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Can we talk soffits?

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Jun 11, 2014, 09:36 PM
Can we talk soffits?
I'm rehashing a topic I've brought up in the past, but my wife and I still have not agreed on the soffit material we're going to use.

The soffit replacement is part of the re-siding project I've been chipping away at. The plan is to use Hardie siding on our ranch home. We've considered the Hardie ventilated soffit, but the holes are too big. We have a lot of bees around us and they manage to squeeze into the weep holes of a couple of our old vinyl windows, so they'd definitely welcome themselves into the soffit.

When I brought this subject up before, some of the comments were "if the bugs want to get in, they'll get in". I don't want to make it easy for them though.

I like the idea of aluminum soffit. It's lightweight and more of a fire retardant than vinyl, but it tends to be kind of industrial looking.

If money were no object, I'd like to have something like tongue and groove flooring, but on the underside of the soffit instead of on the floor. I'd probably use a continuous vent (narrow screen of some sort).

Are there other options I have not considered?

Thanks in advance.
Jun 12, 2014, 01:44 AM
If you are planning on a continuous vent then that really expands your material choice.

Smooth Hardi
Smooth or rough-cut plywood
Any stock 1x planking

Jun 12, 2014, 09:14 AM
I've installed some vinyl it goes up easily and it pretty DIY friendly. While I share your concern for fire resistance, since you using Hardi-Plank siding the vinyl soffit would be 8-10' plus off the ground which would isolate it from most fire danger. If you were in the Western US with wildfire danger I wouldn't use anything flammable on the exterior of the house.

I like the continuous soffit vent and smooth Hardi. If the distance is right you could use Hardi-Plank on one side of the continuous soffit vent to save on long straight cuts on Hardi-panel. Cutting Hardi-Plank/Panel is a very dusty affair.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Jun 12, 2014, 12:26 PM
Thanks Jaybee and Spark617 for your ideas.
I'm liking the idea of the smooth Hardie. I'll need to do some research on how to install it. I'm assuming it's face nailed. Although, since it's upside down, screws might be better.

For the framing, I'm considering using metal studs. I watched Bryan Baeumler on one of his "House of Bryan" episodes use metal studs when he framed his tray ceiling. It made sense that the metal studs would yield nice straight edges. On the other hand, since the soffit is, essentially, exterior, I wonder if the metal would rust and bleed through. Also, I could be making a giant antenna or lighting rod!

Thanks again.