I’ve been rounding up bids for a new roof this summer and I’ve had two contractors suggest replacing the soffit on my house, too. Is this important- or are they trying to upsell me on something that’s more like trim-work?
Jon H., Taylorville, PA
Hey Jon, that’s a great question!
I understand the worry of spending extra money on something that might not be necessary. You don’t want to spend more on your soffit if it’s not an immediate need.
In order to know if your soffit is in need of replacement, you first need to know what soffit is. If you don’t know what it is, don’t worry! Most homeowners don’t even know they have soffits. It’s not discussed frequently, but it’s a crucial part of your roof.
The soffit is the underbelly of your roof. If you walk under the overhang of your roof and look up, you’ll see it. This protective layer shields your home from outside dangers.
Does your soffit need replaced? Here are a few things to check. If you see:
- Chipped and flaking paint
- Rot and holes eating through the soffit
- Increase in utility bills
Then it might be time for new soffit.
Now…I know what you’re thinking:
“I’m already replacing my roof. Can I wait on soffit?”
Before you skip it, here’s some more information on how it protects your home.
Ventilation and soffit go hand in hand. If your soffit isn’t working, your attic ventilation isn’t either.
Why is ventilation important?
Poor ventilation creates a list of problems. In winter it creates ice dams and causes damage to your new roof. In summer, the same problem can cause your attic to overheat and damage your shingles.
Soffit also protects the roof void (the space between your roof and the ceiling joists) from moisture and pests.
Jon, you’re replacing your roof to protect your home from water. And soffit? It’s an important part of that armor. Irreparable damage can happen after just 24 hours of standing water. You don’t want to spend money on a new roof for it to be ruined within a day.
Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal (And Capitalize on Your Roof Investment)
You asked if soffit is similar to trim-work, and in a way, it is. Like trim you can choose a style that updates or compliments your home’s exterior.
Let’s imagine your living room didn’t have trim. Would it change the function of it? Probably not. But the edges of your floors would wear faster, and it’d leave potential gaps for pests.
Plus, on the subject of looks, guests would notice! Even basic trim adds to the quality of a house.
Soffit works the same way. It’s probably not something you’ve noticed unless you’ve looked for it, but your house wouldn’t look the same without it. If you didn’t have it installed, you’d be looking into the rafters of your roof’s overhang.
You don’t need to be a designer to choose a great look for your home. Most people simply match their windows and roof, like this house:
But it’s also not unheard of to go for a bright color. These homeowners choose a red soffit to match their roof:
Wood and vinyl are the most common materials but not the only options.
Take this house for example:
These homeowners choose cedar soffits to match the cedar siding on their home. You don’t have to spend a fortune on it, but of course, there are plenty of upscale options for homeowners who want something special.
New Soffit for a New Roof
You’ve identified the need for a new roof, and you’re not wasting time when it comes to replacing it. You should treat your soffit the same way.
You mentioned worrying about spending money on something that’s not crucial to your roof. Do you need soffit? Absolutely. Do you need new soffit right now? That’s a choice I’ll leave to you. Now that you know a little more about what it does, I hope you feel more equipped to make the best decision for your home.
Until then- thanks for your question! If you need anything else, let me know.
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