Soffits and Fascia: Essential Elements of Roof Protection
If you are like many homeowners who want a dry, nice home, you may not know much – if anything – about your soffits and fascia. These terms sounds vaguely medical, don’t they? They are two elements of your roof you might not notice, but they are extremely important elements of your roof.
What is a Fascia?
Fascia is that horizontal band of material – wood, metal or vinyl – that follows your roofline immediately below the roof deck. Sometimes the design of a home calls for the fascia to be comparatively wide or painted in a contrasting color with the rest of the home. Picture a cottage-style home with deep, overhanging eaves and that white board trimming or framing under the roof line. That’s the fascia.
What is a Soffit?
The soffit is found underneath the rafter tails, spanning the distance between the walls of your house and the fascia. It covers the underside of the rafter tails. In a cottage design, the soffits will also be quite wide and you might have seen soffits made of bead board to add another architectural element or charm to the house. In other designs, the soffit may go relatively unnoticed or gone altogether, which could create problems for your house.
Why Soffits are Important
Soffits are important for the ventilation of your house. In many designs, the soffits have air-intake vents to allow air to flow up into your attic, which is then let out through vents on your roof. We call this passive ventilation: cold, or cooler, air is naturally heavier and denser. It gets pulled into the soffit because of the pressure difference between the air inside and the air outside your attic. Once it’s in your attic, it warms up and becomes lighter, where it rises to be let out through your roof vents.
Both of those things are very important. Why? If you have no intake vents or outlets, your house will slowly turn into a sauna. If your house is trapping air and moisture, it’s only a matter of time before you have mold problems starting in your attic and moving down into the main structure of your home. Mold abatement is no joke, and neither is correcting structural problems which cause mold.
Another factor to keep in mind is wasp nests, which are sometimes the bane of soffits. Be careful when using a ladder to clean and inspect your gutter area. If you see several nests, call an exterminator before proceeding. Stinging insects and high ladders are not a good mix.
Why a Fascia is Important
Likewise, fascia is important for protecting the joint between the soffit and the edge of your roof, from water damage and pests like squirrels, birds and bats. It also gives a finished look to your home. The fascia is not something you have to worry about if properly installed and maintained.
Once or twice a year when you clean your gutters, take a look at the fascia to make sure there’s no peeling paint or damage. Keeping your gutters clean will ensure your fascia keeps doing its job – if water backs up, the first place it’s looking to go is into any cracks in your fascia board.
On many homes, soffits and fascia are made of aluminum or wood, but there are other options as well – UPVC and vinyl – which can offer as much durability with less maintenance than wood.
The important thing to keep in mind with any roofing contractor is, do they know how to properly install soffits and fascia and will they recommend the best product for your house? Of course, the best product is not always the cheapest. If you have soffits and fascia that need replacing, your roofing contractor should go over that with you too.
It’s good to keep in mind that a sound roof has many important details involved. A good roofing contractor has experience with all kinds of styles and materials and will be able to guide you to the best choice for your house. Call us today!