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Soffit & Fascia

Roofing | Final grade | >>Soffit and fascia | Electrical and gas laterals | House wrap | Masonry | Stucco | Siding | Exterior concrete | Exterior paint | Foundation parging

The basics
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 materials.

The Process
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.

Click on 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
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.

Notes to the owner-builder
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. |

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