Vinyl Soffits, Fascia &Trim
If you're making over a home to create a maintenance-free exterior, you'll want to investigate vinyl windows, vinyl or aluminum soffit and fascia, and aluminum cladding for wood trim around windows and doors.
Installing Soffit and Fascia
Vinyl soffit material has a different profile than siding, but installs according to all the same principles. The first step is to install trim pieces. If there's wood framing already in place for the soffit, use a piece of J-channel to hold the ends of the soffits along the house and along the short sides of the soffit. If there's no framing, use a trim piece called F-channel along the house.
The soffit pieces slip into the trim and get nailed up into the wood subfascia with short, small-headed trim nails. The end along the house sits loosely in the F- or J-channel. If the soffit is wider than about 12 inches, it may be necessary to install additional wood support pieces down the middle and nail the soffit panels into those, too, so that they don't sag.
Once the soffit is installed, you finish the job by installing fascia to cover the outside edge of the pieces and to protect the wood subfascia. We tend to use aluminum fascia material (although vinyl fascia IS available).
The top edge of the fascia can be held in place with a piece of undersill trim, or it can be hidden behind a piece of drip-edge or other roof-edge flashing. Often, you have to trim the top of the fascia so that it fits between the edge of the roof and the soffit.
Aluminum Cladding for Wood Trim
You might find situations where it's impossible to replace wood trim around a door or window with a maintenance-free material. In this case you can consider having a siding contractor wrap the trim with aluminum.
The contractor will use a tool called a brake to cut and bend pieces of matching aluminum coil stock. Contractors charge $25 to $50 for this job, depending on the size of the door or window. It takes about three years to become an expert at using a brake and at knowing just where and how to mark, bend and install the aluminum pieces.