How to Replace and Repair Home Soffits

The Soffit protects the exposed herringbone tails on your roof from exposure to the elements. If the wood on soffit rots, it’s time to replace the soffit boards with new ones before the damage is too extensive. You do not have to climb on the roof to do soffit repair work, but you have to be careful that you will use a ladder to reach the soffits. If you need to replace soffits and rafters underneath, you need to know how to safely use a reciprocating saw.


  1. Remove the gutters from the roof line by lifting the ends or loose straps with a lever bar. Work carefully to avoid damaging the gutters so you can reuse them later.
  2. Remove any molding or cut along the edges of the soffits and fascia. Save the pad for later reuse.
  3. Pull the damaged intrados boards and the fascia out of the house with the lever bar. Save the tips so that you can replicate the angles on them for the new tips. Remove debris from animals and bird nests that may be behind the panels.
  4. Examine the rafter tails for signs of decay. If you see soft spots in the wood or if the wood appears to be rotten, cut the damaged chevron with an alternative saw.
  5. Measure and cut a 2-by-4 piece of wood treated under pressure to the length of the chevron tail you removed with a circular saw. Cut a 1-by-4 piece of wood 4 inches longer than replacing the rafters.
  6. Fit the herringbone replacement card into the opening. Place the 1-by-4 at its sides at the end of the extended 1-by-4 on the existing rafter. Remove the pliers.
  7. Measure and cut new soffit and fascia boards 3/4-inch plywood exterior grade. The new cards must be the same length as the ones you removed from the house. Cut the ends of the boards at the same angles as the old tips you removed in step 3.
  8. Apply a coat of primer to the replacement planks and let it dry. Apply two coats of paint to match the existing fascia and soffit and allow each layer to dry completely before proceeding.
  9. Attach the soffit boards to the rafters with 2 1/2-inch stainless steel, exterior wood screws. Place at least two screws in each of the herringbone tails. Fasten the edge board to the rafters as well with stainless steel, 2 1/2-inch exterior wood screws. Place the two screws in each of the herringbone tails.
  10. Replace the wooden trim and gutters at home. Retouch the nicks in the paint if necessary. A silicone caulk bead on all seams to help prevent future water damage.