The Importance of Soffit and Roof Ventilation

Proper Soffit Ventilation

As mentioned in our previous article regarding soffit replacement, it your soffits are damaged or if there is condensation in your roof the best option is always to fix the problem and replace the soffits.  However; it is possible that during one of your annual inspections you notice that no damage to your soffits or roof is present, but that your attic is constantly humid. In this case, soffit vents can be installed underneath the eaves of a roof for the purpose of ventilating your attic and roof.  Soffit vents reduce energy used on air conditioning as well as heating and more importantly extend the lifespan of your roof, soffits, and fascia.

two soffit vents installed on the exterior of a home

Whether you live in a warm climate or a cold climate, proper roof and soffit ventilation plays a critical role in extending the lifespan of your roofing system.  Improper maintenance and care of soffits can prove a costly fix as it can damage the fascia, roof, and structural components of your home. Your local siding contractor can easily explain why proper attic ventilation is important, but in call cases it serves two main functions.

  1.      Allows fresh air to enter the attic at the soffited areas of the roof
  2.      Exhausts most air from the attic

Regardless of the climate, removing moist air and allowing the stagnant air in your attic to be replaced with fresh air is critical for a proper roofing system to function.

Benefits of proper soffit ventilation include:

  •        Reduce or eliminate damaging moisture from the structural components of your homes roof.  Excessive moisture can build up in stagnant air, potentially damaging the structure of your home and degrading both the roofing system as well as the soffits and fascia boards.
  •        Reduce energy costs associated with heating and cooling.  By eliminating heat and humidity buildup in an attic reduces the cost of a home to cool down the area closest to your roof.
  •        Prevents shingle damage including curling, cupping, and delamination.  Increased heat in an attic can cause shingles to prematurely age and lift off of the roof. Excessive heat or moisture in an attic can actually void many asphalt shingle warranties.

To properly maintain both your roofing system as well as your homes soffits and fascia boards proper ventilation is critical.  This ventilation creates a balanced system where the air is circulated and cooled eliminating many risks associated with hot and humid attics.  If your home is lacking intake or recirculation capabilities vents may need to be added to your soffits. Intake ventilation is critical to guarantee the air recirculates and your home stays healthy.

 

Identifying Problems with Soffits and Fascia

Identifying Problems with Soffits and Fascia

Soffits are an essential cog in your home which contributes both to the physical appearance of your home as well as how your home ventilates the roof.  Neglecting either part of your soffits can result in a diminished home exterior as well as problems in your roof including mold, dampness, and rot. Soffit material is commonly made of wood, metal, or more recently outdoor durable vinyl. Regardless of the material type, the soffits occupy a rather inconspicuous area on your home, underneath the roof eaves, or the horizontal area under your gutters.

Soffit, Fascia, and gutter identifier cheat sheet

Effects of Neglected Soffits

Degradation of soffit material, commonly seen in wooden soffits is caused by water not being properly wicked away from your home causing the water to drip from the roof and collect in the eaves and on the soffit boards. Every homeowner should inspect their soffits, fascia, and gutters every year in the spring or summer months because degradation of the soffit boards can cause greater damage to the roof.

Annual Soffit Inspection

In most cases, a visual inspection will be an adequate indicator to tell you whether or not you may have problems. Inspection of soffits should include identifying areas of peeling paint, water marks, rotten section, holes, water stains, warped boards, and discolored areas.  If any of these symptoms are observed, it is not enough to just paint over the defective area or cutout the impacted section. By covering or removing the defective area without identifying and fixing the cause only assures that the problem will continue to manifest itself in your homes soffits, fascia, and roof.

If defects are observed in your homes soffits, they need to e removed and the remaining area needs to be examined. Examination of the rafter boards, fascia boards, 2 by 4’s, and attic space is critical to understand what has caused the soffit defect. In most cases soffit damage is caused by water infiltrating the soffits along the drip edge or by the lack of ventilation in the attic causing humid air to cultivate mold growth.

Close inspection and soffit removal or replacement requires a close up inspection of both the fascia and under the soffit eaves. If your home is a single story it may be able to inspect them on your own, if it is a two-story it may be best to contact a local professional to eliminate the risks associated with scaling and inspecting your home. Contact your local window and siding contractor to tackle the job if you are not confident with either the inspection or scaling the sides of your home.

Soffit Damage Identification

Rotten, damaged, or otherwise defect boards should be replaced after the cause of the defect is identified and solved.  Because soffits damage is likely due to another roofing deficiency, the first step is to locate the source of the roofing defect and to fix it.  In most cases, a local roofing and siding contractor can identify deficiencies by inspecting the attic and soffits on a rainy day. From the attic, inspectors will check the underside of the roof and identifying where the water is dripping from.  Mark the area causing the soffit and roofing defects so you can collect multiple quotes on fixing the impacted roofing area as well as the defective soffits.

After all of the roofing repairs have been completed, the soffits can then be replaced. Examine all the soffit boards, and framing material on both the exterior of the home as well as from the attic space. Both the soffits, fascia, and roofing material need to be structurally sound and properly ventilated. If all of the soffits are in poor shape from either the exterior of your home or from the roof, it would be a good idea to replace the soffits and fascia boards as well. Make sure that you schedule the replacement to take place while the existing soffits and fascia are dry before attempting repairs or replacement.

Soffit Replacement

Before the soffits can be replaced or repaired, the fascia boards need to be removed. For this reason, many homeowners replace the soffits, fascia, and gutters in the job. To remove the fascia board, the gutters need to be removed.  These are commonly held in place by nails which are secured to the roof underneath the final layer of shingles. Once the gutters are removed, the fascia boards can be removed. Replace the damaged fascia board with a new one, which can easily be cut to the same dimensions as the old and painted with outdoor durable paint. Nail the new fascia board in place.  With the fascia boards replaced and secured, the soffits can now be replaced.

In many instances soffits are made of thing material grooved together and nailed to the roofing outlooks.  Remove all of the damaged soffit material. New soffit material can easily be cut to the same dimensions as the old and painted with outdoor durable paint.  Secure the soffits to the fascia and roofing outlook.

Perform a final soffit inspection after the new installation is complete.

Installation Costs of Siding Part 2

Vinyl siding is the most popular way to protect your home from the elements.  Metal or aluminum siding is by far the easiest and cheapest siding that is available on the market. Whether you choose aluminum or vinyl, the choice is clear, you want to protect your home from harm. Both aluminum and vinyl can and will do this.

Tan vinyl siding with a textured apperance

Insulated Vinyl Siding Installed Horizontally

Red aluminum siding installed on a barn side.

Aluminum Siding Installed Vertically

Vinyl Siding Comparison

Wood Siding

Wood siding offers a classic and natural look to your house. The reclaimed and harvested woods are environmentally friendly as well.  Within the past ten or so years the environmental impact is something younger homeowners are considering more heavily.  Wood siding is natural and very easy to dispose of as well.  The main drawback of a natural wood finish is the high upkeep and maintenance cost having it look good.  Wood siding, has the highest maintenance cost, and often require the homeowners to stain or refinish it every other year.

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood, attempts to mimic the physical appearance of normal wood siding, but provide additional protection against degradation and loss of color. It offers a very durable and very similar appearance as opposed to regular wood siding, but costs roughly 30%-40% more. The added cost is a turnoff for most homeowners, but trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Aluminum Siding

The main advantage of using aluminium siding that it can be fitted in any irregular and unusual shapes and opening while vinyl has the limitation in this part. Also, aluminium can be painted but it is observed that the paint is being peeled off by itself. The cost of aluminum is relatively cheap, but the maintenance and replacement costs are slightly higher.

Fiber Cement

This material is so designed to survive against flames and hurricane forces. But this is the only advantage available with this material. While requires a high maintenance, fiber cement costs 1.5 times of the vinyl sidings and it cracks very easily.

Pros & Cons Of Vinyl Siding And Other Options

Before taking any concrete decision about the perfect material for your siding, here are some of the pros and cons of the vinyl siding.

Pros Of Vinyl Siding

Easy installation: Vinyl sidings are very easy to install. Only a little skill required for a DIY. Alternatively, you can hire a professional.

Durability in colour: The incorporation of modern techniques ensures even the darker colours offering fade resistance. It does not show any chip or cracks in the material colours.

The cost incurred: When choosing vinyl siding, you can avail the minimum cost for your sidings in comparison with any other materials. Also, vinyl offers approximately a 78% of recovery while selling the siding.

Cons Of Vinyl Siding

Water resistant vs. watertight: If your siding stand against the wind drove rain, there might be certain chance that the water stuck behind the siding and may cause mold and rot.

Can be fade due to UV ray or dirt: When the advantage is durability in colors, but still, the color can be faded due to the UV rays. Also, building dust and dirt can fade or crack the colour.

Bend and crack: In a temperature of extreme heat and cold, there is certain chance that a vinyl siding may bend or crack easily.

Vinyl Siding Conclusion

If you want to give your house a new ultra modern look, go for the vinyl sidings which will ensure a modern as well as the classy look of your house at the most cost effective way. And make sure that you speak with your local window contractor to help plan out the color scheme to match your soffits, fascia, and windows.  For more information on texture siding or vinyl shake siding click here. 

Replacing and Installing a New Exterior Door

It is that time again! Time for another update from us on what we are up to now. If you have been following along this far, then you know that Joe is currently in the middle of remodeling a basement for Sally and Scott. The last time we updated you on what we were doing, Joe brought in Dave and his mold sniffing dog, Sam to make sure there was no mold before we proceeded. It was really fun to watch that happen so we hope to bring them on for more of our projects soon. If, or when, we do, we will tell you all about it!

 

A lot has happened with the basement remodel since then. Since our last update, the drywall in the basement has been hung, some doors have been installed, and most of the painting has been done. Since I have covered these projects in the past, I am not focusing on them in this update. However, if you want to learn about these things, check out the following links: How to Install Drywall, Installing Pre-Hung Doors, and Painting like a Pro. Now that I added those for you to check out, let’s get on with the update of what we have been doing.

Construction contractors replacing doors

If you are wondering how to install an exterior door, like many of my readers have been asking about, then I am excited to share this new update with you. The old door we have replaced was the original door for this house so it was definitely time for an update on that!

 

About the New Door

Since the old door was the original one for this house, the new door is a little bigger than the old one. The new door is a simple one though. Nothing too fancy. Just a simple steel door with six panels.

Let’s get on with the steps to install it!

 

Step One: Remove the Old Door

First things first, of course! Remove the old door by taking it off its hinges and removing the brick molding as well as the door casing. There are a few different layers that go along with removing the old door. These “layers” include the block wall, the pressure treated framing, the blocking and door jamb, and the brick molding, insulation, and of course, the threshold had to be removed too. The door jambs were cut to make them easier to remove, of course. Also, most of the rough framing was saved to reuse with the new door.

 

After removing the old door and taking the “layers” down that came with it, the old caulking, adhesive, and insulation had to be taken out too. This is an important step to do so you will have a clean frame to add the new door to.

 

Step Two: The Rough Frame Opening

For the rough frame opening, you will need to glue and nail the 2x4s and the 1x4s in place. In order to make this task an easier one, you should use what Joe and his team used, a Ramset powder actuated nailer. The thing is, if you don’t use one of these tools, you will have to mark and drill the holes for the nails, add the anchors for them, and then screw the boards into their place. So, just make sure you have one of these actuated nailers!

 

Pro-Tip:

When measuring the rough framing, make sure it measures two inches more than the door in each dimension. You will need this extra space to plumb the door and to level it out.

 

Step Three: Dry Fit the New Door

Dry fitting means making sure the door will fit before you install it for good. To do this, remove all of the frames for it and set it in there to make sure it will fit your measurements and everything else you have done this far.

 

The next thing to do is to plane the molding. Although this isn’t really a typical thing to do since most exterior doors are installed with the brick molding facing the block wall. However, this time we installed the new door with the molding flush with the wall. There was actually a good reason for this. They did this because the next bigger and standard sized door wouldn’t fit and also because this was how the old door was installed back in the day.

 

In a few of the spots, the molding had to be planed to fit. This was accomplished by not only setting the nails just a little bit deeper but also by using a power planer.

 

Step Four: Glue the Threshold

Once they were satisfied with the fit of the door after dry fitting it, they then had to glue the threshold. They used double beaded adhesive for it by putting it under the door and inside the corners. This is a very important step because doing this will seal out any water that may be near the door on the outside.

 

Next, they had to check to make sure the door was level and plumb it. Make sure to check each dimension of the door.

 

To ensure a perfect level of the door, inserting shims is a good idea. You need to place these shims between the door jamb and the rough framing where necessary to ensure a perfect level. These shims will also help the door open and close the way it is supposed to. Joe and his team ended up placing shims behind each of the hinges, at the top of the door itself, and at the latch strike plate.

 

Step Five: Securing the New Door

Once you are satisfied with the placement of the shims, it is now time to secure the new door in its place. To do this, you will need to place and insert screws behind the weatherstripping to make sure the new door stays in the rough framing like it is supposed to.

 

Now you might need to trim those shims up after anchoring the door. To do this, score them with your utility knife and then break them where those score lines are.

 

Step Six: Insulate and Finish with Molding

Now it is time to add the insulation and the molding to finish this out. With this new exterior door, Joe and his team used insulation called, “Great Stuff.”Make sure to put the insulation on the inside and the outside of the door and fill each gap with insulation between the door itself and the frame of it. This “Great Stuff” insulation not only insulates all around the door but will also seal it to keep water out. This is because this insulation they used forms a water resistant seal.

Final Product!

Here is another pro-tip: When insulating, try using a foam that is low pressure because the low pressure foam will keep the door frame from bowing. This type of insulation works well with window frames for the very same reason.

 

All you need to do now is to add the caulking, to all of the joints and add the molding too. However, this step hasn’t been done by Joe and his guys yet but when it is, I will update this with pictures to show how it is done.