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Mostly boring, but . . .

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. . . I spent part of the long weekend repairing a water-damaged soffit on my 1922 bungalow. The beaded, 3/4" T&G material is actually called beaded flooring, since that's the purpose it serves when the bead is out of sight and facing downward. I had never used this stuff before, and learned you can't simply cut the corner pieces at 45 degrees and piece them together. Done that way, the beads don't properly align. The way I got past this was to rip a 1" wide filler piece and then stagger the opposing corner pieces so the beads matched up. I looked at the other corners of my house and one corner had aligned beads. The other two corners had beads staggered by approximately 1", presumably because they've been repaired in the past. One other problem, was I couldn't cut the soffit material long enough to fit flush with the new redwood fascia boards. I had to leave the soffit material 1/8" or so short so I could slide the tongues into the grooves. I began to wonder if should have sliced off the tongues to get around this problem since I was face nailing the boards with a pneumatic gun. I have three more corners to tackle before cold weather arrives--painting will have to wait till Spring--and wondered if anyone, like maybe Bill or Kurt, knew of a better method to align the corners.


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Most of the old beaded soffits I see have the boards running longitudinally/parallel w/the fascia. The installers' usually staggered the runs so there was a "herringbone" pattern instead of the miter in the corner. Trying to get the miter's perfect is pretty damn hard.

At this point, it looks about 1000% better than any of the new stuff I see. Not to sound the Philistine, but I'd just continue as you are, putty fill the gaps, & hit it w/finish.

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I'm not good with small details, just cumbersome primitive work. I can't think of any easier way to align the beads. It looks great.

"One other problem, was I couldn't cut the soffit material long enough to fit flush with the new redwood fascia boards. I had to leave the soffit material 1/8" or so short so I could slide the tongues into the grooves."

Can you pop the fascias off. That's how I did my porch ceiling with T&G beaded fence board. If not, 3/8" quarter round over the gaps wouldn't look out of place.

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John, as a former finish carpenter I think your work looks great. Miter joints are among the most difficult to do well because there's no room for error. Every imperfection is visible and if the wood swells or shrinks with the seasons, the miter joint changes between being too oblique or too acute developing gaps at either the inside or outside corners.

Don't fall into the temptation to cut off the tongues. Even if you're face-nailing the boards, the tongues hold the boards flat & secure and keep them that way. If you lose them, the boards will bow up & down over time.

Have you considered pre-priming the wood? It would have the advantage of covering all sides and leaving you a better surface when you're ready to paint for real next summer.

As for the gap, I'd suggest a strip of 1x2 or 1x3 applied to the back of the fascia. It would add step-like element of depth and, to my eye, would look better than a strip of 1/4 round. (To a finish carpenter, 1/4 round screams, "I'm covering a mistake!")

Originally posted by Bain

Thanks for the kind words. Guess I'll just keep slogging along at my reeeaaally slow pace.

If you think that's slow, consider that the original carpenters on your house used hand saws and primitive miter boxes or throw-away jigs for this kind of work. Those guys had forearms like tree trunks. (And they didn't use no stinkin' pneumatic nailers.)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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The soffits aren't perfectly square, and the distances between the dentil molding and the fascias varies, even if only slightly, so I was measuring each T & G soffit board individually. More importantly, I'd already pumped a bunch of nails through the redwood, so it would be tough to remove without destroying it.


I'm gonna try to caulk the joints first, and if they look horrible, I'll follow your advice. And yes, I considered many times while sweating away atop the ladder over the weekend how much more difficult it would have been to hold each piece of 3 1/2" material in place and drive a finish nail through it without causing the wood to squiggle out of place or even split. As for pre-priming the wood, it's an excellent idea, but with work and trying to have a life, I simply didn't have--or take--time to do it.

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