Soffit and fascia are constantly exposed to the elements year after year. While gutters play a major role in keeping water from gathering behind the fascia and seeping into soffit panels, simple maintenance can help prolong the lifespan of the exterior finishing elements that make up the roofline.
Inspect Soffit and Fascia
Prevention goes a long way to avoiding expensive repairs or replacement of soffit and fascia. Soffit panels cover the underside of a roof’s overhang; fascia boards seal off the ends of the roof rafters from the elements. Periodically inspect soffit and fascia for potential problems such as:
- soft spots or rotting – applicable to wood soffit and fascia only
- warping – applicable to wood soffit and fascia only
- peeling or bubbled paint
- stained surfaces
- cracking and splitting – applicable to vinyl and wood soffits and fascia
- panels or boards separating from the house
- missing fascia and/or soffit panels
The most common reason for water damage to soffit and fascia is overflowing gutters. Check to see if there are clogs in the gutter channel or blockages around the gutter outlet.
Clean Soffit and Fascia
Soffits are fabricated from three main types of material: wood, vinyl, and metal. While their key purpose is aesthetic, soffits also make the roofline stronger. Due to constant exposure to the elements, soffit boards can become grimy and collect bits of debris in corners, around vents, etc. Whatever they are made of, most surface dirt should be easily removed by washing with a solution of mild detergent. When stronger cleaning methods are needed, ensure that you use a cleaner that won’t damage the material the soffits are made from.
Fascia boards are also made from wood, vinyl, and metal, most commonly aluminum. Washing fascia at least once a year maintains their appearance. Removing streaks and grime reduces potential damage that environmental pollutants might harm the finish of the fascia boards, minimizing how well they protect your home.
Repair Soffit and Fascia
Small holes or cracks in wood soffit and fascia can be repaired, and warped sections of fascia or soffit panels can be removed then replaced. Even when repairs can be made to soffits and fascia made of wood, many roofing contractors advise replacement with comparable aluminum or vinyl products that require less maintenance and care.
In most cases, metal or aluminum soffit and fascia can be repaired or repainted. However, vinyl soffits and fascia typically have to be replaced when damaged.