The barge and soffit boards on the gable end of my house need to be
capped with PVC. The soffit boards seem quite thin so can I nail the
PVC to them securely? What are the soffit boards usually attached to?
The soffit boards at the eaves are nailed to the spar feet. Dwellings built
with a row of bricks above window height usually have timber frame from the
side of the spar foot running to the wall and a timber fix to the side
hanging vertical of the spar butting up to the wall to form a triangle. If
there are no brick above the window then it is most likely that the back of
the soffit rests on top of the brickwork for support and the outer edge
nailed to the spar foot. The gable soffit and barge boards are usually
nailed to the wall plate and any perlins running through the roof and the
ridge tree. They can also have a different method where the soffit is
nailed on top of the last two rafters and the roof covering fixed to the
soffit boards. Modern practise is to have a ladder rack system, where the
gable brick work is used to support half of the ladder with the other half
extended out to fix the soffit and barge board to.
Thanks for this advice Keith. I am not familiar with svereral terms you
used (e.g. spar, perlin, ladder rack). My cottage was built circa 1900
and was modernised at some stage. A simpler question is: do I need to
put the poly pins in where the existing soffit is nailed, or will the
pins be secured anywhere in the soffit, which looks like ply?
I forgot to mention that there are four (2 each side) joist ends (that
may not be the correct term!) projecting under the soffit board as far
as the barge board.
One final question: what is the best way of preparing the barge/soffit
boards before covering them - paint or preservative. If the latter,
what do you recommend?
PURLING is a support beam, either timber or steel, that runs from the centre
of the roof under the rafters or spars, wall to wall theses are
the timber beams that stick out of the gable brickwork that the barge boards
are fix to. You called them joists. I know joists as ceiling and floor
LADDER RACK is a timber frame resembling a ladder with stays spaced out
about 1m apart. The inner vertical of the rack is nailed to the last rafter
or spar and half of the rack is bricked in and over hangs the gable
brickwork. The barge board is then fixed to the outer vertical rafter or
spar of the rack. A ladder rack is usually used with roof trusses.
The idea of clapping barge boards and fascias, in my opinion is not a very
good idea, as water can get at the back. soffits are ok as these are
usually protected from direct weather. When I've seen clapping done there is
no preparation carried out, just pined direct on to the original material.
In the 1900s the soffit would have been tongue & grooved match boarding,
similar to floor board but thinner with a vee cut in the joint. In some
cases just a solid PAR board, " planed all round", butt jointed. To pin the
pvc soffit to ply wood, I would advise you pin in the same area as the ply
as been fixed, as plywood is very hard and bouncy to pin to and could cause
damage to the roof covering, from the impact of hammering underneath.
Pinning to the barge board should be ok as theses are made of solid timber.
The problem comes of how to make the clapping barge board watertight to the
underside of the roof covering overhang. As this is were the ingress of
rainwater gets in. Relying on mortar pointing wont adhere to PVC, filling
with silicon is as bad as this also doesn't adhere for long. One other
thing to remember is to check how much overhang there will be left after
its fitted. 15mm is an absolute minimum, the more the better.
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