| Final grade | >>Soffit
and fascia | Electrical
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The rafter tails that extend past the walls make
up the eaves and the horizontal board that ties
the rafter tails together is known as the fascia
board. The structure on the underside of the eaves
is known as the soffit. In modern residential construction
the fascia board and the underside of the eaves
are often covered with vinyl aluminum, or steel
cladding. Previous to this soffits often were not
installed as the open eaves style was popular. As
soffits became more popular plywood was commonly
used, however, it is being replaced with low maintenance
The Soffit and fascia covering is usually installed
prior to interlocking siding but after brick or
stucco. The installer starts by attaching a channel
to the house, level with the bottom of the fascia
board. The soffit material is slid into the channel
against the house and nailed to the underside of
the fascia board on the other side. The fascia covering
is then slipped under the drip edge and pushed upward
to cover the outside soffit edge and then nailed
to the fascia board with colored nails. Since the
soffit and fascia are made from vinyl, aluminum
or steel they are virtually maintenance free. Many
colors are available but white is most common.
thumbnail below to view soffit cross-section
Since most eaves contain vents, it is necessary
to use vented soffit panels in the soffit. Vented
material has small slits in the surface to permit
air flow through the soffit structure. Typically
one quarter to one half of the soffit material will
be vented. If the vented soffit is not installed
the attic air circulation will be inhibited.
In the "old days" gutters or eavestroughs
as they were sometimes called were made from copper,
steel or even wood. Today rain gutters are usually
made of aluminum, copper, steel or vinyl. The vast
majority being made of painted aluminum. They are
attached with spikes driven into the fascia or by
straps that attach under the bottom shingle. Gutters
are attached at a slight slope to allow the runoff
to drain. At the end of the gutter a downspout is
attached to carry the water to the ground.
Seamless gutters are custom made on site with a
forming machine to the exact length needed. Seamless
gutters are usually made from aluminum or copper.
Copper is several times more expensive than aluminum.
Steel and vinyl gutters usually come in 10' lengths.
Handymen typically use steel and vinyl gutters.
Seamless gutters leak far less often than sectional
gutters and are virtually maintenance free.
Storm water can be dispersed in the yard with a
splash block or diverted to a storm drain. In some
areas you will be required to divert storm water
to a storm drain. It is recommended that storm water
is diverted to a storm drain in areas where poor
bearing soils exist. It is not uncommon for a house
to settle excessively (causing a cracked and shifted
foundation) when storm water is allowed to run down
the foundation, eroding the soil under the footing.
Soffit and Fascia installation is typically done
by siding contractors who specialize in vinyl and
aluminum siding. Prices seem to vary widely for
soffit and fascia installation so get several bids.
Soffit, fascia and gutters are usually priced by
the foot. Aluminum is generally slightly more expensive
than vinyl. We highly recommend seamless gutters
because they are less likely to leak and require
no maintenance. |