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Old 04-30-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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Soffit rot


I'm 2 weeks into owning this house, and I think its about time I do something about this before the weather is warm enough that critters or hornets make a nest in my attic.





I have someone who might be able to help me fix this if I get the materials first, but I'm not sure what kind of wood I should be getting. Any advice for me?

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Old 04-30-2013, 12:25 PM   #2
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Soffit rot


Match the existing. If you are not sure then remove some of it and take it to your local lumber yard for a match. We can't see from here but could be 3/8" ply and 1x4 cedar.

In the meantime, you are aware that the rot is just a symptom of your leaking gutter? Important that you address the problem or you will be doing it again and/or in other areas of your house. And cut those trees back as far away from your structure as possible. That is never a good thing for many reasons.

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Old 04-30-2013, 01:37 PM   #3
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Soffit rot


You need to find out the problem. Could be gutters could be roof above this section leaking. I would take the gutters down replace fascia and soffits.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:54 PM   #4
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You need to find out the problem. Could be gutters could be roof above this section leaking. I would take the gutters down replace fascia and soffits.
Yes, could be tree branches rubbed a hole in the roof. Could be many things. I'm just saying that should be the priority before doing the cosmetics.
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:03 PM   #5
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Soffit rot


Yes, those trees are awfully close to the house. I don't like them one bit. I also think they are related to the gutter issue, because it is only there that a problem exists. The rest of the gutters/soffits seem pretty solid, albeit slightly aging.

The roof is supposedly only 7 years old, so I'm hoping its not a problem there, however I'm not sure what might be going on in the gutter to have caused it in the first place. Perhaps rot that started 7 years ago before the roof was replaced? Or is that a ridiculous notion?

As far as it being cosmetic- I don't think this is cosmetic. I'm concerned about animals finding shelter in there and making a minor problem a major one very fast.

I'm wondering if removing the trees there would help prevent it from happening again? I'm just concerned that they might be helping suck water out of the ground instead of going into the basement/crawl space under that part of the house.

A previous place I rented had bushes by the house that I didn't like and asked the landlord to take down if he had time. He did, and suddenly we started finding water downstairs when it rained. Am I crazy for making that connection?
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Old 04-30-2013, 02:48 PM   #6
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Soffit rot


Tear out the existing soffit and install fully ventilated aluminum soffit material. Cut down the tree you have that has been filling up and clogging your gutters and downspouts. That is what destroyed your current soffit, fascia, and lossibly your lookouts. It is pretty obvious your gutters have been overflowing for a long time. Did you not have a home inspection that picked this up prior to purchase? Or did you buy as-is?
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:54 PM   #7
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Tear out the existing soffit and install fully ventilated aluminum soffit material. Cut down the tree you have that has been filling up and clogging your gutters and downspouts. That is what destroyed your current soffit, fascia, and lossibly your lookouts. It is pretty obvious your gutters have been overflowing for a long time. Did you not have a home inspection that picked this up prior to purchase? Or did you buy as-is?
My home inspector did notice it and made a note in his report. Mentioned that the soffit has rot in this one location, and it would need to be replaced. That's pretty much it. What else could I have done already?

The house was for sale by owner (the children of a late widow, to be more specific), and I didn't really have any bargaining power because they were reluctant to sell to me in the first place. Its a long story, but I guess it was sort of as-is. ::shrug::

Back to the issue at hand:
I will see about hacking down the tree this weekend. It's a pretty small tree with a narrow trunk, can probably go at it with a chainsaw myself.

However- is it true that having plants/trees by the edge of a house help keep water from leaking in downstairs? If so, should I plant something else in its place, or am I relatively safe just cutting it down?

And back to the original issue- what to do to replace the soffit rot. Fully ventilated aluminum soffits, you say? Sounds cool, but also sounds like a bigger job than I was picturing right now. Some day down the road I'd like to save up and change the siding and everything. But for now, I just want to replace this rotten piece and make it match the others in the most time and cost effective way possible.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
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Soffit rot


If you are just repairing that area then demo it and take pieces of the soffit and fascia to the lumberyard if you are not sure what it is. Recommend pre-priming at least before you install it. It's just plywood and 1x of some sort so does not look like too major of a job.

As far as the plant situation goes, plants near the house generally have no bearing on where the water goes other than the roots of some can damage your foundation. It's just always a good idea to keep all vegetation off your house, especially your roof as everything from insects to rodents to branches rubbing on your roof wearing it out can and will happen.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:46 PM   #9
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Soffit rot


My recommendations were based on the following:

1. You are in NY, where I assume winters can be pretty tough. It is pretty obvious that you could use some decent ventilation at your under-eaves, and I thought that this would be a good time to add it. If you do decide to do this I would add baffles to allow airflow if they are not there. You will eventually need a new roof and this will cut down on the work you need to do when that becomes necessary.

2. Large trees right next to your foundation is never a good idea. Roots have the ability to grow into your walls, and your footing drainage system. The biggest problem I see with landscaping close to the house is that people tend to keep adding mulch at the base of the plants year after year, and this creates a mound wherein a moat is formed which holds water against the foundation, and leaky basement walls are the result. If you make sure the grade slopes away from your home, and you extend your downspouts to run off you will be way ahead.

I did not intend to be insensitive about the clogged gutters. Obviously all the damage occurred before you ever purchased the home.
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Last edited by jagans; 04-30-2013 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by OldNBroken View Post
If you are just repairing that area then demo it and take pieces of the soffit and fascia to the lumberyard if you are not sure what it is. Recommend pre-priming at least before you install it. It's just plywood and 1x of some sort so does not look like too major of a job.

As far as the plant situation goes, plants near the house generally have no bearing on where the water goes other than the roots of some can damage your foundation. It's just always a good idea to keep all vegetation off your house, especially your roof as everything from insects to rodents to branches rubbing on your roof wearing it out can and will happen.
Right, interesting. The house I lived in before this one (rented) had some plants around the back that once removed seemed to allow water downstairs. But, now that you mention it, they had put mulch up against the house there. I'll bet that was the reason.

So basically, there is no benefit to having any of these ugly plants or trees up near my house right now, right? And you are saying, in fact, that it is probably detrimental. I don't like vegetation against the house either, I just always assumed they were there for more than just decoration. Guess I was wrong!

As far as taking it down- I was going to wait for my friend to come do that when we replace it so that I don't mess anything up (first time homeowner, afraid of what I don't know yet about DIY repairs). He asked me to buy the materials first and he'll just show up to do the work with me. I guess I could just ask him what kind of wood to buy.

Thanks for all your helpful responses!
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:13 PM   #11
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Soffit rot


Aww DIY can be both exhilarating and frustrating. Welcome to home-ownership and the world of DIY. Best of luck to you. Let us know how things turn out if ya could.

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