The rake and soffit areas of a home refer to the exterior surfaces which are between the home's exterior walls and the edge of the roof. The rake is the underside of the roof that hangs over at the ends of the roof. The soffit is the underside of the roof along the front and back of the home, which finishes the area between the exterior wall and the outer edge of the roof. These areas are typically between 12 and 24 inches wide, with the horizontal soffit wider than the rake.
Things You'll Need
- 2-by-4 framing lumber
- Framing nail gun and 12D or 16D fasteners
- Air compressor and compressed air hose
- Builders saw
- Torpedo level
- 24 inch level
- Chalk line
- Pencil and measuring tape
- Safety equipment, including goggles, gloves and steel toes boots
- Type 1A Freestanding 8 ft trestle ladder
- Type 1A extension ladder
- 1-by-6 #2 pine or cedar trim boards
Framing a Soffit
After the roof trusses or roof rafters are installed, cut the rafter tails off in a straight line across the front side of the building. The rafter tails must be perfectly aligned. They form the foundation for the front edge of the soffit.
Nail a 2-by-4 horizontally across the rafter tails, connecting them and creating the framing for the front edge of the soffit. Use a torpedo level lying along the top cord of the truss, and make sure that this framing member lines up with the plane of the roof. The outer corner of the top edge of this 2-by-4 will catch the roof decking, and must not extend upward into the plane of the roof.
Install this front framing member past the end rafter/truss on each end of the building. We will assume a rake that is 12 inches wide for this example. Therefore the 2-by-4 will hang out into the air, past the end of the first truss by 12 inches. This 2-by-4 becomes part of the rake soffit framing.
Layout the location of the ledger board (ref 4) along the top of the exterior wall, under the roof system. You can mark the location for this framing member using a 24-inch level. Put the 24-inch level on the bottom edge of the outer soffit framing member installed in the last step, and transfer this mark to the top of the exterior wall. Repeat the process at both ends of the home, and then snap a chalk line across the wall, marking the location for the ledger board.
Nail a ledger board along the outer surface of the exterior wall of the home. Extend this ledger board framing member past the end of the building the same distance as the first framing 2-by-4 that you installed on the rafter tails. The 2-by-4 will hang out into the air, 12 inches past the end of the home's exterior wall, and becomes part of the rake soffit and return framing
Cut short pieces of 2-by-4, the length of the distance between the outer soffit framing member and the ledger board, and nail these blocks between the two boards 24 inches apart from one another. Nail a block at the end of each board, making the foundation for the roof's outer corner, and soffit and rake framing.
Framing the Rake
Layout the location of the blocks which you will use to frame the rake soffit along the upper chord of the gable truss. The blocks are nailed in place so they extend the roof plane outward from the edge of the house. Most rakes are 6 to 12 inches wide. For our example, we will are using a 12 inch wide rake.
Cut blocks which will be nailed between the side of the home's exterior wall and the outer edge of the rake. For a 12 inch wide rake, the blocks are 10.5 inches long. Beginning at the peak of the roof, nail these blocks in place so they extend horizontally from the side of the home and are 24 inches apart. Nail the block at the peak plumb, with the wide surface of the block perpendicular to the ground. Nail the blocks in place along the truss's upper cord skew to the ground, so that the top surface of the block is flush with the upper cord of the truss. Nail a final block in place directly above the ledger board. This last block is installed plumb, with the wide face of the block perpendicular to the ground.
Cut a 2-by-4 at an angle that matches the angle of the upper chord at the peak of the roof, and nail this framing member in place, connecting the ends of the blocks installed in the last step. This framing member creates the outer edge of the rake framing. At the lower end of the roof, at the lower corner, this framing member will lie on top of the 2-by-4's installed to frame the soffit, and thus the outer edge of the fascia will lie in a single plane.
Repeat the process on the other side of the home. When the rake 2-by-4's meet at the peak of the home, press them together firmly. Fit these pieces together carefully, and force them together and upward as they are nailed into place. These framing members give strength to the rake soffit as they press together, like the keystone that supports a brick arch.
Nail 1-by-6 trim boards around the entire perimeter of the house after the soffit and rake framing are installed. The 1-by-6 finishes the framing and creates the outer edge of the fascia. Use 1-by pine boards to finish the triangular shaped returns at the bottom of the rake, at the exterior corners of the roof where the rake and soffit meet.
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