Thursday, September 30, 2010

Soffit Up-date

Hello again everyone!

Thought I'd take a quick moment to give you an update I should have done last night.

If you remember from the last post I mentioned we had ran into a bit of a problem on the west side. It's one of those problems I wish we would've known about when we first started work on that side.

Basically...the outer edge of the roof is rotted.

Our roof was built a bit different than modern roofs are. Most roof edges are made up of rafter edges, battens, purlins, eaves, barge board, etc.

Our roof edge has all of this with a couple of extras. Along with the typical battens, the boards that tie the rafters together, we have two battens stacked on top of each other right on the top edge. Also, most homes have an eave attached to the end of the rafters on non-gable ends. This is whats also know as the 'trim' if I understand it correctly.

Anyway, our house has a 2x6 tying the rafter ends together with all the extra boards attached to it. By-the-way, the rafters are also 2x6s.

All tied together this makes for an extremely strong roof edge that is uncommon today - just take a look at modern roof construction and you will see.

Unfortunately termites got to parts of the 2x6 that tied all the rafters together. On top of this wood-rot also set in.

Needless to say, it had to be removed. We are lucky though, it could have been a lot worse!

Following are some of the pictures that will kind of give you an idea just how bad it was.

This is the south west corner.

It amazes me how rotten the west board is yet the south board is in great condition.

In case you're wondering - that is wire mesh screen at the top portion of the corner. We think it was put there to keep squirrels, and other creatures, out. I don't think it helped much, I found nut remains all over.

Nasty looking ain't it?!

Even some of the original shake shingles were deteriorated.

Fortunately the double layer of 1x6 battens were only affected on the outer inch. The stability of the structure is still in excellent condition. With such a small amount of the battens being affected we will not need to replace them at this time. To do this it would require the removal of the roofing down to the rafters.

Eventually this will be done but it won't be for several years. With this future repair in mind we will be making the immediate, necessary repairs in a way that will not hinder the future repairs.

This is a close-up of the same spot.

The entire length was not this bad but bad enough to warrant complete removal of most of it.

A section further north.

As you can see, the ends of the rafters, with very few exceptions, are in excellent shape. Those that were affected only had damage in the area where the lowest tip/edge of the rafter met the edging board.

I'll get more pictures of this when I make the repairs.

Before I forget... You might have noticed that a length of the bead-board is missing. This section will also need to be replaced due to rot.

This is the north west corner.

The main board here is in excellent condition, just dirty. I decided to leave it alone - no sense in replacing something that doesn't need it.

Now this is what boggles the mind...

Remember in the first picture where the west board was rotten but the south board was perfect? At this corner the west board is perfect and the north board is rotten!! Isn't that just weird?

While we are on this picture you might have noticed the boards laying across the top of the scaffolding. These are part of the eave trim that are still in good condition and can be used. This will save in the cost of replacement.

Basically, to accomplish this task I had to remove all the main nails (about 5" in length). The board was so bad some of these could be removed by hand. I then had to cut the board, using the Sawzall, into manageable lengths and then pry them from the two batten boards tied into it. There were spots that were so rotten that as soon as a chunk was cut it just fell off. Lucky for me these pieces were rotten enough they didn't cause damage when they hit my head!

Once this was finished the nails that were sticking out had to be cut-off so that the replacement boards can be installed.

The whole process took most of the day. It would have gone faster if I didn't have to climb down from the scaffolding to move it over another 4'. I won't even mention the nasty mess.

Here's something else that amazes me... I'm using modern tools and safety devices/conveniences, such as the scaffolding. The original boards are solid 2x6s 16' long. These puppies were extremely heavy! How in the world did the manhandle these things in place back then?!?!

Anyway, moving on...

As you know, we're still scraping the soffits on the east side. They are finished for the most part but we ran into a rather interesting problem here as well.

Do you have any idea what this hole is for?

This is where the original downspout for the internal gutters came out on this section of the house.

It isn't going to be too big of a problem fixing this; the hardest part is going to be matching the moulding. This style of moulding is still made, but I think it is about 2/3rds the size of the original. To get the mouldings to match might be tricky. I'll keep you up-dated.

That's about it for now. I need to go take some measurements for a run to the lumber yard.

Till next time...



Karen in Wichita said...

OSHA scaffolding is two-by-tens. I know because I just this morning watched some casually tossed around by a guy who didn't look like he weighed much more than they did. I had a bit of trouble with them even after they were cut down to 8'.

But now we have scaffolding, instead of just monkeybars.

Larry said...


I finally figured out what you were meaning!!!

the 2x6s I mentioned are the rafter boards for the roof. - not the scaffolding boards.

We are using 2x12s for the scaffolding except at the very top. At the top we are using the professional metal scaffolding platforms that a friend has let us borrow.

Karen in Wichita said...

Oh, now I get it. Apparently the paint fumes are affecting my reading comprehension.

So what would be the chances of us borrowing (renting) that Paint Shaver? We didn't think we'd need one, but apparently the places we checked were all the places where the paint was magically thin... and we're suddenly looking at a whole lot more hardcore paint removal than we'd planned on.

Kate H. said...

What! You're not going to restore those internal gutters and the old downspout?!

*grins evilly*

Larry said...

Believe it or not Kate - yes we considered it!!!!

Larry said...

Well Karen we would, but we're not finished with it yet. We've still got some third story soffits and part of the porch to do.

Karen in Wichita said...

Oh, I know that... we'd only need to borrow it long enough to see if it was worth buying one of our own.

Larry said...

Hey Karen -

That's doable. Contact me off-line and we can arrange something.

correus @