Friday, November 9, 2012

A Residential Electrician Nightmare - Masonite Soffit

Below is a picture of some masonite soffit.  I'm providing the picture as I'd imagine a ton of folks wouldn't know what the heck "soffit" is.

Every home built these days or yesterdays gone by will have some soffit.  Masonite soffit is a major bit of building material, and isn't going to be discontinued, it is tough stuff, cheap, and durable, however, there are some serious issues involved in its use for both the homeowner, and the electrician installing electrical outlets outdoors on and in masonite soffit.

The soffit is the long rectangular piece of material facing STRAIGHT DOWN.  Soffit always joins the wall of a house covering from the bottom the overhang from the roof.

Masonite soffit is inexpensive and takes paint well. It comes pre-primed and ready to install 4’ X 8’ sheets. This material is durable when used in a location of low moisture. Vent holes are pre drilled removing the need to install soffit vents.

Below will be a picture of a soffit panel uninstalled.  Soffit need not be masonite material, but in expensive custom homes it often is, and it is ventilated with tiny prefab holes all in it so that attic heat doesn't accumulate overmuch.

Oh your attic is going to be hot just the same, but every tiny bit of ventilation does help with your energy bills and home's efficiency in regards to heating and cooling.

If you look closely, you can see the holes for ventilation in this piece of soffit panel.

So just what is my problem?  Well, often times homeowners will want an outdoors weatherproof plug or socket, or even some floodlights installed hanging straight down from the soffit panels in various places on a home - such sockets are often referred to a "Christmas plugs," and the reason for this is that folks who install and run a lot of lights around their homes during the Christmas season, use those outdoors weatherproof plugs to do so.

The picture below will be of a typical one hundred and twenty volt weatherproof plug in a weatherproof outlet box.  Now, this thing must be secured to something, and when it is secured to masonite soffit....nightmares can ensure for not just the electrician having to install it, but also the homeowner, but those bad realities will be sometime later, when the electrician is long gone, something is plugged in, then hurriedly unplugged, and the plug and weatherproof box both literally pull out of the outdoors soffit ceiling.

That masonite soffit is very brittle, and not very sturdy at all, and the reason is those tiny ventilation holes seriously weaken the structural integrity of the stuff when a wall socket for outdoors is mounted into or on it.

You've been warned.

1 comment:

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