Last updated by .
Soffit and Fascia Repair on a Dayton Lane Historic Home
We were recently out in the Dayton Lane Historic Area(which is an awesome area if you get the chance to visit) for a soffit and fascia repair on a beautiful home that like many historic homes, needs some lovin’. When working in a historic area, it’s important to adhere to all the rules and regulations of the district to maintain the integrity of the homes classic character.
How to Spot and Treat Soffit and Fascia Wood Rot
Dayton Lane Historic Area
This soffit and fascia repair is a great example of how to deal with wood rot while maintaining a historic homes integrity. This blog details a problem (and solution!) common in many historic and older homes – Soffit and Fascia damage caused by a leaking gutter. Read below on how to spot, avoid, and repair soffit and fascia damage.
The Cause of Soffit and Fascia Damage
Soffit and fascia damage is typically caused by intrusive water damage. For a detailed article and video about how a properly built roof and gutter should work to avoid soffit and fascia damage, check out this past blog post. To keep things simple and avoid redundancy, I’ll give the short and simple version here of the two ways damage occurs:
Wood Rot Caused by Gutter Leak
1.) Ideally when a rain storm comes through, your roof should act as a system to direct rain from the top of your house to the ground without any water getting in. The rain hits the shingles, goes down the slope and into the gutters, then through a downspout to the ground safely away from your home.
However, residue is left on the edge of the shingles which will slowly drip down and get behind the gutter and rest on the soffit. Over time this will cause the soffit and fascia to develop wood rot. To protect this from happening, newer homes use a drip edge, which acts as a barrier to redirect those stray drips of water into the gutter. Drip edges are key to maintaining your home, but they are often missing or damaged on old homes.
2.)In this particular homes case the soffit damage was caused by holes in the box gutters. Box gutters differ from typical gutters because the flashing leads directly into the gutter. There is no need for a drip edge, but holes and separation can still develop, such as in the home in this post.
Regular Maintenance of Gutters Avoid Soffit and Fascia Damage
Undetected gutter leaks can cause a massive repair project, which is why it’s important to clean your gutters regularly. If your gutters are high off the ground, like in the case of this historic home where the roof was 30-feet up it may be a good idea to call a professional to take a look (unless you own a long ladder and are comfortable with heights).
Remember, just because a tree doesn’t hang over your roof doesn’t mean debris can’t get in your gutters. Even if you aren’t near any trees it’s always a good idea to check you gutters twice a year, once during a fall cleaning after the leaves fall and again in the spring to ensure no ice damage has occurred.
How to Spot Soffit or Fascia Damage Early
While the best way to check out a leak is to inspect your gutters, that isn’t a realistic option for many people who shouldn’t risk being high up on a ladder. Some great things to look for from the ground are:
Notice how wood rot has completely eaten a hole into the soffit
- Bubbling paint
- Water marks
- Constant “wet look” to wood
- Visible holes or gaps caused by wood rot in soffit or fascia like in the photos above and to the right
How to Repair Soffit and Fascia Damage
This home was a great challenge to repair and an even greater testament to the skills of two of our craftsmen, Ben Benson and Tim Fightmaster. As I said before, a historic home can be difficult because you must follow not only city ordinances but historic appropriateness, too. Our craftsmen did a fine job of repairing the damage, matching the original look and properly sealing the area to make sure it doesn’t happen again. How did they do this? By these steps, that’s how!
Fixed soffit to the original look
- Replacing the rotted wood
- Designing and painting the trim to match the original look
- Caulking the area for an extra watertight seal
- Getting on the roof and sealing any holes or leaks
What if I Spot Soffit or Fascia Damage?
If you spot soffit or fascia damage, it is a good idea to call a local home repair company. Stopping wood rot early on can save you hundreds of dollars by leaving salvageable wood. Waiting too long will mean there is no wood to work with and it will all need replaced instead of just some. If you’re in the Cincinnati area and notice any water damage to your soffits or fascia, you can give us a call at 513-724-0539 and we would be glad to help! Also, feel free to check out our other posts about Wood Rot Repair and Gutters.
Call (513) 724-0539
How to Reduce Gutter Cleaning
Gutter cleaning, while necessary, is never fun. I’d chalk that chore right up there with laundry and donating blood. However, proper gutter maintenance and function is critical to health of your home and will avoid costly home repairs later. This video and article will show you two simple products that will extend the interval between gutter cleaning–saving you time and money.
Gutter Cleaning Video on Downspout Screens and Guards
How to Install a Gutter Downspout Screen
Gutter Downspout Screen
The first device is called a gutter downspout screen. It is simply a strainer that has been designed to easily mold to the shape of a gutter downspout and prevent leaves and debris from entering the downspout. When installed, a gutter downspout screen will prevent the gutter downspouts and drains from clogging, which is a primary cause of gutters backing up.
Gutter downspout screens are easy to install. After removing the screen from the package, form the screen in the shape of the downspout—whether it be a square, rectangle or circle. Install the screen in a clean gutter with the closed end upwards. Tension is sufficient to hold the screen in place and you will want to place the screen about halfway down the drain of the gutter so that the top of the screen forms a “bulb.”
When properly installed, the gutter downspout screen will prevent leaves, twigs and other debris from entering the downspout. In addition, it will make cleaning your gutters much easier.
Should I Install Gutter Guards?
In general, I’m not a big fan of gutter guards. That discussion I’ll leave to another article. The short answer is that can be expensive, can actually cause more problems than they solve and can lure a homeowner into the false belief that their gutters never require servicing again.
Suffice to say, however, gutter guards do have their time and place. One such application is in an area of gutters subject to significant debris.
I suppose “significant debris” is wholly subjective. But at my home, for example, I have one stretch of gutters that need to be cleaned three to four times each fall. For me, that is entirely too much! I have more important things to do with my time than clean the same gutter multiple times per year.
Gutter guards come in many shapes, styles, colors, sizes and designs. Many niche service companies offer their own unique design or brand and similarly tout their superiority to every other gutter guard on the market.
For now I’ll dodge the issue of the merits of gutter guard designs, for my purpose here isn’t to evaluate or compare designs or products. Instead I want to focus on the benefit than any gutter guard claims to achieve. Namely, to reduce or eliminate the need for gutter cleaning.
While gutter guards rarely eliminate the need to clean the gutters, they can significant eliminate the majority of leaves and debris that enter a gutter—thereby reduce the cleaning interval.
How to Install Gutter Guards
Many of these gutter guards are readily available at any home improvement store and can be installed by a minimally-skilled Do-it-Yourself homeowner. Most units are simply designed to “snap” into place and provide some sort of mesh or screen to allow water to pass through while eliminating large object from entering the gutter.
After cleaning the gutters and downspouts, loosen the bond between the trailing edge of roof shingles and the drip edge. Then slide the flat side of the gutter guard underneath the shingle while aligning the other end of the screen toward the front edge of the gutter. The lip on the gutter guard is designed to snap on to the edge of the gutter.
In areas of the gutter exposed to high winds, drill small holes through the gutter guard and anchor it to the gutter with small stainless steel screws. Otherwise, the tension of the lip on the gutter guard and the shingle will keep the screen in place.
Downspout Screens and Gutter Guards Still Require Maintenance
While screens and guards may significantly reduce the amount of debris allowed into your gutter, they often do not eliminate it. In addition, many other factors unrelated to debris can affect gutter performance, so it is wise to have these gutters and downspouts inspected annually and cleaned, if necessary.
Have ProMaster Do My Gutter Cleaning and Repair
If you’d rather stay off the ladder and remain inside where it is comfortable, give the on-time and family-friendly craftsmen of ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman of Cincinnati a call at (513) 724-0539.
Call (513) 724-0539
Watch Gutter Cleaning Video
Don Kennedy, President of ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman of Cincinnati, explains in detail how gutter cleaning is critical for the health of your homeyour home.
Clean Gutters a Must for a Healthy Home
Your home’s gutter, downspout and drainage system are one of the most important items to maintain. A large percentage of water damage we see on our clients’ homes would not occur with a properly functioning gutter system. Therefore, to preserve the health of your home, we first must understand how the gutters shed water away from the home and what happens when we delay gutter cleaning and gutter repairs.
During a rainstorm, a typical residential roof will need to shed hundreds, if not thousands of gallons of water. In wet regions of the country like Ohio, gutters are a mandatory to channel roof runoff safely away from the home. Given that most homes in Cincinnati have basements, failing to channel water away from the soil immediately adjacent to the home’s foundation is an almost certain invitation to a wide range of basement moisture-related problems. Therefore, a properly functioning gutter system is not only essential for preventing damage to the lower portion of the roof, fascia and soffit components, but avoiding other expensive home repairs.
How Gutters Work
Here is how a typical gutter system functions. When water exits the edge of the roof, it drops into a gutter that is either built in to the edge of the roof (i.e. a “box gutter”) or a gutter attached to a board that runs the length of the roof (i.e. a “fascia board”). A properly installed gutter system will also include drip edge to ensure that all the water enters the gutter, instead of leaking out into other areas of the surrounding soffit. Each gutter functions as a trough to collect the water and channel it to toward a downspout. Consequently, each gutter should have sufficient slope toward the downspout to prevent “pooling.”
The gutter downspout typically carries the water to the ground level where it normally enters a drain system. While there are different types of drain systems used in residential construction, they all have the same purpose—to remove water from the soil adjacent to the home’s foundation. Large amounts of water near the foundation can cause a multitude of expensive problems. Some these problems include soil erosion, basement water leaks, sump pump failure, damage to basement walls from hydrostatic pressure, excessive basement and/or crawl space humidity and wood rot.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Gutters
Gutters Growing a Garden
Failing to clean your gutters will cause your gutter system to back up—rapidly! Picture in your mind a gutter filled with leaves. Now imagine a rain storm that fills gutter with water. As the water flows toward the downspout, it will begin to carry leaves and debris with it. Quickly, the downspout will become clogged and the water in the gutter will back up.
Clogged Gutter Drain
When water backs up in a gutter filled with debris, several bad things can happen. If the rainfall is sufficient, the gutter will over flow, sending water straight to the ground—eroding soil near the foundation, destroying the landscape below and soaking the soil near the foundation wall causing basement leaks and water damage. Overflowing gutters can also send water back into the soffit—causing wood rot in the fascia area and water damage on the interior of the home as well.
Even if the gutter does not overflow, water pooling in the gutter, combined with a large quantity of leaves will develop into a problem as well. The leaves, sticks and other organic material will break down and combine with the normal asphalt granules that run off of a typical residential roof. This mixture forms a grainy, mud-like sludge that lines the gutters and downspouts. This sludge then works its way into downspouts and drains, completely blocking any further water passage. Often, the only way to resolve such blockage is to dig up the drain and replace it.
Cleaning gutters isn’t an enjoyable task, but neither are most things in life that are necessary to prevent problems. If you are uncomfortable climbing a ladder to clean your gutters, don’t feel bad—you aren’t alone. Most people who don’t work day-to-day in such an environment feel this way. Falls from ladders are one of the most common injuries around the home. Hire a pro and maintain the peace of mind that not only will you be safe, but an expert will be able to inspect the roof, soffits, fascia and gutters for problems that could develop into expensive home repairs later.
To schedule a visit with one of our craftsmen to get your gutters cleaned, simply call (513) 724-0539 or the orange button below. We look forward to serving you!
Call (513) 724-0539
Often times the cause of a clogged, leaking or malfunctioning gutter can’t be seen on the surface. Many homes appropriately channel the discharge from a gutter into an underground pipe that carries the water away from the home. Unfortunately, however, these lines are subject to intrusion from debris, soil and tree roots. Sometimes, they become so clogged that they can’t be cleared with conventional drain cleaning equipment and therefore, must be excavated and replaced. Here is a recent example of one such gutter drain that we repaired for a client in Cincinnati. If you are having trouble with any of your drain lines, it might be because they look like this! If you are worried that your drain lines resemble the picture above, call ProMaster Home Repair & Handyman at (513) 724-0539, email us at webmaster & MasterMyList.com or visit us at http://www.mastermylist.com .