Important Functions of Roof Elements: Soffits and Fascia

November 1, 2018

Soffits and fascia are roof add-ons along the eaves of a house.  The visible horizontal band at the end of a roof's rafters is the fascia.  Its partner, the soffit, is positioned beneath the ends of the rafters, and is usually not seen. 



Why Soffits and Fascia are Important to Your Home


Soffits and fascia can be made of aluminum, wood, a synthetic, such as vinyl, or recycled materials.  The choice of material is often based on the local climate. The extra durability of a synthetic, for example, might be preferable in areas with frequent rain or snowstorms.  Aluminum soffits and fascia absorb heat, making some roofs or attics extremely hot from prolonged sun exposure, causing more reliance on air conditioning to maintain a comfortable interior temperature.  Many contractors believe that a synthetic material does a better job of keeping away rodents and insects than wood or aluminum, and are more energy efficient.


The exposed fascia, or siding, at the front of a roof’s overhang, provides support for the bottom row of roofing tiles or shingles, and is where rain gutters are installed.  A home's fascia must have the ability to support the gutters even in a downpour, or other severe weather events.  In addition, a soffit can help release heat from an attic during hot weather. 


When soffits and fascia are kept in good condition, they help maintain a home's energy efficiency.  A soffit provides venting that helps keep a steady stream of air between the roof and the attic space.  Attic spaces need to be well ventilated in order to keep out the moisture that causes mold and mildew to grow.


The soffit's main function is to keep birds, squirrels, bats and other pests from invading a house's interior spaces.  In addition, during a storm, when high winds blow rain up under the eaves, your soffit will keep the water from blowing into your house.


 In order to perform its preventative functions, a soffit need to be kept in good condition.  Soffits should be checked periodically for cracks, holes, or other signs of deterioration.  If you find a problem, have your soffit repaired or replaced as soon as possible by a roofing specialist.


Since the fascia is visible, it is an architectural feature of your home.  When it is kept in excellent condition and looking attractive, it enhances your home’s curb appeal, and value.


The ideal time to inspect your soffit and fascia is at the same time you inspect and clean your gutters.  Even when using a professional to inspect or repair your roof and its add-ons, it is still advantageous for you to be aware of the function and vulnerability of each of your roof's elements.


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