Your fascia and soffit are important ‘trim components’ that play a crucial part in how your home breathes and functions, especially in relation to the plumbing and gutter system. However, many homeowners don’t have a clue what they are or what role they perform.
If you’ve just had a new roof installed, or you are considering some repair work to your existing roof, it’s useful to have a rudimentary understanding of the terminology used by roofing contractors.
Any faults in your soffit and fascia could bring significant problems like moisture damage, curling shingles, wood rot, or pests. It would be a huge mistake to ignore or dismiss these components, as they are critical to your home’s proper ventilation.
Many homeowners in Louisiana come to Hibbard Roofing for fascia and soffit replacement. Today, we’ll quickly run through the basics of what you need to know about these pieces.
A Protective Shield
A roof fascia is a vertical board (also known as frieze) that is found directly underneath the roof’s overhang, typically attached to the gutter. Together with the soffit (the horizontal board that connects the walls with the fascia), it encloses the roof’s eaves.
This function is important for a number of reasons. The trusses, rafters, and cavity of the roof are generally made of wood, and the fascia provides a kind of protective shield that stops rain from entering. These wooden components will begin to rot if they are wet all the time. Rot can cause the roof to sag, eventually threatening its structural integrity.
As well as its abundant year-round rainfall, Louisiana has its fair share of pests. Birds, bees, wasps, hornets, bats, rats, and termites are eager to call your roof home, and a robust, easily maintained fascia and soffit will restrict their entry and force them to find another spot. Finally, the fascia is what secures the roof’s guttering firmly in place.
The fascia is positioned directly underneath the guttering, so it has a central role in preventing rain from building up in the guttering. Any buildup can overflow onto the fascia and cause it to rot. That’s why cleaning your guttering on a regular basis is so vital.
Fascias are sometimes called the ‘fascia board,’ ‘roofline’ or ‘transition trim.’ Aside from their practical purpose, fascias are a front-facing aesthetic element that can make your house look more appealing. Architects will decide on the material, color, and height of your fascia, which affects the presentation of the building.
The Difference Between the Fascia and Soffit
A roof fascia has only one notable part: the fascia board itself. We sometimes notice people using ‘fascia’ as an umbrella term to include the soffit, but this is a mistake. The fascia is a single piece of material, usually made of wood or aluminum, with its own distinctive role.
It’s possible to purchase a metal fascia covering for the fascia itself, giving extra protection against the weather. However, if your guttering is performing effectively, and your fascia remains dry and is primed and painted every five years, this is probably necessary.
The soffit is the horizontal board that connects the fascia to the property’s wall. Together, they enclose the eaves of the roof and protect it from rain and animals. Soffits also add visual interest, and they are a clever way to disguise ventilation for your attic.
Soffits help to regulate the buildings’ temperature, enabling the roof to ‘breathe.’ Dry, cool air is pulled into the soffit vent (at the lowest point of the roof), and hot moist air is pushed out of the roof exhaust vents.
Residents of Louisiana are living in a climate with high winds, which causes rain to rise up under the eaves. This means that the soffit plays a crucial role in keeping water from blowing into your house. However, if not maintained well, it is a place for water to collect.
In short, soffits are more vulnerable to the elements. They are often exposed to water run-off caused by damaged gutters and shingles. As soon as they start to show signs of rot, it is important to get them replaced.
Once a year when you clean and inspect your gutters, take care to study your soffit for peeling paint. It’s important to keep everything sealed and caulked.
Wood fascias are the most common board material. They are the cheapest option on the market, and can easily be painted to complement the characteristics of your home’s design. If your guttering system is well looked after, a wooden fascia should last for many years. Still, we suggest priming and painting the fascia every five years or so.
By comparison, a wooden house should be repainted every five to ten years, but the fascia needs a little more attention because it’s positioned directly underneath the guttering, so has a higher probability of getting wet. If you notice any discoloration or peeling spots on the fascia, you’ll want to address these urgently to prevent the rot from spreading.
Some wood types are much more rot-resistant than others. Many builders consider redwood, cedar, and mesquite to be the premier choice for fascias, as they are the hardest and most available, with a chemical structure that makes them highly resistant to insects and fungal pests.
Aluminum is a strong material, but it’s just a third of the weight of steel. It may lack the rustic charm of wood, but it handles rain a lot better and is far too tough for bugs and termites to compromise.
Unlike wood, a well-made aluminum fascia should be nearly maintenance-free, lasting in excess of 30 years. There is no need to sand, paint, or stain the trim.
This metal also stands up well to extreme temperatures and is available in a variety of depths and colors (even if these aren’t quite as plentiful as the paint options for wood). Some contractors offer bespoke shadow gap and mechanical fixing or bonding.
Modern options provide stunning visual impact. One downside to aluminum is that it’s more expensive than wood, but if you’re taken with the smart appearance, its superior durability makes it worth the extra cost.
Vinyl is the cheapest material available for use as fascias. It doesn’t have the “premium” look of wood, but it’s an impressively durable, water-resistant material that doesn’t rot, rust, or corrode, so the maintenance effort involved is minimal. Its cheaper aesthetic is the only real drawback of vinyl fascia.
Standards are beginning to improve, however. Some vinyl soffits are beaded or smooth, while others provide a convincing wood grain look. Vinyl fascia and trim products are now offered in a variety of styles to complement the architecture and style of your home.
There are also products made from recycled materials, for those homeowners who are searching for an eco-friendly alternative.
How to Tell When Fascia and Soffit Replacement is Needed
There are a few ways to detect damage. The following are clues that soffit and fascia replacement might be necessary:
● You find evidence of rotting wood, or you detect a leak.
● The fascia is badly faded and looks like it needs repainting.
● Paintwork is peeling, or the surrounding areas are discolored.
● You discover that pests or small animals are finding a way into the building.
You can periodically check for bee, wasp, or hornet nests. Of course, some homeowners are uncomfortable working on a ladder. Sometimes nests are too extensive and appear too dangerous to interfere with.
If you have any doubts, you should call a professional to remove the nests for you.
Making sure your soffit and fascia are installed properly and effectively waterproofed is the best way to nip any problems in the bud. Damaged flashing or malfunctioning gutters can lead to serious issues down the line. That’s why it is crucial to keep gutters clean. When water backs up, the first place it wants to move is the fascia board.
Replacing a soffit typically costs about $20 to $30 per linear foot installed, while updating a fascia is likely to set you back $15 to $25 per linear foot installed. Overall project cost will vary according to the materials used and the size of the building. Homeowners can expect to pay $5,000 or more to fix rotted fascia and soffit boards, framing, and drywall.
It should be clear by now that a new or upgraded soffit and fascia is a tiny investment in the bigger scheme of things, as it assures the longevity and beauty of your home.
At Hibbard Roofing, we believe that the homeowners in our community deserve the best quality materials. It’s important that you work with a company you trust.
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