When remodeling your home, most homeowners tend to mainly pay attention to the key areas of the home such as the roof, siding, doors, and windows. The roof and siding are vital to your home’s integrity, they are the primary protectors of your home during heavy rain, snow, sleet, and hail. The roof and siding are joined by one area:
But what are soffits? What is soffit on a house?
Today we go over exactly what soffits are and how they play a crucial part in your home’s curb appeal and integrity.
What is soffit? The soffit is located underneath your roof’s overhang just above your siding. Soffits are the finished underside of a roof where it overhangs the wall, and fascia is the finished boards underneath the gutter, perpendicular to the soffits.
The soffits are typically made out of wood, vinyl, or fiber cement in most standard residential homes in the United States. When viewing the home from a front angle, the soffits a lot of times are not able to be seen. If there ever is an issue with your roof such as a hole or improperly installed shingles, it is apprarant that this will either show on your roof inspection or in the form of a leak into your house right when the next rain storm comes in.
This isn’t so much the case with soffits, however. While it is important to keep your soffits sealed and installed properly, any large holes or damages may not be visible or known right away, especially for new homeowners and because of this reason (and it not being as visible from the front), it is commonly neglected by many homeowners across the country.
Your soffits play a major role in your roof’s functionality, here’s how.
Soffits are very important in keeping your roof ventilated and the roof rafters safe from rot and deterioration. Soffits help to draw in cool air and let out hot air during the summertime.
Without soffits, this can leave your roof rafters exposed to the outside elements and would require more maintenance in order for your home’s structural integrity to stay in shape.
One of the consequences of not having soffits on your home is dangerous mold build up. Without properly installed soffits (vented or non-vented, which depends on the structure, location, and condition of the soffit areas) you can leave your home to potentially deteriorate in the long run, especially if your home is located in a hotter climate. In this case, it is absolutely crucial to have the right roof and attic ventilation in order for the heat to escape and cool air to be drawn in.
Soffits also help to keep unwanted animals from entering your attic, however, this should not be a problem, unless your home is not maintained properly or has not been built correctly.
Soffits come in two styles which are vented and non-vented soffit. Vented soffits are perforated which helps to secure proper airflow throughout your roof during the summer to allow heat to escape and cold air to flow into the eaves during the winter to prevent large damaging ice dams from forming on your roof.
When installing soffits on your home, it’s important to not use insulation in the area where the soffit was installed because that would defeat the whole purpose of the soffit in the first place – to allow air circulation throughout the attic. During the summer, it’s crucial to let the hot air escape and cool air to come into the attic to prevent excessive mold buildup and to keep the attic from overheating.
An overheating attic can lead to many problems to occur in your home such as:
Soffits are not the only factor in keeping your attic cool, you still need to have a properly installed roof, proper roof ventilation, and attic insulation or in order for your attic and home to stay safe and as energy efficient as possible.
Now you may think to yourself, why on earth would you have non-vented soffit if air circulation is important? In some roof structures that have vented gables, ridge vents, or box vents in place, vented soffits may not be required. It’s always best to consult with your roofing and siding contractor before deciding to install soffits on your home, vented or non-vented.
Like siding, there are many options for the type of soffit material you want to use on your home. We generally recommend having the same material or same design of soffit compared to the siding.
Soffits come in many types of materials such as wood, vinyl, aluminum, and Hardie fiber cement. Wood can be easier to install, but it will rot overtime and will need repairs more than any other type of material. Vinyl soffits are lightweight and do not rot, however, if your home is located in a hot climate, vinyl can melt and warp. Aluminum soffits are a great option as they are also lightweight, do not rot, and can withstand hot climates.
James Hardie Fiber Cement Soffits are the best fiber cement products in the market. They do not rot, can withstand hot climates, do not melt or warp, and are far more fire resistant than alumium.
If you had to choose one type of soffit material to use that would last you a lifetime, our choice would be James Hardie Fiber Cement Soffits. Down below is a fire test of wood, vinyl, and James Hardie Fiber Cement siding products:
After reading this article, we hope you are now well informed about what is soffit on a house, and now you are empowered with more knowledge on soffits to make a better decision on your next exterior home renovation project. If you’re a homeowner in The Woodlands or Spring area and need a professional soffit repair or replacement, contact Mr. Happy House here to schedule an appointment.
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