Normally, in home renovation or installation, soffits are mostly unseen, and they are the last detail to receive attention. But this does not mean that they are less important. The point where the roof projection and the side walls meet is called an eave, and soffits are an important part of it. They must be designed and installed very carefully.
They also need to be ventilated, and if not, may cause ice dams at the eaves. Ice dams is actually water from melted snow. This cold water gets accumulated in the colder eave surface and freezes again, and damages the walls and ceilings of the house.
Soffits are installed to define the space above cabinets and balance out the room. You will need a circular saw, saw horses, hammer, nails, screw gun, measuring squares, nails, measuring tape, power sander, drywall utility knife, 2x4 wood panels, and plywood for end caps.
- Have a detailed look at that place where the soffit is going to be installed, to see if more blocking will be needed before you install the drywall. You will need to place a blocking if the joists and soffit run in the same direction. If they intersect each other, place the 2x4 blockings after every 16 inches. Don't worry about the size.
- Lay a Sheetrock on the ceiling and wall where you want to install the soffit. The Sheetrock will serve as a fire block. There is no need to apply plaster because the Sheetrock will be hidden by the soffit.
- Always level the ceiling. A variation of ¼ inch for every 4 feet is acceptable on the ceiling.
- From the 2x4s, build two L-shaped frames with the help of the saw horses and a circular saw. Cut four 2x4s to fit the overall soffit length. Also cut 6 vertical pieces of the desired height, and attach these pieces to the horizontal lengths to create a small wall with the help of framing nails.
- You will require end caps if the soffit doesn't adjoin against the side walls.
- Cover the soffits with drywall using an electric screwdriver with drywall screws. Make all the drywall edges smooth.
- Paint the walls and give enough time to dry, before installing.
- You will require help to hold the completed soffit in place. Attach it with nails and wall studs.
The cost of installation also depends on whether the eave construction is open or closed. In new constructions, exposed rafters or trusses are called open eave construction. When an existing soffit is in place, it is called a closed eave construction. Before installation, always remove rotten and old wooden soffits. The cost of installation is $6 to $20 per square foot.
Always wear protective eye gear and gloves while undertaking any roofing activities, which includes replacing or installing soffits.