The Importance of Soffit and Roof Ventilation

Proper Soffit Ventilation

As mentioned in our previous article regarding soffit replacement, it your soffits are damaged or if there is condensation in your roof the best option is always to fix the problem and replace the soffits.  However; it is possible that during one of your annual inspections you notice that no damage to your soffits or roof is present, but that your attic is constantly humid. In this case, soffit vents can be installed underneath the eaves of a roof for the purpose of ventilating your attic and roof.  Soffit vents reduce energy used on air conditioning as well as heating and more importantly extend the lifespan of your roof, soffits, and fascia.

two soffit vents installed on the exterior of a home

Whether you live in a warm climate or a cold climate, proper roof and soffit ventilation plays a critical role in extending the lifespan of your roofing system.  Improper maintenance and care of soffits can prove a costly fix as it can damage the fascia, roof, and structural components of your home. Your local siding contractor can easily explain why proper attic ventilation is important, but in call cases it serves two main functions.

  1.      Allows fresh air to enter the attic at the soffited areas of the roof
  2.      Exhausts most air from the attic

Regardless of the climate, removing moist air and allowing the stagnant air in your attic to be replaced with fresh air is critical for a proper roofing system to function.

Benefits of proper soffit ventilation include:

  •        Reduce or eliminate damaging moisture from the structural components of your homes roof.  Excessive moisture can build up in stagnant air, potentially damaging the structure of your home and degrading both the roofing system as well as the soffits and fascia boards.
  •        Reduce energy costs associated with heating and cooling.  By eliminating heat and humidity buildup in an attic reduces the cost of a home to cool down the area closest to your roof.
  •        Prevents shingle damage including curling, cupping, and delamination.  Increased heat in an attic can cause shingles to prematurely age and lift off of the roof. Excessive heat or moisture in an attic can actually void many asphalt shingle warranties.

To properly maintain both your roofing system as well as your homes soffits and fascia boards proper ventilation is critical.  This ventilation creates a balanced system where the air is circulated and cooled eliminating many risks associated with hot and humid attics.  If your home is lacking intake or recirculation capabilities vents may need to be added to your soffits. Intake ventilation is critical to guarantee the air recirculates and your home stays healthy.

 

Identifying Problems with Soffits and Fascia

Identifying Problems with Soffits and Fascia

Soffits are an essential cog in your home which contributes both to the physical appearance of your home as well as how your home ventilates the roof.  Neglecting either part of your soffits can result in a diminished home exterior as well as problems in your roof including mold, dampness, and rot. Soffit material is commonly made of wood, metal, or more recently outdoor durable vinyl. Regardless of the material type, the soffits occupy a rather inconspicuous area on your home, underneath the roof eaves, or the horizontal area under your gutters.

Soffit, Fascia, and gutter identifier cheat sheet

Effects of Neglected Soffits

Degradation of soffit material, commonly seen in wooden soffits is caused by water not being properly wicked away from your home causing the water to drip from the roof and collect in the eaves and on the soffit boards. Every homeowner should inspect their soffits, fascia, and gutters every year in the spring or summer months because degradation of the soffit boards can cause greater damage to the roof.

Annual Soffit Inspection

In most cases, a visual inspection will be an adequate indicator to tell you whether or not you may have problems. Inspection of soffits should include identifying areas of peeling paint, water marks, rotten section, holes, water stains, warped boards, and discolored areas.  If any of these symptoms are observed, it is not enough to just paint over the defective area or cutout the impacted section. By covering or removing the defective area without identifying and fixing the cause only assures that the problem will continue to manifest itself in your homes soffits, fascia, and roof.

If defects are observed in your homes soffits, they need to e removed and the remaining area needs to be examined. Examination of the rafter boards, fascia boards, 2 by 4’s, and attic space is critical to understand what has caused the soffit defect. In most cases soffit damage is caused by water infiltrating the soffits along the drip edge or by the lack of ventilation in the attic causing humid air to cultivate mold growth.

Close inspection and soffit removal or replacement requires a close up inspection of both the fascia and under the soffit eaves. If your home is a single story it may be able to inspect them on your own, if it is a two-story it may be best to contact a local professional to eliminate the risks associated with scaling and inspecting your home. Contact your local window and siding contractor to tackle the job if you are not confident with either the inspection or scaling the sides of your home.

Soffit Damage Identification

Rotten, damaged, or otherwise defect boards should be replaced after the cause of the defect is identified and solved.  Because soffits damage is likely due to another roofing deficiency, the first step is to locate the source of the roofing defect and to fix it.  In most cases, a local roofing and siding contractor can identify deficiencies by inspecting the attic and soffits on a rainy day. From the attic, inspectors will check the underside of the roof and identifying where the water is dripping from.  Mark the area causing the soffit and roofing defects so you can collect multiple quotes on fixing the impacted roofing area as well as the defective soffits.

After all of the roofing repairs have been completed, the soffits can then be replaced. Examine all the soffit boards, and framing material on both the exterior of the home as well as from the attic space. Both the soffits, fascia, and roofing material need to be structurally sound and properly ventilated. If all of the soffits are in poor shape from either the exterior of your home or from the roof, it would be a good idea to replace the soffits and fascia boards as well. Make sure that you schedule the replacement to take place while the existing soffits and fascia are dry before attempting repairs or replacement.

Soffit Replacement

Before the soffits can be replaced or repaired, the fascia boards need to be removed. For this reason, many homeowners replace the soffits, fascia, and gutters in the job. To remove the fascia board, the gutters need to be removed.  These are commonly held in place by nails which are secured to the roof underneath the final layer of shingles. Once the gutters are removed, the fascia boards can be removed. Replace the damaged fascia board with a new one, which can easily be cut to the same dimensions as the old and painted with outdoor durable paint. Nail the new fascia board in place.  With the fascia boards replaced and secured, the soffits can now be replaced.

In many instances soffits are made of thing material grooved together and nailed to the roofing outlooks.  Remove all of the damaged soffit material. New soffit material can easily be cut to the same dimensions as the old and painted with outdoor durable paint.  Secure the soffits to the fascia and roofing outlook.

Perform a final soffit inspection after the new installation is complete.

Installation Costs of Siding Part 2

Vinyl siding is the most popular way to protect your home from the elements.  Metal or aluminum siding is by far the easiest and cheapest siding that is available on the market. Whether you choose aluminum or vinyl, the choice is clear, you want to protect your home from harm. Both aluminum and vinyl can and will do this.

Tan vinyl siding with a textured apperance

Insulated Vinyl Siding Installed Horizontally

Red aluminum siding installed on a barn side.

Aluminum Siding Installed Vertically

Vinyl Siding Comparison

Wood Siding

Wood siding offers a classic and natural look to your house. The reclaimed and harvested woods are environmentally friendly as well.  Within the past ten or so years the environmental impact is something younger homeowners are considering more heavily.  Wood siding is natural and very easy to dispose of as well.  The main drawback of a natural wood finish is the high upkeep and maintenance cost having it look good.  Wood siding, has the highest maintenance cost, and often require the homeowners to stain or refinish it every other year.

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood, attempts to mimic the physical appearance of normal wood siding, but provide additional protection against degradation and loss of color. It offers a very durable and very similar appearance as opposed to regular wood siding, but costs roughly 30%-40% more. The added cost is a turnoff for most homeowners, but trust me, it’s worth every penny.

Aluminum Siding

The main advantage of using aluminium siding that it can be fitted in any irregular and unusual shapes and opening while vinyl has the limitation in this part. Also, aluminium can be painted but it is observed that the paint is being peeled off by itself. The cost of aluminum is relatively cheap, but the maintenance and replacement costs are slightly higher.

Fiber Cement

This material is so designed to survive against flames and hurricane forces. But this is the only advantage available with this material. While requires a high maintenance, fiber cement costs 1.5 times of the vinyl sidings and it cracks very easily.

Pros & Cons Of Vinyl Siding And Other Options

Before taking any concrete decision about the perfect material for your siding, here are some of the pros and cons of the vinyl siding.

Pros Of Vinyl Siding

Easy installation: Vinyl sidings are very easy to install. Only a little skill required for a DIY. Alternatively, you can hire a professional.

Durability in colour: The incorporation of modern techniques ensures even the darker colours offering fade resistance. It does not show any chip or cracks in the material colours.

The cost incurred: When choosing vinyl siding, you can avail the minimum cost for your sidings in comparison with any other materials. Also, vinyl offers approximately a 78% of recovery while selling the siding.

Cons Of Vinyl Siding

Water resistant vs. watertight: If your siding stand against the wind drove rain, there might be certain chance that the water stuck behind the siding and may cause mold and rot.

Can be fade due to UV ray or dirt: When the advantage is durability in colors, but still, the color can be faded due to the UV rays. Also, building dust and dirt can fade or crack the colour.

Bend and crack: In a temperature of extreme heat and cold, there is certain chance that a vinyl siding may bend or crack easily.

Vinyl Siding Conclusion

If you want to give your house a new ultra modern look, go for the vinyl sidings which will ensure a modern as well as the classy look of your house at the most cost effective way. And make sure that you speak with your local window contractor to help plan out the color scheme to match your soffits, fascia, and windows.  For more information on texture siding or vinyl shake siding click here.