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Old 08-31-2009, 01:42 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Help with installing aluminum soffit and fascia

We are getting ready to install the soffit and fascia on our house, and due to budget constraints we can't hire the work done as we'd prefer.
So I am looking for how soffit and fascia is actually installed since we know absolutely nothing about it. Plus some good tips for the job to look as professional as we can get and not be so DIY obvious.
So please bear with me as I have a lot of dumb questions.

From what I've read this is what I think is how it is done:
1. Mark with a level the sub-fascia height on the wall at each end, snap a chalk line, then nail up aluminum f channel along the wall. What nails are used here? Do you predrill the f-channel or just nail through? We have 1" r-board over our sheathing, so we're worried about sinking the f-channel into the foam and making it all wavy.

2. Measure and cut the soffit pieces. We have a radial arm saw that we bought used. What type of blade would we use to cut through the aluminum? Also, we have 2 ft, overhang. How much shorter should we cut the pieces for 24" wide soffits?

3. Slide soffit pieces into f-channel, and use 1.25" aluminum trim nails to nail up the soffit to underside of subfascia board. Put 1 nail in each groove? Every other groove? Do you put a nail to the subfascia where the soffit pieces connect to each other? Predrill?

3. On the hip roof corners, use t channel to connect the 45 mitered cornered of the soffit. Is that t-channel attached to anything, or does it just free-float supported by the soffit pieces connected to it?

4. on the gable ends, we'd like to build the corner boxes like in the picture I've attached. How is that box framed?

5. Once we have the corner box framed, how do you install soffit on it?

6. On the bottom part of the box (A) do you run the soffit straight all the way to the end, or do you put a 45 mitered corner here?

7. How to you transition from bottom (A) to the side (B). And how do you transition from (B) to (C)?

8. Also, do you run soffit on the gable from the bottom up, or from the peak down? Do you put t-bar at the peak, or do you fold a soffit piece?

9. Once soffit is all installed, how do you attach the al. fascia? We have drip edge on our roof so I think you slide it up under there. I've read to not face nail it, and use nails on the bottom. Is that aluminum trim nails? How many per piece? How much do you overlap? Do you nail at the overlap through both pieces, or a nail on each piece just before the overlap?
Do you pre-drill holes or just drive the nails right through the fascia and soffit? Where the nails go on the fascia, do you line it up with the soffit groove, or just put it wherever without regards to the soffit?

10. How do you do fascia over the boxed corners on the gable front? I think the fascia is bent from the side to come around the front of the box. But I'm not sure that's right. Does it come from the side of the house, bend over the front of the box, then bends again around the box (where B is on my little picture?) How do you bend fascia pieces so that the bend is nice, and straight and crisp and without scratching the heck out of the white paint? Also, on the j-lip of the fascia, do you cut a v-groove to bend it, or do you make 45 cut then when you bend the fascia, the j part simply overlaps as you bend, with the 45 cut to the outside?

11. At the peak of the gable, do you run the fascia on one side without cutting it, then the next piece for the other side overlaps with a cut vertical right at the peak? Or is it done another way?

I will greatly appreciate any advice. Pictures and diagrams will also be very welcome!
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Last edited by Boontucky; 08-31-2009 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 08-31-2009, 06:12 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 938

Help with installing aluminum soffit and fascia

1. Snap the line 1/2" down from level, then line the bottom of the F channel up with that. Use 1 1/2 or 2" roofing nails.

2. radial arm saw probably won't cut the 16" wide soffit panels. The blade isn't big enough. Cut the pieces 1/4" shy of the sub fascia. Measure often because I haven't seen one yet that is perfectly 24" all the way.

3.Rests in the F channel and stapled or nailed to the sub fascia. Make it long, bend it up onto the face of the fascia and nail there. That might be easier.

4. Use a 3-4 foot 2x4 or 2x6 and level it across to the outside of the gable fascia. Leave it a tad loose until you get the F channel behind it and run that to the end, then out to the eave fascia. Should be a perfect 90 if the wood is in correctly.

5. The soffit goes on the bottom. This is the tricky part for a DIYer without a brake. There are many ways to do that area. It's probably best to take a look at some neighboring houses and get your own idea on how you want to do it.

6. All the way out.

7. Some put soffit in where B is. Some use coil stock. You'll have to make that decision for yourself. Again, it would be best to look at a house nearby that looks good to you.

8.Totally up to you. I've seen professionals do it every way you stated.

9. I recommend steel fascia. Either way it does look a little better nailing underneath, but sometimes you will have to drill and you may bend it. They still hold best with face nails, and you won't have to drill. Most are covered with gutters anyhow. Overlap an inch. Make sure you leave it long on inside corners and gable ends, so you can bend it around. You can use a speed square to bend the inch of material at a 90. Nail every 4-6 feet.

10.You are going to have to look at some other houses and make a decision.

11.Yes, Just cut out the bottom of the fascia so it can slide by, then put the pitch on the other overlapping fascia.

This isn't a job that is easy to make look nice. There are so many that look like crap and are done by professionals. It took me a few good years of using a brake and proper tools to get where I consider it well done.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-01-2009, 12:50 PM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 38

Help with installing aluminum soffit and fascia

Thanks MJW! That was great.
I have more dumb questions:
1. Why snap the line 1/2" down? I am thinking since the soffit has those grooves, it is probably 1/2" thick and this way it will sit level. Is that right or am I completely off?

2. On the radial arm saw, I should have said it is compound and it's a big one and the blade will slide horizontally to cut up to 18" wide boards. We were wondering what type of blade to use. I read somewhere else to use a fine toothed carbide blade mounted backwards. Would that work? We were thinking of using a blade to cut steel, but not sure about it.

4. I was trying to draw a picture of what you mean and I can't quite grasp it. Could you expand a bit more?

9. How exactly do you use a speed square to bend the fascia? Do you just use your hands? Is that enough to make the bend look nice? Do I have to use some sort of padding to keep the paint from scratching when I make bends?

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:47 PM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 938

Help with installing aluminum soffit and fascia

1. The half inch down is so the soffit is level with the fascia. That will be the bottom of the F.

2. a fine tooth blade mounted in the right direction will be fine.

4. The wood is to have something to mount the F to and create the box. The end of the 2X is plumb with the gable. You could run it 1 1/2" short of plumb and run another board out to the eave fascia. This will require a miter cut.

9. Yes, use the speed square and bend it over with your hand. You can also go and buy a hand brake which works nice.
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