Fairfield Soffit Repair: When To DIY And When To Call The Pros

Most homeowners haven’t even heard of soffits, let alone know what they are. Soffits are an important part of your roofing system and experience wear and tear just like any other part of your property. If not properly maintained, you could find yourself needing a costly Fairfield soffit repair or replacement that you haven’t budgeted for.

A minor Fairfield soffit repair can be done on your own, as long as you’re handy enough. In all other cases, hire an experienced and professional Fairfield handyman from Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County to keep your soffits in working order. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about soffit repair. Fairfield CT property owners will learn about causes of damage and how to determine when repairs are best left to the professionals.

What Are Soffits?

The word ‘soffit’ comes from a French word meaning “something fixed underneath.” Using this definition, can you guess what part of the roof they refer to?

If you said the underside of the roof’s overhang, you’d be correct. The next time you step outside of your home, simply look up. Extending horizontally between the gutters at the roof edge and siding, you’ll see your soffits. Though this component is more cosmetic, by covering the rafters, its purpose extends far beyond simple aesthetics.

Looking at your soffits, you'll notice that they are covered in tiny holes. These holes promote air circulation within the roof. Without them, your roof would overheat, leading to shingles cracking, winter ice dams developing, and higher levels of humidity in your attic that affects your attic ventilation and soffit vents. Proper ventilation helps keep your roof and attic dry and circling fresh air throughout your home. Excess heat also makes it difficult for your insulation to do its job properly. Without soffit, you'd find yourself running your AC unit more often, thereby hiking up your energy bill.

In Fairfield, CT, there are four main types of materials used by homeowners. The best quality material for your home comes down to three elements: the unique characteristics of your property, your budget, and your personal preferences.

Vinyl Soffits

The same material used to make vinyl records, vinyl soffits are a type of plastic made from a combination of ethylene and chlorine. Its proper name is polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated as PVC.

This material is popular in both exterior and interior construction. For interiors, vinyl flooring is typically used to mimic the appearance of hardwood, while vinyl siding is often used on home exteriors. Vinyl is a great option for those who want to save money and avoid common moisture problems that are inevitable with wood, but they are also more susceptible to cracking as a result of fluctuations between heat and cold.

Aluminum Soffits

Though more durable than vinyl, aluminum can dent and rust. But, as long as you maintain them well, aluminum can look great and function well for years without causing costly damage. Some of the biggest perks of aluminum are that it comes in a variety of textures, as well as almost limitless color options. However, paint color will eventually fade over time; it won't peel. Sprucing up old aluminum panels only requires a fresh coat of paint.

Wooden Soffits

If you live in a rustic property out in the woods of Fairfield County, you may have wood soffits. Although vinyl and aluminum types are sometimes made to mimic the appearance of wood, they won't fool anyone. No matter how hard manufacturers try, nothing looks quite as good as the real thing.

The biggest drawback to wood is that it requires a high amount of maintenance to avoid having to seek out professional Fairfield soffit repair services. Any moisture exposure can cause wood warping and wood rot, leading to deterioration. Once wood rot begins, it is difficult to stop.

Fiber Cement Soffits

If durability is your top priority, fiber cement soffits are probably your best bet. Made from a combination of cellulose, sand, and cement, this material is moisture resistant, flame retardant, and weather resistant.

Fiber cement soffits also come in a wide variety of finishes, some of which have an appearance similar to wood. Though it won’t fool a discerning eye, most won’t notice unless it’s pointed out.

Causes of Fairfield Soffit Repair

If you didn’t even know that soffits exist, how exposed to potential damage are they really? Since they line the underside of the roof overhang, they’re sheltered from the rain and sun, as well as kept away from all the activity on the ground.

It may come as a surprise, but there are plenty of ways this vital roofing component can become damaged enough to warrant soffit repair. Fairfield CT property owners should watch out for these potential causes:

Water Damage

At the root of most Fairfield soffit repairs is water damage. As a result of their placement, just how do they get wet? The main culprit is clogged gutters.

Without semi-annual gutter cleaning, debris like pine needles, leaves, and twigs will collect in your gutters and result in clogs. When rainwater and snowmelt are unable to pass over a clog, they'll spill over the sides of the gutters onto the fascia board and soffit. The entire panel may not get wet, but it only takes a little bit of moisture to cause wood rot. In the worst-case scenario, you'll also require roof repairs, and your home's energy efficiency will decrease.

Sun Exposure

Weather damage isn't just limited to rain and snow but includes UV damage as well. Sun can cause the finish on soffits to break down, causing the paint to peel and fade. The sun is especially harsh on vinyl materials.

You know not to put plastic in the oven, right? The same thing happens with vinyl soffits. They don't get quite as hot as they would in a 450°F oven, but the heat can certainly cause them to weaken and snap at the first sign of a cold.

Galvanized Nails

Pressure-treated wood is a popular choice for wooden soffits, thanks to its resistance to weather damage and pests. That said, a strange chemical reaction can sometimes occur between pressure-treated wood and galvanized nails, screws, and bolts.

Galvanization refers to the process of applying a coating of zinc overtop of iron to prevent rust. However, zinc can interact with some additives in pressure-treated wood, leading to wood rot.

Pest Infestations

Normally only a problem with wooden soffits, insects like carpenter ants and termites can be attracted to moisture in rotting wood. The good news is that these insects like to stay within moist environments and will not normally travel far into a dry environment. But if you have shrubs near your home or trees hanging over your roof, a carpenter ant or termite might just find a path up to those tasty wood boards.

How To Do A Fairfield Soffit Repair On Your Own

The fact that you’re willing to put the time and energy into doing a soffit repair on your own means you’re braver than most. What makes Fairfield soffit repair especially challenging is that you might have to remove two other components of your roofing system first to reach it—the fascia boards and the gutters. Although this gives you the opportunity to replace all three at once, it may be more than you bargained for.

When unsure about DIY soffit repair, Fairfield, CT homeowners could try their luck with gutter cleaning, which is the first step to maintaining a healthy roof system. That said, professional gutter cleaning includes inspection, during which a service technician will evaluate its age, condition, and functionality. You might need gutter repair if you see signs of rust or peeling paint. Installing gutter guards is also a great way to prevent clogs from occurring.

Clean Out Your Gutters

If you don't address the reason for your damage, what's the point of soffit repair? Fairfield, CT homes experiencing these issues usually have clogged gutters. Before replacing the panels, check to see how well your gutter system is running first.

To do this, simply place your garden hose in the troughs at multiple points along the property. If water appears to flow through them and out the downspout without any leaks or drips, your gutters are just working just fine. If they’re not, you’ll want to get up on your ladder and clear out any debris you find.

Add Aluminum Soffits Overtop Of Existing Ones

Another easy DIY method involves simply adding aluminum on top of your existing panels. Though you’ll probably need to touch up the paint on these at some point over the next couple of decades, aluminum soffits that are installed with care shouldn’t rust, peel, or deteriorate in any other way. This makes them great for adding instant curb appeal.

This will save you time with the old soffit removal process, but you’ll still have to remove your gutters and fascia boards. You’ll also need to cut the strips of material to fit your space and make room for any light fixtures.

Rent a Rolling Scaffold

Instead of having to climb up and down a ladder one hundred times throughout the process, consider renting a rolling scaffold to make the improvement project easier on you. Designed to allow you to move not just yourself but your entire workspace quickly, rolling scaffolds are the key to efficiency.

If your yard is very uneven or you’re not confident using one of these, you might want to skip this tip and go back to using your standard ladder.

When to Call the Professionals for Fairfield Soffit Repair

Fairfield, CT residents who aren't experienced handymen or carpenters, should leave the job to the professionals who are licensed and fully insured. There will be a labor cost, and you may also save money, thanks to the following factors:

  • Construction companies get their supplies from distributors. When they buy material in bulk, they often get a reduced price.
  • Expert technicians know what they’re doing. If you make an incorrect cut, accidentally damage another part of your roof system, or just do an overall shoddy job, you may need to pay for professional Fairfield soffit repair services in the near future.

With these financial considerations in mind, here are several situations during which you may want to call a professional handyman for Fairfield soffit repair.

You Don’t Have The Time To Do The Repair

The repair process is really quite comprehensive, especially when planning to replace an existing system. You can expect it to take a good chunk out of your weekend to complete your soffit repair. Fairfield CT DIY steps look something like this:

  • Remove the gutters, shingle mold, fascia board, and the old soffit
  • Remove rotting rafters found underneath the soffit
  • Measure, cut, and attach a new rafter
  • For wood soffit replacements, paint and seal the wood
  • Attach the replacement soffit using a nail gun
  • Attach the new crown molding to the edge of the soffit
  • Attach the replacement fascia boards
  • Attach the replacement shingle mold
  • Attach the gutters

Even if you’re only replacing a small segment, this process can take a few hours to complete from start to finish. Your time is valuable, so consider whether this is something you’d enjoy doing or if it’s worth it to have an expert technician do the job for you.

You Can’t Tell Which Soffits Need Repair

Not sure if you need a repair or total replacement? Without a trained eye, you’ll struggle to determine which soffits are strong enough to stay and which need to go. If you err on the side of caution, you may end up spending more than necessary on materials than you would to just hire a professional in the first place.

You Don’t Have Extensive Carpentry Skills

To some people, carpentry seems relatively simple. As long as you know how to use a measuring tape and a saw, you’re good to go, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not this simple in practice. Getting new fascia boards and soffits to line up perfectly requires a level of precision that is difficult to obtain without some experience and training. If your DIY replacement job has any gaps or holes, you’ll end up inviting unwanted critters into your rafters and may need to perform another repair in the near future.

Choose Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County for All Your Soffit Repair Needs

Are you looking for a professional handyman that offers soffit repair? Fairfield, CT homeowners can rest easy knowing that Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County has them covered with a fair price. We hire service technicians with an average of 10 years of experience in carpentry and a wide range of handyman services, so you know you're getting quality workmanship when you book an appointment with us.

In addition to Fairfield, we also proudly serve the areas of Danbury, Stamford, Darien, and more! To book an appointment or inquire about the process involved in getting a quote, give our friendly office team a call at 866-550-1710 or fill out our online service request form. We can't wait to help you with your Fairfield soffit repair!