Understanding the Functions of the Soffit and Fascia
The roof is one of the most important structural components of your home–if not the most. As such, it is important to understand what each element does in the event you need to assess a problem or make a repair. Two of the most important components of the roof are the soffit and the fascia. These parts are essential to the overall structure of the roof, but many people are unaware of where they are located and the purpose they serve. Here is a quick breakdown of the two.
The soffit is the surface below the overhanging section of the roof eave. The term soffit may also refer to the underside of an archway, ceiling, and staircase. For the purposes here, however, we’ll limit the term soffit to refer to the underside of the overhanging section of roof on a house. The soffit functions as an air circulator to draw heat and moisture away from the house and help ventilate the attic. This is accomplished by tiny holes along the surface of the soffit that aid in ventilation. This air circulation is important in the roof since heat and moisture buildup in the attic can lead to damage in the rafters and sheathing.
The soffit itself is obviously exposed to weathering and moisture, therefore, vinyl is one of the most common materials used in soffits. Vinyl withstands exposure to heat, cold, and other types of weathering well and is a fairly cheap material to incorporate into roofing. It also regulates temperature well throughout the home to aid in energy efficiency. With this knowledge, inspect the soffits on your home from time to time to ensure they are not damaged.
The term fascia literally means ‘band’ or ‘connector’. In architecture, the fascia refers to the finishing edge that connects the rafters, trusses, and rain gutters to the roof. The fascia basically acts as a layer along the edge of the roof to protect the wood against weathering and water damage. It acts as a barrier from moisture entering the house along the edge of the roof. Beyond this functionality, the fascia is an aesthetic architectural addition designed to create a smoother, even appearance along the edge of the roof of the house.
As with the soffit, inspect the fascia of the roof from time to time for damages. Despite the obvious aesthetic purposes of the fascia, it still serves a practical function of protecting the edges of the roof from weathering and keeping water out of the interior of the home via the roof. Ensuring all components of your roof are in good condition is important to protecting your home and avoiding potentially costly problems over time. Eventually, all roofs will need to be replaced, but you can mitigate problems by keeping components like soffits and fascia in good condition and addressing any repairs quickly.