The home owners guide to fascias & soffits

What are fascias?

The fascia or fascias of a building are the boards that run along the outer walls, where the outer walls of the property meet the roof. Sometimes, this is referred to as the roof line. The main board holds the gutters of the building in place. The fascia is directly attached to the trusses of the roof, and runs all the way along the roof’s lower edge.

The fascia serves an important purpose, by supporting the lower roof tiles. It stabilises and carries all the weight of the building’s gutters. These gutters can be heavy during rainfall, when they become full of rushing water. Ensuring that the fascia is in top shape is vital to the security of the roof.

What are soffits?

The soffit is the board that accompanies the fascia. It is connected to the fascia and runs underneath it. In fact, this is the board that is most visible from the ground. Typically, the soffit has numerous ventilation holes, to stop condensation accumulating in the roof’s interior. This helps to prevent the accelerated decay of timber within the roof. An alternative solution is to use the area above the fascia board for ventilation. Indeed, this latter option is becoming more popular with modern home owners.

In addition to the soffit and the fascia, the box end is another major roof line component. This is used where the fascia rejoins the wall (apart from in mid-terraces). Normally, box ends incorporate barge boards running down from the eaves of gable ends. They must fit snugly at the end of soffits and fascias, to provide the right protection from weather conditions.

Importance of Fascia and Soffit Maintenance

While it might not seem like a problem from down in the garden, if a fascia or soffit is damaged or old, it can slowly damage your roof and home. A damaged soffit or fascia can leave your property vulnerable to the elements. Ultimately, this could lead to major roof and structural repairs if left damaged for long periods of time.

When damage is done to the fascia or soffit, rain water or ice from the cold weather can enter the property, by sneaking in through the damaged areas. This can cause a leaking roof, ruined roofing tiles, and severe wall damage within the home. Even if the damage isn’t immediately noticeable, it could cause structural and timber issues over time. As the wood is exposed to the elements and water enters the area, it will start to rot the timber.

Fascia and soffit installation process

Not every company works the same way, when it comes to replacing fascias and soffits on a property. Nonetheless, there is a basic procedure that is used. The first task that most companies carry out before starting, is set up a basic stand or scaffolding system. This system allows the professionals to move up and down the side of the building, with less danger of falling during the project.

The next step for the installer is to remove the current fascias and soffits already in place. This is a delicate process to prevent damage to the roof line. Once they are removed, they can evaluate the condition of the timbers underneath. If work must be done to make them structurally sound, the installer will do so before moving on.

After the underlying issues are handled, the professional will prepare for the installation. The joists are levelled carefully, and everything is made strong enough to hold the weight of the new fascias and soffits.

The new fascias and soffits are connected to the joists, and checked to ensure that they are secure. New box ends are installed and all of the trim is secured in place.

Choosing the right fascia and soffit materials

With major advances in technology, there are many material options available on the market for fascia and soffit boards. It is important to consider all the options, before making your decision.

UPVC and composite

UPVC and composite materials are now the most popular choice for new installations across the UK. Many are made from a combination of materials, such as recycled plastic, leftover wood chips and even sawdust. These are put together with an epoxy resin, and formed into the sections necessary. This material has proven to have excellent weather resistance, rot resistance and anti decay characteristics. This means a longer lifespan for roof lines that use these materials, and much greater durability.

Wood

The traditional material used is wood. Wood board is affordable, easy to work with, and can be created into a look that fits your home. It has a rustic appearance, and can be easily painted when the paint colour of the home is changed. It is vital that wood fascias and soffits are weather protected. This will shield them from timber rot, and ensure that they are free of water.

Aluminium

Using aluminium is a good way to avoid rot and decay. The material is fairly lightweight, and is highly weather resistant. Also, aluminium can be bent into whatever shape needed, to ensure that it’s a snug fit for the building. The cost of aluminium may be a bit more than wood, but it is likely to last a good deal longer. One drawback of aluminium is that it is more challenging to paint.

Vinyl

Vinyl has become a popular building material for many parts of a home. It’s a good way to get the weather resistance and long lifespan that all home owners want.

Typically, vinyl panels are pre-fabricated, and cut to the sizes that are needed for your particular roof line. Often, the vinyl is laid over existing fascias, so that it fits snugly and protects the interior wood. Vinyl is more expensive than some of the other options (such as wood), and it can be challenging to paint. Many vinyl panels are purchased pre-painted.

Broken or deteriorating fascias & soffits do not just make your home look unattractive. It could spell disaster for the structure of your roof and wall boards, if it is left unchecked. Repairing or replacing your fascias and soffits is essential for long term savings, and keeping your home in good condition. With so many options on the market, it is easy to find one that fits the look of your property, as well as your budget. Having your roof line inspected occasionally can give you a heads-up on potential problems that are brewing.