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Studding Out – ‘Noggins’
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.
How Many Noggins?
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.
Measuring The Noggin
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.
Tools and Materials for Fixing Noggins
Once all the noggins have been cut there are a number of tools and materials you need. These are –
- Drill / Nail gun
- String line
- Scaffolders level
- Screws (at least 50mm)
- Noggins at required lengths
- Off-cut piece of soffit
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.
Fixing The Noggin and Guide Line
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.
- Rest noggin
- 5mm past rafter foot
- Level and
- then Fix. . .
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.
Fixing The Remaining Noggins
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!