Installing gutters and closing your roofline are the final steps in this ‘how to replace your roofline’ series.
Gutters disperse water from your roof throughout the year. Installing gutters properly is important because whilst an incorrectly fitted gutter may cope with water from light showers, it could have problems managing during storms. Heavy rain can quickly fill a gutter before the water is diverted to the downpipe and you could have unwelcome overspills around your property.
Your guttering has two tasks:
You need to decide how far the rain has to travel and which type of gutter is to be fitted – for example, where you have a run over 10m you may need a shallow gutter with a steeper fall or a deeper gutter that can handle more water (assuming the fascia is tall enough to take a deeper gutter).
The ‘fall’ is the measurement by which the gutter drops to allow water to drain towards the outlet downpipes.
Many plumbers guidelines recommend a ratio of around 1:500 (which is roughly 20mm for every 5m of guttering). But it does depend upon the pitch and size of the roof above your guttering. The amount of water running off a steep roof, with hundreds of tiles, is very different to the amount of water that runs off a shallow pitched roof.
Tip: check how the original gutters were fitted to get some idea of what depth of fall/size of gutter you need to have.
Your gutters have a ‘high point’ and a ‘low point’. The difference in position between the two is known as the ‘gutter fall’.
The ‘high point’ is where the highest gutter bracket is placed and is the furthest from the outlet(s). If the run has two downpipes then the high point should be placed between them. The ‘low point’ is next to the outlet (downpipe).
The difference in height between the ‘high point’ and the ‘low point’ must be enough to allow rainwater to flow without restriction. The plumber’s guideline of a ratio of 1:500 should be fine.
As a rough guide: if your ‘high point’ is a bracket whose top sits 10mm from the top of the fascia height, then the ‘low point’ (placed next to the outlet) would be at least 30mm from the top over a 10m run.
Never fix a ‘low point’ gutter bracket with most of its mould off the fascia board. Gutter brackets that are positioned off-set on the fascia board will start to curl over time. A few millimetres is fine – but much more than that, for example over half the bracket, is very risky.
Make sure there is no overshoot on the ‘low point’ bracket position. Overshooting is where the water runs off the bottom row of roof tiles and misses the guttering. This happens when there is force behind the water running down the roof because the water leaves the bottom row of tiles in an arc, rather than just dropping instantly.
To check if overshooting is likely, set the ‘low point’ and pull down a roof tile to act as a guide of how the water will flow (see diagram below). Remember, though, extremely heavy downpours will normally overshoot anyway.
You need to be absolutely confident about where the brackets need to be fitted. If you have to re-adjust a gutter run you will have screw holes in the fascia that may become exposed to the elements. Unlike wood, uPVC fascias cannot be ‘filled’ to a good standard and would have to be replaced.
Once you’ve fitted the high and low point brackets with 20 – 30mm screws, use a string line to decide the correct placement of the other brackets.
Wrap the line around the low and high point brackets. Make sure you have a nice tight string line with a good old fashioned ‘twang’ when flicked.
Decide which part of the bracket you are going to use for alignment, I normally use the top of the bracket as the alignment point.
If your top brickline (and fascias) are not level, then using a measurement ratio (as described above) may not be very reliable for achieving the correct gutter fall. So, before you fix each bracket, check the gutter is ‘falling’ correctly.
Hold a 1 metre level along the string line as still as you can. Check the level bubble sits slightly to the left or right of centre depending on which way the water needs to flow.
Fix the gutter brackets with a gap of around 800 – 900mm between each.
Tip: Mark out where gutter unions will be and fit extra brackets to support them.
Release the string line once all the brackets are aligned and firmly fixed.
Do another check with the level once the gutters have been clipped in. Plastic retracts in cold weather and expands in hot, so allow a little play for thermal movement.
One more final check:
Pour a little water slowly into the gutter at the ‘high point’ and wait. You should see it flow towards the ‘low point’ and drip continuously from the outlet or corner. If the water does not make it to the ‘low point’ or if there is any ‘pooling’ then the gutter will need to be re-fitted using a steeper fall.
Check Your Soak Away Capacity
The downpipes disperse the rain water to its final destination – the soak away. These are underground and placed away from the building’s foundations. If the pipes underground are not blocked and the soak away itself is the right size they will handle any amount of excess water. If the pipes are blocked or the soak away is small it will not cope with the water and your downpipe will be ‘charged’ – i.e. full of water. If your old downpipes were full of water when they were removed then it is best to get a specialist to take a look at your soak away before connecting the downpipe into it.
The Downpipe Construction
A downpipe has three sections: a swan, a pipe and a base.
The swan is positioned at the top. It is composed of two offset bends that link the gutter outlet to the wall of the house. Place the offsets against the outlet and the wall and measure the gap between them for the measurement.
The position of the base is determined by what the downpipe is feeding into; a soak away, a shoe or straight into a water butt. It will need to be placed and supported by a downpipe clip to prevent it from slipping off over time.
Warning– do not fix a downpipe clip below the damp course. Drilling holes below the damp course to fix the clip allows water ingress and can create damp problems in your home. If you do not know what or where your damp course is then it is best to get a professional to advise you.
The pipe is the last section to be installed. Measure from the base fixing to the bottom of the swan. This can be a very tricky measurement as it can be very long and there is nothing to hook the tape measure onto. Take your time and ask for help if needed. Once the pipe is cut and placed into the joining sockets use your 1 metre level to guide the pipe straight before drilling the fixing clips into the wall.
After installing gutters the final task is to close up your roofline. There are 3 steps – ventilation, re-felting and fitting a birdcomb.
Ventilation – if you have used premoulded soffits there is no additional work and you can move straight on to re-felting. If not, then the ventilation method will be either porthole vents or over fascia ventilation.
Porthole Vents – each is a small disc that is a friction fit as long as the holes are drilled – I recommend drilling the holes every 500mm and between the trusses. Specially made drill bits can be used for this but they can be very expensive for a ‘one time use’. Drill the hole and then push the vents into the soffit so they snap into place. Continue along the run until the entire length is ventilated.
Over Fascia Vents – these are easier . They are nailed into the fascia using 50mm nails. Normally around 20mm high. Avoid installing them on corners as the fascia has a lot more load bearing on corners and can become weak if a ventilation strip is placed there. Go along the run, nailing down the vents on top of the fascia. Avoid leaving gaps between the vents as this can lead to infestations such as wasps and bees.
Re-felting – this is a crucial task because if done incorrectly it is the most likely area that will let water into your house. I’d advise you to use a hardlip tray or (most commonly known) eaves protector. You can use a DPC (damp proof course) but this is a very flimsy felt that can warp and belly. An eaves protector keeps its shape through the years. You can normally buy it in 1.5m lengths.
To install the hardlip tray, simply lift the existing felt, where it was cut, to expose the roof inside. Place the eaves protector on top of the roof trusses and allow the lip of the eaves protector to sit on top of the fascia. Pin down with at least 30mm pins and overlap each tray. If you do not overlap or put the tray underneath the felt you risk rainwater getting under the tiles and into the house.
Bird Comb – a well fitted bird comb prevents anything getting into your roof for the life of the fascias and keeps your eaves clear. If you have installed an eaves protector there is a small channel where the bird comb fits. Use 30mm pins to fix and don’t skimp; use a pin for every tile, as birds can be persistent and can sometimes flatten the bird comb if it is not strong.
Finally, replace the tiles and press down gently so the bird comb flattens in places where the tiles are flat. Some tiles may look a little ‘wavy’ as this is caused by the bird comb not settling. If they do not push down then let them lie so that they can settle over time.
Once all the tiles are down spend a little time making sure all areas are completely blocked by the bird comb.
Finishing up is mainly cleaning and carrying out a final check.
Clean the roofline area with ordinary glass cleaner. For more stubborn stains (such as pencil and pen marks) use solvent cleaners. An ordinary rag or tissue is good for the job and, when finished, your new fascias should look completely spotless.
Check for any areas that need seal of mastic, usually where brickwork is not so neat. Pay particular attention to the areas where the soffit meets the wall or the bargeboard meets the verge strip.
Do not make too big a seal as it can look unsightly and will make it harder to maintain a neat bead. The sealant will take a couple of hours to cure completely so do not clean the fascias again until it is completely set as you may smear the mastic.
Tip: Remember to give your higher windows a little clean before you break down your access equipment.
Installing gutters correctly is crucial when replacing your roofline. Incorrectly installing gutters can give you problems from minor inconveniences, such as occasional water overshooting, to more major concerns where your roofline is not watertight and internal problems such as damp or rotting timbers crop up.
Because Anglia Roofline specialises in roofline replacement we have experienced fitters who make 100% sure your property’s roofline not only looks good but also gives your property full protection.
So, if you have any doubts about your ability to replace your roofline successfully then why not ask for a free, no obligation quote? I take just 30 minutes to inspect the current state of your roofline and give you an honest report on what is needed and what it will cost. I don’t employ any pushy salesmen. Plus, if you can be flexible on when the work is carried out, you could save up to £825 off your quote.
Request your FREE survey & quote NOW.
Owner & Director | Anglia Roofline Company Ltd
Bargeboards are installed after the soffits are fitted. There are two types of bargeboard design and each is dependent upon how you want the ‘box end’ to look. To make a box end supportive and cosmetically appealing, you must take exact measurements.
There are two box end styles: ‘kite and wedge’ and ‘one piece’. Check what box end style is currently fitted, it is likely to be a ‘kite and wedge’ which is the most common. If you are lucky it may be a ‘one piece’ which is easier to fit because you can now get large plastic fascia boards.
For a ‘kite and wedge’ style, measure from the apex, along the gable ladder keeping tight to the verge. Stop at the point where the gable ladder finishes. Make sure you keep the tape measure straight. Any slack on the tape will result in an incorrect measure.
Measure from the apex but stop in line with the ‘return’ that was fixed earlier (i.e. the last piece of soffit you fitted).
Once you have got these measurements, prepare the bargeboard fascia before measuring for the box ends. It saves you having to remember all the different measurements or attempting to write them in a notebook when you are balancing on a ladder, not something I would recommend.
Use the carpenter’s bevel to check the correct angle for the apex and box end.
Both should be the same angle. Butt the fascia and mark the nails roughly 500mm apart. If the fascia is large, mark it for double nailing to prevent tilting when the bargeboard is fitted.
There is a bit more preparation involved when you have a ‘kite and wedge’ box end. This is because the box end is effectively part of the bargeboard.
The next step is to measure the ‘kite’. This is the upper part of the box end and is a scalene triangle (a triangle with no equal sides or angles).
Use the carpenter’s bevel as many times as you need to get it right. You’ll probably find you are frequently up and down the ladder, but the tight fit you get by taking this much care will be worth it.
The three measurements you need are:
1 – Top of bargeboard to verge strip
2 – Top of bargeboard to the point where the bargeboard meets the verge strip
3 – Point of bargeboard meeting verge to top of box end at the corner
It can be a little confusing, but the points should be very apparent as these are the only ones you will be able to get measurements from.
Use the measurements to cut the fascia pieces for the kite section and fix onto the bargeboard using 30mm pins. Do not use screws to fit because the fascia will burst as the screw tension grips.
Use a scaffolder’s level to mark the bottom of the bargeboard so that it runs level with the adjoining fascia run. Cut this excess fascia off and keep it to one side as this is good enough to make the ‘wedge’. Mark the ‘wedge’ tight to the ‘return’ and cut. Stick on with a strong adhesive and finish the box end off with a fascia corner and trims.
Measuring the ‘one piece’ box end board can be very similar to measuring the ‘kite and wedge’ style.
The bargeboard should stop just before the vertical ‘return’, leaving a foot or so of exposed gable ladder.
Again, use the carpenter’s bevel as many times as needed. Start from a single point, bearing in mind that the fascia lip (the neat edge) needs to be flush with the soffit of the adjoining run. Sometimes these cannot be level due to the build of the house.
Taking it in stages and, if possible, using two carpenter’s bevels for speed. Measure point to point, bevel to bevel to make every cut precise. Once cut, fix with nails. Use as many additional fixings as needed to avoid any movement. These fixings will be hidden by the corner and joiner.
The pictures below show each of the 5 steps to follow when fitting a one piece box end:
‘One piece’ box ends are prone to warping due to thermal movement and lack of fixings for such a small piece. Finish off with using fascia corners, allowing enough coverage to hide the extra fixings.
When you have completed the box end and bargeboard fitting, clean and finish off with a smooth seal of mastic where the uPVC meets the verge strip. This prevents water, especially from morning dew, seeping behind and affecting the gable ladder.
…give the job to someone else.
Replacing your roofline can be a tricky business, especially without professional help or guidance. Although I have aimed to help you complete the job with these ‘How-to’ guides, I think I have probably highlighted just how much work is involved.
If you feel it is all a bit too much to handle, then using a specialist roofline replacement company (like Anglia Roofline) could be a wise, economical choice for you.
It doesn’t cost you anything to find out, at least not if you are in the Norfolk area and ask me for a free, no obligation quote.
I only take 30 minutes to inspect the current state of your roofline. And then I’ll give you an honest report on what is needed and what it will cost to fit a quality uPVC roofline guaranteed to last 20 years.
At Anglia Roofline my fitters have the right experience to remove your old roofline and fit your new one. . . including installing soffits, installing fascias, bargeboards etc. all safely, quickly and with a tidy finish.
Make A Saving: Your Special Offer:
The weather impacts on when this type of work can be done. That’s why if you can be flexible about when the replacement is carried out, you could save up to £825 off your quote.
Owner & Director | Anglia Roofline Company Ltd
Installing fascias from this point is straight forward provided you have completed the previous stages correctly.
In this post I’m covering fascia installation on tiled runs and flat roofs. Gable fascias (bargeboards) are covered in my next ‘How-to’ post.
Fascias are a structural component of your roofline so it is important to make sure they are measured and fitted properly.
Before installing fascias your first step is to accurately measure the fascia height and length on the tiled run.
The solid, level, horizontal line of correctly fitted soffits is your guide for measuring the fascia height.
Using a tape measure, measure an end tile in line with the kick of the tile above it. The first row of tiles rests on the fascia, so this measurement must be accurate. If measured incorrectly, a shallow fascia kicks out the connection between the first row and second row of tiles; a tall fascia slows the rainwater and allows water to build up into torrential downpours.
It is very easy to get this wrong and either outcome results in water getting beneath the tiles – eventually giving you rotted battens, felt deterioration and water inside your property.
So, to get the precise measurement, you need to measure between the very bottom of the tile and the underside of the soffit. If you intend to install over facia vents and bird combs remember these thicken the height and you have to adjust the fascia measurement to accommodate them.
Important Tip: Never allow vents to be load bearing at the ends of a run (such as hips and box ends) as these areas need the support more than any other area of a run.
Only allow around 150mm before a vent starts. For bird comb allowance allow an extra 5mm on the fascia. If the measurement is too tight it warps how the tiles sit adjacent to cemented down tiles on either end.
Check the fascia height is consistent along the run – use the same method at each end of the run and in the centre. On some older houses, or houses where the brickwork is not level, a fascia height may creep and be considerably different in some places. If this is the case, and you are not confident about raising hips and verges to alter the bedded tiles, try to make the measurements fade into each other. If you have a difference of more than 15mm, it may be worth checking how the soffit is installed (especially if the property is around 60 – 70 years old) as this much difference is a very rare occurrence.
If you are installing fascias over 5m long you need at least one joint. I recommend staggering fascia joints from soffit joints as each joint is a potential weakness. Therefore, staggering the joints strengthens these areas considerably.
Also, avoid installing fascias any smaller than 1m as you would only have 1 solid fixing onto the studwork and it would, over a period of time, start to warp.
For example: if the overall length of a run is 9m then you can split it into a 5m length and a 4m length – whereas for a 5.5m run you would go for a 1m and a 4.5m length.
It is far easier to correctly measure for a flat roof. Whilst the fascias here are not load bearing, there are other areas that need attention that a tiled run does not.
When installing fascias on a flat roof aim to enclose it and have a tight fit. Your ripped out run shows the exposed joists where the flat stirling board sits. The measurement for these straight runs is from the stirling board down to the soffit (if applicable) or to the middle of the top course of bricks. This creates a tight fit overlapped by the felt at the top and with a good 25 – 40mm overlap past the brick.
Normally a flat roof fascia needs the lip of the fascia board removed to stay flush with the wall. You can make it watertight with a bead of silicone after all the guttering and cleaning has been done.
You may find you have some awkward areas to measure. These are the areas I’ve come across along with tips on how to measure them.
Valleys – not every property has these. They are areas where the roof comes to an internal 90° corner. Generally the fascia in this corner is a little bit shallower than the rest of the run. Ripping out old fascias will expose the valley board behind and some lead. Do not be tempted to move these or to vent these areas.
A valley normally stretches between 200mm and 300mm each side and is usually a different height; sometimes a difference of 20mm – 50mm. Take as many measurements as you need to until you are confident about going ahead.
Shower / Oven Ventilation – ventilation covers are normally installed in soffits and sometimes have a little play in them. This means you don’t have to worry about exact measurements. Make sure the gutter clears the area though.
Making the pipe connection fit can be tricky. Take care because if it is not installed correctly exhaust steam can pour into the roof giving you extreme condensation in the attic.
Overflow pipes – these are pipes that poke out of the fascia and are connected to tanks in the attic space. If you have installed a product (such as a combi boiler) that makes the tank redundant then it is not necessary to install the overflow pipes again. If they are still in use then you need to measure where they can be sited so they don’t interfere with the gutter. I generally use a router blade and make the holes as low as possible.
Once you’ve completed the measurements you are ready to cut the fascia boards. A good wood saw is OK to make small cuts. Use a cordless circular saw for a longer cut.
Mark out as many of the measurements on the fascia as possible; this acts as a ‘double check’. Always bear in mind that the measurement from the underside of the tile to the soffit is an internal measurement of the fascia and not an overall height. Do not include the lip (which is normally 9mm) when marking your measurements. For example: if a fascia height from tile to soffit is 150mm then the actual overall height (including the lip) is 159 – 160mm.
Prepare one board at a time and fit one board at a time. Do not measure a 7m run and prepare a 5m and a 2m. There’s a good chance you may need a few millimetres more, or less, on the last board of the run.
Take it slowly and always measure again if in doubt rather than getting it wrong. Achieving a snug job takes a lot of concentration. Get it right first time and you avoid going up the ladder again to redo a rushed job. It is worth taking your time because in some places on a roofline 5mm too short is an open invitation allowing pests inside.
Always wear safety goggles when ripping plastic boards down as the shavings literally cover you in fine dust that scratches your eyes. Take it slowly and finish off by marking a rough line for a nail height on the protective film of the fascia.
Make sure the nail position is in the centre of the overall height of the board. Consider using 2 nail lines for fascias any higher than 200mm.
Similar to soffit installation, installing fascias – especially the longer lengths – is normally a two person job as a single pair of hands cannot be at both ends of a 5m length of board at the same time. Keep the gap between the joints as small as possible whilst allowing expansion gaps of around 5mm.
Use 65mm nails and do not leave any play between the back of the fascia and the studwork behind. You need a nice tight fix that is load bearing for the tiles to rest on.
Once the fascias are fixed in place, use a level to check for any sloping areas.
At this point, give the fascias a quick clean and any joiners that need to be done can be glued into place. Consider screwing the joints together for extra support in case the joint has fallen between the studwork.
Fitting fascia lengths on your own can be very dangerous, especially when trying to hold the fascia at the same time as driving a nail into the roof truss / studwork behind it. If you don’t have anyone who can give you a hand, or if you have any concerns about working at heights, then I urge you to seriously consider getting a professional in to replace the roofline for you.
A roofline specialist, such as Anglia Roofline, have the right experience to remove the old roofline and fit your new one. . . including installing soffits, installing fascias, bargeboards etc.
If you are in the Norfolk area, why not ask for a free, no obligation quote? I will visit you for just 30 minutes during which time I inspect the current state of your roofline. I’ll give you an honest report on what is needed and what it will cost to fit a quality uPVC roofline guaranteed to last 20 years. Plus, if you can be flexible on when the work is carried out, you could save up to £825 off your quote.
Owner & Director | Anglia Roofline Company Ltd
In the construction trade, studwork to strengthen walls and joists are called ‘noggins’. Studding out runs are only needed if the run of your roofline has fascias and soffits. Whilst rafters and rafter feet are the main structure of your roof and roofline, studding out gives extra support for your fascia boards and soffits.
Why would your roof need that extra support?
If you have unsupported and loose fixings you are likely to get a whole range of problems. For example, loose soffits allow infestations and may collapse; a flimsy fascia warps over time, allowing your gutter falls to become useless, birds to gain access to build nests and you may get water leaking into the interior of your house. Also, the cosmetic value of your roofline suffers tremendously.
Bearing in mind the cost of materials used throughout your property, to install a roofline that is not efficient in use, as well as looking good, is more than just a waste of your personal time.
A well-built fascia and soffit run needs a noggin for each rafter foot to stop the soffit from floating and the fascia from swaying. Noggins are also used to get the roofline level in cases where the top of the walls are uneven.
Your soffit sits on the top course of bricks so you need to measure past the brickwork by around 40 – 50mm (as a rough guide).
Check the measurements on the whole of the run in case your property has a lintel over the windows instead of a top course of bricks. Always go to the furthest possible measurement to make sure the soffit is is totally secure when fixed.
The best material to use for noggins is rough 6” x 1” (150mm by 25mm) treated wood. The noggins are not visible so you do not need planed wood, which is more expensive. Rough, treated wood is not generally available from a typical DIY outlet so you need a builder’s supplier with a wood yard.
A simple wood saw is good enough to cut each noggin as the quality of the cut is not important; just use your tri-square to make sure it is straight.
Once all the noggins have been cut there are a number of tools and materials you need. These are –
The off-cut piece of soffit is a ‘guide’. Cut a small piece of the plastic soffit, around 15mm x 50mm. it does not need to be any bigger than this but you will find it is essential for this process.
Fix a noggin to each end of the run. Start at the furthest end from the hip truss or the gable ladder to avoid having to guess where the soffit will sit.
Place the ‘guide’ on top of the top course of bricks, in line with the end rafter foot. Then, rest the noggin on the ‘guide’ and press onto the rafter foot. Extend 5mm past the rafter foot to allow for any inconsistency in the rafter feet along the run.
Then, using the scaffolder’s level, check the bottom of the noggin to find where the noggin should sit. The noggin must be dead level.
Caution: Accuracy is crucial, so I recommend getting someone to help because you need to hold the noggin and the scaffolder’s level whilst drilling and screwing the noggin in place. A slight misalignment could throw the noggin out by a few millimetres. You may think a few millimetres does not matter, but times that by how many noggins you have along the run and a few millimetres soon turns into centimetres.
Once the first noggin is fixed, do the same at the other end.
I know, it sounds easy. . . if you had another pair of hands! If you don’t have a helper, try using a clamp. Never struggle when you are working at height, that’s how accidents happen.
You now have two noggins fixed at either end of the run.
Use the string line to make fitting the remaining noggins easier.
Using a hammer, drive a small pin into the bottom corner of the first noggin leaving a few millimetres of the pin proud. Do the same with a pin at the other noggin. Wrap the end of the string line around the pin by the first noggin and drive the pin into the wood to secure the end of the line.
Make sure the line is tight before finalising the fix on the noggin at the other end. A loose string line forms a curve and throws out the fascia in the middle of the run. Flick the string with your finger and listen for a loud twanging sound and see if the vibrations settle instantly.
The string line basically gives you a guideline when you are fixing the remaining noggins. As long as the first and last noggins are level, the line is level too – horizontally and vertically.
For each noggin, place the soffit ‘guide’ on top of the wall, rest the noggin on it and line up the bottom corner with the string line. You can use more string lines at other points of the noggins if you feel the need.
You may find your wall is uneven, especially above a window. So, if you come to a ‘kink’ in the brick course, I suggest using the scaffolder’s level again to check the alignment. If you don’t it can throw the noggin out and make the fascia lean.
Fix every noggin with at two to three screws. This prevents a ‘see saw’ effect. Make sure all screws are driven in tightly and remove the string line when all the noggins are securely fixed in place.
You now have the foundation of your roofline ready for the next stage; installing the soffits.
You may be surprised at the amount of work replacing your roofline entails. Professionals make it look easy – that’s where experience helps.
If you are having second thoughts about doing all this work yourself, and you are in the Norfolk area, why not ask for a no-obligation, 30-minute survey and quote? You may be pleasantly surprised and – think about it – it will be a weight lifted off your shoulders for at least 20 years!
Soffits can be found in several areas of a property; they can be on a typical gutter run, a gable end or on a fascia only area beneath a flat roof.
You may find you need good carpentry skills to do the job properly.
Soffits are the covering you can see under the overhang of your roofline, next to the property wall (see picture).
Below, I have described the three areas where your soffits may be on your property and how to measure for each location:
Every property has a gutter run but you may not have a gable end as they are not always essential in the construction of a building. After studding out you need to find the measurement for the overall depth.
Soffits generally sit on top of the top course of face bricks and, sometimes, windows.
If your soffit has to butt to the wall then you must measure the depth from the wall itself and past the studwork / roof truss by another 5mm. Extending past the studwork / roof truss allows for a tighter connection with the lip of the fascia. You should also add a seal of mastic to keep out small insects such as wasps etc. If they find a gap you could end up with a wasp nest in your eaves – not an easy thing to get rid of.
If your soffit is layng on top of the face bricks then it is wise to allow 40 – 50mm past the wall and 5mm past the studwork / roof truss in the measurement. The excess on top of the wall means you do not have to seal the soffit with mastic as the area where the soffit meets the brick is too tight for anything to get inside. Bricks can shale in time and the cement between the bricks can become a little loose over time, so the deeper the soffit lays on the wall, the better.
Once you’ve established the depth it is time to prepare the length of the soffit before fixing. If you have a shower or oven extractors that needs to come through the soffit you can use a jigsaw to cut out the apperture you need.
Also, bear in mind whether you want mitred corners., especially if you have a hip roof (a hip roof is a simple roof that slopes downward at all points at a uniform angle of pitch).
A mitred corner is usually a 45 degree cut, but always check with sample cuts beforehand. A mitred corner is not more structurally superior than running the soffit long – it just looks nicer.
Unlike the gutter runs, gable end soffits always butt up to the wall. The face bricks rise higher than the gable ladder as well so the only way you can get a measurement is from two points – wall to gable ladder. The soffits are fitted flush at both of these points. Be careful to make a neat cut as any strays in the cut will be easily seen.
The measurement for the length is found by the next two points, these are the gable ladder apex to a point past where the face brick stops. This is covered when the box end is shaped after the fascia has been fixed.
Gable soffits can normally be pre-pinned on the workbench to save time rummaging for pins whilst trying to hold the soffit steady. A seal can be applied to the point where the soffit meets the wall but it is not easy to do a neat job because of the angle of the face bricks.
Deep soffits are normally found on areas such as porches, garages and bay window areas. Soffit boards are normally between 300mm and 400mm in depth, although I have come across soffits as deep as 2m or more. If you have a deep soffit area it requires some patience because it is the most awkward part of your installation.
I’m assuming that you’ve already done a survey and checked what materials you need for the job.
A typical tongue and groove soffit is the best choice for hiding fixings, thermal movement and the general structure of the soffits. Flat boards are ok, but the joining strips can look out of place and the pin heads will be visible.
Take your time and take lots and lots of measurements so you know exactly what needs to be notched out after the first soffit board is fixed. It is generally the second soffit board that needs the finesse cuts.
You may have obstacles on your porches, such as gallows brackets, posts, wall steps and/or light fixings. You need to take special care with the measurements and cuts for these fittings, too many cutts and joins spoil the appearance of your property. After all, a porch is in use all the time and getting it right stops the ‘eye sore’ from being part of your daily life.
My fitters always take great care in these areas and, even after years of experience, they still find new challenges. You’ll often find that fixings are not built precisely so it is unwise to assume that everything is dead straight.
Make sure your cuts are precise; use the carpenter’s bevel and small set squares… 5 minutes attention to detail can save a lot of time and hassle.
Now you’ve got all your measurements it is time to prepare your soffits ready for fitting, starting with cutting to the lengths you need.
Use a scriber to make a mark along the soffit for the desired depth. Mark out all fixings (e.g. for your shower extractor) and finesse cuts such as mitres, bay windows and pipes. It may take a long time to do this and it is very easy to be disheartened if your soffits have many ‘ins and outs’.
It takes seasoned installers, like mine, quite a while to note down all the measurements that are needed to produce a well presented soffit.
Use a sharp saw to get a good, clean cut on your soffits.
Once cut, use 30mm pins to fix the soffit to the studwork – and consider using ‘headless’ pins as these make a tighter connection when the fascia goes on next. If the run is more than the length of the soffit then a joining strip needs to be applied. Remember to leave a general gap between two lengths of soffits of at least 5mm to allow ‘thermal movement’ to take place without warping the soffits when they press together.
Bear in mind your soffits have no support, other than the fixings you use.
A poor fixing will make it droop, sag or even fall off.
Every fixing must be tight and bedded into solid wood. Just because it looks OK does not mean that the job has been done to a good standard. Thermal movement across the seasons, year in year out, will test your fixings.
The next stage in your roofline replacement job (stage 4 of 9) is installing Fascias and Bargeboards.
Of course, following these steps is straightforward if your property is a simple layout, but if you have awkward extensions or glass-roofed conservatories then replacing the roofline yourself can become a bit of a nightmare!
If that’s the case for you, and you are in the Norfolk area, why not ask for a no-obligation, 30-minute survey and quote? You may be pleasantly surprised and – just imagine it – you can have the pleasure of watching someone else do all this work for you!
The rafter feet are a key part of your roofline structure. They must be solid so you can fit your replacement roofline components.
In my previous post, Roofline Ripping Out, I described how to remove the visible components of your existing roofline. The next stage is to check and prepare the rafter feet. There are two parts to this stage – ‘preparing the rafter feet’ and ‘splicing’. Both are equally important.
Rafter feet are generally spaced just under a meter apart, along the length of the run. After you’ve done a few simple checks you may find you need to carry out carpentry work to restore your rafter feet.
Important: Do not attempt to fit your replacement fascias to rafter feet that have any indication of rot. If you do, your roofline is likely to develop problems sooner rather than lasting for many, many years as it should.
Remember, structural wood, such as rafter feet, needs to be replaced if you spot any weaknesses. Do not attempt to tidy up with filler. Filler material is purely cosmetic, it has no strength for supporting any weight.
As you check each of the rafter feet look for obvious signs of weakened wood.
Has the wood colour changed because of damp?
Are there any tiny holes? These are telltale signs of woodworm. In fact woodworm can sometimes be more of a problem than wet rot.
If you suspect woodworm or wet rot in your rafter feet you must cut back the affected area completely and splice a new piece alongside.
If you are unlucky enough to have an extreme case, where the rot has spread further than the eaves, then you must find a more solid fixing further up the roof. You may have to go into the attic space. If this is the case then it is most likely that the tile battens (these are the strips of wood that your roofing tiles are held on) are resting on the rotted rafters.
It is a very tricky job to carry out and I urge you to get a competent installer to sort it out for you. If you attempt to do it yourself and remove wood that tile battens rest upon you could collapse sections of your roof and greatly damage the roofing felt. So, my professional advice is, do not attempt to remove wood past the first batten.
OK, having checked for visible signs of problems, you need to be certain the wood is as solid as it looks.
Use a flat headed screwdriver to stab into the grain of the wood of each of the rafter feet. If the wood crumbles or flakes then it needs to be replaced.
Professional Tip: Always carry out checks and repair or replace your rafter feet before you measure for the replacement fascias – if you measure before you do any rafter feet splicing that is needed you may get fitting problems.
All rafter feet have a little rot or discoloration from where the old nails have rusted and left stains and larger holes than the size of the nails that came out. This is normal and they do not need any remedial work.
Professional Tip: If the tests you carried out with the screwdriver did not highlight any rotting wood, then the best way to make doubly sure your rafter foot is strong enough is to test a fixing:
Drive a wood nail in with a hammer and give it a wiggle. A good solid fixing hardly moves whereas a bad one does not hold the ‘bite’ of the nail.
If you’ve established your rafter foot does have some rot you need to prepare it ready to splice a new, strong piece of wood onto it:
Using a sharp wood saw, cut past any rot with a nice clean, angled cut and remove the decayed timber.
Always be careful when removing wood on gable ends as it is very easy to accidentally lose the verge cement. If you have any concerns that this may happen then it is best to leave it and seek professional assistance. Verge cement can drop, along with tiles, giving you a serious roof collapse.
It is also very common for gable ends to have their trusses (sometimes called gable ladders) resting and fixed on purlins. These support the entire roof and prevent sagging.
Purlins are made of wood that is much harder than the wood used for trusses. However, they can rot just as easily and can cause very severe structural problems when they do. A totally rotted purlin is useless and cannot be cut back past the wall.
If your purlin is rotted do not attempt to replace it, seek professional help. Unfortunately a rotted purlin may be an indication that you need a new roof.
Always make sure the new wood you are going to use for splicing is the same thickness as the existing timber – i.e. 3”x2” will need 3”x2”, 4”x2” will need 4”x2”. I know this sounds trivial and absolutely obvious but I frequently come across small DIY jobs that have used whatever wood was lying about in the shed.
Using these scraps of incorrectly sized timber is false economy – the splice may appear solid when first done but is unlikely to last more than a year or two. I urge you to make a wise investment – buy the correct size wood.
When splicing the new wood onto the existing rafter feet, you want to get a good bite into the two pieces of wood, so use high quality wood screws of around 70mm to 90mm – these give you a firm fixing.
Use a power drill to pilot hole each fixing with a slightly slimmer drill bit than the thread of the screw – this helps to avoid splitting the wood whilst providing a good bite.
Make at least two fixings so there is no movement afterwards. If you use only one screw you create a ‘see-saw’ effect where the wood moves under pressure.
Splicing alongside rafter feet is generally done on a fascia soffit gutter run. Replacing the rotten area only is too short for a firm hold. You are basically trying to mimic the rafter feet either side of the affected timber. It is not essential for it to be exactly uniform with the rest at this stage.
Splicing in a gable ladder is slightly harder. Once again, an angled cut past the rot on the wood will help you to get a good fix but it may take several trips up the ladder to achieve a neat and tidy measurement.
Getting the angles right is key here so it is very helpful if the original rotted wood comes off in one piece so you can use it as a template.
Once the new wood is cut and tested for a tight fit, drive in the screws after piloting and make sure that it is firm and stays in position when you try to wiggle it.
This is the second of the nine steps our professional fitters carry out when fitting a replacement roofline. As you can see, you must take great care to avoid damaging your roof unintentionally.
This is why many householders decide to get it done by professionals.
My fitters at Anglia Roofline are specialists at installing replacement rooflines – this is the only type of building work we carry out. (See what other people think of our work: Referenceline Customer Feedback).
If you are located in Norfolk and would like to avoid the hassle of doing it yourself, ask me for a no-obligation, 30-minutes survey and quote.
Before you start your roofline ripping out task make sure you have easy, safe access to all areas. Removing your old roofline can sometimes hold the most risk in the whole roofline replacement process.
Rusted nails or unattached soffits can mean that parts of your roofline may be looser than you expect. And, when you start the roofline ripping out, if something takes less effort to pull away than you anticipated you could easily lose your balance and even end up in hospital. This is why health & safety regulations require scaffolding to be used in these work situations. If access to your roofline is difficult you should consider arranging for scaffolding to be erected.
And make sure you have the right tools for the job – see our Roofline Repair Tools article (opens in new window).
For fascia soffit and gutter runs, the roofline ripping out process can be broken down into five distinct sections –
Your tiles may be pinned down – use a flat crowbar to ease the pins out to release the tiles.Once the nails are out you can push the tiles up out of the way or remove them completely.You will probably find the end tile on each run is cemented. You do not need to remove these. They should hold their own weight if the cement is in good condition.
Caution [Health Warning]: If your property was built between the 1920s and 1970s there’s a good chance that asbestos cement was used on your roofline. Under no circumstances should you attempt to work with or disturb material containing asbestos – you must get a specialist, licensed company in to handle any asbestos that is present. (See Asbestos FAQs).
Use the gutter (which is still attached) to hold the pins you’ve taken out. Once the tiles are removed you have taken the weight off the fascia. Now you can check the condition of the felt.
Check for holes in the felt or old birds’ nests resting on top. If the nest is old you can clear it away.(Always check for active bird nests before you start – see my article Roofline Nest).
If you do not have easy access to a bag you can place the waste in the gutter as you will be taking that down soon.
After clearing any debris, cut the felt back so that the toe ends are exposed and the fascia can be freed. Around 50mm is good enough but it does not have to be a neat cut. You will probably find the felt tears away quite easily. This is because mineral felts are often perished by the weather at the point where it is fixed to the fascia.
If you filled the gutters with bird nest waste etc. remember it is likely to be heavier than it appears, so take care when lifting.
Caution! I cannot stress enough to be careful here. The sheer weight of cast iron guttering – even if it seems rusted through –is enough to surprise the most experienced fitter. If you have an angle grinder I would suggest breaking up the gutter lengths so they are more manageable. Also, if your property joins your neighbour’s, an angle grinder is the only tool I would recommend to make a neat cut at the boundary line.
If you cannot see any joins use a saw to cut the fascia roughly in the middle of the run. Going from the middle of the run reduces the chances of damaging the cement, which could happen if you start on a gable end or hipped corner.Be careful – your old fascias should ‘fly off’ with a little pressure from a crowbar. You may find your fascias hold the soffits too – so be aware that lengths of soffit might drop suddenly as your fascia comes away.
Take your time with this and cut the fascia at smaller intervals if it is proving too difficult to manage.
I would say this is, by far, the most dangerous part of the roofline ripping out process.
Once your roofline is clean remove the soffit using a small crowbar. Again, there are many types of materials of soffit but each one is considerably more lightweight than the fascia you’ve just removed.
Firstly, make sure you have easy, secure access to the bargeboard area.
Start with the crowbar and hammer at the very bottom at the ‘box end’ area. You need to part the existing fascia from the gable ladder that it is fixed to. This is usually a piece of 3” by 2” length of wood.
If the existing bargeboard does not come free with a little work then try splitting the wood along the grain with a chisel to expose the gable ladder behind it.
Be careful, the bargeboard can be considered ‘structural’ if the verge is nailed into the fascia and not the gable ladder. This is normally done when the property is first built to hold the verge in place whilst the tiles are cemented down. If the verge starts to move or the cement starts to crack then I strongly suggest you seek professional help, unless you are happy to re-cement the entire verge on every gable end. Ripping out a gable end and leaving the verge unsupported can make the tiles slip out of place and, in extreme cases, cause the mortar to fall out in large, heavy, pieces.
Your Final Step
Once you’ve removed the roofline and bargeboards, do a final clean out of the area ready to install your new uPVC roofline.
This is just the first of a series steps our professional fitters carry out when fitting a replacement roofline. As you can see there is a lot of work that could be regarded as hazardous if you attempt to carry it out using step-ladders rather than scaffolding.
This is why many householders decide to get it done by professionals.
My fitters at Anglia Roofline are specialists at installing replacement rooflines – we don’t do any other type of building work. (See what other people think of our work: Referenceline Customer Feedback).
If you are located in Norfolk and would like to avoid the hassle of doing it yourself, ask me for a no-obligation, 30-minutes survey and quote.
When you find a roofline nest it may not be one made by birds. Other creatures, given the chance, may take up residence too.
Some creatures you can take action to get rid of, others are protected species. For example, legally, you cannot disturb bird nests if they contain eggs or young and it is a criminal offence to kill bats.
Before attempting to remove a roofline nest you need to be aware of your legal standing to avoid getting into trouble.So, the first thing you need to do is discover what has set up a roofline nest in your property.
Apart from not disturbing a bird, you want to be sure there isn’t one ‘in residence’ because if you attempt to lift a tile and there is a nest is underneath you will startle the bird and that, in turn, will startle you. Imagine the consequences if this happens when you are balancing on a ladder!
A very effective way to find out if a bird’s nest is active is to wait and watch. Look to see whether a bird goes under your tiles with anything in its beak. You might think you need good eyesight to spot them but it is actually very obvious as they will be bringing in long pieces of debris for the nest or food that is just a little smaller.
So, instead of getting a ladder out, get a chair instead – make a drink and spend around half an hour outside. I doubt you will have to keep watch for any longer than that. Birds are very active, especially in the mornings.
In some cases, depending on the bird species (usually swifts), they will ‘dive bomb’ anyone that comes near their roofline nest. This can make the simplest roofline repairs very dangerous work.
Fitting a bird comb or installing a replacement uPVC roofline will prevent this problem in future years. Bird comb is easily sourced through your local stockist. It is cheap, effective and easy to fit.
Of course, it is not just birds that can find a way into your roofline. Other vermin, such as mice, rats, hornets and wasps can be a problem too.
Many people think of rats,mice and squirrels as vermin that need to be removed. Rats and mice get into the eaves of a roofline by climbing the downpipes, whereas squirrels can climb sheer walls. They can squeeze through the smallest of holes.
A sure sign of these animals are droppings in your gutters and on top of the felt under your tiles, which can be seen once the tiles are removed. You may see signs of mice or squirrels in your attic: timber joist gnawed through or shredded insulation in the attic. Rats leave even more debris inside and can be a very nasty surprise once found. In some situations you may be able to hear these rodents scurrying around your loft.
If you need advice on how to get rid of these vermin so you can clear the roofline nests, take a look at the government advice on ‘Getting Rid of Mice & Rats’ (opens in new browser window).
Some local councils offer free pest control services or can put you in touch with a local pest controller.
If you are very unlucky you may have a wasp or hornet roofline nest.
Wasps – wasp’s nests are very common in the spring and summer. They will try to get access to the eaves even whilst any work is being done. They make their own nests from chewed up wood which can vary from fence panels to the wood in your roofline. You can get powders to put at the entrance to the wasp’s nest (this is where they get into the roof from the outside, not the nest itself). Wasps are usually dormant at night and can be killed off without the need of a pest controller.
It may be wiser to get a professional pest controller in to remove the wasp’s nest, especially if you are likely to react adversely to a wasp sting. But, if you want to do the job yourself take a look at:
Hornets – The worst to come across. The difference between these and wasps will be instantly apparent as to the size and colour. Normally we can tell the size of a queen wasp but a hornet is a little bigger and they have more red in their colour. Hopefully they will not get too close for you to tell the colour but under no circumstances attempt to remove with sprays or powder. This is a job for a professional pest controller and can be removed at a low cost compared to what problems they will cause.
Bees – bees are unlike wasps in the fact that they generally ‘walk’ from the entrance hole. Wasps will have a nest very close to where they get into the roof but bees can be up to 2 metres further inside. Normally honey bees are protected but if you have a quick word with your local pest controller they will let you know. I usually just wait for honey bees to leave as it is not worth disturbing the nest. In the unlikely event that a nest is unknowingly disturbed then a small hole left in the fascias can easily be capped at a later date.
If you come across roofline nests for any of these creatures and want to get professional help removing them, this company has a good reputation in the Norwich area: Stop Pest (opens in new browser window).
(sorry, I couldn’t resist that title!)
All species of bat are endangered and protected by law…. and they can get into your roof through the smallest of holes.
However, finding bats roosting in your roofline is not a huge problem. They feed on insects so could be an asset to you keeping pesky insects at bay during the summer months. They do not nibble wood, wiring or insulation material and their droppings crumble to dust.
Remember, it is a criminal offence to intentionally kill a bat or block the hole or entrance to where it roosts. Legally removing bats can be a long process, but whilst in residence they are unlikely to create much disturbance, if any.
You can discover more about living with bats (opens in new browser window) on the bats.org.uk website or call them on 0845 1300 228 for advice.
The easiest way to avoid problems with roofline nests, and keep your house looking smart with no roofline repairs needed for at least 20 years, is to have a replacement uPVC roofline fitted.
Carrying out your roofline repairs in spring may seem to be the right time to do it. But, before you get your ladder and paintbrush out, there are a few things you need to think about first.
Take a close look at your roofline. Is it just a case of sanding down, priming and painting or have the winter months caused more damage than you expected?
Check the state of the woodwork – is it firm? Or is it crumbling (a sure sign of wood-rot)?
Look at the fascia boards, the soffits and barge boards, as well as the guttering and downpipes. (If you are not sure what these are take a look at What Is The Roofline?).
Use this mini-checklist to see what state your roofline is in. Look for:
Obvious signs of rot – you can usually see if your roofline timbers are rotting, even from ground level. Look for paint ‘bubbling’ or a slight ripple where the paint is lifting off the wood underneath. If you have an extreme case, the paint / stain comes away completely and all that is left is black decayed wood.
Gutter movement – your gutter sections are normally connected with a joining union at least every 4 metres. Check the seal has not been dislodged – thermal movement (the same movement we hear when warm radiator pipes clunk when we turn the heating off) may have dislodged the seal in your gutters. Ignoring this sign will create problems later.
Gutter blockage – your gutters may be blocked by fallen leaves if you have trees near or surrounding your property, or moss that has dislodged from your roof tiles. Leaves break down over winter and often leave a slight sludge in the gutters. A good way to check the gutters without using a ladder would be to see obvious water stains on the gutters themselves. A good comparison for this is to compare them to the streaks on a car after a car wash.
Missing bits – when wood has perished around fixings it is very common to find bits of wood literally fall off! These gaps can expose your roofline and allow birds, bees and, in some cases, rats and squirrels to gain access into your property. When spring comes around nature comes to life… and they start looking for a home or something to chew.
Do you have the right tools for the job? Before you start on your roofline repairs (or re-decorating) you must be sure of the tools you are using and your ability to work at heights.
The type of ladder you can buy from a DIY store is most likely a Class III ladder. These are only suitable for reaching a higher platform (such as scaffolding) or for very light duties. If you are planning to carry out your roofline repairs yourself you need an industrial type ladder, such as Class II or I. They can be very expensive but the price is worth it to feel, and know, you are safe when working at heights.
There are a wide range of tools you need for working on your roofline, including tools such as sandpaper, paintbrushes and screwdrivers. Be careful, when you are balanced on a ladder, using tools like these can be a problem. If your soffits are deep, and your ladder is leaning against the property wall, you may have to bend back to reach the full area. That is dangerous, which is why Health & Safety insist on scaffolding being used for roofline repairs like these.
I’ve put together a list of roofline repair tools my fitters recommend for anyone who plans to carry out remedial work on their roofline.
Will you have enough time to complete the job whilst the weather stays dry? You don’t want to start your roofline repairs and then, half-way through, find the weather turns bad and prevents you finishing them.
A potential break in the weather is not the only thing that may stop your attempt at roofline repairs. Did you know…
Before you attempt to do the work yourself consider what needs to be done, the time it will take and the skills you need and then decide if it is easier to opt for a replacement roofline that won’t need attention for at least 20 years!
Spring is when birds start nesting and will take up residence if they can find a way into your eaves.
If birds have started to set up home in your roofline then, legally, you cannot disturb the nests if they contain eggs or young. This may mean your roofline maintenance will have to be delayed until they have left. If you find old nesting material, like in this photo, that can be removed.
Fitting a bird comb can prevent problems with bird nests in future years.
Of course, it is not just birds that can find a way into your roofline. Other vermin, such as mice, rats and wasps can be a problem too.
Our post, Roofline Nests, describes the creatures you may find have taken up residence in your roofline and what you can, or can’t, do about it.
Of course, all of these problems can be avoided if you have a uPVC roofline fitted. It is the easiest way to keep your house looking smart with no roofline repairs needed for at least 20 years. Take a look at our roofline replacement service and see if you can save up to £825 with our special ‘stand-by’ offer.
Roofline repair tools, like any other tools, should be good enough to do the job properly. You may find that about 50% of the tools you need to repair or replace your roofline are in your general household toolbox.
This is a list of the roofline repair tools my fitters use when carrying out roofline replacements.
Most of the hand tools mentioned can be bought on a budget. However, I and my fitters have found that cheaper quality tools just simply are not ‘man enough’. For example, avoid cheap screwdriver sets, in fact you may not need them if you decide to use a drill.
(I’ve included pictures of some of the tools to help you identify them… but these are pictures of my fitter’s roofline repair tools so look well used, as you’d expect).
Crowbars – You can get a good set of crowbars from any general DIY store for a very reasonable price. Make sure the pack includes a flat bar and a long bar. Check the weight and if it feels comfortable to use as you will need to put a lot of pressure on it.
Screwdrivers – invest in a good set of screwdrivers. For Philips screws, get the heads marked as Pz2 or Ph1. Flat headed screwdrivers do not normally have a specific grade except for the width of the flat head itself.
I prefer to use Pz2 headed screws for my fixings (gutter brackets, studwork etc.) as they fit onto the screwdriver/drill driver easier and are quicker to use.
Stanley Knife – it is always best to get a good Stanley knife. I have used (and broken) all types along the years and find that the best are the ones that do not look so ‘flashy’. Steer clear of any with rubber handles and multiple components. This tool is used for a wide range of tasks and should be kept handy.
Hammer – A general 16 oz or 24 oz hammer gives you enough force to set the nails in firmly.
Hammers can be one of the cheapest tools in the toolbox but a good solid grip is worth paying extra for.
Tape Measure – Considering that lengths of fascia and soffit are produced in 5m lengths, and gutters are normally 4m, get a tape measure that is at least 8m. A 5m tape measure may be adequate but unrolling it to the very max makes it harder to work with. These are picked up fairly cheaply from local DIY stores.
Tri Square – Used for all 45 and 90 degree cuts. Try not to use the saws own angles for these cuts. I have found them to fail quickly as the handles work loose after ongoing use. This is the proper tool for the most accurate guide. These can be picked up at a very reasonable price from any main stockists over the internet. If you want to be even more precise with the cut, check the tool for a British standard number that the more well-known makes meet.
Scriber – Basically the same as a tri square but with the added addition to it being used to help you make accurate lines along plastic for cutting references and nail markers so that a length of a fascia’s nails are lined up. Also, like the tri square, very reasonable if you take a look around.
Pens and Pencils – A very handy tip here – get loads! Scatter them on the bench, in the tool belt and even behind your ear. A pencil or a marker pen is used to write down measurements, mark cuts, scribe reference lines and for marking notches
Saws – rough wood saws and precision saws live on the workbench. Do not attempt to carry out roofline replacement work with a single saw for every cut.
A typical wood saw is used for cutting up the waste fascia whilst the precision (fine tooth) saw is used to give each cut a neater finish.
Normally, fine tooth saws are half the length of a normal saw and the teeth of the blade are closely packed together.
Check your local plastic stockist for the best choice in quality and price.
String Line – A string line is used for studding out and gutter falls. It needs to be a good quality and a good few metres longer than any of the fascia runs that are to be replaced (i.e. a 10m gutter run will need around 15m as you need a bit of slack to work with).
I do not recommend anything too stretchy so, even though it is just ‘a bit of string’, it will need to be up to the job. Any DIY stockists will have this. It is also known as ‘builder’s line’ ‘plumb line’ etc.
Carpenter’s Bevel –
This is used for setting the angle cut for bargeboards when any angle is anything other than a 45 or 90 degrees (achieved with a tri square). This is a more specialist tool amongst the hand tools and can be quite expensive.
Routers – a router is a drill bit mainly used to make small circular holes in fascias for pipes such as overflows from attic boilers. Sizes vary but the main ones used for roofline work are 22mm, 25mm and 32mm. You may get it as part of a drill bit kit when you buy a drill, when purchased on its own it can seem expensive for what it is, especially the auger bits.
Spanners – Nuts and bolts do not normally occur in the construction of a roofline but it is handy to invest in a good quality set if your property has any fixed television aerials. These are normally bolted into the gable ends at the very apex.
An adjustable spanner could do the job without the expense of an entire set but it is a very awkward task and dangerous if you are removing them without help. I find that the adjustable sets do not hold a good grip consistently on a bolt that has been driven in extremely tight.
Wood Chisel – A chisel can be the difference between taking 5 minutes to anything up to an hour to rip out a run of fascia or bargeboard. This tool does not need to be of the highest quality as it is not used for any finesse work. It is purely used to split existing wood along existing nails to remove the wood.
1m Spirit Level –
More of a reference tool but it is worth having. I recommend the more expensive brands. You can buy a set that includes the smaller level (known as the ‘scaffold spirit level’).
The 1m level is used during the roofline installation, mainly to check whether the soffit, cladding and fascias are level after each process.
On some properties, mainly due to age and build, a level can be disregarded but you should always use it to make sure that the gutter falls towards the soak aways.
Scaffold Spirit Level – Can be part of the set with the 1m spirit level to reduce the cost a little. This level is used when ‘studding out’ and also for reference if the 1m level is too long.
Roofline Repair Tools – Power Tools
Internet stockists normally have good offers for power tools if you can wait – personally I would not recommend any power tool under 18v / 1.5ah for fascia replacement.
Consider upgrading your tools if you have old equipment.
Avoid corded tools, however cheap they may be. Working at heights is daunting enough and having the trip hazards of corded tools when carrying out roofline work adds more danger.
Another note – there are increasing deals on tools that are ‘body only’ and, therefore, do not come with a battery. Sometimes a battery and a charger can cost as much as the tool itself. Make sure you thoroughly read the package description. A lithium ion battery can cost £50 for some makes and a charger can start at around £60.
There may be cheaper options, but these are the prices for a good professional, and reliable, make of tool.
Circular Saw – A good circular saw is useful for other jobs around the house. Powerful and robust, a circular saw that has at least 18v goes through plastic and wood with ease.
Drill – Probably the most expensive of the power tools. You need a combi drill of at least 18v that includes a hammer drill setting for making holes in cement and bricks for downpipe fixings. Impact drivers do not give an option of drilling into walls or making pilot holes. They are primarily made for removing and driving in screws.
Reciprocating Saw – Not essentially needed, but it is a tool that makes ripping out easier. They are great for cutting verge nails that have been driven into bargeboards. If the replacement roofline has a gable end – consider buying or borrowing one of these unless you want the extra work of re-tiling and cementing.
Angle Grinder – A real dangerous tool in untrained hands. Never consider using one of these if it is your first time replacing a roofline. An angle grinder needs to be used to remove cast iron as removal of iron fixings can burst bricks and greatly damage your property needlessly. If you are new to it then I urge you to get someone who is competent to do the cuts. You can hire the use angle grinders. They are normally hired out at a standard charge plus however many millimetres of the blade that has been used when you return the tool.
Jigsaw – Of all the power tools needed, the jigsaw can be as cheap as you like. Just make sure the blades come with it. Buying the blades separately can work out more expensive. This is used to cut out large and precise holes in soffits – such as stack pipes and gas pipes etc.
If you decide this list of roofline repair tools looks daunting, you may be thinking that it might be easier to get someone else to do the work for you. And, of course, if you decide to have a uPVC replacement roofline fitted it means there’s no maintenance work of any kind needed for at least 20 years.