Every time you go outside and look at the exterior of your house, you see soffits and fascia. But, if you're not sure what they are or why they're important, that's completely understandable—the terms for these two elements of your roof eaves aren't commonly used by people outside construction trades, and they're not the most exciting or noticeable parts of your property.
But, don't let that fool you into thinking they're unnecessary or just there for cosmetic purposes. These crucial elements do a lot of heavy lifting to protect your house against serious moisture damage problems, not to mention pest infestations.
In this guide, we'll explain what soffits and fascia are, why you need them, and how you can keep them in good condition—plus the signs that they're crying out for repair services from the experts at My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea.
What Are Fascia and Soffit Boards?
These are two components of the part of your roof edge that extends past the exterior walls, also known as roof eaves or roofline. Fascia board trims the side of roof overhangs, running parallel to the wall, and are usually where rain gutters are attached. Soffit boards are underneath the eaves (they're what you see if you stand next to an exterior wall then look straight up) and they are ventilated. Both are traditionally made of wood or aluminum, but these days more builders and homeowners are choosing PVC or vinyl soffits and fascia for increased durability and ease of maintenance.
Are Soffits and Fascia Necessary?
Absolutely! They may seem like decorative elements that exist merely to make your roofline look finished, but they are critical features to avoid extensive roof damage and protect your attic from moisture that can cause a lot of severe problems such as wood rot, mold growth, and structural instability.
Since heat rises, warm, humid air collects in your attic or roof crawl space, and soffit vents provide the air circulation needed to rid the attic space of excess heat and humidity. Without adequate ventilation, that moisture soaks into interior roof timbers, encouraging the growth of wood rot that can cause serious damage to rafters by causing them to decay. Damaged soffits can also decrease energy efficiency, causing your utility costs to skyrocket as your HVAC system is forced to work harder to compensate for the lack of ventilation.
Fascia boards seal off the edge of the roof, helping to prevent water infiltration in the attic and also blocking access to squirrels, rats, insects, and other creatures who spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get inside your warm, cozy house.
How Do Soffits and Fascia Get Damaged?
Clogged gutters. Next question!
We're joking... sort of. There's no question that overflowing gutters are a major cause of damage to your roofline. Normally, your gutters collect all the rainwater that lands on your roof (just one inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof produces a surprising 620 gallons). But when they're crammed full of dead leaves, dirt, animal nests, and other debris, all that water has nowhere to go and spills over, pouring over the fascia and across soffits before making its way down your exterior walls. The excess water causes the roofline to degrade, letting in moisture and preventing proper ventilation—and that's one of many good reasons to get professional gutter cleaning services.
Wear and tear over time, wildlife damage, and inclement weather are other common causes of roofline degradation. Standing water can be blown out of the gutter in rough weather and straight into soffit vents, where it causes water damage inside the roof.
What Are the Signs of Damage?
Wondering if your roof eaves are in decent condition or need some help to function at their best? Examine them from as many angles as possible, either on a ladder or from the ground, then look for the following indications of trouble.
Leaking, overflowing, or broken rain gutters
Peeling, flaking, chipping paint or wood stain
Discolored patches or streaks on trim boards & siding
Energy bill has increased even though your energy usage is the same
Bird, insect, or rodent nests near roof eaves
Excess condensation inside your home
Tips for Maintaining Your Roofline
It's a good idea to include roofline repair as part of your annual maintenance checklist. If you're not up to the task of climbing a ladder and fixing up your trim boards, no problem—My Handyman can take care of it effectively and efficiently. Here are a few tips to help keep your soffits and fascia in good shape year-round:
Clean Gutters: You knew we were going to say that, right? Keeping your gutters clean and well-maintained is the most important thing you can do to protect your roofline (and by extension, your attic) from the unpleasant symptoms of water damage.
Spot Cleaning: If you notice a bit of mold or mildew growth on your trim boards, clean it off with a soft brush and bleach water solution.
Install Drip Edge Boards: A drip edge is an L-shaped piece of metal flashing that attaches to your roof deck boards, which helps to minimize damage by directing rainwater away from fascia.
Remove Nests: If you see any animal nests (bird, rodent, or insect) on or near your roofline, or you see animals frequently coming and going from the eaves, the nests should be removed right away before they can cause more trouble. You may need the help of a professional pest control team, especially in the case of pollinators such as bees that may be endangered.
Trust My Handyman for Soffit and Fascia Repair Services in Ann Arbor
Give us a call today at 734-666-3021 to find out more about how we can improve your property and make your life easier!