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4 min read

What Is Soffit?


4 min read

What Is Soffit?

RoofWhat Is Soffit?

Soffits are a key part of your house’s roof design. Found under the edge of the roof, it often comes in the form of a ventilated aluminum panel. Placed horizontally, it is supported by profiles secured in the building’s structure and covers the entire eave, between the fascia and the siding.

Whether it is made of wood, aluminum, or PVC, soffit enhances the appearance of your home while allowing for better ventilation. The panels are not installed lengthwise but are cut and laid side by side. The sides are made to fit together, making it convenient instead of using nails to secure them in place.

Prior to their creation, the underside of a house's roof was closed off with plywood or other sorts of panels, which prevented proper roof ventilation. Since then, soffits have revolutionized residential buildings, in due part to their multiple functions.

Purpose of Soffit

house soffit work_what is soffit?

Photo credit: Les Constructions Pinsonneault & Baillargeon inc.

Soffit allows three essential functions: ventilation, protection, and aesthetics. As you may have guessed, the decorative aspect is not his primary purpose. Its primary function is ventilation, as it allows air to circulate freely throughout the roof.

This function will prevent the temperature under the structure from increasing and will minimize damage to the roof shingles caused by heat build-up. A well-ventilated roof will prevent mould and mildew growth and the smell of stale air.

For optimal performance, soffit ventilation system should have an inlet and an outlet. Not to worry, the holes in soffit are designed so that insects cannot creep in and build nests.

This part double as a protective barrier, shielding the eave from harsh weather conditions. Installing it is a must in Quebec, especially during the wintertime, since it prevents the build-up of ice, which in turn, causes water seepage during the spring when everything thaws. For this reason, choosing a solid and rigid material will ensure that you are protected for years to come.

While primarily used for their functionality, soffits are also aesthetically valuable and serve to enhance the overall appearance of your home. Without it, a house has an unfinished look, which is why this finishing touch is so important.

In choosing, you may find that the holes all look the same, but rest assured, soffits are available in a variety of colours, which will allow you to choose the one that is best suited for your home.

How to Install Soffits?

Installing soffits is a fairly straightforward process, and will help to preserve your roof. You can always hire a professional to do the work, or you can do it yourself (as long as you are DIY-minded). The only problem you may encounter is working high up on the roof. So, if you want to know all about the installation, check out our article on how to install soffits, it ought to be of interest to you!

Cost of Installation 

The cost of having soffits installed by a professional can vary depending on the contractor's fees and the area to be covered. To give you a ballpark figure, we estimate the price of aluminum soffit and fascia installation to be around $8.50 to $14.50 per linear foot, based on a document from Amerispec Inspection Service. For more information on home renovation prices, check out our Home Renovation Price Guide.

home soffit_what is soffit?

Photo credit: Réno Magik

Soffit Maintenance

The good news is that soffits require little maintenance to prolong their durability. Cleaning them at least once a year is best to help ensure they remain effective and look their best.

Use a ladder to reach the underside of the soffit and spray the surface with a hose to obtain a damp surface that is easy to clean. As far as the type of cleaning product that should be used, you can easily purchase the right products at your local hardware store, but you can also make your own.* Protect plants, grass, and shrubs from the solution as they may be damaged in the process.

Using a gentle rag, sponge, or a standard scrub brush, gently clean the soffit's surface. Do not scrub too hard as this will result in glossy patches. Once cleaned, rinse with a hose and let dry. However, be careful not to spray water into the attic, as this might cause water damage to the roof's insulation, and solely the surface needs to be cleaned. For pesky stains, repeat the steps till clean.

For a DIY cleaner, mix 1/3 cup of household detergent, 1/3 cup of bleach (for clothes), and 1/3 cup of trisodium phosphate in 4 litres of water. When preparing this cleaning solution, it is imperative that you wear protective gloves and goggles. Keep the solution away from your skin and eyes.

Main photo credit: Façade à neuf Inc.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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