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Repair of rotted rafter tails and fascia

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by dave11, Oct 18, 2009.

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  1. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    I have an old stable on my property that I plan to use as a metalshop. I pulled away the old gutters today and found the fascia had nearly rotted away. Most of the rafter tails have at least a couple inches of rot in them, though the end of the 2x4 lookouts seem okay. The plywood soffit sheath is half-rotted, from the inside-out. See attached photo.

    I can sister new ends onto the rotted tails, but cutting the old rot away will require removing the lookouts. So I was thinking perhaps to just rebuild that part of the roof with square-cut rafters, skip the lookouts, and put in new soffit sheathing.

    Anyone here with some framing experience? Was wondering if that sounds right.

    I was going to replace everything with PT lumber, kiln-dried.

    Thanks.

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  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    From the limited info and the picture, I am concerned that the rafters dont have much overlap with the stringers. Assuming you have a standard roof pitch, any roof load (and any snow) is translated into two loads, One load pushes down in the vertical load bearing wall and one load is pushing out away from the wall. With rot in this critical joint, the vertical load is probably covered but the horizontal load is not. Get the right snow load on the roof, and the the roof could collapse when the rafter kicks out. If the ridge pole is supported center span by a load bearing wall, this is of less concern. This joint (and the tie to the wall) is also important for wind uplift, contrary to common sense many roofs fail upwards in a wind event where a venturi effect is created by the wind blowing over the roof. There can be a significant force upwards near the edges that can rip the shingles and underlying sheathing up and if conditions are right it can take the roof with it. If you have acces to the interior, screwing some steel straps from the stringer to the rafter would be better than not fixing the joint.
  3. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    It seems another concern will be extending the roof edge out to prevent future damage.
    For that reason, a real good carpenter would cut the roof out about two feet up. This would give you room to
    scab on new rafter ends and rebuild the edge of the roof properly.
    If you can reach in far enough, you could nail a 2x4 flush with the top edge of the rafter 'cause it's only holding the fascia.
    You're still going to want to get a good edge on your roof for good run-off, not run-over.
  4. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Peakbagger. I'm familiar with stringers when it comes to floor joists, and stairs, but i'm not sure which framing member you mean regarding the roof stringers.

    The walls are concrete block, with a top plate, and anchors for the rafters at that location. This structure has eaves, and it is the fascia board at the end of the rafter tails that has rotted. I'm going to replace it, though I was wondering if converting to square-cut rafter tails, instead of plumb-cut, would be a good idea. This would negate having to reinstall the lookouts, and likely prevent water damage to the fascia in the future.
  5. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

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    I see nothing wrong with what you are saying. your fascia will be at an angle back to the building, but if that does not bother you it will be fine.

    I would put up either vinyl or sheet metal fascia and run it under the drip edge, for extra insurance.
  6. Cutter

    Cutter New Member

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    One thing you may want to consider is that in the end if you want to put up gutters the square end cuts will make your gutters lean badly or they will hang straight down putting no leverage against the faccia. This would put alot of strain on hangers. And if your roof has much slope, in a heavy rain the water might overshoot your gutters.
    brad
  7. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    That's true, and it had crossed my mind. But i'm pretty sure I've seen brackets meant to hold gutters plumb to fascia that is diagonal or beveled. I was assuming I'd find it again.

    Also, the stable sits at the edge of a steep slope, and i'm not sure gutters are helping that much. There's no basement of course, and only a dirt floor.
  8. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    I probably used the wrong term. The worse case was that you have a two roof rafters running at angles to a ridge pole. The two lower ends of the rafter that are rotted are then tied together from splaying out horizontally by a wooden beam from rafter end to rafter end. This forms a triangle. If the triangle has internal cross bracing its usually referred to as a truss. I referred to the lower beam as a stringer but it is either a rafter or the bottom chord of the truss. Either way the concrete wall is not designed for sideways loading so the horizontal rafter (or chord) that runs from wall to wall would need to be anchored to the wall on each side and the angled roof rafters would need to be tied into the same horizontal rafter. This puts the roof load where it needs to go. Sorry for the confusion.
  9. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    The picture doesn't show much of the roof framing, but it is stick framing, no trusses. There are collar ties as well. The horizontal members you see tied to the rotted rafter ends are lookouts which were placed just to allow the soffits to attach to the bottom of the eaves. They are just toe-nailed into place and end at the outer edge of the wall. They are what I want to get rid of though, so I don't have to replace them. I'll just square cut the new rafter ends and replace the soffit.
  10. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    Assuming that the "lookouts" are not carrying the weight of the rafters (they are tied to the wall hopefully), I would do 1 of the following:

    Remove the sofit, cut the rafters and lookouts back to good wood. Sister on new raftr ends. Attach 2x6's vertically, top cut at the rafter angle and bottom cut square. Attach my sofit to these 2x6's on the outside and to the remaing lookouts on the inside. If needed I would toenail 2x4's between the 2x6's and to attach to those. Nail the facia on. Then address roof edge issues.

    or

    Remove the sofit. Cut the rafters back to good wood and sister on new ones. Cut the lookouts back to the wall. Nail on a facia board that will hang a little lower than the top of the siding. Buy some cheapo vinyl un-vented sofit and J-channel. Nail a J-channel to the wall above the siding and another to the inside face of the facia. Slide in the vinyl sofit. Then address roof edge issues.

    I would hoose option #2 because it is fast, easy, and straight forward.

    Regardless of the option I choose, I would ditch the gutters. I see trees around, it is a un-heated and I assume un-insulated structure, snow and ice building inside them, and you have plenty of over hang. The gutters caused your rot so obviously they were either installed wrong or they were packed full of crap for years. Also, I think you are wasting $$ using PT wood.
  11. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you about removing the gutters, though i'm not sure they were the problem just from being blocked. The trees do keep them packed with leaves/acorns etc., but I think the bigger problem was someone did a bad patch job once before, took up the lowest row of shingles, and slathered a lot of roofing cement and a poorly bent drip guard under the shingles, then replaced the shingles. I think water has chronically been getting under the last row of shingles, and running down the back of the rotting facia.

    Why would you skip the PT wood though? It's not that much more costly, though kiln-dried is harder to find. Are you thinking if it's fixed right, and gutters removed, there's little chance of re-rotting over the years?
  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Pull up the bottom 2' to 3' of roofing. Cut ALL bad wood out. I can almost guarantee the bottom roof decking whether its plywood or plankers is rotted to hell.
    Sister new rafter tails in, new returns for your soffit, put new decking on, put ice & water shield over the new decking tying it in under the old felt & roofing on the top side, put some C3-1/2" drip edge that will wrap over the eave edge, you can slide the gutter under later, which will only be a few feet on the highest point. reshingle with new shingles.
    Leave about 2"-3" of the ice and water shield to wrap down and onto the top of the fascia board. Put new fascia board on, install the soffit, cap the fascia board up to near the top of the board, fold the ice and water down over the new metal, install gutters over top the ice and water shield. Use screwed in hidden hanger for the gutter. Spikes & Ferrells are garbage & will eventually pull out, especially if no fasted into the rafter tail ends. I would screw everything together, no chance of any nails backing out with that.
    I have seen a couple very common reasons for eave ends rotting.
    One is ice or water damming from the gutters doe to ice build up in winter, or clogged outlets for the downspouts causing the gutter to back up and the water to run over the front & back.
    Tow is they did not run a starter course of shingles or do it properly and there was nothing under the vertical seams of the first course. Letting ice damming & /or water run in each of these seams.
    Installing ice and water shield and then over the fascia capping, even if the water backs up, or ice dams, it will not get past the ice and water, and will merely run down the fascia metal behind the gutter to the gound. Not more rotten wood.

    PT wood is not the answer, keeping it dry is. If done correctly you should not need pressure treated or the added expense.
    That is not solving a problem, if the wood still sees water, which is should not. Just prolongs the period is will take to rot.
  13. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    The roof decking is plank. It was built in 1950.

    The lowest inch or so of the lowest plank is rotten, but that's easily fixed by replacing it.

    So it sounds like you guys are not in favor of my idea of changing the rafter ends to square-cut? And Hogwildz--don't you think it'd be best just to skip the gutters?
  14. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    If you don't need the gutters, skipem. Gutters are more a PITA than they are worth. They are needed in some cases on homes, to send rain water from the roof away from the home, or eliminate erosion where the rainwater would normally fall to the ground. By all means if you don't need them, leavem off. And if you are leaving them off, then yes you can leave the ends of the rafter tails square cut. And even eliminate the soffit if you want. Just put venting in between the rafter tails where the meet the upper plate near the face. If you going this route, and don't want a ton of maintenance, then the PT ends would make sense. I would still take off the bottom 3' of shingles and put Ice and water shield on. But instead of wrapping it down 3"over the fascia board capping , Just wrap it down enough to cover the end of the deck and it will then be covered by the drip edge metal.
    Also if you decide to nix the gutter & soffit, depending on the overhang of the rafter tail ends past the wall, if its long say more than say a foot or so, I would still put returns back to the wall for strength. There are several ways you can decide to go, some cheaper than others. Up to you how much time & money you want to spend. Keep maintenance in mind. Capping & soffit and everything will make more maintenance free, unless you leave the underside open and don't paint, then with pressure treated, you won't have that much maintenance.

    Edit: If that is the old true measurement planking, today's plywood & 1"x's won't be the same thickness. You can buy a bundle or so off cheap shingles and lay on one or two layers usually will even it out with the old decking. Then felt and shingle over as normal. Some supply places even may give you some that may have been damaged or are old discontinued stuff. Just ask the place you buy the shingles from if they have any 3 tab shingles you can have for filling in & starters. If not free, they should be cheap.
  15. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Very good advice. Glad I asked.

    The timing of this is poor, because the roof itself is at the end of its life, and I was going to replace it in the Spring. Just the shingles and underlayment, I mean. I would have found the facia rot then, I guess. I've got time to fix the rafters and facia before winter, but I could never get it re-roofed by then.
  16. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Gutters are a pain in the butt, butt I have a small barn
    with no gutter on the back and the bottom of the WOOD
    siding is rotting from splashing.
    Just another thing for you to worry about. :p
  17. Jack33

    Jack33 New Member

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    I suspected you also had roofing problems hence my "roof edge issues". If properly repaired, there is no need for PT wood. Painted wood will be more than enough. Regarding your post about replacing the roof in the spring, can't you leave it as is for the winter? With the facia and sofits gone, any water leaking under the shingles will just run down the sheating. Then in the spring do it all at once and right the first time...drip edge, ice & water shield, starter row, etc?

    If drainage is not an issue, that over hang appears to be more than enough to not need the hassle of gutters.
  18. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I hope you're more decisive when swinging a hammer or man is your thumb in for a beating. :lol:
  19. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    How about a well-secured blue tarp over the roof and tucked around and under the soffits for the winter?

    Or use some stuff called "Tu-Tuf" which is not meant for roofing, but is near indestructible over the short to medium duration?
  20. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Well, the problem is this stable, which was acceptable in appearance before, is now an eyesore. All the rotted rafter tails are exposed, it just looks bad. And though it sits back on my property, it is perfectly lined up with the front of my neighbors house across the street, which is For Sale. So either I fix it, or cover it with tarp for the next six months. If I were my neighbor, I probably wouldn't be too happy with that. I guess I could try to make less ugly somehow.
  21. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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  22. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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  23. Beanscoot

    Beanscoot Member

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    Hmmm... the roof is to be replaced soon, the rafter ends are rotted...

    Why not tear off the entire roof, rafters and all, and replace everything? Once the roofing and decayed deck and rafter ends are off, how much is left? I'm thinking it would be a good opportunity to build a nice new roof. Often it's easier building anew than repairing old stuff. You then could also increase the pitch to give you some attic storage, providing you made strong trusses.
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