Repairing Your Home’s Masonite Soffits | Ep. 142

close up of white vinyl siding with air vent, soffit, and green fascia
If your house soffit is made of Masonite, you may want to consider replacing it with more durable material.

During this week’s podcast, a house has drooping soffits made of Masonite and the homeowner wonders whether to repair or replace them.

Masonite — a type of engineered wood — is not very rigid; moisture can easily infiltrate it. But you can try to fix the drooping house soffit.

First, reattach any of the drooping soffit pieces with nails or screws.

Alternatively, you could cover the Masonite with vinyl siding or fiber cement siding — both are more rigid and resistant to the elements — or AC plywood that you can back-prime and install, which is also more rigid.

AC plywood — made of plywood sheets pressed together — gets its name because the ‘A’ side is sanded and finished, unlike the ‘C’ side.

James Hardie makes a durable product that works well as a replacement for Masonite. It’s called HardieSoffit and withstands harsh weather.

Listen to the Today’s Homeowner Podcast to learn more about these topics, too:

  • How to prep and stain your wood deck
  • What to do when moisture from your crawlspace gives you trouble
  • A funny home improvement story from a viewer
  • Stripping the paint off of a wood deck

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Simple Solutions

Tree-Planting Tips — Here are six key steps to successfully plant a tree:

  1. Measure the height of the root ball: Use a cultivator to carefully remove some soil from the top of the root ball. Excavate only enough soil to expose the root flare, which is where the trunk spreads out into the individual roots. Measure the height of the root ball from the ground to the top of the exposed root flare. Subtract 2-inches from the height of the root ball and that’s how deep you need to dig. 
  2. Spread a plastic tarp beside the hole and shovel the soil onto the tarp, not directly onto the grass, so you can easily get it back into the hole when the time comes. Dig down to the proper depth, then dust the hole with superphosphate, which will promote a healthy root system. 
  3. Carefully carry or roll the tree into the hole. Then, stand back and view the tree as a helper slowly rotates it. Look for the tree’s best face (every tree has one) and position it so the face is aimed in the most prominent direction—typically toward the street. 
  4. Remove the wire basket from the root ball with bolt cutters and cut away any twine or burlap. Use a cultivator to loosen the tightly packed soil around the ball and expose the hundreds of tiny roots. 
  5. Spread some superphosphate and 3-4-3 fertilizer onto the soil pile, using the amounts recommended for your size tree on the packaging. Thoroughly mix the soil, then start shoveling it into the hole. Be careful not to bury the root flare. 

When the hole is full, use the blade of the shovel to form a 6-inch-high curb of soil around the tree. Use a garden hose to fill the crater with water. As the water is absorbed into the soil, knock down the curbing and smooth out the dirt. Spread 3-inches of bark mulch over the exposed dirt around the tree, but keep it away from the tree’s trunk. Mulch can trap moisture and promote rot. 

  • 6 Loosely tie two drip-irrigation bags to the tree. Fill each with water.

Refill the irrigation bags each day, or as necessary, for six to eight weeks to give the root system enough time to become established. If you don’t use drip-irrigation bags, be sure to water the tree every day for at least six weeks.

Easy Air Hose Storage — Air-powered pneumatic tools are becoming more and more popular with DIYers, but how do you neatly store away the long air hose and all the various accessories?

Well, here’s one way: Screw an empty gallon paint can to the wall in your shop or garage. Then, coil up the air hose and drape it over the rounded can.

And you can store your air-tool accessories and fittings inside the can. This also works great for storing extension cords and small hand tools.


Question of the Week

Q: Can you install a storm door in front of a fiberglass front entry door?

A: There is a history of problems with fiberglass or any entry door with plastic trim around the lights of windows. If it’s not a vented storm door — where you can open the windows a little bit — the heat will build up and melt and warp the plastic molding.

This shouldn’t be an issue since this problem has been corrected on newer models and can be vented.



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