Before gutters can be installed it is necessary to first assure that the Fascia board that the gutters attach to is good. If the Fascia is not sound it will not be able to hold up the gutters and is the same concept as trying to put a brand new roof on rotting deck boards.Your product is only as good as the boards you will nail it to.
To better understand this process the following points will be addressed:
- Inspecting the Fascia boards.
- Repairs to Fascia and Rafter Tails.
- Stronger alternatives to wooden Fascia.
1. Inspecting The Fascia Boards
A good way to start Fascia inspection is to take a screwdriver and press in on the Fascia, you don’t want the Fascia to give way which can be a sign of larger issues like rot. It is also important to carefully bend back the Drip Edge (being careful not to damage it and check underneath this area as well). The drip edge helps to protect from water getting up under the Fascia, so any signs of damaged Drip Edge can also be a sign of further issues in the Fascia. It often makes sense to go as far as to pull the actual gutters down and inspect under them to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong hidden beneath them.
The best plan is to pull them down a few days beforehand to give time in case there are any issues. Especially if the gutters are going to need painting. When working on gutters a key is to slow down and make sure it is done right the first time. Keep in mind the gutters will mostly protect the Fascia in many ways, so it is not always necessary to remove all damaged Fascia areas if the damage is in an area the gutters can shield against elements. In short if you see any sign of discoloration, peeling or fading around the gutter area it warrants a closer look as this can be a sign of a deeper problem. Looking for drip stains below Fascia/Soffit is great evidence.
2. Repairs to Fascia and Rafter Tails
Signs of Damage to Fascia from roof above
Wood Type: If Fascia issues are found a few things should be considered when fixing the damaged areas. The first is the type of wood used the replace the Fascia with. If you are performing a spot repair the key in order to make everything match is to use the same type of wood that is already there. But if you are doing a full replacement it is important to pick types of wood that are naturally decay resistant, such as cedar.
Another thing to look for in the wood is that it it’s not a type prone to splitting or warping and endures well being baked in the sun. Splitting is an issue not only because it doesn’t look good, but also because it can allow water into the Fascia and eventually cause rot and problems with your new gutters.
Proper Fascia Nailing
Fascia Nails: Even with hardy woods the spot that the Fascia is nailed at can still cause the board to eventually split if not nailed correctly. In order to avoid this from happening the best thing to do is to make sure Fascia nails are NOT nailed anywhere near the edge of end grain. Instead nail to the end of the truss or rafter tail using stainless steel or old fashioned, hot-dipped galvanized nails.
Painting Fascia: After the new wood is put down and nailed into place the last important thing to do is to paint the Fascia. This is not just for aesthetic reasons. The edges of the end grain of the Fascia are like straws and will wick up water if not sealed off. Again, too much water causes rot. So painting the Fascia helps to seal it off from unwanted water. Litespeed Construction asks that owners provide the paint for this to help assure the paints are matching correctly to the original Fascia.
Rafter Tails: Rafter Tails are crucial, when the Rafter Tails are damaged more than just your gutter is at risk. Your roof itself is at risk of flooding, rotting and even collapsing. Because Rafter Tails are made of wood and thus can rot, it is necessary when inspecting the Fascia to also check the Rafters Tails and make sure they are still sturdy.
3. Stronger Alternatives to Wooden Fascia
PVC Trim Board
There are a couple of options out there for the consumer who wants something more durable and long lasting than wood. The first option is Non-rot PVC Exterior Trim Boards. The advantage of using PVC as your trim instead of wood is not only that it is more flexible and can bend more easily around custom shaped areas, but also that it resists insects, rot and decay. The installation process for PVC is as simple as wood and since they are man-made have a consistent uniform look to them. Many times these boards also have a Lifetime Limited Warranty.
Aluminum Trim Coil Fascia Metal
A second option would be to use Trim Coil Fascia Metal to wrap around the existing wooden Fascia. There are two options for trim coil, smooth and striated. When it comes to gutters the smooth is more traditionally used as the striated works well on home siding. An additional plus to Trim Coil is that it comes in multiple colors, making it versatile when matching to your house.
Metal Fascia Wrapped Wood