There are a few common Fascia Board Repair methods to keep your existing fascia boards going strong for a couple more years. In fact, sometimes these repairs are absolutely necessary to prevent the fascia boards and gutters from falling off of the home.
In this article we will explain every possible fascia board repair methods, we’ll explain the dangers of fascia board rot, and help you know when it is time to replace your fascia boards.
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Fascia Boards are trim boards used to cover the opening of the roofing eave. Without fascia air would be able to freely move in and out of the home’s roof or attic. Not to mention the roof would be open for pests like birds and squirrels.
Pine is the most common common type of wood used for fascia boards. In addition spruce, cedar, and even red wood are also used in areas those woods are local to. Furthermore there are even fascia boards made from synthetic materials such as vinyl or composite.
In addition to covering the exposed opening of the roof edge, Fascia Boards have another equally important role. And that is to provide a surface for gutter to mount to. Most gutters are installed to homes via the fascia boards. In fact, it is safe to say all gutters are installed to fascia boards unless the gutters are hung by roof straps. That’s because the only way to mount a gutter to a home without fascia board is via roof straps.
Sometimes gutters will lean forward at an angle that you are almost able to see inside the gutter. When this happens either the gutter is loose or the fascia board is loose, or sometimes both. The most common causes of fascia boards to come loose are all related to when the gutter fills with water. Whether from clogs or pitch issues, a gutter full of water is no good for fascia boards.
The entire weight of the gutter system is dependent on the integrity of the fascia boards. Therefore fascia needs to be secured to the home properly. We highly recommend and use Coated Deck Screws for all Fascia Board or Rake Board projects. Other outdoor wood screws can be used in a pinch, but they need to be at least 2 inches long. 2-1/4″ or 2-1/2″ are the sizes we typically use.
To re-secure loose fascia board properly the gutter needs to be removed from the home. That way you have open access to the entire fascia board and can easily maneuver it back into position. The tools needed to remove the gutter(s) will be dependent on what type of support system was used. Most screw in style hangers use the same 1/4″ hex bit as the gutter screws. Whereas old fashioned gutter spikes will require a hammer and a pry bar to remove.
Once the gutter has been removed it is time to line the fascia board back up to the rafters. Put the fascia board back into the desired position. Verify that the fascia is lined up on the left and right and then tap one deck screw into the fascia. Next you will want to mark the fascia where each rafter is. That way you know where the rafters are when screwing in. Otherwise the screws will not bite into anything and leave the fascia loose. Be sure to put two new wood screws in each rafter. Depending on what was used to previously secure the fascia board, you may want to pull them out and use all new screws as you get to each rafter.
Once the fascia board is secured the whole way across it is time to rehang the gutter. We recommend using new gutter hangers for this as well since you already have the gutter down. The combination of new fascia board with new gutter hangers should last 20-30 years if the gutters are maintained.
Another common fascia board repair is to re-paint the fascia boards. To do this properly the gutters will need to be removed so that you have access to the fascia board. Next all old paint should be scraped or sanded from the fascia. This way there is a fresh raw surface for the paint to adhere to, and there are no paint flakes or chips.
We use and recommend Semi-Gloss or Hi-Gloss White Exterior Paint for all wood repair jobs. Since pine fascia already comes with a primer coat it is not necessary to buy a paint/primer combo. Once the fascia boards have been repainted the final step is to re-install the gutters again.
Using wood fillers to patch damaged sections is another common fascia board repair. Wood fillers, wood putty, bondo, etc.. are all used to fill in holes in fascia boards.
When attempting to repair fascia with wood filler the first step is dig out and remove all the soft wood from each damaged area. This is to help prevent the damage from spreading further. Otherwise the wood rot may continue to grow around the area that you recently repaired. Once the damage section has been cleared of all soft wood the next step is to apply the wood filler. Depending on what brand or type you use will have different methods of spreading the filler so that the surface is smooth, and then allowing the filler to dry.
When using wood filler we also suggest scraping the fascia board, around the areas at the least, so that you can paint the surface. Keep in mind the wood filler will need to be painted over once that dries. Therefore the goal is to try to make the wood filled areas look like solid wood once they have been painted.
Finally, as you may have guessed the last step for this process is also to re-install the gutter properly once the paint has dried.
Another last ditch effort to save fascia boards from rot is to cut the rotted areas out of the boards. This is something to consider if a full length fascia board has a small rotted area and you are not able to secure a new piece of fascia board for whatever reason. Basically this would just be to patch off the damaged section.
Once the gutters have been removed and the damaged areas have been located you are able to cut the fascia while it’s on the wall using a sawzall or circular saw. Since the rot spreads throughout the insides of the fascia board, it is recommended to cut out at least 6 to 12 inches from the rot. You’ll need to keep in mind the location of the rafters when making these cuts. The new piece of fascia will need to touch at least two rafters to be able to mount properly. Therefore the cuts will need to be about center of the two rafters.
Follow the normal steps for re-installing the gutters once completed.
The number one cause of all gutter problems that lead to gutter repairs is neglected gutters. Gutters that are left to stay clogged for extended periods of time without removing the debris wreak havoc on your home.
When downspouts become clogged water is no longer able to pass through them to exit the gutter system. As a result the water fills up the gutters until they start to spill over like a bath tub. Unfortunately water is very heavy which causes great amounts of strain on the gutters and fascia boards. Normally what happens first is the gutters will pull loose from the home. However if the fascia board is not secured very well then the fascia board could pull loose, which brings the gutter down with it. Which is exactly what has happened in the photo below
It is important to keep an eye on debris accumulation in the gutters and to check out your gutters during rain every couple months. This way you can avoid costly fascia board repair services.
Gutters that are loose from the home allow water to go behind which causes damages to the fascia boards. As the gutter pulls looser more amounts of water are able to get behind and damage the wood. Basically the damage goes faster and faster as it gets worse and worse. Therefore it is important to deal with loose gutters as soon as they are spotted to avoid wood damages.
To demonstrate the photo below shows how the paint is all but gone from this section of fascia behind a loose gutter.
We suggest re-securing gutters with new screw in style hangers. If you are doing any type of gutter repair of fascia board repair, the goal is for the repair to last for a long time. Re-using brackets doesn’t guarantee that the repair will last as long as possible.
(For more information about Loose Gutter Spikes please CLICK HERE.)
All gutters are installed on a slight slope so that the water is able to drain towards the downspouts freely. This slope is called Gutter Pitch or Pitch. Over time gutters can go out of pitch which requires them to be re-configured so the water drains.
When gutters are not able to drain the gutters fill up with water in the wrong areas. This extra weight causes strain on the gutter brackets and the fascia boards. In addition to the constant pulling, the water that fills up the wrong end of the gutter usually overflows directly on to the fascia board
The process of fixing gutter pitch issues is called “gutter re-pitching” or “re-pitch gutter”. To re-pitch a gutter properly the brackets typically needs to be loosened from end to end. Next you want to set the high end of the gutter as high as it can go. After that the low end needs to be set as low as it can go. Lastly all the brackets in between are adjusted to match the slope. We suggest using a level and going across from the high end of the gutter to the low end.
There is a type of flashing installed to most roof lines called Drip Edge. Drip Edge prevents water from going behind the gutter by bridging the gap between the roof decking and gutter. It tucks under the shingles and goes all the way back to the roof deck. Well at least it is supposed to.
In the photo below the drip edge is the white strip of metal bent on a 90 degree angle. The problem with this particular drip edge is that it did not reach to the plywood roof decking. Since the drip edge did not reach the plywood water was able to get behind the fascia board and potentially into the walls.
The photo below is another example of a home with no drip edge. This example shows what we call “low shingle overhang” which basically means the shingles barely stick out over the edge of the walls. When there is low shingle over hang and no drip edge it is a recipe for disaster.
Water damage to Fascia Boards is called “Fascia Board Rot” or “Fascia Rot” for short. Fascia Rot is the natural process of the wood breaking down and decomposing.
Over time fascia’s waterproof paint wears away leaving the wood defenseless to the elements. The more water and moisture that is allowed to come in contact with the wood, the faster it decomposes. Unfortunately the more the wood rots the softer it becomes. Eventually the wood becomes too soft to support the gutters and either the gutter falls off of the home or the gutter and fascia board fall together.
The photo below shows an extreme case of fascia board rot with a gutter hanging loose. If you look closely you may notice that the gutter is full of shingle grit which is very heavy. The weight from the shingle grit helped pull the gutter from the fascia board. However there is no telling if this occurred before or after the board started to rot. Since this roofline has a weird looking drip edge and no shingle overhang, we would guess this fascia rotting caused the gutter to pull loose.
Unfortunately once wood has begun to rot on a wood board there is no stopping it besides taking a chance at cutting the bad section off of the board. Since we guarantee our work for several years we have to make sure that the work was completed to the best of our capabilities. That’s why we don’t suggest cutting off rotted sections of boards to our customers. The price difference of a half a board or less ($30) just isn’t worth risking having to come back to do the job again.
Please follow the link for a detailed step by step guide of our Fascia Board Replacement process.
Following a proper gutter cleaning schedule is one of the best preventative measures you can take to avoid costly Fascia Board Repairs. Take care of gutter repairs before they start to get worse and potentially cause damages to the fascia board.
To learn more about Fascia Boards or other wood repairs, such as Soffit or Rake Boards, please visit our Wood Repairs page.
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