What is Fascia on a House & How Does it Affect My Gutters?

Example of house with rakes and fascia along the rakes

Have you ever had a conversation with a contractor, and they start using words like fascia, soffits, rakes, and eaves, and all you can do is smile and nod? Secretly you’re thinking, “Face faucets? Peeves like Harry Potter? What the heck are you talking about?”

First off, you are not crazy. These are weird words. But we’re here to demystify them. Not only so you can smile and nod in understanding next time you talk to your contractor, but also so you know more about your home and how to take care of it.

What is Fascia on a House?

Example of fascia boards on a house

Fascia boards are long, typically wooden, boards that cover the edge of the roofline. They are perpendicular to the roof, and the shingles slightly hang over the boards. These boards are found on your home’s rakes and eaves. 

Eaves are the lower edges of your roof that run parallel to the ground. Rakes are the slanting edges of the roofline. 

The fascia is secured to your home’s rafters using an inner sub fascia board and an outer fascia board. If your home has gutters, the gutters will attach to the outer fascia boards on the eaves, the horizontal parts of the roofline.

As a side note, soffits are the “ceiling” boards of your roof overhang. These are the areas where your roof extends past your house. Ever stand under your porch or roof overhang during the rain to stay dry? That little ceiling above you is made up of pieces of soffit. Some soffit systems are entirely enclosed. However, others have small perforated holes and act as intake ventilation for your attic space.

What Is It Made Out of?

Fascia on a house being covered with aluminum

Fascia, similar to siding, can come in many different materials. Most fascia is wooden. However, you can also find aluminum, PVC, vinyl, or composite board fascia. Some homes with wooden fascia will also have an aluminum wrap or band covering the fascia to protect it from wood rot. 

When replacing fascia, we typically use either primed pine fascia board or PVC boards depending on the homeowner’s preference. 

What is the Purpose of Fascia on a House?

The main purpose of fascia is to keep water out of your home and attic space, acting as the seal along the roof edge. 

Fascia also acts as a protective barrier against pests like squirrels and birds that may want to nest in your attic space. 

Lastly, fascia acts as the board or wall to which gutters attach. 

Fascia Boards and Gutters

Gutters installed on fascia board

Fascia is a critical component of your home exterior. Nevertheless, it is easy to ignore and not think about since it doesn’t require maintenance and is mostly covered up by the gutters. 

In order to have secure, properly functioning gutters, there needs to be a secure & damage-free fascia board behind it. If the fascia is rotted and damaged, the gutters cannot securely fasten to the fascia. As a result, the gutter hangers or screws can come loose, and the gutter will fall off – sometimes tearing off the fascia or soffits with it. 

Fascia rot can also damage your roofing system. If your fascia begins to rot, it can no longer act as a seal that keeps water away from the shingles and roof edge. 

So how do you protect the fascia, and how to you know if it needs replacing?

Care & Replacement

Fascia rot and peeling paint

There are a few key ways to ensure that your fascia lasts as long as possible and protects your home from water intrusion.

  1. Keep your gutters clean
  2. Have drip edge installed on the rakes and eaves
  3. Hire a roofing contractor to inspect your attic ventilation system to prevent winter ice dams
  4. Have your fascia wrapped with aluminum
  5. Hire a gutter contractor to periodically perform maintenance on your gutter system
  6. Don’t wait too long to replace your gutters if they are past their “Best By” date
  7. Make sure your gutter contractor uses speed screw hangers for the gutter installation
  8. Have your fascia inspected and replaced as needed whenever you do wood rot repairs, or at the 20 year mark
  9. When you replace fascia, consider replacing it with fiber cement boards

Signs your fascia needs some TLC

  1. You often see pests in your gutters or running along the roofline
  2. Other parts of your home have wood rot
  3. Your home is 20+ years old
  4. There is peeling paint on the fascia

Fascia is the outer seal that keeps your home watertight, so don’t ignore it. Keep an eye on it, and have it checked whenever you have other home projects done including gutters, roofing, and siding. Ultimately, a properly functioning and installed roofing and gutter system should guarantee your fascia to last for many years to come. 

Questions? Let us know in the comments!

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