Common exterior repairs is a section devoted to winning the little battles homeowners inevitably encounter. The following are brief descriptions that explain how to complete each task.
CAUTION: Roof work is always dangerous, so please read over some Important Safety Information we've filed on site here before starting this section.
Replacing Soffits & Fascia
From the ground, it may appear that the soffit and fascia boards just need a new coat of paint. But once you get up close and probe the wood, it may become obvious that they're beyond repair and need to be replaced.
When working from, or in this case, near the roof for any length of time, it's a good idea to set up scaffolding. Scaffolding is safer and easier than working off ladders and will save a lot of time. We used a pair of fiberglass extension ladders with a couple of jacks to support an aluminum walkway.
Remove the gutter by prying out the metal spikes or straps fastened to the roof. If the gutter is in good shape, it can be put back up, so try to avoid bending it.
Pry off the fascia board along the eave and clean out any debris behind it. Give the boards a good poke with an awl or screwdriver. Replace any rotting, spongy, brittle or crumbling boards.
Instead of nails, we used screws to hold the new framing to avoid jarring the existing framing by hammering.
Tack the new fascia boards into the rafter tails and line up the corner piece before nailing them down. Primer and attach any crown molding to cover the gap between the fascia and sheathing.
We matched the old soffit with tongue-and-groove beaded board. But other soffit types include plywood, vinyl, or aluminum. Nail up the soffit -- cut so the ends land on the lookouts. Paint the replaced sections to match the other trim on the house. After it's dry the gutters can go back on.
Patching & Hanging Gutters
If you've taken the gutters off when replacing the soffits, or have removed them because the slope is wrong, it's a good idea to scrub them clean with a wire brush and patch any holes.
Locate the hole by filling the gutter with water and watching for drips. Mark the area and let the gutter dry out.
Spread a coat of fiber glass resin over the area, fit a good-sized fiber glass mesh patch over the resin, and coat the patch with an additional layer of resin. Let the patch dry according to its instructions.
Once the gutter is sealed, it's ready to be hung. Gutter brackets tend to hold a bit better than the "spike" (nail-through) fasteners. However, both are commonly used and shouldn't be a problem if the fascia and rafter tails are in good shape and the gutter isn't bent.
Tack the high end of the gutter in place. Using a level, slope the gutter slightly down toward the downspout. Double-check all along the gutter to make sure it has some downward flow.
Secure the gutter and attach the brackets. Nail the brackets at the rafter tails and under the shingles so the nail head isn't exposed. Use roof cement around the nailhead to prevent any leaking and around the lifted shingles to prevent curling.
Replacing Damaged Shingles
Gently lift the torn/damaged shingle and slide a pry bar underneath it and remove the nails holding the shingle -- usually three nails for asphalt and two nails for shakes.
Remove the old shingle and fit a replacement shingle into the spot. Gently lift the shingle above it to nail down the replacement. Avoid nailing at any tab spaces where the nail would be exposed and prone to leak.
Once it's nailed down, cover the nailheads with roofing cement. Also, put the cement under the bottom edges of the upper and replacement shingles to avoid curling.
Mending Lap Siding
Gently pry up the damaged lap siding and remove the nails. Locate the nearest wall studs outside the piece and saw the damaged section back to the wall studs so the new piece will have nailers.
TIP: You may have to use a keyhole saw to finish the cut under at the top of the piece. Tape up lath to protect the other boards while sawing out the damaged piece.
Remove the broken board, making sure no scraps remain under the good siding. Replace the area with new siding, tapping it into place using a wood block as a buffer. Shim the siding out if necessary so all the pieces match.
Pre-drill nail holes to avoid splitting the wood. Then fasten the new siding in place. Caulk the seams and prime/paint the new board.