Step-by-Step: Creating a Custom Soffit

MAUMEE, OHIO – When contractor Steve Roth decided to transform an 1860s Michigan home into a lodge-style rental property, he began by tackling the look of the exterior. Roth’s first priority was to cover a decaying wood pine soffit with durable urethane Fypon trim pieces to create a custom soffit system that enhanced the home’s exterior appeal. 

“By using stock Fypon® flat trim pieces I was able to cover the oversized original soffit and create my own build-up soffit without the need to have a custom product created by Fypon,” says Roth. “While it’s great to know Fypon could create a custom product for me if needed, for this project I used a variety of flat trim pieces to fabricate the new soffit system.” 

Because having a woodgrain texture for the soffit was important to Roth, he selected flat trim from the Fypon® Stone and Timber collection. He created the build-up of the seven-piece soffit system for the front and sides of the porch area, which measures approximately eight-feet-wide by 19-feet-long. 

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1 – Roth ordered a variety of 12-foot long flat trim from the Fypon Stone and Timber collection, including 11 pieces of FLT173-12S, 10 pieces of FLT151-12S, 12 pieces of FLT187-12S, three pieces of FLT111-12S and three pieces of FLT150-12S. The pieces had varying thicknesses from three-quarters of an inch to one-and-one-half inches and width ranges from three-and-one-half inches to 11-and-one-half inches to give Roth the varying profiles he desired to fabricate the soffit system. 

Step 2 – Roth chose to paint all the flat trim pieces prior to installation with a flat latex exterior paint. This made it easier to simply go in after installation is complete with touch up paint. 

Step 3 – To create the custom soffit he envisioned, Roth used a seven-buildup of flat trim from Fypon. He started by covering the original pine moulding that had peeling paint. He fabricated and added in each moulding trim piece one at a time to achieve the desired look. 

Step 4 – Roth overcut all the flat stock trim pieces by a quarter of an inch per ten feet, and then spring fit them into place to create a very tight seam. This assures that the moulding pieces stay tight during both hot and cold temperatures. 

Step 5 – For every Fypon piece added, Roth used premium construction adhesive along all butt joints and seams. The mouldings were then secured with non-corrosive fasteners. 

Step 6 - In areas where fasteners were installed, Roth added lightweight spackling, smoothed it out and then finished with touch-up paint. 

Tips from the Pro:

According to Roth, this one-person project took about eight hours from start to finish. He used pine wood blocking, a power miter saw, table saw, scaffolding, cordless screw gun, caulk gun, non-corrosive exterior screws, premium construction adhesive, paint, paintbrush and a ladder to complete the project. 

Roth offers these tips for contractors tackling a similar project: 

            Tip #1 – For some similar projects, the original moulding may need to be blocked out to allow for an easy installation of the urethane products. Have wood blocking available to speed up the final installation of the Fypon products. 

             Tip #2 – By using stock urethane trim products, you can easily fabricate to fit the custom size of your project, saving you money and time on the jobsite. 

             Tip #3 - Pre-finish your materials before application. The Fypon products come factory-primed and it’s much easier to paint the products before they’re installed and then to go back and do light touch-up work afterwards. 

            Tip #4 – Use non-corrosive fasteners so your fastener heads do not rust. 

            Tip #5 – While this project could be completed using just ladders, it moved along faster and safer when scaffolding was used. 

Fypon, which provided the product for the Roth porch transformation, offers thousands of decorative millwork elements in a variety of architectural styles to enhance the interior and exterior of homes. Each piece is crafted from tough, weather-resistant, high-performance materials that are resistant to decay, insect infestation and water damage for long-lasting beauty and low maintenance. Part of Fortune Brands Home & Security (NYSE: FBHS), Fypon, LLC is owned by Therma-Tru Corp. For additional information, call 800-446-3040 or visit