6 Signs Your Soffits and Fascia are Damaged—and Why It Matters

Soffits and fascia along the roofline of a residential home.
Most homeowners in West Chicago aren't exactly laying awake at night worrying that their soffits and fascia may be wounded. In fact, many people have no idea what they do or even what they are, even though they see soffits and fascia every time they look at the exterior of their house.

Soffits and fascia boards may seem like mere architectural elements intended to give your roofing structure a clean appearance, but there's a lot more to them than just looks. These critical parts of your roofline play essential roles in keeping your home comfortable while protecting it from moisture damage.

If you are aware of the signs that your roofline is suffering, you'll be able to get repair help from Mr. Handyman of Wheaton-Hinsdale before damage spreads to other parts of your house. Our service professionals have plenty of hands-on experience dealing with repairs to soffits, fascia boards, siding, and other exterior trim elements.

What Are Soffits and Fascia Boards?

They are two trim components of your roof eaves or roofline, the part of the roof edges that extend past the exterior walls. Fascia boards run along the roof edges, parallel to the wall, and they are where rain gutters are usually attached. Soffits are underneath the eaves—they're what you see if you stand next to the exterior wall and look straight up. The soffit board is ventilated with holes or slats to allow air circulation in the attic or roof crawl space.

Both soffits and fascia are available in a variety of materials. Traditionally they were wooden or aluminum, but more builders and homeowners are choosing PVC or vinyl soffits and fascia these days for increased durability and ease of maintenance.

Are Fascia and Soffits Necessary?

They are absolutely necessary!

Heat rises, so warm, humid air is constantly making its way into your attic. Without adequate ventilation from the soffit vents, that moist air condenses and seeps into timber support beams that are holding the roof up. All the excess moisture buildup in the timber makes it susceptible to wood rot, a form of decay caused by wood-eating fungi that thrive in damp timber, and wood rot causes the timber to soften, which could lead to serious structural damage in roofs or attics. As long as your soffit vents are in good shape, they serve as continuous ventilation systems that are crucial for avoiding water damage to your roofing material and everything underneath it.

Fascia boards also do their part to stop moisture from infiltrating the roof, and they support rain gutters which are incredibly important tools to avoid having all the rainwater that falls on your roof pour down the outer walls of your house. Fascia is also hated by squirrels, rats, and insects who spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get into your warm, cozy house because it blocks access to their preferred entry point on the roofline.

What are the Signs of Damage on Soffits and Fascia?

Because your home needs soffits and fascia to help prevent moisture build-up and a whole host of problems that come along with it, it's important to keep watch for these signs that they've been damaged and can't do their jobs properly.

1. Broken or Overflowing Rain Gutters

We're putting this one in the number one spot because broken, clogged gutters are the number one cause of damage to your roofline. Normally, your gutters collect all the rainwater that falls on your roof and direct it away from the house where it can't do any damage. But when they're riddled with holes and cracks or stuffed full of dirt, dead leaves, and other debris, the water has nowhere to go and spills over the edge, pouring down your fascia and across soffits. Wind can also blow standing water out of your gutter and straight into soffit vents, where it affects your attic timber. A thorough cleaning may be sufficient, but if the damage is extensive you will likely need a complete gutter replacement.

2. Peeling Paint or Flaking Finish

If you see loose, peeling paint or wood stains on your roofline, that's a clear sign of water damage. When it's caught early, your handyman may be able to repair it by repainting and then sealing it to make it impervious to water. However, if the damage goes beyond the surface, your soffits and fascia will need to be replaced.

3. Excess Moisture Inside the House

Remember how soffit vents act as a continuous ventilation system to rid your house of hot, humid air? If the vents are blocked, that humidity can't escape. Instead, it will continue to circulate in the house and form condensation, which encourages the growth of mold, mildew, and wood rot. If you notice excess moisture inside the house or signs of water infiltration, damaged soffit vents could be to blame.

4. Increased Energy Bill

When your house can't vent out hot air, it also causes a big problem for your bank account. A lack of proper roofline ventilation drastically lowers the energy efficiency of your home by forcing your HVAC system to work much harder to compensate, which increases your energy expenses. Repairing or replacing your soffits to ensure that the air is circulating freely will make your house more energy efficient by lowering your heating and cooling costs on your utility bill.

5. Ice Build-Up

In the winter, snow collects on your roof and the meltwater can bypass gutters and make its way to your soffit boards, where it ices up and blocks the vents. This is called ice damming. It is another way that air circulation in the roof can be cut off. If you notice ice build-up on soffits or a lot of icicles hanging from the fascia, the ice needs to be knocked off—but you should also have a handyman take a look and come up with a repair solution to keep meltwater off the roofline.

6. Rodent, Insect, or Bird Nests

Have you noticed birds constantly flying to and from your roof, or signs that rodents or insects are nesting in gutters? If so, the nests should be removed right away to avoid further damage and prevent them from getting inside the house. An infestation of termites or carpenter ants can cause catastrophic damage in a short amount of time, and we all know plenty of reasons to avoid sharing our homes with rats, mice, and other rodents.

Bonus Issue: Risk of Asbestos

This isn't exactly a sign of damage, but it is a huge problem for older homes. Asbestos is a very dangerous, highly-carcinogenic material that was used for home building until around the late '80s, including in soffits and fascia. If your roofline is more than about 30 years old it should be inspected for possible asbestos, which must be demolished by a trained asbestos removal professional—and even if it's not made with asbestos, if your roofline is that old it's probably due for replacement anyway.

Trust Mr. Handyman for Soffit and Fascia Repair or Replacement in West Chicago

Whether you're in Downers Grove, Bloomingdale, Streamwood, or another part of West Chicago, you can rely on Mr. Handyman of Wheaton-Hinsdale for quality workmanship and outstanding customer service.

Give us a call today or text us to request a service appointment and discover why we're considered West Chicago's best choice for dependable local handyman services!