As fundamental parts of the roofing system, soffit and fascia seal off the overhang of a roof and the ends of the rafters from the elements, preventing rain, wind, and snow entering your home. They are exterior finishing elements that homeowners often overlook, but are essential to a home’s functionality and curb appeal. Since most types of gutters are attached to the fascia boards, it is important to keep them well-maintained. Cracks, bowing, and a stuffy attic are some of the signs your soffit and fascia need replacing.
Cracks or holes appear.
When cracks or holes appear in soffit panels and fascia boards, it’s a sure sign of aging. Even small holes in soffit and fascia can allow moisture in behind the boards. It’s not just mold you might have to worry about. If cracks deepen or expand, leaks can occur. There is also the possibility of wood rot. Replace the soffit and/or fascia when there are too many cracks or holes to repair.
Soffits and fascia contain asbestos.
Asbestos was predominately used from the 1930s to the mid-1990s in the construction industry for a variety of materials including insulation, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, roof shingles, and textured paint. It was cheap to produce, made a product stronger, and increased its lifespan. Check soffit panels and fascia boards for any damage. If they do need to be repaired or replaced and your home was built before 1998, consult with a professional to confirm whether or not they contain asbestos. The contractor will be able to advise you on how to safely deal with the issue.
Fascia begins to bow.
Bowing typically affects fascia panels. It is frequently an indication of excess moisture. Too much moisture can result in water damage to the roof, interior walls, and siding.
Misshapen fascia boards don’t hold hardware in place as well as when fascia is healthy. Bowing fascia stresses the gutters and can comprise a gutter system’s performance.
Animals or insects build a nest.
One of the reasons it’s so important to keep the gutters well-maintained is that a gutter system filled with leaves, twigs, and dirt invites animals or insects to build a nest. They might start out in the gutters but gaps, large cracks, and holes in the soffit and fascia can look attractive to wasps, small birds, or squirrels wanting to nest somewhere warmer. By the time pests are discovered, it’s often too late for the soffit panels and fascia boards where they have gained access. A contractor will be able to tell you if you can do a partial replacement or will need to install new fascia and soffit.
Attic ventilation is poor.
If your home seems stuffy most of the time when windows are closed, it could be due to poor attic ventilation. The soffit and fascia play an important role in providing adequate airflow throughout the roof void and other areas of the house. A residential roof typically uses two types of soffit – standard and vented, where the soffit panels have small holes or slots to let air in. While fascia boards don’t have vent holes, they are usually installed with a slight gap at the roofline to help move air around the attic. When soffit vents and/or fascia are blocked, attic air becomes stagnant. If several consecutive thorough cleanings don’t improve the attic’s ventilation, consider replacing the fascia and soffit.