Fascia and soffit: aluminum vs. vinyl

I need to wrap soffit and fascia on my new addition. What material, aluminum or vinyl looks best, easier to install for an average homeowner?
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ls02 wrote:

Al will last longer, fire resistant as well. When this house was built in '94 Al. was installed, it still looks good. Vinyl is weak against hail storm too.
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There really is very little difference in installation with the fascia cover. Aluminum soffit can span a bit more than vinyl as it's more rigid. There will be a bigger difference in appearance from surface texture (faux wood grain versus smooth, for example) than between vinyl and aluminum. Similar textures look pretty much the same from the ground.

Aluminum will last longer than vinyl? Vinyl fascia doesn't hold up to hail? Huh?
Aluminum will last a long time, sure, but the paint on the aluminum will start chalking long before the aluminum gives up the ghost. Fascia covers are mainly an aesthetic thing - if you lose the paint, you lose a lot of the benefit. That won't happen with vinyl.
A fascia cover is fully supported. Fully supported vinyl is just as strong as fully supported aluminum. However hail can dent aluminum even if it's fully supported, but it won't dent vinyl. Soffits never get hit by hail.
R
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Depends.
Vinyl gets brittle as it ages.
I lost some in a golf ball hail storm. Aluminum probably would have dented.
A whole bunch of the vinyl will be under the eaves and not exposed but there are usually some parts that are exposed.
--
Dan Espen

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Aluminum, if you can afford it. Vinyl-clad aluminum, if you're feeling rich. ;-)
Vinyl can sag and can look terrible. Aluminum is almost as easy to work with. A circular saw (I used a RAS) with a plywood blade in backwards (AND HEARING PROTECTION) cuts it very easily. It goes up easily and looks great. Soffits and Facia are a piece of cake.
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On Sep 14, 10:56am, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Thanks everyone. I never heard of Vinyl-clad aluminum. How is it better than plain aluminum? I also though you cut aluminum coil with metal snipers.
I have two questions:
1. How to bend aluminum? I don't have any specialized equipment.
2. How to patch aluminum seams to look good? Should I use caulk?
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Yep, those making recommendations didn't read the last part of your message. Although aluminum and vinyl clad aluminum are the better products, they are also harder to install for the average homeowner. You need to rent/borrow a metal brake to bend the aluminum. You also need to make exact measurements and carefully plan out compound bends. In other words you need the tools & experience to do a decent job yourself. Vinyl is much easier to install for the average homeowner.
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Baloney.
I did AL soffits and fascia using stock big-box AL and never had to bend anything. Took some planning, but all I used were tinnersnips and a power drill and stainless steel screws. Hail damage not likely, vinyl will deteriorate with time, painting will not help. AL will need repainting at some point in time, but the basic material will not weaken with time.
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On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 09:34:16 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net"

On my house the white AL soffit and fascia looks good 51 years later. Still all white. Never cleaned it in the 14 years I've been here. That soffit is about 10 inches. I put white AL gutters, fascia and soffit on my garage about 12 years ago with my brother, who was the brains of that. The overhang soffit is almost 3 feet nailed at ends only and hasn't sagged. He had the gutters rolled to size, but everything else was stock size from a retail supplier. I recall snipping the soffit length to size but the fascia width was fine, corner wrap pre-formed and read to go. We didn't need a brake. The guys who flashed my windows used a brake.
--Vic
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote the following:

The siding guy that was hired to side my house under construction in 1984 covered all my exterior bare wood construction with white baked-on aluminum unrolled from a spool in his truck. He covered the wood surrounding the garage doors and all the fascias, including those under the gable ends of the roof. All were bent with a long metal brake into a U shape (with 90 corners) to cover the 3 exposed sides of the bare wood with one piece. He covered the entire fascia from under the drip edge on the outside top of the fascia, down and under the fascia, then up the back side of the fascia to above where the vinyl vented soffit would be installed later. No part of the bare wood would be exposed to the elements.
I was a Class A school-trained metalsmith in the Navy and knew how to, and did use, a metal brake. It was a monster called a "box and pan" brake with the removable and adjustable 'fingers', which allowed one to make multiple complex bends in a project like a box or pan. I can not imagine how one could bend the aluminum with hand tools and get anything close to the results using a metal brake.
BTW, my vinyl soffits, siding, and trim has gone through 27 years of hot summers and cold winters. No deterioration showing yet. I haven't had to paint it either, but if I ever do have to paint it, there is exterior paint made for vinyl.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Nonsense. I didn't make a single bend. I did have a couple of end caps made for me at the dealer but the layout was a little odd. The soffits and fascia parts are sold in 12'6" sections, IIRC. Just cut to length. The soffits run crosswise so they were cut into 24" pieces and run between a J-channel on the wall and the fascia piece, then interlocked together. Simple!
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It is just that. It's aluminum with a vinyl coating. It has the best qualities of both. No need to use coil stock for what you're doing.

For soffits and fascia you don't need to bend anything. Well, *maybe* the end caps, but I had them done at the roofing supply place where I bought the siding.

No. You don't seal them at all. It's gotta be able to move.
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I personally think a combination of vinyl soffit and aluminum fascia is the better choice for the first time DIY person.
Other than a cheap plywood blade for your circular saw the only tools you must have are a quality pair of tin snips, a 6" hand brake, and a nailset for the siding nails that nail the fascia in place.
The hand brake is used to bend the corners to wrap around and protect the wood under there.
Building yourself a slide track to hold the vinyl and track your saw at 90 degrees is desirable. That uses a 24x24 scrap pf plywood and some 1x3 scraps. I can and will upload a photo of one for you if you like. Mine is about 20 years old and has been used a few times.
--
Colbyt
Please come visit http://www.househomerepair.com
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On 9/14/2011 10:23 AM, ls02 wrote:

Bite the bullet and use plastic or aluminum instead of wood. Not a fan of wrapping. Seen too many cases, on this house and others, where you end up with intact wrapping over black gunk where the wood used to be. If the wood is already up, make sure you have weep holes or other paths in the wrap for trapped water to escape, and make sure the soffit does not slope toward the house, or into the wall is where the water will go. (Took me about half an hour of staring at the non-matching kitchen window here, before the light bulb went off, and I figured out why they had to replace it.)
--
aem sends...

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">> I need to wrap soffit and fascia on my new addition. What material,

*I agree. I've seen it many times where the wrapped fascia looks great and the wood behind it is wet and rotting. I guess the wood absorbs moisture and because it is wrapped, the water stays trapped inside.
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