If you have been following us on Instagram recently, you may have noticed more pictures of soffits than anything else. That’s because trying to get them done – and honestly even getting them started – has been a bit of an ordeal. Here’s the whole story.
We set a difficult task for ourselves from the beginning because we decided that we wanted to mimic the look of our original plank wood roof deck. As we have mentioned before, we want to be true to the original character of the house whenever we can – at least in appearance. In order to get the look we wanted, we decided to go with 3/4 inch tongue and groove Cyprus. We ended up ordering 1300 linear feet, which looked like this once we hauled it upstairs to acclimate and keep it out of the rain.
The deal with selecting cypress over pine is to gain some modicum of weather and insect resistance. You may be saying to yourself, “Miracle insect proof wood! Tell me more!” We harbor no delusions, and nor should you. This is Florida, and if the humidity and bugs aren’t actively trying to kill you, they are probably just too busy gnawing at your home. Choosing a naturally rot and insect resistant wood like Cypress gives us a serious head start on rot and decay over southern yellow pine. Once you realize that wood is 1) expensive and 2) perishable, suddenly the finish begins to move up on your priority list. Read on, and get maximum beauty and your dollars’ worth out of those beautiful boards.
In our last post, we mentioned we’d been working on staining it all. Since a very knowledgeable contractor friend recommended Sherwin Williams Paints for our garage project and we have been impressed with it so far, we went with Sherwin Williams SuperDeck transparent stain in Honey. We were really happy with the result. The only trouble was it is hard to find room to allow 1300 feet of boards to dry after they have been stained. Mike cleverly created “drying racks” by nailing some 2X4 scraps along a couple of walls. We had to fill and empty the racks three times, but we eventually got it all done.
By this time, we had already had the boards for at least a month and we hadn’t installed a single one. It was starting to get little frustrating.
We have finally gotten started, but it is definitely a slow process. Before we can even start with the wood, any roofing nail that is sticking down needs to be shaved off with the Dremel tool. Don’t worry. We don’t have a shingle roof installed – the protruding nails are there for holding down edges of the peel-and-stick roof underlayment. There really aren’t too many of them. Once any protruding nails are dealt with, each piece of soffit needs to be measured individually before cutting because the space between the rafter tails is not uniform. On the rake ends of the roof, we get a little break. Since the ends of the soffit are hidden under the frieze board, any variation in width between the exterior wall sheathing and the barge rafter less than 1/2 inch is tucked neatly away.
After test fitting and making any adjustments, each piece then needs a few spots of Liquid Nails before finally securing it with a few 1″ brad nails. (We have this brad nailer.) A 1″ brad nail through a 3/4″ T&G board isn’t much holding power, but you don’t want to go shooting nails up through the roof sheathing either. Hence the Liquid Nails for the extra holding power. That makes for A LOT of trips up and down the ladder. We have been trying to tackle it in teams of two so that one person can cut and the other can install. Even doing it that way, it is pretty slow going.
The good news is once it is in and the frieze board is up, it looks amazing! Just another 20 or so hours and we should be ready to move on to something else. 🙂