What Are Soffits and Fascias?
The soffit and fascia are two fundamental elements of your roof structure. Installed in practical conjunction, these essential components serve both aesthetic and functional purposes, finishing and protecting your roof structure from all the external conditions that threaten to damage it. So, they’re an important part of your roof… but what exactly are soffits and fascias? Where are they installed? And what are the different types available?
In this helpful post, we’ll fill you in on all of the key information you need to know about soffits and fascias so you can expand your knowledge and keep up with the experts.
What Are Soffits?
A soffit is a non-structural board that typically runs from the edge of your home’s exterior walls to the edges of the roof structure. Originally tracing back to the Latin term, “suffixus” meaning “fastened below”, the soffit is designed to cover the underside of the eaves, enhancing both visual appeal and structural protection. Whilst most commonly installed around the main roofline, soffit boards can also be used under porches, arches, stairs…virtually any kind of structure that has an exposed area of ceiling space!
Why Does Your Home Need a Soffit?
Aesthetically, soffit boards are ideal for creating a clean and attractive roof finish whilst adding a little extra character to your home. It conceals unslightly rafter beams that would otherwise be visible from the view of the porch or looking up from the ground below. There are a variety of colour options available, making it easy to create a stylish finish that perfectly matches the personality and design of your property.
In terms of functionality, a soffit will protect your rafters from weather exposure and unwelcome pests as well as increasing air circulation to the attic space. Consistent air flow is extremely important in preventing condensation and without it, your roof is susceptible to overheating, mould, ice dams and moisture damage. This enhanced level of protection and ventilation makes a soffit a highly important element of your roof structure, especially in cold or damp climates.
What Are Fascias?
A fascia is a roof board that is installed at the end of the roof trusses to create a clean and tidy finish whilst providing protection against external elements. The board itself is plank shaped with a lip at the bottom that supports the soffit.
What Purpose Do Fascias Serve?
The main purposes of fascia boards include bridging the gap between the rafters as well as providing additional support for the bottom row of tiles. Not only does the fascia create a more sleek and visually-pleasing look for your home’s exterior, but it also helps to prevent moisture and wildlife from entering the roof and loft space. With an enhanced degree of protection from external elements, your roof structure is less susceptible to expensive and potentially dangerous damages.
The fascia also provides a steady and stable surface for your property’s guttering to be fixed to. For this reason it is hugely important that the fascia is kept in a robust, good-quality condition, especially in climates susceptible to very heavy rainfall.
Want to learn more? Read our informative post: What is a Fascia Board?
What are Soffits & Fascias Made From?
There are a number of different soffit and fascia types available on the market, each offering differing qualities and benefits.
Common Soffit Materials:
- Timber soffits are an affordable and aesthetically-pleasing option for traditional homes with more classic architecture. As with most kinds of exterior wood, timber soffits do require regular maintenance such as painting and treating to improve water-resistance and enhance durability.
- Fibre cement soffit boards are very durable and resilient with robust weatherproof protection against even the harshest of conditions. There are a wide selection of colours to choose from, however they can be trickier to install due to a heavier-weight structure.
- Perfect for damp climates, aluminium panels can easily withstand high levels of moisture with only very minimal maintenance required. They are higher in price but very long-lasting and available in a variety of different colours.
- Steel is an incredibly robust material that holds up well against harsh conditions and seasonal weather changes. Steel boards are available in a range of colours and can be pre-cut to match exact dimensions, however, they can be pretty pricy to buy.
Common Fascia Materials:
- Timber is a popular fascia material for its great affordability, easy installation and beautifully traditional look. There are a number of different wood types available to choose from, however each will require regular upkeep to maintain water-resistance and prevent moisture damage.
- Aluminium fascia boards are the strongest fascia type available, offering excellent durability with only low-level maintenance required. Although more expensive to buy, aluminium boards can last up to 25 years so are a reliable long-term investment.
- With durable moisture-resistance, uPVC fascia boards are completely impervious to any form of degradation, rot and mould. They are very low-maintenance and lightweight so can be easily installed by professionals and DIYers alike. Whilst perhaps not as classic in appearance as traditional materials, uPVC fascia boards are available in a range of colours, shapes and styles to suit a wide range of property aesthetics.
Vented vs Non-Vented Soffits
You will typically find two types of soffit panels available to buy. Vented soffits come with pre-cut holes that provide airflow without the installation of additional air vents. Non-vented or solid soffit panels also allow for ventilation but do not incorporate built-in vents so airflow is instead initiated via manual spacing or extra vents.
So, which is the best – vented or non-vented? The choice really depends on your roof structure. If you have a roof with narrow eaves or a large attic space that requires ventilation, a non-vented or continuous soffit tends to work best. Alternatively, vented soffit panels are better suited to wider eaves and small attic spaces as they incorporate smaller vents between the solid panels.
If your roof utilises other venting methods and already regulates an adequate supply of airflow, there’s generally no need for you to add more with vented panels.
On The Hunt For Soffits & Fascias?
If you’re shopping for your next roofing project and are on the search for professional-grade soffit and fascia boards, look no further than the high-quality range available at Roofing Megastore now. We’ve got a huge selection of fascia boards, fixings and trims, as well as soffit boards, with fixings and trims to match too.
For help picking out the right fascia and soffit products, or for any other questions and queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our customer service team who will be more than happy to help. Call them on 01295 975178, email [email protected], or leave us a message in our handy live chat below.