The short answer to this question is, “Yes!” They are undoubtedly necessary because they help cap the edges of the rafters, hold gutters in place to help ensure proper water drainage, and more. Let’s look a little more deeply.
What is Fascia on a House?
Facia boards are located around the lower non-gable edges of your home’s roof. They are used to cover the ends of house eaves and the rafters that would be otherwise exposed between the roof and the soffits. An integral part of your home’s roof system, they provide an extra layer of protection against water draining off the roof. The goal here is to give your home a nice, clean look and provide better support for gutters, as well as prolonging the life of your roof and soffits.
Fascia Board Sizes
Fascias are typically made from 1-inch material, with the width being enough to cover the rafter width. Typically rafters will range from 2×6 to 2×8, although some are larger depending on the roof construction. Therefore, the more common fascia board sizes are 1×6 or 1×8.
In a nutshell, a fascia board serves the following purposes:
- It is the best means to secure and add a layer of stabilization for the gutter system.
- Closing off access to the underside of the roof, it protects against insects and critters like squirrels, birds, etc.
- It helps to block water from getting into the roof deck and entering the attic through the house eaves.
- A well-designed fascia board helps to add curb appeal since it covers all the rough ends of the rafters and provides a more aesthetic backing for the gutters.
What are popular fascia board materials?
Not sure what material you should choose? Options for fascia have come a long way over the years. While wood was once the primary standard option, that is no longer the case.
Even though wood fascia boards are still the most popular choice, wood can also require painting or staining to prevent it from having to be replaced prematurely. Still, wood often offers the most cost-effective solution. It’s very popular and makes good sense for homes with wood siding.
Maintenance can be greatly reduced by choosing Cedar or Redwood, as these both resist moisture retention and rot quite well, even when left unpainted. Some homeowners choose rough-sawn lumber for a more rustic appeal, while others prefer smooth lumber for a finer finish look.
Aluminum and Vinyl Fascia Covers
Wood is been an immensely popular material for decades. However, the installation of aluminum and vinyl fascia covers has grown in popularity in recent years.
Many newer homes have aluminum or vinyl siding, so it makes sense to choose a fascia material that matches, particularly since colors can be matched at the factory. Even so, the common process is to install wood fascia boards and then wrap them with vinyl or aluminum fascia covers. These are simply nailed into the wood and will never need paint. Six and eight inches are the most common widths.
The newer materials do have a few advantages, such as:
- They don’t require as much maintenance
- Enhances curb and visual appeal
- Offers better weather resistance
- Lasts considerably longer than wooden fascia
Composite Fascia Boards
Recycled wood chips and sawdust are bonded with epoxy resin to form composite fascia boards. Though they are more expensive and are not rot-resistant, they are popular to use along with composite wood decks. These fascias aren’t designed to be painted so you need to be careful to choose the right color for your home. The color is durable, and these boards still tend to last a pretty long time in hot and dry climates.
Fiber-cement fascia boards such as HardieTrim are warp and rot-resistant. They can come with a smooth finish or simulated wood grain and texture for a natural appeal. You can also order them unpainted or prefinished. If you are painting them yourself you’ll want to use 100% acrylic exterior paint for the best results, and don’t use oil-based paint or stain. These fascias are a good choice if you have fiber cement siding on your home.
PVC Fascia Board
These are often used on newer buildings or ones where wood fascia boards need to be replaced. Since it is a direct replacement for timber boards, you don’t need backing boards because it can be fixed to the rafter ends. Made to look like natural wood, PVC is extremely durable and rot-resistant, as well as being paintable.
These popular fascia replacements are available in different thicknesses, though the rule of thumb is to choose one that is of a similar size and type structurally. Please be aware that PVC expands and contracts more than wood, so it’s best to use construction glue on the joints. Likewise, it’s better to install PVC fascia using nails with heads rather than finish nails.
Fascia Board Replacement
Fascia board replacement is a normal part of roof maintenance for your home. Fortunately, installing a fascia replacement can be a fairly straightforward task.
It’s usually as simple as removing the old board and replacing it with a new one cut to length so the miter-joint with the next board lands in the middle of a rafter end. After you have installed the replacement fascia, all that is left to do is seal the joints and paint it.
Some builders prefer to install fascias with screws rather than nails, and the type of fascia material can be a determining factor. Screws will help prevent jarring the existing structure as opposed to hammering in nails. However, this isn’t as much of a concern if you are using a nail gun.
If you choose nails, be sure to use exterior nails–typically a galvanized 4d casing nail. Finishing nails are sometimes used because they have much smaller heads so that they can be countersunk into the board. You can drive finishing nails deeper into the wood and fill the holes with putty or caulk before painting. While this gives you a cleaner appearance, headed nails will fasten the material more securely.
What is Bargeboard?
Where the fascia board is the vertical board behind your guttering on the lower edges of your roof, the bargeboard is the board used on the gabled ends of your roof. Similar to the fascia, it also gives the appearance at the roofline a nicely finished look and additional strength. It’s important to the overall look of the home and its shape can be customized for a more attractive quality.
What is Box End Construction (or a Box End Board)?
Sometimes called a soffit box return or a soffit and fascia return, the box-end construction is located at the bottom of the bargeboard that joins to the end of the fascia board. This section is designed to give the corners of your roofline a tidy and professional-looking finish.
To build this section properly, you need a larger board referred to as a “box end board”. It must tie together all the various angles, planes, and heights of the roof elements coming together on the gable end of the house. Requiring precision in the design and installation, box-end construction enables the section on the bottom to be formed with just one piece of fascia, and there is no need for using infills or joints.
Other construction options for this important detail include the more classic details found in Cornice returns (or eave returns).
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