What Is Soffit and Why Is It Important to a House?
Soffit serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose for a building's roofing system. It's the skin that covers your eaves - without it, you would see your rafter beams fully exposed. Cover it up with soffit, in the style and color that you like, and you add some instant and easy character to your building.
Functionally speaking, soffit protects your rafters from the weather elements. If your rafters are exposed in any areas, you'll likely have mold buildup and rotting beams to replace - which definitely won't make for a fun (or cheap) Spring. Plus, mold in a home is never healthy.
Also, soffit helps your building breathe. With vented soffit, air can flow through the vents to provide regular air circulation to your attic. Air flow is tremendously important for your entire home. If you have lanced style vents (like the vented soffit we offer our customers) you can achieve proper air flow while limiting the moisture that can enter through the vents.
Which Type of Soffit Should I Buy?
- A malleable material, good for fitting into varied spaces.
- Highly durable. Will not rot, chip or crack.
- Non-combustible, in case of fire.
- Easy to keep clean, does not attract dirt.
- Water-resistant. Ideal for wet regions.
- Tends to be more expensive than vinyl. If you're covering a large area, the aluminum cost will add up.
- Can dent if enough force is applied.
- Does not insulate as well as vinyl.
- Tends to be the most affordable option.
- Best material for insulating your home.
- Often available in different textures and grains. More customization over the look you want.
- Will not rot. Pretty resilient against cracking and chipping.
- Water resistant. Excellent for high moisture areas.
- Easy to clean.
- More easily affected by heat. Can discolor more quickly over time.
- Can become brittle if exposed to regular sunlight.
- Can develop mold in damp climates.
- Not as malleable as aluminum; more difficult to cut, bend and install into varied spaces.
- Some feel vinyl is a cheaper looking product.
And what about the other materials?
People who opt for soffit in materials other than aluminum or vinyl typically make their decision based on aesthetics. Why?
Wood is more expensive and will ultimately rot over time. However, it looks natural and timeless. It adds tremendous warmth. If you choose to install wood soffit, just be prepared for the time and money to replace the panels over time. Plus, don't forget to install vents for air circulation!
Steel will be much more durable than any of the alternatives, including aluminum. Some suppliers also carry steel soffit in a variety of colors. Steel will just run about 25-40% higher in cost than aluminum - but overall, steel could be a great option for your soffit.
Fiber cement is less common and among the pricier options in soffit, but there are suppliers that carry panels in varied wood grain textures, vents and colors.