Soffit & Fascia….Extending the life of your roof

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Posted on October 06, 2012

Good day All,

Today I will be extolling the virtues of soffit, and fascia. A great percentage of homeowners have heard these terms before, but to my surprise, not many people seem to know what they are, and what purpose they actually serve. If you are among the few who do know, then reading this blog post is optional(but appreciated none the less).Lets start out with some basics.

Soffit is the underside of your roof that is parallel to the ground, and runs perpendicular to the house(or at least it should). Soffit, is the overhang of the roof that allows water to not drip directly down the walls of your house into the foundation. Soffits come in many different sizes, but are typically 12 inches to 24 inches. I have already given you the first function of soffit. In the olden days houses were built with solid wood enclosed soffits, mainly to keep the animals out of your house. As building techniques evolved, it became apparent that the soffit is a great way to ventilate your attic/roof. While venting in the roof itself will release unwanted heat and moisture, it has been revealed that by having ventilation from the soffit, actually gives the warm air a push in the right direction. This notion is based on a simple, well known fact; that hot air rises, and cool air sinks. Nothing will accelerate the wear of a roof more than poor ventilation; and who wants to pay for a new roof more than they have to? The added ventilation from the soffit also injects more air circulation into the attic space of your home, thus reducing, and in most cases; eliminating the growth of mildew and mould; which we all know is a major health issue. Mould and mildew thrive in moist warm environments.

Health Canada considers mould growth in residential buildings to be a potential health hazard. People living in buildings with dampness or mould are more likely to suffer from symptoms like eyes, nose and throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or other allergic reactions. Being exposed to mould can also trigger asthma symptoms.

Some people are quite sensitive to mould, while others will not react at all. Health Canada recommends removing any mould found in your home and fixing the underlying moisture problem that allowed it to grow in the first place because there is no safe amount of mould.

Now for Fascia! While fascia does not have the health benefits that soffit has, it is soffit’s sidekick. Fascia, or fascia board is the wood that holds up your eavestrough. There is also fascia board where no eavestrough exists, in areas like your gables and roof returns.The board in this scenario then functions solely to seal in the distance between the soffit and roof; again; to keep unwanted pests out. Now-a-days( gosh do I feel like a grandpa saying that!) most new houses are built with the fascia board covered or clad in metal; usually aluminum, since it doesn’t rust. The aluminum comes in a plethora of colours to give your home the personality you want it to have. The secondary role of aluminum fascia, is to cover the unfinished edge of any soffit you have installed on your home. Now-a-days(ugh…again) the soffit space is left completely open in virtually all new home construction, so it must be covered with something to keep the critters out.Vented aluminum or vinyl soffit. Aluminum fascia neatly covers the unfinished edge as I mentioned, as well as keeps water off your fascia board; which over time; will rot and fall off. Before it gets to the falling off point though, it will become a mecca for every bird squirrel, racoon, and bug that can get into it. Once they are in, let the destruction begin! having the aluminum fascia will save you a world of headaches and expense in the long run. This isn’t to say that if you don’t have these; that your home is beyond saving. Both of these improvements can be made retroactively, to start the healing process.

I hope I’ve covered enough here to help a few of you with these questions; and by all means; do not hesitate to email me, or utilize the chat function on this website. I am always willing to lend some helpful advice and/ or insight into anything I can. Winters coming; stay warm!