A Guide To Roofline Replacement
Your roofline is made up of four key elements, and these are the fascias, soffits, bargeboards and guttering. All of these must be in good condition and connected perfectly in order to protect your home from the elements.
Although each element can be dealt with individually, there may be times when your entire roofline needs replacing to ensure the best results. Some of the key signs that you might need a new roofline include blocked or leaking guttering, flaky paint or rotting wood, and, finally, any damaged elements.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you might need an entirely new roofline. If this is the case, you may wish to undertake the task yourself if you’ve got the right skills, or you might be hiring in a professional to do it for you.
Either way, it helps to understand more about the roofline replacement process beforehand.
Removing the old roofline
The first important step is to rip out the old roofline. However, you don’t want to just go at this with a crowbar or hammer. You need to make sure you have safe, easy access to the roofline and then carefully take this apart step by step. This will look a little something like this:
- Remove the first line of tiles or slide these back, ensuring this is done carefully and being aware of tile pins, rusty nails, loose soffits and asbestos cement (on older properties)
- Check the felt underneath and trim this back enough that the fascias can be freed. You should also remove any corroded wood or felt
- Now remove any debris or animal nests that may be along the roofline and have become apparent
- Next, remove the guttering to give you access to the fascias and soffits
- Find the joins or use a saw to remove the fascias; it’s best to start in the middle to recuse the risk of damaging the cement
- Detach the soffits and then remove the bargeboards; you might need a small crowbar to do this
Once the roofline has been carefully removed, you should do a final check around and clear out any leftover dirt and debris before getting ready to install the new elements.
Replacing the felt
If you’ve had to cut back a lot of the felt or membrane, you need to replace this before you begin to re-install the new roofline. Measure this out carefully and use nails to hold this in place. Trim off any excess with a Stanley knife before moving on to the next step.
Adding soffit supports
Check the spar ends and build this up by screwing new trusses into position at either end of the rafter. These will act as support for your soffits.
Attach a string line to each end to ensure that all supports are level. You can now proceed to cut and fit soffit supports all the way along the line.
These can be made from timber or uPVC offcuts, perhaps from fascia boards.
Fixing the soffits
You can now slide into place and attach the soffit boards. These are fixed to the underside of the rafters and should ideally be attached in the middle of the supports (around 600mm in the centre of the board). You can then use soft joint trims to neatly join the soffit boards together and close the gap.
Fixing fascia boards
Once the soffit boards are in place, you can then install the fascia boards. These need to be carefully secured with at least two nails to ensure they can take the weight of any roof tiles and guttering.
Also, remember to remove any protective film on your fascia boards, depending on what material these are made from. For example, uPVC boards typically come with a clear film coating, so be sure to remove this before hamming the nails in fully.
Leave a 10mm gap between each fascia board; this will need to be covered with an inline joint. Corner joints can also be cut to suit and then attached.
You might also wish to add ventilation strips to your roofline at this stage if you haven’t opted for pre-vented soffits.
Re-attaching your guttering
You can now re-attach your guttering. To do this, you should start by attaching the brackets to your fascia boards. Again, a string line at either end can help to ensure you keep these straight and in the right position.
You can then insert the chosen guttering pipes into the brackets and add a stop end at either end of the guttering to ensure the water doesn’t simply pour out. Then it is time to fix the downpipes onto the wall.
Creating the box end
Finally, it’s now time to construct the bargeboards for the gable end of the house. This is the joint between the bargeboard and fascia. This can be a very fiddly process that requires careful measurements of joints, fascia boards and bargeboards. This is why it is usually best to hire a professional to ensure this is done properly.