If you are a homeowner, soffit and fascia boards are almost certainly a key feature of your house—in fact, you likely see them every day. But if you're not sure what they are or why they're important, that's completely understandable. Unlike siding or roofs, a layperson doesn't typically use the terms "soffit" or "fascia" to describe parts of their homes.
However, they are important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to keeping your home free of moisture damage, and anyone who has ever had to deal with water damage mitigation will tell you that it's well worth your time to avoid it.
This guide will explain why soffit and fascia boards matter so much, what you can do to maintain them, and what they are in the first place. We'll also cover the signs that your roofline is in desperate need of attention from service professionals like those at Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville.
What Are Soffit and Fascia Boards?
They are two elements of the part of your roof that extends past exterior walls, also known as the roofline or eaves. Fascia boards run along the outer edge of the roofline, parallel to the exterior wall, and are usually where your rain gutters are attached to your roof. Soffit boards are underneath the edge of the eaves (they're what you see if you stand against an exterior wall and look straight up), and they are usually ventilated. Both are traditionally made of wood or aluminum, but these days more homeowners are choosing UPVC or vinyl fascia and soffit options for increased durability and ease of maintenance.
Why Are They Important?
While they may look like design elements that are just there to give your roof a finished look and increase curb appeal, fascias and soffits perform some critical functions to protect your home from big headaches that are costly and time-consuming to repair. Keeping them in good shape is worth the effort.
Here's what they do:
- Air circulation through soffit vents rids your attic or crawl space of excess heat and moisture that can cause serious damage to rafters if it's allowed to fester.
- Fascias and soffits stop rainwater from entering your attic through the roofline and create wood rot that can weaken beams and lead to structural damage.
- In the summer, soffit vents release warm air trapped in the roof, increasing energy efficiency by helping your air conditioner.
- They are hated by squirrels, rats, insects, and other pests that spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get into your house because they block access to your home through the roof.
How Do Fascias and Soffits Get Damaged?
Overflowing gutters. Next question!
We're kidding—sort of. It's pretty safe to say that overflowing gutters are the number one cause of damage to soffit and fascia boards. Your rain gutters collect all the water that lands on your roof (one inch of rain on a 1,000 square-foot roof produces a surprisingly voluminous 620 gallons of water) and channel it safely away from your house where it can't do any harm. When they're crammed full of dead leaves, dirt, animal nests, and other rotting muck, all that water has nowhere to go and it spills over the edge of the gutters, pouring down fascias and horizontally across soffits instead. Since gutters are fastened to fascia boards, they can also rip away from the fascia and cause damage if they become extremely heavy.
Bad weather is another major source of damage. In a storm, strong winds can gust upward under the eaves, blowing rain into the soffit ventilation system where moisture buildup can cause water damage inside the roof, and very severe storms can rip off pieces of boards or slam them with tree branches, causing cracks and holes. Pests are another factor in soffit and fascia damage, especially in winter, as rodents and insects will force their way into the smallest cracks or gaps and enlarge them to get into a warm attic.
What Are the Signs of Damage?
When checking for damage, take a good look at your soffit and fascia boards from multiple angles, looking for these signs:
- Peeling, chipped, and flaking paint or finish
- Leaking or damaged gutters
- Ventilation issues inside your home such as excess condensation
- Air conditioners working harder than they used to
- Rodents or insects are getting into your home
- Visible bird, rodent, or insect nests
- Discoloration on the boards
Tips on How to Maintain Your Roofline
Looking for ways to keep your roofline in great condition so your soffit and fascia boards can do their jobs to protect your home? Here are some tips to help you maintain those key parts of your roofline.
Clean gutters: You knew we were going to say this, right? For the reasons mentioned above, gutter cleaning is essential. If you're not up to the task, don't worry—Mr. Handyman can get your gutters spotlessly clean and repair any breaks or weak points while we're at it.
Install drip edge boards: A drip edge product is an L-shaped piece of metal that is attached to your roof deck boards. This little bit of roofing material trim moves rainwater away from the fascia board material to help minimize damage.
Remove nests: If you spot nests of any kind (bird, insect, or rodent) around your fascia or soffit boards, or see animals coming and going from the area, get their nests removed right away before they can cause more trouble.
Trust Mr. Handyman to Repair or Replace Soffit and Fascia Boards
If you noticed some signs of damage to your roofline, you need an expert on fascia and soffit boards to get those problems resolved so you can rest easy. Whether you're in West Knoxville or a nearby area such as Louisville, Oak Ridge, or Powell, you can rely on the team at Mr. Handyman of West Knoxville to get the job done right the first time.
Give us a call today or request service online to find out what we can do to increase the comfort and appeal of your home!