I need to drill a series of vent holes in the plywood soffit that was
recently replaced under my garage roof. I drilled the first couple with a
Forstner, but working overhead is kinda tough on my arthritic shoulders, I
was hoping a spade bit would make it go quicker and easier.
I was doing this same job a few years ago and used a holesaw. If you
get a good quality saw like a Morse or Starret, they have slots that
make it fairly easy to remove the plug.
Actually, I was replacing a section of rain gutter. We had had
insualtion blown into the attic the previous year and I wanted to
install soffit vents, so I figured while I was climbing up the
ladder (about 26 ft to the soffets) I'd do both jobs at the same
time. I can tell you, climbing up and down that ladder, moving it
a few feet each time gets old. Anyway, as I neared an end I had
one hole left to drill in the gutter. I removed the holesaw from my
to switch to a plain twist drill but I dropped it. Damn! I did NOT
want to o down and up that ladder even one more time!
I looked at that holesaw, with it's pilot bit sticking out
about 3/8" or whatever past the saw teeth, and thought to myself,
"Sure I can drill through the aluminum gutter real careful like,
stop the drill as soon as it breaks through, install the last gutter
hanger, and I'll be done."
Well, the pilot drill went through the aluminum but I was not
successful at stopping the drill in time. The hole saw hit the gutter,
snagged on it, tore off a 2 foot section, twisted around, and damn
near pulled me off the ladder. I think it was right after that that I
bought a second cordless drill.
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com () wrote in
It's worthwhile to buy a second cheap cordless drill. I got an 18V one
for $20-30 that's not very high quality, doesn't always spin true (I
think the bit's more the problem than the chuck/motor), etc, but it does
do a decent job drilling holes.
The other thing that comes to mind is when on a ladder you want a tool
belt with a drill holster. It's just so much easier to keep stuff like
that on you when you're working at 4', then 6', then 8' etc.
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.
To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
Buddy Matlosz wrote:
> I need to drill a series of vent holes in the plywood soffit that was
> recently replaced under my garage roof. I drilled the first couple
> Forstner, but working overhead is kinda tough on my arthritic
> was hoping a spade bit would make it go quicker and easier.
Given your application, definitely would NOT suggest a hole saw or a
Since you already have the forstner bit and the drill, find an 18 year
old to do the drilling.
J. Clarke wrote:
> Seems to me to be an ideal application for a hole saw. Using a
> make through-holes in plywood seems to me to be a waste of energy.
Normally I would agree, but in this application, you are standing on a
ladder drilling overhead without the benefit of a right angle drill.
A 2" hole saw is going to bind during cutting.
When it does, your wrists and hands will thank you if you are using a
right angle drill.
If you are using a straight drill, you are going to wish you hadn't.
It is strictly a safety issue.
I'd also be VERY glad that my drill/driver has a clutch...
I've dug in hole saws before and had the torque effect the clutch instead of my
wrist... (that's a good thing *g* )
Hope you're planning to place screened louvers in those holes to keep the
rodents and hornets out. Two inch sounds a bit small. Should not the total
flow area of the soffit vents approximately equal the exhaust flow area of
the gable or ridge vents. A two inch spade bit in a hand held power drill
at the top of a ladder might just wrench those arthritic shoulders
sufficiently to help you forget all about soffits. I suspect that the bit
manufacturers' liability lawyers have thought of that and decided not to
market very large spade bits.
How about some standard, screened, 6x12" soffit louvers installed over
correctly sized cutouts made with a jigsaw in the hands of a younger,
insured person. Medical costs are really high these days.
I didn't want to go into this much detail, but I guess there's no choice
now. I couldn't find a good picture or plan of the way this garage is
constructed, but this photo of a lean-to shed gives a pretty good idea:
My garage is constructed and attached to the house just like the shed in the
picture, but has a footprint of about 12' x 24'. The roof has an even
shallower angle than the one shown, it's almost flat. Inside the garage, the
ceiling consists of sheet rock attached directly to the roof joists, there
are no rafters (hope I'm using the right terms). The house is about 60 years
old, the garage was an add-on and I don't know the age.
I really didn't know much about roof ventilation until after I started this
thread and started to research it. I know now that soffit vents are
intended to be used in conjunction with gable, ridge, or roof vents, but in
this design there's no place to put them. Any suggestions? There was
originally no ventilation provided, is it even required in this roof design?
I don't know. Did a little searching; found this:
Hope it helps.
Are you seeing signs of water or sun damage that causes you to consider the
possible need for ventilation? Or, is this one of those "if it isn't
broken, don't fix it" situations? Do you live in an area with a building
code inspector who is familiar with local conditions and might be willing to
answer this question?
Here's the history: I bought the house about 6 years ago. Shortly after, I
noticed water stains on the garage ceiling. I had a new roof put on by a
co-worker who moonlights in home repairs, I really don't know well-qualified
he is. Two years ago I noticed more leaks. The roof was removed and replaced
by my then 19-yo son. He'd been doing carpentry, roofing and repairs for a
couple of years, and is a neophyte, but was working with an older friend who
seemed more knowledgeable. Now fast-forward to last month - another leak
appeared, my son determined that there was a spot where the garage roof
meets the house wall that wasn't tarred properly, and touched it up. At that
time, we noticed some water damage and rotting along the fascia and soffit.
He said that was probably caused by the previous guy not installing a drip
edge, which my son and his friend did later. He then tore out and replaced
the fascia/soffit. It was then that I questioned why the soffit on the house
had vents, but the garage soffit didn't. Sonny suggested adding the vents,
but again, I'm not sure I trust his judgement. The house, BTW, has a full
attic with gable vents in addition to soffit vents.
I'll look into your suggestion about the building inspector. Those links are
great, I'm still going through them.
Buddy Matlosz wrote:
> Here's the history:
<snipped for brevity>
Let us see, there was a poor flashing job and no drip cap installed.
Either one can cause problems.
The "attic" above the ceiling of this garage needs some ventilation to
prevent condensation problems.
Someplace there is a formula of how much vent area is required based
on square footage of ceiling involved, but I have long ago forgotten
where to look to find it.
Maybe somebody in the insulation business can help.
Think it is time to break out the saber saw and cut some rectangular
holes to accept standard soffit vents.
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