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.

Siding Composition and Material Overview

There are many options of residential siding materials available for homeowners when it comes to enhancing the appearance of homes. It can be hard to decide on the best siding for your specific project because not all siding materials are perfect for every homeowners needs. The best siding material depends on the what you are trying to accomplish as a homeowner, whether it be energy efficiency, lower cost, or a custom look, the best siding will vary. However, If you know the basics of different siding materials, then you will have a better idea in choosing the best siding for your home.

Home with vinyl siding and a green metal roof

Siding Options on a brand new home

Average Siding Comparison (Materials and Cost Thereof)

Wood siding is the oldest and most attractive cladding material available in the market. It is attractive and easy to work on. But, it requires more maintenance when compared to other types of sidings. It is affordable to install at first, but the maintenance cost can be expensive in the long run.

Fiber cement siding can also be referred by brand names such as Hardie board. When comparing the fiber cement siding, it is a better option when looking for performance and affordability. It is designed to hold under extreme conditions and can hold paint for long. It is a popular choice in most mid-range residential siding materials.

Stucco is another material which is priced affordably and holds up very well. There are some parts where it is highly preferred while in some places people avoid it due to its appearance. It may have low resale value due to limited companies willing to carry out repairs on the materials.

 

Low Cost Siding Material Comparison

Aluminum siding is another affordable cladding option. It requires more upkeep than other materials such as vinyl siding. Many people prefer aluminum due to its durability and re-usability.

Vinyl siding has been around for decades and it is very popular. People claim it requires low maintenance, but there are claims where it has been exposed to extreme weather and it became too brittle. In other areas it has been noted to fade due to exposure to extreme weather.

 

Premium Siding Material Comparison

Brick has been widely used as a siding material. It has great looks and holds up for long. It gives a home classic look. It is very expensive hence most home owners prefer to use it in some parts of their homes while alternating with other materials.

Stone is the most durable siding material in the market. It can last for hundreds of years on your property. But, it tends to cost a lot due to the cost incurred during the installation process. You will have to hire a skilled mason for you to have the material installed in your home.

 

Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Residential Siding Materials

Many people are being concerned on the impact their homes will have on the environment apart from the looks. To achieve the environmental friendly construction, most siding installers prefer going green nowadays. You can find most siding materials such as vinyl, aluminum and steel being recycled. Some of the materials used during the recycling process include locally found stones and bricks. Some green builders even prefer using a mixture of clay and sand. The use of locally available materials from the environment makes the siding installation eco-friendly.

 

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.