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Upvc for sofits and facia

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Random Orbital Bob

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Hi Folks

I'm considering replacing my sofits and facia as I can't bear the idea of painting the whole lot. I've got two questions:

1) Am I right in thinking you can cut pvc with woodworking tools and that short of the lack of grain it behaves somewhat like wood ie it is capable of being planed etc. I'm hoping to buy it "in the rough" and machine it in my workshop as I would do with wood but I've never worked with it before.

2) Does anyone know of a primary supplier (ie cheap). As above, I don't want the "finished" product that has all the cost associated with it, rather buy direct from the manufacturer and then machine myself.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Many thanks
 

Hivenhoe

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Random Orbital Bob":x9lih1ro said:
Hi Folks

I'm considering replacing my sofits and facia as I can't bear the idea of painting the whole lot. I've got two questions:

1) Am I right in thinking you can cut pvc with woodworking tools and that short of the lack of grain it behaves somewhat like wood ie it is capable of being planed etc. I'm hoping to buy it "in the rough" and machine it in my workshop as I would do with wood but I've never worked with it before.

2) Does anyone know of a primary supplier (ie cheap). As above, I don't want the "finished" product that has all the cost associated with it, rather buy direct from the manufacturer and then machine myself.

Any help would be gratefully appreciated.

Many thanks
Google pvc fascia suppliers in your area although many on the net deliver they may suffer transit damage.
White boards are relatively cheap eg. Deeplas or Swish 5mtrs 175mm by 9mm white cappit ( cap over existing or new timber) £15 max inc vat and 5mtr 300mm hollow soffit about £11. 16/19mm to replace timber but as you are then fixing to the ends of the rafters , you need to use large head polynails and may be outside recommended nails spacing for the board used. There are other cheaper makes available but tend to discolour over time.
In the rough would most likely be pellet form as Pvc fascia & soffit come as a finished system product, usually with a gloss white or colour foiled semi hard outer surface and a softer form core.
Yes you can treat like timber to a degree but it kills most tools very quickly so don't use your best kit to work pvc
Also it has no structural strength, any "machined" faces , will, usually be the white core which attracts and hold dirt.

Other than that it's a piece of pizz to use and you have to work hard to cock it up but some still manage to make the job look worse than what they were supposed to replace.
 

Random Orbital Bob

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Thanks Paul...that's quite handy because at least I can actually go in and see for myself what the products are like in the flesh rather than just get a blind delivery which seems to be how a lot of the others work in that trade.
 

Flynnwood

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Re 2)

A neighbour bought some from here after doing a fair bit of research:

http://www.angelplastics.co.uk/

One section was delivered damaged and a photo (with the delivery driver present) ensured a replacement was immediately sent without question. And, it was clearly damaged in transit - but there were no arguments/hassle about replacing it.

You may also need the comb (stops birds) and the Over Fascia Protector which goes under the first course of tiles. FWIW I know someone that does this for a living and he will not fit caps over the existing timber, under any circumstances. Just saying.
 

promhandicam

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I've used angel plastics on several occasions and they have always been competitive on pricing and helpful. I'm fortunate in that because I'm quite close they usually deliver to me on their own vehicle so I've not had issues with damaged goods.
 

Flynnwood

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promhandicam":2s1897lb said:
I've used angel plastics on several occasions and they have always been competitive on pricing and helpful. I'm fortunate in that because I'm quite close they usually deliver to me on their own vehicle so I've not had issues with damaged goods.
Yes - I should have mentioned that it was a 3rd party delivery company in my neighbours case - and angel plastics just replaced the damaged part, without any hassle.
 

Lons

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I'd agree with pretty much everything that's been said Bob but you will need to buy finished product because it is a "skinned" material with a closed cell core. Also, only the face and one or both edges are finished so it can't be reversed.

No problem with any machinery, power or hand tools. Just use fine cut blades and remember though it seems soft it can be brittle so don't push it. You can also use an electric planer and belt sander to great effect but whatever you use there'll be loads of electrically charged dust and chippings so you'll get covered. It's sharp so eye protection is essential.
Oh and keep the offcuts - I use the stuff for all sorts of jobs. Polypins - tap them in with care or the nail head will penetrate the cap and ruin it, I use the hard plastic end of a "soft" hammer and buy some PVCu cleaner / solvent - you'll need it.

There are hundreds of suppliers, many specialists and almost certainly several near you so you can play one against the other for a deal. I buy a lot of mine from my window supplier who give me decent trade prices but I buy mostly std trims and cover / reveal boards these days.

There is absolutely nothing wrong IMO with using 9mm cover boards over existing timber facias providing there is no rot and no water ingress from behind the facias or soffits. It can last a very long time and I've fitted at least a dozen over the past 15 years without callbacks of any kind. I have it on my new extension and guarantee it will outlast me by many years.

Facia boards usually come in various widths from around 150mm to 400mm and 20mm or 16mm thick (there may be others as well) and standard factory lengths are normally 5 metres. Reveal/cover boards fromm 100 to 600 wide and 9mm thick.
20mm facias will cost 2 to 3 times more than reveal boards and don't underestimate the cost of joints, corners, trims and polypins etc.
You can also buy hollow soffit 100 or 300 wide T&G if it's needed

The only other thing I would add is that the wood grained facias tend to fade over time and can look horrible after a few years. Whilst it's easy to solvent clean white boards if it's used on the foil it can wipe off the grain and colour. There might be other cleaners that work but I haven't found them yet.

pm me with your email address if you would like a scan of a few pages of the Summit list.

cheers
Bob
 

rafezetter

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bloody good job I saved a copy before hitting submit - that's the 3rd or 4th time nothings come out and I'd have been v annoyed to write this out again - moderator - can you look into this plz? I'm not the first to mention it either.

Ok - this is my department - stand back! I ran a construction plastics shop for 7 years and know pretty much everything there is about it.

Most of the information above is accurate, however Flynns mate who won't cap over wood is only half right. There three things to consider: state of the wood underneath, how well the guttering works and ofc budget.

In an ideal world removing the old wood fascia and fitting replacement boards - usually starting around 16mm serves 2 purposes - allowing you to check and repair any trestle ends and basically ensures you won't have to do anything else after fitting for at least 10-15 years (depending on manufacturer). Some boards will last longer than that but it would be a good idea to ensure it's still solid and secure, especially around corners and joints.

One really important thing I will absolutely stress is you MUST MUST MUST ASK AND GET PROOF IN WRITING THAT THE BOARDS ARE MADE LEAD FREE. Many manufacturers claim lead free when they are not. The lead additive leads to a phenomena known as "pinking" whereby the plastic discolours, usually like nicotine staining, but sometimes an actual pink colour can be seen; it's permanent and will not fade over time - if anything it could get worse and will look awful.

Swish are lead free as that's who I used to get supplied by (known as Summit boards as Leons mentioned above), however a brand called "Everwhite" does contain lead (or did until a 3 years ago when I stopped) and I've heard horror stories of fitters having to go back and redo the job at their cost only a few years later because of it discolouring so quickly.

If you plan to fit it yourself and go the capping over wood route, set a pair of polypins top and bottom at around 500mm on centre - seems overkill but you'd be surprised how many times I've heard of boards being ripped off because of high winds and stingy nailing - you might stretch that a bit - but less than 1 mtr or you'll have just 10 nails in a 5mtr length which is to little IMH(and expert)O. Polypins (or the longer 65mm nails for replacement boards) are an absolute must - they are ringnails and are almost impossible to get back out, which is what you need, so ideally mark the spacing when the board is on the ground, they are more expensive than normal nails but have an integral moulded head which will not come off during normal use thereby eliminating rust, long as you fully drive them home ofc.

If you do cap over as above, then thoroughly check the backer board for soundness and cut out and replace as necessary, and if you have to replace a section between rafters then cut to the next on both sides; half thickness of the rafter - or add some sister timbers and double them up if there's room, these boards have no strength on their own and rely solely on the timber underneath - remember that once you've fitted the cappings you won't be going near them again for 10 years or longer, so giving the wood another treatment with something wouldn't be overkill; the capping WILL NOT make the wood underneath watertight as humidity and the like can still get there, as can driving rain (depending on roof design) so keep that in mind.

If you use replacement boards and the larger nails I recommend predrilling - the inner core of the boards are soft, but the outer skin has been known to get radial cracks around a nail driven hole which may allow water through - but I'm a bit of a "belt and braces" kinda guy. Set the polynails for EACH rafter again a pair - these boards are heavy and will need all the support they can get with the weight of guttering a winds to contend with - if the rafters allow try and fix the guttering clips to the rafters too - you'd be amazed how heavy a 4mtr length of half round filled with water weighs. If it were I, I'd consider adding sister blocks to the rafters for the gutter screws rather than rely on just screwing into the plastic alone, that would pretty much ensure a good solid foundation for both.

When you come to join 2 lengths together either at a corner or straight leave AT LEAST 10mm between the boards, the corners and jointers are plenty wide enough to cover this and this will allow lots of room for expansion - too little and they could meet and bow out, with all the problems that come with it. When you fit them use polypins (the smaller ones) and only nail on one side leaving the other free - depending again on how paranoid you are, you might wish to add a line of silicone to each side of the jointer / corner before fitting.

If you plan to use uPVC soffit as well then you can either use ventilated boards (most expensive but simplest to fit) or plain boards and add a ventilating strip either to run the entire length, or in vertical strips spaced evenly. You don't need too many, but they are imperative to ensure clean airflow through your roofspace to prevent dry rot. However these are only necessary if you don't have another form of roof ventilation like vented ridge tiles or other tile vents. If you have a converted loft then check what was done to ensure ventilation and fit accordingly.

If you are considering doing the guttering at the same time there's one cardinal rule: make sure the water flows DOWNHILL towards the downpipe. Selling this stuff had a side effect - "gutterspotting" an occupational hazard and too many "professional" builders forget this simple thing judgeing by the hundreds I've seen that are poorly set out.

Another important rule is don't skimp - always make sure the guttering lengths are pushed together at the joints as in there's about 2" or so inside the joint / corner / running outlet (the bit at the top of the downpipe) on BOTH sides. The plastic WILL shrink over time - some more than others so if doing that means you have to buy 1 more length of guttering to fill that 6" gap at the end; then do so - because a joint or corner leaking because it's too short will cause problems and will require a fiddly splice to fix costing you a lot more than the £15 or so for the extra length.

If your guttering uses next doors downpipe, you might want to take this opportunity to create your own instead, this takes the maintenance issue (or lack thereof) to your own terms - badly maintained guttering can lead to blocks, leaks or worst case; water running down your outside wall for an extended period which can cause all manner of damage to your home.

If you buy the guttering yourself, do yourself a favor and buy a dozen extra guttering clips, 6 or so downpipe clips and a couple extra joints and corners and store them safe - remove the rubbers from the joints & corners (if you can - some can some can't) and seal them in an airtight bag. Plastic manufacturers DO go out of business or change part dimensions - if I had a pound for every customer trying to buy these few things for decades old guttering I would have a pretty penny saved - especially so if you buy Marley; as far as I've experienced several brands are interchangeable, but Marley ONLY fits Marley.

When you fit the downpipe clips, screw a stainless steel self tapping screw through it into the pipe - that will stop it slipping down - DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES solvent weld any of the guttering parts together, especially the downpipes - they WILL get blocked and you'll curse the day if you do - I don't care what a thousand builders tell you - DON'T DO IT!!

If for any reason the downpipe clips don't reach the wall (because of the soffit size and offset) house shape or other, a simple solution is to get a small length of small dia copper pipe (you could use wood but it will eventually rot so be prepared for that) and make some spacer bushings with longer screws - again stainless steel if you have them or some other means to prevent rusting as if / when the pipe gets blocked you'll probably have to remove a few clips to free the pipe to deal with the blockage (hence the spares just in case).

I'm in two minds about the leaf protection systems - some work, some don't - it depends on how many leaves you get on your roof (if any), the ones that don't work end up with the leaves sitting on the surface and preventing the water run off going into the guttering - again water on outside walls, or splashing everywhere.

OK that's enough for now - I went on a bit but those are my first thoughts on what you might wish to consider - any other questions feel free to PM me and I'll try and help.
 

Random Orbital Bob

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Blimey guys....that was incredibly helpful. I'm really grateful for that excellent input. My situation is a tad bizarre. Whats happened is we built this house only 5 years ago with a slate roof. The very fine wooden fascia and soffit was all dandy until that terrible snow we had 2 (or is it 3) winters ago. The dead-weight of the snow on the roof was so heavy it caused the roof to sag slightly, ie imagine pushing directly down on the ridge...the roof angle became shallower and as a result it "popped" the soffit out of the rebate in the fascia's in several places. So now you can see 5-10mm gaps between the soffit and fascia in places. The paint is starting to flake in places so I figured rather than just repaint and then fix the wooden problem, I'd replace a few with pvc and avoid the future maintenance.

But thinking out loud, I can't really just do a section by placing the pvc over the original wood (which is sound) can I because where it stops, it would stand proud of the existing woodwork. Maybe it could be finished at a corner??
 

Hivenhoe

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Random Orbital Bob":q1q2n4uj said:
Blimey guys....that was incredibly helpful. I'm really grateful for that excellent input. My situation is a tad bizarre. Whats happened is we built this house only 5 years ago with a slate roof. The very fine wooden fascia and soffit was all dandy until that terrible snow we had 2 (or is it 3) winters ago. The dead-weight of the snow on the roof was so heavy it caused the roof to sag slightly, ie imagine pushing directly down on the ridge...the roof angle became shallower and as a result it "popped" the soffit out of the rebate in the fascia's in several places. So now you can see 5-10mm gaps between the soffit and fascia in places. The paint is starting to flake in places so I figured rather than just repaint and then fix the wooden problem, I'd replace a few with pvc and avoid the future maintenance.

But thinking out loud, I can't really just do a section by placing the pvc over the original wood (which is sound) can I because where it stops, it would stand proud of the existing woodwork. Maybe it could be finished at a corner??
I know you get settlement but just in case, have you had the roof,walls and wall plate checked that they are not likely to move further under load and had remedial work to prevent further movement?

Best to do a complete side at a time, making allowance for snow load/slippage on the gutter & fascia.
 

Lons

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Just a thought Bob.

Did you actually build it yourself or had it built? If the later, is there an NHBC guarantee on the property which should cover remedial works as the roof specs ought to have been designed to accommodate heavy snow loading.

Bob
 

rafezetter

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Lons":22lg7xig said:
Just a thought Bob.

Did you actually build it yourself or had it built? If the later, is there an NHBC guarantee on the property which should cover remedial works as the roof specs ought to have been designed to accommodate heavy snow loading.

Bob
That's a very good point, and definitely worth checking into, and if it's outside any coverage, I'd still look at bringing a case or something as the roof obviously wasn't built to withstand a snow load - it should always be done to "worst case" scenario regardless of if it might happen or not - we've had excessively bad winters in the past, so there's no saying it can't happen again.
 

Random Orbital Bob

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MM....its just not that simple I'm afraid guys. The builder, has now gone bust after the credit crunch hit so he's not worth sueing. I don't recall if he was covered by the guarantee scheme. Then there's the issue of who's to blame because was it the builder, the architect or the chippy? The reason it moved was because when we extended the original building we went up 6 courses, cut back the rafters which were almost colonial style and then needed to add what is essentially a small stud wall, between the old roof plate and the new (higher) roof line. So the masonry stops about 2 foot short of the roof line and that space is plugged by this mini stud wall. Its that that has gone from plumb to slightly leaning as the weight of the roof pushed on it. Unpicking all the parties involved now would be complicated in the extreme. Or are you saying that if the builder was signed up to the building guarantee scheme, an insurance fund pays rather than the builder himself?

I guess if that were the case its worth investigating. I'm certain I've already arrested any slight settlement so any future effort is really remedial in terms of the now gappy soffit and fascia. Also its only happened on one elevation which is lucky as the house is pretty big.
 

Lons

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I don't recall if he was covered by the guarantee scheme. Then there's the issue of who's to blame because was it the builder, the architect or the chippy?
Any guarantee if he issued a certificate would be insurance based though getting them to accept liability can still be an ordeal. Dig out your original paperwork to see if any reference.
Architect/structural engineer would be my first call after that to see if the original calcs are correct. If not then their fault - if they are then it wasn't built properly.
The architect would have liability insurance in place so either way you have a fight on your hands but worth pursuing if any evidence is there. Not a hope in hell with the chippy as presumably he was sub contracted or enployed by the builder.

it should always be done to "worst case" scenario regardless of if it might happen or not
that's questionable as they work from published tables which really are just an average as far as I know and if built to that then they're covered I think.

Bob
 
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