Fascia and soffit are considered an essential part of the construction of a building, but what is fascia, and what is a soffit board? Roofing Superstore has a large number of fascia, soffit and cladding products available at our famously competitive prices, so have put together a short guide to the differences between fascia and soffit, how to fit fascia boards, how to fit hollow soffit board and the alternative option of cladding boards.

Table of contents:

What is fascia?

Fascia, or fascia boards, are horizontal boards that run around the edge of the roof of a building. Fascia boards overhang the walls of the building and close the gap between the walls and the roof. The Fascia helps to prevent water and animal ingress into the roof and loft space, as well as creating a more aesthetically pleasing appearance, compared to open or rough ends of roof rafters.

Guttering is attached to the fascia of a building, so the fascia provides an even and stable surface to be fixed onto, and must be sturdy to withstand the weight of heavy rainfall.

What is a bargeboard?

The bargeboard is the part of the fascia that runs up the gable ends of a roof. The bargeboard is key in creating a complete finished look to your home, so the bargeboard can either be identical to the rest of the fascia, to create a uniform, sleek look, or the bargeboard can be different to the rest of the fascia to create a feature.

Different types of fascia

Fascia can be made from a wide range of materials, but the most common materials used to manufacture fascia are wood and uPVC.

Wooden fascia

Wooden fascia boards are generally most common, due to the traditional use of wood in the building, but also due to the affordability of wood compared with other products. However, wooden fascia must be primed before use, as wood is not water-resistant so will rot over time if left unprotected. Additionally, the wooden fascia will require repainting, over time, to replace peeling paintwork.

uPVC fascia

uPVC fascia is becoming increasingly popular as technology and manufacturing methods improve – there are so many different styles, shapes and colours of fascia board that can be created, meaning that there is no need to compromise on achieving the vision of your finished home or building. Additionally, uPVC is a durable material that, unlike wood, will not experience rotting or warping over time, and is essentially maintenance-free.

What is a soffit?

Soffit, or soffit boards, are similar to fascia, but instead of running parallel to the walls of the building, they are installed at a 90-degree angle to the walls. Soffit boards are fitted underneath the fascia boards, to fill the gap between the fascia and the wall.

Additionally, soffit boards help to create a clean finish on the building, hiding unsightly rafter ends, and blocking the gap between the roof and wall. This will also help to provide ventilation whilst preventing creatures or water from entering the roof space.

Different types of soffit board

Soffit boards come as plain, all-purpose soffit boards, or vented soffit boards. The vented soffit boards minimise the risk of trapped moisture and damp air from getting into your roof space. Soffit boards can also be solid, or hollow. Hollow soffit boards are often chosen as they are lighter and easy to install, and have a tongue and groove profile that you can use to line up during installation to ensure the soffit is straight.

What is a soffit vent?

A soffit vent is a vent that fits onto the soffit board of a building. A soffit vent helps increase ventilation into and out of the roof or attic space, drawing fresh air into the roof space whilst allowing warm, moist air out of the roof space. This means that the risk of condensation building up is greatly reduced, minimising the potential for damp, mould and rot to occur.

An alternative to using soffit vents is to use vented soffit boards, which are soffit boards that contain a vent.

How far apart should soffit vents be?

The general rule regarding the spacing of soffit vents is that there should be a square foot of ventilation for every 150 square feet of attic space. This means for example that if your attic is 300ft square, and each vent is 0.5ft square, you’ll need 4 vents. These soffit vents should be evenly spaced out throughout the roof within the soffit boards.

How to fit soffits and fascias

Below, you can read an outline of how to fit soffit boards and how to fit fascia boards. The same method can be used to outline the steps involved in replacing fascia boards too.

Roof preparation

Before starting to fit fascia and soffit, there are a number of steps that need to be undertaken.

Step one: Remove the bottom row or two of tiles on the roof, as well as removing any old fascias, soffits, bargeboards and guttering. This will help to prevent any moisture that is there already from rotting the supporting timber.

Step two: Inspect the rafter felt – any damaged pieces of felt must be replaced with felt or eaves protector.

Step three: Adequate support needs to be created at the wall to support the soffit. This can be a noggin that is extended from the wall, adding hangars to the rafter boards, or using roof rafters as support.

How to fit soffits

Step one: Measure the width of space under the eaves – from the wall to the outer eave board. Typically, the overhang will be 12 inches, but this may vary from building to building so should always be measured.

Step two: Cut the soffit board to the correct length and width, and nail the soffit board to the timber using plastic capped nails or pins – generally, 25-40mm pins are most suitable for soffits. Ensure the soffit is at 90 degrees to the wall, using plenty of nails to prevent any rattling from occurring during high winds.

Step three: Ensure there is a gap between each soffit board that can house a soffit joint trim, which creates a smooth finish, and a gap of around 8-10mm to allow for expansion. Failure to do this could result in warping and cracks or splits occurring.

Step four: Then install any joint trims and end caps to create a smooth and consistent finish.

A number of people have issues with birds getting into their soffits and making nests. If you’re unsure of how to stop birds nesting in the soffit, we’d recommend ensuring all holes that could provide access points for birds are covered up, and all end caps are secure.

How to fit fascia boards

Fitting fascia boards follow the same steps, whether you’re looking for how to fit uPVC fascia boards, wooden fascia boards or fascia boards manufactured from another material. The only difference may be the fixings you use to secure the fascia boards.

Step one: Sit the fascia board level with the front of the soffit board, and fix it onto the rafters with stainless steel nails. Each rafter should have two evenly spaced nails on to hold the fascia into place.

Step two: Ensure the fascia isn’t too wide that it blocks any windows from opening, and ensure that the fascia is very secure – it will be supporting the weight of the roof tiles and guttering.

Step three: Box ends can easily be covered with a single piece of fascia, and fascia corners and trims can be used to create a clean finish.

How to fit eaves vent strips

After fitting fascia boards, you’ll need to install eaves vent strips in one step.

Step one: Install an eaves vent strip on top of the fascia board, with nails. These strips allow air to pass through for ventilation purposes, whilst preventing any other ingress of water, or living creatures to enter the roof space.

An alternative would be to use eaves felt trays, which fit under the roofing felt, and overlap into the guttering. These will ensure any water drains away into the guttering instead of into the roof space.

Fascia capping boards

The cost to replace fascia and soffit can often be offputting, so your home may have damaged fascia and soffit. The alternative to fitting new fascia boards is to use capping boards. Capping boards fit over existing timber fascia to create a new look, or add extra weather protection, without having to remove and replace the old fascia, which saves on labour costs and time, as well as the price of the products, making it cheaper than a fascia board replacement cost.

Capping boards are most commonly manufactured from uPVC and can be easily fitted to the existing fascia using plastic capped nails. However, it is crucial to check that the existing fascia is free from rot or degradation before fitting the fascia capping boards, and any poor quality or rotting timber is replaced.

How to fit fascia capping boards

To fit fascia capping boards you will need to do the following steps:

Step one: Remove all guttering and drainage pipes.

Step two: Inspect all current fascia and timber. Any rotten or degraded timber must be removed – the timber will be holding the weight of guttering, eaves tiles and capping boards, so must be sturdy.

If any of the fascia boards or timber are rotten, replace them or use a product such as marine plywood to create a backing.

Step three: Capping boards can be fixed to the timber using plastic capped nails.

Step four: Once the capping boards have been fitted, you can reinstall the guttering. Don’t forget to add new eaves felt to protect roof eaves from rotting. If desired, fitting new guttering at the same time as fitting fascia capping boards is one way to minimise the fascia, soffit and guttering replacement cost.

For any questions on fascia, soffit or capping boards, call our team on 01752 692 760 or use the live chat and they will be more than happy to help.

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