For most sloped roof styles, roof soffit covers the overhang between the roof edge and the top of the exterior walls. There are a lot of benefits to these roofing components.
Soffits Create a Clean Look
Most sloped roofing systems have rafter tails that extend beyond the exterior walls. While there are certain home styles that feature exposed rafter tails, such as Craftsman-style homes, most require soffits for a clean look. Soffits typically match the trim colors, but other colors can be used depending on the exterior color palette.
Traditional soffits are made from wood boards, but you can choose from other options, such as vinyl, aluminum and fiber cement. When choosing material for new soffits, keep in mind that they are exposed to the same conditions as your siding and roofing. A typical roofer would install a soffit that matches your existing siding. Many of today’s soffits feature built-in slots or vents that allow efficient ventilation.
Soffits Protect the Attic
The overhang between the roof edge and exterior wall shouldn’t be left open as it leaves the attic open to infiltration by dust, debris and small animals as well as damage caused by wind uplift. During extreme conditions, an open overhang can give wind enough hold to separate the roof from the rest of the house. Soffits help prevent such problems from happening.
Soffits Allow Roof Ventilation
Roof ventilation helps prevent damage to the roof support system caused by trapped heat and moisture in the attic. Since heat tends to rise, exhaust vents located at the ridges release hot and moist air. The resulting negative pressure pulls cool air through vents in the soffits. Soffit vents need to be matched with the exhaust vents. Soffit vents that are too wide will let heat dissipate in other directions; vents that are too narrow wouldn’t let enough fresh air into the attic.