What Are Soffit And Fascia?
Soffit and fascia are very important parts of almost every home. Chances are you’ve got them both on your house and may not even realize it. But what are soffit and fascia? What do they do, how do they work, and do you really need them? We’ll discuss all this and more ahead.
There’s more to a great looking home than just roofing and siding. Soffit and fascia are both important past of your homes exterior that also have of of functional benefits. Together, these two exterior components help prevent mold and mildew growth. Fascia helps waterproof the home while soffits allow airflow into the rafters via soffit vents. While soffits and fascia are technically attached to the roof construction they’re actually considered a part of the siding and installed by your siding contractor. Because of this, the term soffit and fascia can be confusing because they always get lumped together, however they’re very different siding components with totally separate uses.
There are a lot of little finishing elements that all work together to complete the design, appearance, style and function of your siding. Two of these items that are both installed along the roof line of your home are the fascia and the soffit. Because they’re installed right next to one another by the same contractor, many people assume that they’re the same thing.
However they both do a completely different job. We’ll go over both ahead as well as explain how they work together.
Beautiful modern home with metal fascia and wood soffits which include recessed LED soffit lighting.
What Is Soffit?
Soffit is the siding material covering the underside of your roof’s overhang. Depending on how high your home is the soffit may be visible from the street which makes it an important part of your curb appeal. It comes in a variety of materials like metal, vinyl, fiber cement, wood and composites like Azek. Most roofs will overhang the building a little which offers water protection to the home. This roof overhang can be the ends of the roof rafters or framed separately.
The most common cause of damage to a wood framed home is water. Having soffits helps prevent a lot of this. Water runs off the roof a foot or two away from the wall, typically into a gutter. This keeps water off and away from the home.
If this overhang was to be left open from the bottom, rain, snow, and moist air could get up inside. This would eventually damage the wood frame of the house by causing rot and mold. That’s why the overhang is covered and protected by a material called soffit.
Soffit looks great but it’s not all about good looks. Soffit vents allow fresh airflow in and out of your rafter which helps keep the attic cool and mold free. One of the most important parts of a well design attic ventilation system are the soffit vents.
All About Soffit
- Soffit gets more visible the close you walk toward the home since at a certain point you’ll be standing right under it.
- It can be made out of wood, metal, fiber cement, vinyl or composite.
- Your soffit material should be suitable for the climate you live in.
- Soffit vents allow fresh airflow in and out of the roof rafters which helps keep attics cool and prevent mold.
Your home’s soffits aren’t generally as noticeable as the fascia when you’re standing at the curb, unless the home is very high. However they’re hard to miss when your standing next to the house and look up.
Without a soffit, you would see the wood rafters and eaves of the roof. Some homes are actually designed this way with open soffits and exposed wood. But most cover this area with soffits.
Soffits are an important part of most roof designs. Without soffit, your home wouldn’t have a finished appearance and the rafters and eaves would be exposed to the elements. There would be significant risk of wood rot, leaks, mold growth, and roof failure.
Soffits also help keep insects, rodents, and other pests out of your walls and attic. Without soffit, your attic and eaves are essentially left wide open which can lead to all sorts of problems.
White Colonial with white soffits and fascia including recessed LED lighting. 2nd Floor soffits include recessed LED lighting.
What Is Fascia?
Fascia or fascia board is installed at the very edge of your roof. Fascia Board is the thin flat piece of trim that gets nailed to the edge of the rafters. They generally run vertically, perpendicular to the walls. In your standard wood frame roof the fascia board is a piece of 1″ pine. Fascia, is the material that covers the fascia board. This can be confusing because both elements are called fascia but they’re very different.
Fascia Board is normally made of wood on a wood framed home. It’s typically installed at the same time as your roof by the framers.
Fascia is a form of siding and is installed by the siding contractor.
Fascia Board is structural while Fascia is a form of siding.
All About Fascia
Just like soffit, fascia can be made of metal, wood, fiber cement, vinyl or composite.
Both fascia and fascia board are designed to block the elements from getting into your home. Without them, water, snow, ice and moist air could blow right into your rafters and onto your wood frame. This leads to all sorts of damage which includes mold, mildew and rot.
Some homes may not use a fascia board. It largely depends on the type and style of your roof frame.
Gutter are nailed into the fascia board through the fascia. If you want gutter on your house then you’ll need fascia board to nail them to. However you don’t necessarily need fascia. Some homes simple paint the fascia board or use a wood that doesn’t need covering.
Fascia interacts with your home’s soffit because it’s the area of siding directly above the soffit. Sometimes the fascia is bent at the bottom which helps hold the soffit in place.
It’s very visible and should be kept in good condition.
Beautiful custom home with metal fascia and wood soffit with decorative elements. Both soffit and fascia are important parts of the homes siding design.
What Does Soffit And Fascia Cost?
While soffits and fascia used to be made out of wood or aluminum, most homeowners are using vinyl or composite because they offer easy maintenance and durability.
Vinyl soffits and fascia come in a variety of styles and colors to complement the architecture and design of your home. There are even products available made from recycled materials, for those who want a green alternative.
Composite materials, like Azek, are generally white, which is good because white is the most common soffit and fascia color.
Making sure your soffit and fascia are both installed properly is the best way to prevent problems down the road. Roofing and siding products primary use it to prevent water damage. And they all do a great job of doing it. However that’s assuming the products are all installed correctly. One piece of siding, roofing, fascia or soffit install incorrectly can be an invitation for disaster. Water can penetrate into the wood framing eventually causing rot or mold.
Make sure you keep your gutters clean. When water backs up, the first place it generally goes is behind the fascia. There are overlapping materials and drip edges we install to make sure water goes off the roof and directly into the gutter which then leads water away from the house. However, if water backs up then it doesn’t go where we want it to go which means it can cause problems.
Soffit And Fascia Replacement Costs
- Replacing your soffit generally costs around $20 to $30 a linear foot installed.
- Replacing your fascia costs about $15 to $25 a linear foot installed.
Prices for any project depends on a number of factors. These mainly include materials and the design of the house. The higher your fascia and soffit the more it’ll cost to replace. Also the way it’s installed can effect the price.
The most important thing to remember with any roofing or siding product is to replace damaged areas right away. It doesn’t take long for water to damage wood so get it fixed right away.
If for some reason your wood gets wet before you have a chance to fix the damaged area, make sure to dry it out as much as possible before replacing the soffit or fascia. Locking in moisture under your new work can cause mold.
Soffit and fascia are an important part of your exterior siding design. They look great and seal the home, protecting you from water damage.
Why Soffit And Fascia Are Important
Both fascia and soffit help protect the home from water damage as well as provide ventilation into the attic. But aside from their functional benefits, soffit and fascia look great. They’re both important parts of a home’s siding design. Look at the example picture above. This beautiful custom home features metal fascia with wood soffit and decorative elements. While standing at the cub of this home you can see just how important that soffit and fascia design is to the overall look of the home.
Why Is Soffit Important?
Soffit is an important part of your home’s exterior siding design. But looks aside, soffit’s most important job is protecting the home from water damage and providing ventilation. Every part of your home’s siding has a duel purpose. Form and function. While looking great is important, preventing rot, mold and mildew should be the primary goal of your siding.
If you’re living in an area with high winds, your soffit keeps moist are and water from blowing into your house.
Once a year, when you clean and inspect your gutters, you should also inspect your fascia and soffit for peeling paint and other problems. Keep your home properly sealed to prevent big problems in the future.
Sealing your rafters with soffit not only protects against water damage but also pests. Without soffit anything from the outside could get into the rafters and then into your attic. Bugs, birds and animals will eventually all find their way in. It’s important to make sure your soffit has no cracks or holes in it, and if it does, you must repair or replace it right away.
Soffit vents are an important part of your attic ventilation system. You need fresh air flow circulating in and out of the attic to keep things dry. Heat rises and so does humidity. Attics are a great place for mold and mildew to grow and ventilation helps prevent this from happening. Fresh air also keeps the attic cool which helps keep heating and cooling costs as low as possible.
Having said all that. Soffit should still look good. While it does have all sorts of functional benefits, at the end of the day you want to come home to a beautiful house. Make sure you coordinate your soffit design with the other aspects of your siding.
Why Is Fascia Important?
Fascia is another important part of your exterior siding that both looks great and protects the home.
Just like soffit, fascia helps seal the rafters so water and pests can’t get in. It takes the combined effort of both soffit and fascia to completely seal the edge of your roof.
If your home has gutters then those gutter are nailed to the fascia. Gutters are a very important part of your home that helps divert water away from the home. Your fascia board has to be strong enough to support gutters even during a downpour when they’re full of water.
As you may have noticed from reading through this article, protecting our home from water damage is vital. Most of the damage we see to wood frame homes is caused by water damage. Roofing, siding and gutters, which includes soffit and fascia, are all designed not only to look good but primarily to protect the home from water.
Having sad that, fascia is a very visible part of your siding design and should be well through out. If you want a great looking home that maximizes curb appeal then you need nice fascia.
Fascia comes in the same materials as soffit, wood, metal. fiber cement and vinyl. You should coordinate your soffit and fascia design along with your siding and gutters. Everything need to work well together.
How Are Soffit And Fascia installed?
Both soffit and fascia are very easy to install.
Soffit is nailed up and into the roof rafters. Often times, thin vinyl soffit is installed very loose using nails as just a tack. A track is built out of trim pieces like F or J channel. Soffit is then slid into these channels and lightly nailed into the rafters. Other times, thick solid soffit made of wood or composite is tightly nailed into the rafters. Nails are then covered up by overlapping pieces of soffit or trim.
Fascia is nailed directly into the fascia board with either nails or screws.
Depending on the type of material your using, installation methods may vary. However, no matter the method, installing fascia and soffit is fairly simple.
Soffit And Fascia Materials
Both soffit and fascia are available in wood, fiber cement, metal, vinyl or composite materials like Azek.
Installation methods may vary depending on the material you select.
Are Soffit And Fascia Durable?
As with any other exterior elements like siding or roofing, soffit and fascia are constantly exposed to the elements.
Birds, bees and small animals love to nest inside of soffits if they can find a way in. Fascia has gutter nailed into it which can cause damage if the gutters aren’t installed properly or start to rust.
Depending on the material you choose they can be very durable or need constant maintenance.
- Wood soffits and fascia need maintenance like paint and caulking to keep working properly.
- Some types of metal can rust or be easily dented.
- Vinyl is extremely durable, doesn’t need maintenance and won’t rot or rust.
- Composite doesn’t need maintenance, won’t rot or rust but can be damaged by impacts.
Overall, soffit and fascia is a very durable part of your siding and won’t need much attention or replacement over the years.This is assuming it’s all been properly installed however.
Beautiful Examples Of Soffit & Fascia
Below are some great example pictures of both soffit and fascia. Hopefully some of the will help you design your next home’s exterior siding.
White composite fascia with bead board soffits.
Bead Board Soffit
Bead board soffit is a higher end style consisting of thin planks. Typically bead board is made of a solid composite material, wood or PVC. Whatever material you choose the installation methods is the same. It’s nailed tightly to the rafters with trim pieces on each end to cover up the cut edges.
- Wood bead board soffit is either painted or stained.You’ll need to maintain it as needed.
- Composite or PVC is totally maintenance free. Once you install it your done.
Modern Colonial home with white Azek soffit and fascia. White siding with black shutters.
Composite Azek Soffit & Fascia
Composite materials like Azek are great for soffits and fascia. They’re white, which happens to be the most common material for both soffits and fascia, but can also be painted. Composite is completely maintenance free, won’t rot and can’t be eaten by insects. It’s a very durable, long lasting material which is why it’s such a popular siding material.
Wood fascia with open rafters and no soffits. A design like this is beautiful but needs painting so be prepared to do some upkeep.
Wood Fascia With Open Rafters
Some home designs don’t have a typical soffit and fascia design. here we see a beautiful home with open rafters and no soffits. There is a small fascia just big enough to hold a gutter but it’s much smaller than we generally use.
As you can see, the home is sealed further back behind the fascia since there is no soffit and it has other exposed wood beams. If you want a look like this then your home has to be designed for it since you won’t have soffit to cover up openings in the frame.
This soffit and fascia design is painted so be prepared for some long term maintenance.
Traditional masonry home with cement, stone and real wood soffits and fascia.
Masonry Home With Wood Soffit & Fascia
Old fashioned masonry homes typically had wood soffit and fascia. Home have been built with concrete, stone, brick and wood for centuries and we still use all of these products today. You a very traditional look use a wood that can be left outdoors without the need for paint or a sealant. You’ll only have a few good options and they’ll all be expensive. Most wood homes use pine because it’s cheap and easy to paint, however it won’t be much use outdoor without the paint or a good sealer.
It’s good to know that these old fashioned homes can still be built today just like they were over 100 years ago.
Cream colored vinyl soffit and matching fascia. Brick columns, cedar shake siding and pillars caps are all part of this harmonious color scheme.
Cream Colored Vinyl Soffit & Fascia
One of the benefits of using vinyl soffits and fascia are the color options. Unlike with wood or composite that needs to be painted if you want a color, vinyl comes a finished color. Just order what you want and then install. The drawback of this is that you don’t have as many color options available as with paint. However there is a pretty big selection and one of the colors usually works.
Manufacturers tend to make all the popular colors people end up picking anyway and you’ll never have to re-paint or maintain it. If you going with vinyl siding then vinyl soffit and fascia are probably what you want. There’s no sense having to paint if the rest of the home is maintenance free.
Another benefit is that siding manufacturers usually make the soffit and fascia so your colors will match if that’s the look you want.
Tan brick home with tan vinyl soffit and fascia with black gutters. Black framed windows and doors.
Tan Brick House With Vinyl Soffit And Fascia
Vinyl soffit and fascia comes in tan which matches nicely with tan or other neutral colored brick. It’s a great material to use on a brick home because it’s maintenance free. Most homeowners that build with brick siding don’t want to deal with painting.
These soffits include recessed lighting which helps light up the back deck at night.
Another view of that beautiful tan brick home with tan soffit and fascia. Black gutters with black framed windows and doors.
Brick Home With Tan Vinyl Fascia & Soffit
Here’s another view of that beautiful tan brick home with tan vinyl fascia and soffit.
Combination white vinyl fascia with wood soffit including recessed lighting.
Vinyl Fascia With Wood Soffit
You can combine soffit and fascia material and colors if your home style warrants it. Here we see a white vinyl fascia with wood soffits which includes recessed lighting. vertical board and batten siding with wood trim.
A siding design like works great but be prepared to deal with some maintenance.
Classic wood soffits and fascia with real wood cedar shake siding. Sometimes the classic home styles are the best.
Wood Soffits And Fascia
Sometimes classic home siding styles are the best. Wood soffit and fascia with wood trim and cedar shake siding. It’s a traditional waterfront Hamptons design that will never go out of style. Be prepared for some maintenance though because all that white will have to be maintained.
Vented vinyl soffit with gray cedar shake impression siding. Soffit vents provide airflow into the rafters and attic.
Vented Vinyl Soffit
Vented vinyl soffit is a maintenance free material that allows fresh air ventilation into the roof rafters and attic. Soffit vents are just one part of an larger attic ventilation system, but they’re a very important part.
Modern home with black metal fascia and wood soffit including recessed lighting.
Modern Home With Metal Fascia & Wood Soffit
This beautiful modern designed home features black metal fascia and wood soffits. The soffit material and stain match the vertical wood siding perfectly.
Fascia and soffits on a modern flat roof work a little differently on that on a traditional pitched roof. Flat roofs don’t generally have gutters so you see the entire fascia and there’s no need for venting since they don’t have rafters.
White painted wood soffit and fascia on this white brick farm house style home. Real wood front door with porch swing.
White Painted Wood Soffit & Fascia
Painted wood soffit and fascia is a great design for a country styled home. Whits painted soffit, fascia, trim, siding and brick. Real wood front door with a porch swing. The black gutters give the home a more modern transitional style.
Beautiful custom home with white Azek soffit & fascia. Dark brown gutters. Wood front door, red brick & cedar shake siding.
White Azek Soffit & Fascia
This beautiful custom home features white Azek soffit and fascia with dark brown gutters, gray cedar shake siding and red brick. Real wood roofing shingles. Country style homes like this look great with lots of white. In the past it was all done with painted wood, however newer materials like composite Azek have come into the market and changed things quite a bit.
Now you can have the great looks of white trim with a material that’s maintenance free.
Traditional home design with Azek soffit and fascia. Stone with red brick. Lots of white trim with gray shake siding.
Traditional Home With Azek Soffit & Fascia
Traditional styled homes used to be all painted white trim, soffits and fascia however new homes built in an old fashioned style use Azek. Composite materials make it possible to have the look you want without all that maintenance.
White composite fascia and bead board porch soffit with white columns, balusters, trim and siding with wood hand rails.
White Composite Fascia & Bead Board Soffit
New homes are pretty much all using composite materials in favor of painted wood. No one wants to deal with the yearly maintenance or ugly chipping paint. painted soffit and fascia are beautiful when brand new but eventually they’ll look really bad unless you maintain them. Newer materials give you the same look with zero maintenance.
The only real drawback with composite is that they’re generally all white. Luckily white is by far the most popular color so it’s rarely an issue.
Beautiful custom shingle style home with Azek soffit and fascia. Cream cedar shake siding with real stone veneer.
Shingle Style Home With Azek Soffit & Fascia
Shingle styles homes have been around for decades and have always been built with painted wood. These days modern shingle style homes use composite trim, soffit & fascia. The same traditional look with no maintenance.
Other compsosite materials can also be used like fiberglass columns, vinyl cedar shake impression siding and metal roofing. Even asphaly shingles are available that look like wood.
Beautiful modern home with black metal fascia and wood soffits with additional details.
Metal fascia With Wood Soffits
The beautiful modern home features black metal fascia and wood soffits with additional detail elements. As you can see from the curbside view soffits and fascia are an important part of your homes exterior siding design.
Wood soffit and fascia stained and sealed. Back porch with outdoor kitchen, paver patio, glass railings and a beautiful view.
Stained Wood Soffit And Fascia
Not all wood soffits and fascia have to be painted white. Here we see a back porch with stained wood soffit and fascia with wood columns, exposed beams, trim and shake siding. Real wood in my opinion is the best material to finish a home with. You just can’t match the beauty of a finely built wood home. The only drawback is maintenance. But if you don’t mind that then there’s no reason not to use wood.
Fiber cement soffits with a built in vent. On a masonry home fiber cement is a better option than wood or vinyl.
Vented Fiber Cement Soffits
When you build a home siding with stone, brick or some other masonry product then fiber cement soffits are a great choice. Fiber cement has many of the same characteristics as masonry and some people actually consider it to be a masonry product.
Fiber cement is generally a painted product however it doesn’t have to be. In it’s natural state fiber cement is a grayish color which for some designs may be a nice choice. However, you can paint fiber cement any color you want to it’s a versatile choice.
You can buy soffit panels with vents built in or install them yourself.
Back porch with white composite bead board soffits and fascia. Matching white trim and columns. Blue stone patio.
White Composite Soffits And Fascia
Beautiful back porch design including white composite fascia and bead board soffits. Lots of white trim and columns over a blue stone patio with real stone veneer and retaining walls. This is a great design that’s very popular by the water. Light and bright house designs with lots of white trim are in high demand.
Back porch with beautiful real wood soffit stained medium brown.
Stained Wood Porch Soffits
Real wood porch soffits with a medium brown stain is a rich, beautiful look. There’s really nothing bad I can say about a design like this other than the occasional maintenance. However, since this is a completely covered porch that won’t get rained on, the staining won’t have to be done that often. Although for some homeowners, any maintenance at all is a big turn off.
If you don’t mid staining every 4 or 5years then this really is a fantastic looking soffit.
Cream colored vinyl soffits and fascia on this beautiful custom home featuring real stone and cedar shake siding.
Cream Vinyl Soffits & Fascia
Vinyl soffits and fascia are the most popular materials builders are using these days so it’s good that they come in a variety of colors. It’s not a huge variety but the most popular colors are available. This cream colored vinyl looks great with the real stone veneer siding and cedar shake.
This home has a natural, earthy color scheme so tan or cream soffit and fascia are important. Unless you don’t want to do a lot of painting then vinyl is probably your best choice.
Beautiful Wooded home with black metal fascia and real wood soffits and recessed lighting.
Black Metal Fascia With Wood Soffits
Check out this beautiful wooded home with black metal fascia and real wood soffits. Using wood soffits in a home styled like this is great because it’s fit in so well with the siding design. Wood siding and trim with stone veneer stone. Lots of natural landscaping and hardscaping. If you’ve got a home design that’s using lots of natural materials and landscaping elements then wood is a good choice.
Modern home with brown metal soffits and fascia including recessed LED lighting. Black framed windows and doors with cream stucco.
Brown Metal Fascia & Soffit
Modern home with brown metal soffit and fascia with recessed LED lighting. Black framed windows and doors with cream colored stucco. Tile deck with glass railings. Metal soffits and fascia work great on a home with a modern design.
White brick home with cream vinyl soffits and fascia. Black framed windows and doors. Black gutters and matching accent roofing.
Brick Home With Vinyl Soffits & Fascia
Vinyl soffits and fascia come in a few popular colors, one of them being cream. The color looks great when used with natural white brick. Throw in black frame windows and doors with black gutters and metal roofing for a modern transitional look.
Modern fiber cement bead board soffits with thin metal fascia and black gutters.
Modern Fiber Cement Soffits
Fiber cement bead board soffits have a clean modern look that are perfect for a contemporary styled home. They’re also great when used with masonry because they have many of the same properties. Although fiber cement can be painted, some homeowners choose to leave it bare which is what we see here. Unpainted fiber cement soffits have a light gray or tan appearance that looks nice with bare cement.
Summary: What Are Soffit And Fascia? Design & Style.
Soffit and fascia are both very important parts of your exterior siding design. They both protect your home from water damage by sealing the space between your roof rafters which leads into the attic. Fascia seals the front of your roofs edges and provides a place to nail gutters into. Soffit seals the underside of your roof overhang, stopping water and pests like bees, birds, and mice from getting into the attic. Soffit vents provide airflow inside the rafters which helps prevent mold and keeps attic temperatures down. All this and they look great too.
I hope this article helps you choose the right soffit and fascia design for your next home siding project.
If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.