Your house is a complicated structure, with many different systems, all working together to keep you and your family protected from the elements. The first time you learn about a part of a house might be when you have a problem with that part of your home. For example, you may have found an issue with your home’s eaves or soffit. Through your research, advice from family, friends, or neighbors, or perhaps using the free quote offered by many home contractors, you’ve learned a bit about the anatomy of the eaves, particularly the soffit. In this article we’ll go over the what the soffit is and does, common issues and their causes, and what you need to do to repair or replace them.
What is Soffit?
In many homes the roof extends past the exterior wall, creating a gap between the edge of the roof and the siding of the house. Known as the home’s eaves, this gap’s underside is covered by the soffit. Due to the close nature of the soffit and eaves, these terms are often interchanged. To describe them in more detail, the eaves contain:
- Top Layer: Roofing. This includes the shingles themselves, the roofing felt, and the roofing board.
- Middle Layer: Rafters. The structure of your roof; may also contain insulation and attic vents.
- Bottom Layer: Soffit. Made of wood or the same material as the siding, the soffit completely covers the bottom of the eaves.
- Side Layer: Fascia. Where the eave meets the roof, the fascia sits vertically, providing both protection and visual appeal.
Common Soffit Issues
While the most common roof issues are missing and/or damaged shingles, or rusted flashing, roof rot normally starts at the soffit. Its location makes it a prime target for water damage, mold, and rot, and therefore should be inspected as part of an annual roof inspection. Water that penetrates and pools will damage both the soffit and beams of the roof. Common problems that cause soffit and eave damage are:
- Structural flaws,such as improperly installed flashing or missing shingles.
- An improperly installed, damaged, or clogged gutter.
- Water being forced inward due to an ice dam.
- Animals, such as squirrels or birds, forcing their way into the eave space and nesting.
Once the soffit shows signs of damage, such as separation from the eave, rot or structure failure, the space beneath them is in worse shape. If you need to repair or replace the soffit, remember that there easily can be damage to the underlying structure.
Who Does Soffit Repair and Replacement?
Repairs to the soffit and underlying materials is a tricking proposition because they sit between the roofing and the siding. Companies that solely perform roofing won’t have the materials needed for soffit replacement, while siding companies may not have the tools for replacing rotting material. Handyman services are a good compromise as long as you can find a supplier for the replacement materials in order to keep a consistent look on your home’s exterior.
Looking for a company that does it all in one job? Located in Marlborough, Massachusetts, and in Naples, Florida, All Weather Tite are expert roofers and siding contractors who provide handyman services as well as window installation. Contact All Weather Tite for a free roof inspection and estimate.