Roofing Soffit Versus Fascia – Pros & Cons and Cost Comparison

Soffit

$870 to $1,380 Installed

(200 linear feet of 12” soffit installed or replaced on a typical 2,400 square foot home)

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Fascia

$1,160 to $2,250 Installed

(200 linear feet of 6” fascia installed or replaced on a typical 2,400 square foot home)

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Most roofing terminology is unlikely to come up in general conversation so if you’re looking to educate yourself on some specific roofing terms you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re going to look at roofing fascia and roofing soffit. What are they, what’s the difference between them and why do you need them on your roof?

We hope to answer all your questions bt if you have any others please leave them in the comments below. If you need t speak with a reputable local roofing contractor we can help. After you’ve read this report CLICK HERE to get in touch with qualified roofing contractors for free advice and estimates.

WHAT IS ROOFING FASCIA AND SOFFIT AND WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM?

Soffit and fascia are essential elements of a roofing system. While they serve different purposes, they work together to keep your home healthy and protected from weather damage.

Your deck has a fascia board too, but the fascia we’re discussing here is installed at the edge of the eave of a home – the lower end of the roof slope.

Further Reading:
Eave Vs Soffit
Eave Vs Rake

Let’s look at each separately before comparing them against one another when it comes to cost, maintenance and installation.

WHAT IS SOFFIT?

Soffit is the material used to cover the gap between your home’s exterior walls and the  roofline of overhanging roof eaves. too.

In other words, if your home is 36 feet wide, the trusses or rafters were likely 37 or 38 feet, leaving a 6-inch to 12-inch overhang on either side. The horizontally installed material is soffit.

If the roof overhangs the house on the sloped or gable sides, those gaps will be covered with soffit too.

Purpose: Yes, soffit covers the gaps to prevent birds, rodents, insects and other pests from invading the attic space.

But when the soffit is vented, as it should be, it has another essential purpose – allowing the attic to breathe.

Heat and moisture naturally build up in an attic. The roof should have ridge vents at the peak and gable vents in the gables allowing heat and humidity to escape.

The soffits allow cooler, drier air to replace the warm, moist air that is leaving through heat convection. This circulation of air is important for a couple reasons: It prevents:

Moisture from causing mold, mildew and wood rot in the roof’s framing

Heat from damaging roofing shingles, causing them to cup, splinter and fail prematurely

Materials: Your options and their material cost without labor are vinyl/PVC ($1.25-$1.75 per linear foot), aluminum ($1.60 – $2.25 per linear foot), fiber cement ($1.80 – $2.50 per linear foot) and plywood or wood composite ($1.90 – $2.35 per linear foot).

Venting: Soffit comes in vented and unvented options. Vented soffit has perforations that allow airflow into and out of the attic. Unvented soffit is solid – no holes. It must be vented at intervals of about 8 to 12 feet with a vent that looks like a hot air vent in your floor or wall.

Vented vs unvented soffit – Which is better? Roofing pros always recommend vented soffit. It allows ventilation along the entire length of the attic rather than just at intervals.

WHAT IS ROOFING FASCIA?

A fascia board is the board that covers the ends of the trusses at the eaves, or the lower edge of the roof slope. Does your home have a gutter system? Each length of gutter attaches to a fascia board, which makes them easy to identify.

Fascias are also used at the edges of the roof slope on a gable roof where it is called rake fascia.

Purpose: Why is roof fascia important? Fascia covers the spaces between trusses on the low end of the roof and acts as a barrier to pests. There and on the rakes, fascia also functions as trim and gives your home a finished look.

Materials: Most fascia board is dimensional lumber, a 1”x6” board is common. Wood fascia can be left bare, and it will need to be painted as needed. Or it can be wrapped in aluminum or vinyl to create a low-maintenance, more durable fascia.

It’s called being “wrapped,” but the thin material usually covers just the face and wraps around the bottom edge of the board. These options are referred to as aluminum and vinyl fascia, and they are covers rather than replacing the wood fascia board.

The cost of wood fascia is $5.80 to $9.00 installed. When the wood is installed and wrapped, cost is $8.25 to $10.50 for vinyl and $8.85 to $11.25 for aluminum.

INSTALLATION AND REPLACEMENT

Both are installed when a home is built, of course.

How often should you replace soffits and fascias?

A good time to replace them is when home’s siding is replaced or when the house is re-roofed.

Wood fascia often needs replacing before soffit due to wood rot. Even wrapped fascia can become stained from algae or mold. And the coating on aluminum fascia becomes chalky and fades after 10-15 years. So even if they are doing their job, you might want to replace them for improved curb appeal for your home.

DURABILITY

Soffit lasts longer because it is somewhat protected from the elements on the underside of the roof, while fascia takes the full brunt of weather and sun. Choose vinyl or aluminum material for the greatest longevity.

 Soffit and Fascia Maintenance

Wood soffit and bare wood fascia requires the most maintenance. Expect to paint bare wood fascia every 3-7 years depending on your climate. And that’s a hassle, requiring the removal of gutter and drain pipes or downspouts to do it properly. And if wood rot starts, fascia replacement is the best solution – replaced with vinyl or aluminum wrapped fascia.

Today, these materials are rarely used. Homeowners prefer vinyl and aluminum for their much lower maintenance requirements.

FAQs

What is the difference between soffit and fascia? 

They are separate but equally important roofing components, as explained above. You need both for the protection and health of your home’s structure.

Is soffit and fascia necessary?

Taking them one at a time:

Soffit – Some homes do not have overhanging roof rafters, so there is no gap to fill with soffit. However, those homes often suffer from attic air ventilation problems. If you are building a home or addition, using trusses that overhang the house, allowing for soffit ventilation, is highly recommended.

Fascia – Fascia on roof truss ends, called truss tails, is needed to cover the gaps whether the tails overhang or not. So yes, they are essential too.

Do I put on soffit of fascia first?

Fascia is installed first. Then the soffit is held in place by a lip on the back of the fascia board and a strip of wood attached to the home’s siding.

When do soffits need to be vented?

Always. Even if you have a cathedral or vaulted ceiling that uses scissor trusses, so there is no attic space, there will still be space between the ceiling of your home and the roof deck. It should be vented to prevent the issues discussed – mold, mildew, rot and failed roofing materials.

Further Reading:

Hip Roof Vs Gable Roof


REVIEWED AND FACT-CHECKED BY JAMIE SANDFORD

Jamie Sandford - Owner and Lead Editor at RenoCompareJamie Sandford is the Chief Editor at RenoCompare (find out more). Jamie has been involved in construction for over 30 years. Straight out of college, Jamie worked with construction crews for the television, film and theatre industries for over 12 years. In his thirties, he turned his attention to DIY decorating and construction, working on many house renovations and remodels. During this time he started to specialize in home flooring and in 2013 he launched the Home Flooring Pros website. Two years later he launched RenoCompare.

“I’ve seen interior design, remodeling, and construction from both sides of the street, contractors on one side and homeowners on the other. My aim is to close the gap between the professionals and the consumers and make it easier for both sides to work smoothly and effectively side by side. At RenoCompare we want to save you time and money by giving you the information you need as simply and as quickly as possible!”

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