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As I understand it, one should pre-drill the hole for the fastener to prevent dimpling.

  • Should the Aluminum fascia be fastened with a nail or screw?
  • What is the preferred spec for the fastener?

I am new at this so any lessons-learned or pitfalls to avoid are appreciated.

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Fascia wraps should only be nailed on the bottom (horizontal) face if possible. Avoid nailing the vertical face except where the run terminates if you have a gap, and then use a single nail. Dimples in the vertical face are very difficult to avoid and show conspicuously in certain lighting conditions.

Most carpenters don't pre-drill, but it can be difficult to penetrate the metal if you're not skilled in upside-down nailing. Feel free to do so. You might even do it on the ground beforehand. Aim for the center of the face and every 16" to 24" or so.

Be sure to use corrosion-resistant nails in a matching color. Drive them just far enough to pull the wrap into position. When working with finish metal, gentle is the name of the game.

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  • Nailing from the bottom is to minimize the possibility of rain water penetrating the fascia and soaking the wood? – gatorback Mar 27 '19 at 13:17
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    Well yes, but that's secondary to the reason I stated. Very little water will enter an occupied nail hole on a vertical surface under a properly installed drip edge. – isherwood Mar 27 '19 at 13:18
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    Under is good so you don't get that discoloration from mild corrosion dripping down. – Joe Fala Mar 27 '19 at 14:22
  • In the picture shown, there is a visible gap between the size of the facia and the wood sub-facia. Would pre-drilling and nailing still be recommended? I have found that sometimes you simply can't get facia that is of the right dimensions. – Daniel Bragg Mar 27 '19 at 15:28
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    Metal fascia should not be installed with such a gap. Doing so would result in weirdly bent metal or an odd gap between it and the soffit. If the subfascia+soffit height dimension is non-standard, the top edge of the fascia wrap should be trimmed as necessary so it fits snugly against the soffit. – isherwood Mar 27 '19 at 15:43
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The problem I've found is that most people in my area use narrow gauge (stainless?) nails on fascia, which do a poor job of holding over time. In my first house, I had a section begin to sag away from the boards over the garage. I noted rain was getting in and later, when my father-in-law and I pulled it back from the boards, we discovered the board had completely rotted out in places. After pulling maybe half the sheets off, we found the nails were sagging all around the house (in addition to some of the boards not being nailed flush to the tails of the rafters). Cost us some $50 in lumber and a good day of replacing bad or poorly attached boards.

When I put the fascia back up, I used #8 2" pan head stainless steel screws (the pan head is more important than the length, as I've used 1" without issue). Pre-drilled holes where the nails had been and the screws went in easily (don't cheat and try to power them in or you'll strip those softer screws out). The pan heads cover the holes pretty well, they suck-up to the wood, and they don't work their way out. Period. Those screws are probably still up there, along with all that wood we replaced.

The caveat here is that my fascia had a "drain gutter" so that water that did hit the substrate would roll down into there and fall out in the piece breaks. I would be less inclined to do this on fascia that doesn't allow the water to drain away from the boards. It's unclear if your fascia does that.

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