could not find info related to my dilemma. I just bought a 15-year old home with all exterior fascia, trim and soffit is (gulp) OSB engineered wood. I had no idea what was lurking under the new paint. Anyhow, I need to do some emergency replacement of a rotted span of fascia (blown off by Hurricane Ike) and my demolition was discovered the soffit is also rotted half way from the fascia to the wall.

In trying to remove the soffit, I discovered it's inserted (sandwiched) and nailed inside the framing of the house (between the ceiling joist and cornice nailer) and using something like a reciprocating saw cut the nails holding it in will cause the 2 x 4 used to nail the cornice to fall free. Using the reciprocating saw is not an option because there's no way for me to reattach the cornice nailer.

How can I cut out this crappy OSB soffit so I can replace it with plywood? Is there some sort of circular saw that will let me cut it flush with the side of the house, up against the cornice nailer (2 x 4). I had thought about one of those pneumatic cutoff saws or a "jamb saw" (saw that in a catalog but have never used one).

I'm going to attach a couple of photos taken after my demo work. I'd be really grateful for some advice.

Marvin Gardens 10-06-2008 12:03 PM

When you say there is "no way to reattach the cornice nailer" I am wondering why.

There is always a way to get something done and I don't see why you can't remove that and put in another one.

Remember that the spores and fungus that cause rot spreads to other areas and if you don't replace some of the wood surrounding it the problem will come right back. Some of this can travel several feet into the wood and hasn't started the rotting process.

pgraff99 10-06-2008 12:11 PM

The layer of brick below the cornice nailer is flush (in the same plane) with it and I can't get a nailer in there to reattach it. It would be hard to even toenail it, I think.

Marvin Gardens 10-06-2008 12:17 PM

Well I am missing something here. It looks like you could nail it up to where the OSB is now.

pgraff99 10-06-2008 12:25 PM

I'm probably doing a poor job of describing. If you look at my 4th (last) photo, you can see that running a reciprocating saw just under that OSB soffit, would allow me to pry the old soffit down and pull it out, but the 2 x 4 that makes up the bottom part of the "sandwich" would just fall down and to reattach it after pulling out the soffit would be impossible (the brick is in the way of the nail gun). It would leave me with nothing to reattach the cornice board to.

Marvin Gardens 10-06-2008 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pgraff99 (Post 168936)
I'm probably doing a poor job of describing. If you look at my 4th (last) photo, you can see that running a reciprocating saw just under that OSB soffit, would allow me to pry the old soffit down and pull it out, but the 2 x 4 that makes up the bottom part of the "sandwich" would just fall down and to reattach it after pulling out the soffit would be impossible (the brick is in the way of the nail gun). It would leave me with nothing to reattach the cornice board to.

You are going to reattach the OSB once you cut it out right? How are you going to reattach the OSB (or plywood)? I assume that some sort of nail.

Once that is place then nail up the cornice board to the OSB/plywood.

There is always glue. I have used that with good success in some applications.

You can also use galvanized screws since this is not structural. I have an extension for my impact driver that will allow me to get into some very tight corners and get in a screw for non structural things.

pgraff99 10-06-2008 12:59 PM

I want rid of the OSB altogether and was hoping to trim out the old soffit and attach 3/8" plywood instead, nailing it back into the joist overhangs. The cornice will hide the plywood joint where it meets the wall.

Since starting the post, I see that Craftsman makes a 3" mini circular saw that I could run along the wall after pulling off the cornice. If I adjust the depth right (so I don't cut into the joists), I could free the exposed soffit and leave the piece that's sandwiched. Do you think that would work?

Related questions that's been really bugging me -- Why would a carpenter insert such crappy (short lived) soffit material into the framing to make it nearly impossible to remove?

Marvin Gardens 10-06-2008 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pgraff99 (Post 168950)
I want rid of the OSB altogether and was hoping to trim out the old soffit and attach 3/8" plywood instead, nailing it back into the joist overhangs. The cornice will hide the plywood joint where it meets the wall.

Since starting the post, I see that Craftsman makes a 3" mini circular saw that I could run along the wall after pulling off the cornice. If I adjust the depth right (so I don't cut into the joists), I could free the exposed soffit and leave the piece that's sandwiched. Do you think that would work?

Related questions that's been really bugging me -- Why would a carpenter insert such crappy (short lived) soffit material into the framing to make it nearly impossible to remove?

OSB is not much different than plywood. Both would rot in this situation and more than likely plywood would rot faster. OSB has a lot of glue in it that prevents mildew and fungus compared to plywood.

I think you have some misconceptions about OSB.

pgraff99 10-06-2008 02:11 PM

Yes, I guess they are similar and both will swell & delaminate in the weather. Actually, in this case, the fascia wicked water to the soffit which was inserted in a groove (dado) in the fascia. I think a badly installed metal drip edge (touching the fascia) started the problem. I do remember a builder saying it's not a good idea to install drip edge on a 12-12 pitched roof because the drip edge will ride on the fascia.

My real question should have been, why would a builder use OSB as an exposed (to weather) material for trim and fascia, knowing that water will eventually penetrate, cause delamination, swelling, and rot? Painting slows it down, but does not stop it.

Marvin Gardens 10-06-2008 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pgraff99 (Post 168985)
Yes, I guess they are similar and both will swell & delaminate in the weather. Actually, in this case, the fascia wicked water to the soffit which was inserted in a groove (dado) in the fascia. I think a badly installed metal drip edge (touching the fascia) started the problem. I do remember a builder saying it's not a good idea to install drip edge on a 12-12 pitched roof because the drip edge will ride on the fascia.

My real question should have been, why would a builder use OSB as an exposed (to weather) material for trim and fascia, knowing that water will eventually penetrate, cause delamination, swelling, and rot? Painting slows it down, but does not stop it.

That is the real issue.

Wood needs several things to survive for centuries. One is to be kept out of water, the second is that it need air circulation to keep moisture from building up.

Preventing water from getting on it can be done by many means. The best is to have good waterproof materials to keep the water off. I am a fanatic about routing water away from wood.

A second but less favorable option is to paint, stain, waterproof the wood. Since there is no such thing as waterproofing wood it has to be "waterproofed" often to keep the moisture out. Paint and stain will both go bad over time and needs to be redone.

I have ripped apart 100 year old homes that were built in a very rainy area (over 300 inches a year) and the wood was dry and rot free. It was well protected with good air movement and the original builder knew about moving the rain away from the wood.

On the flip side I have seen new homes with poor quality work and rotten wood that was new only 10 years earlier.

pgraff99 10-06-2008 02:48 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the information and affirmation. I guess the short answer is cost cutting/profit -- and the builder knew it would last at least 5 years.

Do you think a little hand saw like this would work to cut the soffit out near the wall? (see photo)

Marvin Gardens 10-06-2008 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pgraff99 (Post 169003)
Thanks for the information and affirmation. I guess the short answer is cost cutting/profit -- and the builder knew it would last at least 5 years.

Do you think a little hand saw like this would work to cut the soffit out near the wall? (see photo)

Nope.

4just1don 10-06-2008 09:30 PM

I "FEEL" your pain. MY idea of fixing something like this is to fix it permanently the next time,,,in other words I would use plastic engineered soffit boards and plastic OR aluminum soffit material and leave it open underneath for air flow(NO plywood),,,by screwing on a ledger board of sorts to attach house side of soffit to.

Never had one OR used one,,,but would a 'zip' saw get you close enough?? They DO sell a multitude ofattachments for those,just unsure if it would be RIGHT one!!

I think they need a flush cut saw invented also,,,sorta like a jamb saw to shorten door jams for flooring??? Lots of aplications like that where you have to reach in and flush cut a surface next to another

Big Bob 10-06-2008 10:27 PM

This appears to be the framing of a Bay window area. This most likely was put together when brick veneer and drywall was not in place.

Will you have better access to your bad wood if you remove some drywall ceiling in this area? Yes it is all more work then you wanted to do, but...sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

If this or any additional effort is work necessary to provide a nail-able surface per code, than the efforts and all needed restoration required for access should be covered by your carrier if you have filed an insurance claim. ( Do you have Ordinance and Law coverage?)

Or if this and other damage was lower than your deductible... do what you need to do... yes you might be able to tool up... and make some of this restoration happen... but I think yo will find better access the key to solving your dilemma.

pgraff99 10-07-2008 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 4just1don (Post 169143)
I "FEEL" your pain. MY idea of fixing something like this is to fix it permanently the next time,,,in other words I would use plastic engineered soffit boards and plastic OR aluminum soffit material and leave it open underneath for air flow(NO plywood),,,by screwing on a ledger board of sorts to attach house side of soffit to.

Never had one OR used one,,,but would a 'zip' saw get you close enough?? They DO sell a multitude ofattachments for those,just unsure if it would be RIGHT one!!

I think they need a flush cut saw invented also,,,sorta like a jamb saw to shorten door jams for flooring??? Lots of aplications like that where you have to reach in and flush cut a surface next to another

Yes, you are absolutely right about that. I really want to go all Hardie products, but having just bought the home and with so many other expenses, I just wanted to do some fast fixes on a couple of rotted spots, to hold me until I take out a loan for the entire exterior. I guess I need to look at the saws in person to see how close they will let me get.

Marvin Gardens says it's not the way to go, but I gotta look at it.


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