What are fascia and soffit boards?

Close-up of roof fascia

Knowing Your Roof’s Components

There are many components to a roof, and a homeowner doesn’t necessarily know them all until they need roof repair or replacement. When a roofing contractor tells a homeowner they need the soffit repair on their roof, many confuse that with the eave. So, what is the difference between an eave and a soffit?

Most roofs, by necessity, extend over the walls of a house, and will be referred to as eaves or rafters. The underside of that overhanging is usually finished off, then creating what is called the soffit. The word “soffit” is defined as “something fixed underneath”. The soffit has a cosmetic look that will close off the eaves and rafters, aligning them to match the rest of your house.

What are the fascia and soffit?

The fascia and soffit are what completes the roof. The exterior soffit is installed on the span under the rafter tails, and fascia is the horizontal piece of wood (or vinyl) installed on the end of the rafters. These are thought to be nothing more than architectural elements that are installed along the eaves and rafters, providing a visual appearance of completed roofing. However, they are more than just a finished look for the roof. 

What is the fascia on a house?

As described above, the soffit is what closes in the eaves or rafters, creating a finished look. The fascia is the wood that runs along the side of that overhang and completes the roof. The fascia is where the gutters are installed, and the holiday lights are hung. It is the transition trim that is installed between the house and the roofline. Often, when soffit repairs are needed, the fascia will need repair or replacing in the same area. 

Why are soffits vented?

There are two soffit vent types:

  • Continuous: The newest soffit vent system and most popular today because of the volume of fresh air they allow inside the attic. 
  • Individual: Still a popular way to vent a soffit, especially in challenging areas of a roof like a partitioned attic or the kitchen. 

Soffit venting is needed on the underside of the eaves and rafters and work in coordination with other venting system to keep fresh air flowing through the attic. Fresh air is needed in an attic to prevent moisture build up that is natural to an attic. Keeping moisture minimal in an attic, the HVAC system doesn’t work as hard, and it keeps the roof structure healthy. Soffit repair is critical in the soffit doing its job of keeping the roof cool in the summer. 

What is soffit repair?

Soffit repair is done when there is water damage to the eaves, gable overhangs, and rafters. This damage usually happens because of any of the following: 

  • Ice dams
  • Improper flashing
  • Damaged or faulty gutter system
  • Missing or torn shingles

When these any happen, it allows water to seep in, which starts the process of rotting the wood, which will spread quickly inside the dark space of the attic that has now become soggy. 

Until soffit repair is completed, the damaged wood will allow small animals and critters to enter the attic through the eaves. Once in there, they start building nests and chewing the electrical wiring and more, causing more damage. 

You can call a professional roofing contractor to do any soffit repair, or you can learn how to repair rotted soffit by following these steps: 

Step 1: Remove shingle mold using a pry bar. This is the narrow piece of wood installed as shingle molding along the fascia. If it comes off without splitting, save to reuse.

Step 2. Remove the rotted fascia taking care not to damage the flashing or shingles. 

Step 3. Remove the old soffit by pulling it down carefully, be prepared for nesting from small critters. 

Step 4. Remove the rotted rafter using a reciprocating saw to cut it out, then replaced with pressure-treated lumber.

Step 5. Attach a cleat to support the new overhang you’re installing.

Step 6. Attach the new rafter by clamping a 1×1 board for backing in place and fastened to the rafter with screws. Then screw the rafter into the cleat. 

Step 7. Seal the replacement soffit with a waxy sealer to keep water from penetrating the wood. 

 Step 8. Attach the replacement soffit by fastening the plywood soffit underneath the eave. 

 Step 9. Replace the crown molding along the wall beneath the rear side of the new soffit.

Step 10. Attach the replacement fascia by sliding it into place and secure with galvanized nails. Then seal the nails with putty over the top. 

Step 11. Attach the shingle mold you removed in step one.

What material is used for fascia?

In most homes, the fascia is made from wood, an effective material for the purpose of a fascia. A fascia board can be made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) of non-corrosive sheet metal as well. Some non-residential structures have a fascia made from ornately carved stone.

What are the different fascia and soffit types?

There are four different types of materials used for the fascia and soffit: 

  • Wood Affordable, multifaceted, and with the right finishing treatment, it is water-resistant. Painted will increase its lifespan. 
  • Composite: Made from recycled wood chips & sawdust then bonded with epoxy resin. A most expensive option than wood but is colorfast, durable, and rot-resistant.
  • Vinyl: A durable material that is easy to install, maintain, and repair. Less expensive than wood and cleans easily by spraying. 
  • Aluminum: A popular choice and considered an upgrade from wood in all aspects. Durable, flexible, and weather-resistant with low maintenance needs. 
Close-up of roof soffit along gutters

In Conclusion – Why replace fascias and soffits?

Because it makes your house look better! While the fascia is really for looks more than anything, the soffits complete the look of your roof to your home and keep the eaves closed off from critters and the weather. If you need soffit repair in Osage Beach and Lake Ozark, MO, reach out to Thompson Roofing & Reconstruction at (573) 789-8367 to schedule your service.