Soffit and fascia are an important part of the structural integrity of your home. Soffit ensures proper ventilation and air circulation. Fascia protects rain and snow from entering into the attic or getting in behind the boards. When wood soffits and/or fascia board shows signs of rot, mold, mildew or other kinds of damage, it might be time to replace them.
Soffit is typically protected from direct exposure from the elements by the roofline. Unless they have sustained water damage or have begun to crack or develop holes over time, soffit, including wood, often lasts as long as the home. However, if you do want to make the exterior less labour intensive or in the case of slight to medium damage to the soffit board, you can use cladding soffits. These are often made of vinyl and simply attach to the original soffit. The same applies to fascia – you can choose to clad rather than replace, but keep in mind that fascia is generally more exposed to environmental conditions than soffit.
If you have decided to replace wood soffit and wood fascia, what are you options if you decide not to stick with wood? Materials for fascia board and soffits include vinyl, aluminum and steel. Vinyl soffit and fascia boards are becoming increasingly popular because they tend to be cheaper and can look indistinguishable from other more expensive material options. Aluminum and steel soffit and fascia are more expensive than vinyl but are longer lasting than vinyl by several years and do not require as much maintenance as soffit and fascia made of wood.
Cost isn’t always the only consideration. Even if you’re going the economical route, purchase as high a quality board that is still within your budget. Also check that the soffit panels and fascia board are guaranteed for a specified number of years.
Soffit boards and fascia should be compatible with each other. If you’re planning on replacing both at the same time, you can check compatibility before make the purchase. However, when replacing only the soffit of the fascia, make sure that the one you buy will be compatible with the one currently on your home (the boards not being replaced). Unsure about compatibility? Ask the professional at your home improvement centre.
Some types of soffit paneling include vents; it usually costs more than regular soffit board. Vented soffits help circulate air throughout the loft space or attic. The other option is to buy standard soffit boards and install the vents yourself – this is recommended for the seasoned DIYer, since soffit can be easily damaged while attempting to install venting.