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We Answer Your Questions About Soffits, Fascia, and Flashing

Soffits, Fascia, and Flashing

So many of our clients ask us at Hamblet's Roofing and Windows about soffits and fascia. We also receive questions about flashings and roof shingles. We will answer some of these questions for you to better understand how your roof system works. Soffits, fascia, and flashing are terms used by builders and roof installation specialists. You may look at these sections of your roof many times a day without knowing what they are!

1. Why do soffits and fascia need venting?

The soffits under the eaves of the roof need venting to keep air flowing beneath the roof. Moisture will build up without proper ventilation leading to mould and the fungus that rots wood. Good air flow is necessary under all parts of the roof including your attic space to prevent the buildup of condensation that can eventually cause many problems.

The soffits are located under the fascia board. The fascia is the horizontal band of wood against the walls of a home that extends to the front of the roof's overhang. The fascia board with the attached vented soffits also protect the area under the rafters from debris, insects, and rodents that might nest beneath the eaves. Your eavestrough or rain gutters are usually connected to the fascia.

Since the soffits are actually located on the underside of the roof, they are not noticeable. Dormer roofs may also have a fascia and soffits under their separate eaves. These soffits should also be vented to protect these extra roof sections.

Both soffits and fascia can be made of wood, aluminum or vinyl. Many homes with vinyl siding use vinyl soffits. We recommend solid aluminum for soffits and fascia. This improves water runoff for your eavestrough system and the best ventilation for your roof.

The entire eavestrough system, including the soffits, should be cleaned twice a year to keep the system free of dirt, leaves, and other debris. This allows the free flow of rainwater.

2. What is flashing?

Flashing is the metal strip on the roof usually in the valley or "V" of a peaked roof. This strip keeps water moving down the roof and into the eavestroughs and drainpipes or decorative rain chains. The valleys are the lowest part of a roof where sections come together. The flashing protects the area during heavy rain and snow melt. It is in the part of the roof where water tends to collect and can damage shingles without an adequate runoff channel.

Flashing may also be placed around the intersections of dormer walls, another sloping seam area on the roof where good runoff is required. This material is also found around the base of a chimney or the perimeter of a skylight. Flashing is used wherever there is a protrusion in the roof.

The strips can be galvanized steel, copper, aluminum or even polyvinyl chloride products. Metal strips should be rust-resistant since the purpose of the flashing is to carry water.

3. How many nails are supposed to be used in each shingle or roof tile?

Four nails are used for each architectural, laminate and three-tab shingle under normal conditions.  Some manufacturer’s offer an upgraded wind warranty that is only valid if 6 nails per shingle are used.  Although we at Hamblet’s generally install every shingle regardless of manufacture or warranty with 6 nails per shingle, we also recommend the Landmark shingle by Certainteed that does not require the additional 2 nails to achieve the 130-mph wind warranty (that’s over 206-km/hr!). Considering all shingles are wind-rated for 15 years or less, and that with each passing year we are faced with more and more severe weather-related events, we believe the heaviest shingle with greatest bonding ability to be obvious choice.

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