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What are Soffits and Why Do They Matter?

How Soffits and Fascia Help to Keep your Home Healthy

Imagine if your home had a gap all the way around it, where wet weather, wind and pests could all get in and wreak havoc. That could be the case if it wasn’t for your soffits.

If you’re not in the building trade, you may not have heard the term soffits before and that’s probably because although they are important, they also require very little maintenance.

The word soffit means ‘something fixed underneath’. They are the part of the roof that you see when you look up, spanning the space between the gutter and exterior wall, blocking off the overhanging part of your roof.

If you didn’t have soffits, you would look up and see your roof rafters. Soffits attach to the fascia boards, the board which supports the edge of the roof and gutters.

Soffits do more than just complete the look of your house, they also play an important role in the health of your home. By keeping unwanted elements out and enabling proper ventilation in your roof space, soffits prevent damage, damp and decay that could otherwise occur.

What Are Soffits Made Of?

Traditionally, exterior soffits were made from wood, but as with siding, there are now modern alternatives such as aluminum soffit, PVC soffit, vinyl soffit and even fibre cement soffit. These are not only more durable and require less maintenance, but they can come in a variety of finishes and colours to complement your home’s architecture.

An exterior soffit can be solid or vented, with multiple perforations in the boards. A home finishing expert, such as Modern, can help you decide which is the best style and material for your home.

Why Do We Need Soffits On Our Roof?

Soffits have an important role to play in the protection and maintenance of our roof, roof overhang and entire home. They provide:

  • Ventilation: The role of a roof is to protect and secure our home, but as a result, there is little to no natural ventilation. Warm air in our homes rises into the attic space, and if there isn’t enough airflow, it can lead to high humidity and condensation inside the roof. Soffits provide constant ventilation which reduces the damp in the air, preventing the mold, mildew and rot that could otherwise occur.  

  • Pest Prevention: Birds, rodents and insects would much prefer to nest inside your cozy roof space than outside. Soffits effectively close the gap between the fascia and the wall, preventing these pests from gaining access and causing untold damage.

  • Weather Element Protection: Soffits protect your roof from external elements like wind, rain, ice and snow, which helps to prevent rot, mold and other weather related damage. A roof that is damaged from the inside is not only unsafe but will be expensive to fix.

  • Appearance: With the exception of a few modern homes, which emphasize roof joists as a design element, most homes would look pretty strange without soffits to enclose the underside of the roof. Whether you prefer your soffit to blend in or stand out, match your siding or complement it, there are styles and designs that will work for every home. 

How Do I Care For My Soffits and Fascia?

The great thing about modern soffits is that they are easy to care for and maintain. You should keep an eye out for any obvious signs of damage, but otherwise checking them once a year when you clean your gutters should be enough.

Look out for:

  • Any signs of warped, loose or broken boards. Pests and weather can enter your roof space if the soffit boards are damaged enough to leave a gap. Warping could be a sign of heat damage and you may need to replace the damaged piece. 

  • Make sure any damaged pieces are replaced or put back into position and that the boards are sealed or caulked. 

  • Evidence of wasp or yellow jacket nests. Wasps are notorious for building their nests in unhelpful places, like soffit boards. If they gain access to your roof space, they can cause damage to wood as well as growing into a large colony that will need professional removal. 

  • Remove early signs of nests as soon as you see them.

  • Mold or mildew on the soffit boards. This could be a result of damp weather or a sign your gutters or soffits are blocked. 

    • To prevent mold build up ensure your gutters and roof are kept free of debris. Clean off any mildew you see using a soft brush and a bleach and water solution.

Do My Soffits Need Replacing?

Generally, soffits and fascia should last as long as your roof shingles or siding as long as they do not sustain any unexpected damage. Ideally, you should look at replacing your soffits at the same time as you are having your roofing material or siding changed, as this will enable a good fit and strong seal. However, there are some occasions when soffits may need replacing sooner, such as:

  • Significant peeling of paint on wooden soffits, which may indicate wood rot is present.

  • Pests have got into the soffit and caused damage which cannot be repaired.

  • There is significant mold or discolouration of siding in one area or across the entire roof, suggesting the current ventilation is not sufficient.

If you are ever in doubt as to whether your soffits need replacing, speak with an expert who can come to your home and advise on the next steps to getting you home healthy again.

Modern – Soffit and Fascia Replacement and Advice

Modern is your one-stop-shop for exterior home improvements and upgrades. Serving Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Powell River and the lower mainland, the experts at Modern can supply and install both vinyl and aluminum soffits for your home.

With a wide choice of colours and finishes available, we can help you choose the soffit that will best suit the style of your home and provide the ventilation and protection you require.

Contact us today for more information.

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