What Is The Difference Between Fascias And Soffits?
The fascias and soffits attached to your home do more than just provide a nice aesthetic finish. They help to protect the inside of your property from the outside elements, keeping it dry and free from insects and nearby animals.
Whether you need to replace a fascia or soffit due to wear and tear of the existing systems, or you are planning on selling your home and want to improve the properties curb appeal, there are a number of things to consider. If you are not sure what the difference is between fascias and soffits, read on to find out everything you need to know.
What are soffits?
Not all roofs have soffits installed but for properties that do, it is easy enough to spot. A soffit is an additional covering that sits along the edges of your roof and the adjacent walls of a house. The idea behind this installation is to protect the rafter by sealing it in.
In years past, soffits used to only be made of wood but as is usually the case with timber products, they are prone to rot and decay. This could spread quickly and affect the structure of the roof of the property. In the past few decades, these have been replaced by aluminium and uPVC versions like this Homeline White Flat Board. These are far more durable and most cost-effective and do not suffer from the same issues timber soffits used to.
What are fascias?
A fascia is a roof board that can be seen on the edges of the rafters of the property. They are installed to protect the roof structure and the interior of the building from being exposed to the outside elements. They also help to block out the roof tiling, rain guttering and water pipes that are attached to the exterior of the roof. Fascias play a big role in creating a pleasing aesthetic to the home rather than leaving the exposed rafters on view.
What are fascias made from?
Depending on the age of the house and the local climate, this will dictate the material type of the fascia:
Wood used to be the most common type of fascia material found on domestic properties. This can be anything from pine, fir or spruce, which is then primed and painted so it can withstand the outside elements. Part of the reason for its use is cost but because homeowners will have to repaint the fascia on a regular basis, this cost saving is lost over time.
This is becoming increasingly popular because similar to soffits, the timber used for fascias is prone to rotting and decay. Installing a uPVC fascia, such as the HomeLine White Reveal Liner provides longer-term weatherproof protection. This removes the need to repaint the fascia on a regular basis and lasts for far longer, all at a relatively low price.
Similar to aluminium guttering, using the material as a fascia offers long-term benefits. One of the biggest downfalls of using aluminium is the installation costs compared to uPVC. While it will last as long, you will have to invest more upfront, which isn’t always a preferable choice for homeowners who are working to a tight budget.
Common issues with soffits and fascias
As with the guttering installation, you need to ensure any fascias and soffits are fixed into place correctly to avoid problems occurring down the line. Some of the more common signs of damage include:
- Rot and damp
If you own a home with a pre-existing timber soffit or fascia already in place, this may be an issue you have to deal with. Once this begins on timber there is little that can be done to prevent it from spreading. The best option is to look into alternatives such as uPVC, which is easily installed and will last for years to come.
Any home built before the year 2000 may contain asbestos as this material was commonly used in construction up until the late 1990s. The inhalation of asbestos fibres can create serious and even terminal illness, so if you believe there is some in the roof, contact a professional company about having it safely removed.
- Bird nests
Rafters and unused chimneys often become the homes of birds looking for a place to raise their young. Seek professional assistance about removing them from the property, just in case they are of a rare variety.
- Broken fascias and soffits
As with any part of the home that is constantly exposed to the elements, fascias and soffits will show signs of wear and tear as the years pass by. They can be easily replaced if required, and with so many different colour options available today you can quickly refresh the exterior of your home in no time at all.
Measurements and cost of fascias and soffits
If you are thinking of installing a new fascia or soffit onto your property you will first need to get the right measurements. To find out the dimensions of your fascia you need to:
- Measure from the first rafter on your roof across to the last rafter. If you are only planning on installing a section of the fascia board then you will have to measure the gap of the required space.
When it comes to measuring the soffit, you should follow these steps:
- Using a tent pin, measure from the ground while ensuring the tape remains aligned with the end of the wall.
- Move across to the other end of the wall and record the measurement. This should be repeated for any wall that requires a soffit board.
- Add together the lengths of all the walls so you have the total length of the eaves.
- Measure the width of the eaves gap and then multiply the full length by the width to get the complete area of the soffit required.
- Add an extra 10% to the calculation so you cover any errors made in measurement, cutting errors and potential damage caused during installation.
- Finally, divide the total length you have calculated – being sure to include the additional 10% - by the length of the soffit boards you are installing.
In terms of the cost of purchasing a fascia or soffit for your home, much will depend on the measurements of your property. The type of material you decide to use will also play a big factor in the final cost. Never go for the cheaper option simply because of cost. Weight up all the pros and cons to ensure you get the very best protection for your home.