There’s a good chance that your home – whether or not you’re aware of it – has got soffits installed. What is a soffit? You may well ask. Walk outside your door and look up – the material that connects the side of your house and the roof overhang is the soffit.
The soffit often looks just like plain planks or board that doesn’t really seem to be doing much to improve the home functionally. It certainly doesn’t appear to be an important part of the home’s structure. In fact, its main function appears to be largely aesthetic – possibly just to make the roof look prettier, or to cover up a bit of unsightly construction. Well, just so you know, soffits do serve an aesthetic purpose but, more importantly, your soffits can also determine the performance of your entire roof assembly. In this post, we discuss the importance of the soffit itself and why you should be really concerned about it sustaining any sort of damage.
The Role of Soffits
The soffit is basically the skin that covers the eaves, keeping the rafter beams from being exposed. That’s the aesthetic function. You can always choose a style and color of soffit that will complement the look of your home.
Meanwhile, functionally speaking, soffits protect the rafters from the elements of the weather. Your rafters absolutely need to be covered to prevent any damage arising from mold buildup and rot that moisture can bring. Soffits also provide the attic with adequate ventilation.
Why Should You Have Damaged Soffits Repaired Immediately?
Installing soffits is generally the easiest way to protect your roof frame and to provide your attic with sufficient ventilation. Leaving your soffits in poor condition compromises your roof’s aesthetics as well as its integrity.
Soffits and Your Attic
Proper ventilation is needed to reduce heat build-up during the warmer and more humid days of the year. The soffit helps in drawing heat and moisture away from the attic and the house. If this process is hindered due to damage in the soffits or by poor maintenance, moisture can develop in the attic, causing rot in the sheathing and rafters.
Ice dams can also form in your eaves during winter as a result of inadequate attic ventilation – and we all know how detrimental ice dams can be to your roof.
Small Damages Can Lead to Bigger Ones
Aside from rot and weather-related damage, birds, bees, squirrels, and rodents – along with other destructive animals and pests – are likely to cause problems in your home’s soffits. Worse, they can continue to chew or peck through the material, especially since they tend to be attracted to water-damaged soffits, which offer less resistance. Once these pests successfully find their way into your roof and home, they can nest and subsequently damage parts of your roof and house.
Soffits are easily damaged because they’re constantly exposed to the elements. In areas where high winds are common, rain can swirl up and under the eaves. The soffits work at keeping water from blowing into your home, but take quite a beating in the process – the soffits get hit with all that rainwater, remember. If a soffit is not maintained well, it can make for a great place for water to collect. Over time, it can succumb to rot and decay due to constant exposure to water and moisture.
Fortunately, soffits are quite easy to repair and replace. The process mainly involves removal of the shingle molding and fascia, and then the damaged soffit. Doing regular soffit maintenance and repair also offers an opportunity for you to have the interior parts of your roof and rafters checked, making sure that all surfaces and materials are free from problems.
When faced with soffit problems, it is best to consult a reputable roofer who can offer comprehensive inspection and repair services. A professional roofer will check what caused the damage – ice dams, improper flashing, faulty gutters, or torn shingles – and give you maintenance and prevention tips. Additionally, be prepared to call in an exterminator immediately if you notice insects or animals making their home your eaves.
About the Author
Carol Tedrick works at Tedrick’s Roofing, a family-owned and -operated company that offers a wide range of roofing replacement and repair services. She specializes in innovative roof improvement projects – and helps clients largely by providing them with practical ideas that will work best for their home’s roof. She also shares her wealth of knowledge through blogging. Check out her articles on http://www.tedricksroofing.com/blog.