Most people don’t consider a paint job all that dangerous, and inside the house you’d be right. But exterior painting is full of hazardous situations because of the height required. OSHA’s top-ten workplace safety issues always include “fall protection” at or near the top. “Fall protection” is government lingo for “scaffolding and ladders.” If you hire professional painters for any project, it should be for painting exterior trim, eaves, soffits, and fascia boards beneath gutters.
What are soffits and fascia boards, and what’s the difference?
Soffits and fascia boards are essential components of a building’s roofing system. They are typically located along the eaves of a roof, where the roofline meets the walls of the building. (The eaves are just the “overhang” space that extends slightly beyond your home’s exterior walls).
A soffit is the underside of the eaves or overhangs of a roof. It is usually made of wood, vinyl, or aluminum and is designed to protect the roof rafters from weather damage. Soffits can also help ventilate the roof space, allowing air to circulate and prevent moisture buildup.
On the other hand, Fascia boards are long, straight boards that run along the roof’s lower edge. They are usually made of wood, aluminum, or PVC and are attached to the roof trusses or rafters. Fascia boards are primarily designed to protect the roof and the interior of the building from water damage by directing rainwater away from the roof and into the gutters.
Soffits and fascia boards help protect the building from moisture and weather damage. They also play a role in the overall aesthetic of the building, providing a finished look to the roofline. Proper maintenance and repair of these components is vital for the longevity and integrity of the roofing system.
Exterior paint damage to soffits and eaves exposes bare wood, which leads to rot and roof damage
The most common causes of damage to eaves and soffits aren’t surprising:
- Weathering: Exposure to extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, snow, and wind can cause damage to eaves and soffits. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can also lead to the deterioration of the materials used in these components.
- Insects and pests: Insects such as termites, carpenter ants, and bees can cause damage to eaves and soffits by burrowing into the wood and creating tunnels. Birds and rodents can also cause damage by nesting in the area and warping the frames. They can also cause a health hazard to humans and pets.
- Water damage: Water damage can occur when poor drainage or gutters become clogged, causing water to accumulate and seep into the eaves and soffits. This can lead to rot and decay. We don’t have the problem of ice damage here in the East Bay around Walnut Creek, Orinda, and nearby, but cold-weather climates can get damaged faster by freezing ice dams.
- Improper installation: Incorrect installation of eaves and soffits can cause damage over time. Poorly secured or poorly fitted components can become loose and start to sag or detach. Using too much caulk, the wrong (i.e., non-paintable caulk), and too many nail holes can cause damage along the roof line, causing nail popping and peeling paint.
- Age: Over time, eaves and soffits can become worn and damaged simply due to their age. Components made from wood, in particular, can begin to rot and deteriorate, requiring replacement.
Other issues can crop up, too, including cracks and degraded caulk around the soffit vents. Aluminum soffits can warp as the surrounding wood expands and contracts with temperatures and time. eEven moss and algae can damage exterior surfaces if not properly treated.
It’s easy for many people to think of “exterior paint jobs” as only the vinyl or wall surfaces, but paint fades on soffits and fascia trim just as much as everything else, even if you don’t notice it quite as easily. Together, damage to your soffits, fascia, and exterior trim can cause roof leaks and more extensive damage to your home’s walls and interior. They also negatively impact your home’s curb appeal.
How to tell if your eaves, soffits, or fascia boards beneath gutters need repair
Here are some signs that your soffits or eaves may be damaged:
- Visible cracks or rot: Check for any visible cracks, splits, or signs of rot on the soffits or eaves.
- Peeling paint or discoloration: If you notice peeling paint chips, loose paint, rust stains, or discoloration on the soffits or eaves, it may indicate water damage.
- Sagging or unevenness: If the soffits or eaves appear sagging or uneven, it may be a sign of structural damage.
- Animal or insect infestation: If you notice signs of animal or insect activity, such as holes or nesting materials, it may indicate damage to the soffits or eaves. Birds are usually the most obvious to notice, but ants and wood bees can be equally damaging.
- Gutter problems: If your gutters are clogged or overflowing, it can lead to water damage to the soffits and eaves. Keeping them clean helps.
- Moisture or mold: If you notice moisture or mold on the soffits or eaves, it can indicate water damage or poor ventilation. The presence of excess algae or moss on the north side of your home is usually an early indicator there.
If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have a professional inspect and repair the damage as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure your roof’s structural integrity.
Exterior painting can be done together or separately
Whether or not you’re interested in exterior house painting doesn’t matter to us. We can happily paint the eaves, fascia boards, and handle painting soffits in one paint job by themselves or paint them as part of a larger home exterior paint job. Most whole-house exterior paint jobs take about 2-3 days, depending on the weather.
Don’t mistake our tone for saying you’re not capable of painting exterior trim and eaves. We just know how dangerous it can be, especially in tight quarters, on windy days, or on your first time. We’re much more concerned with helping people get a fresh coat of paint without endangering themselves. Why? Because:
- We know how to position our ladders so they don’t reach too low or too high beyond the eaves.
- We have commercial-grade ladders designed to extend further with a more stable base than most people usually have tucked away in their garage.
- We have commercial-grade pressure washers and paint sprayers, so we ensure the entire surface is fully prepared.
- If we have to, we’ll help replace soffits or repair soffit boards that can be maintained.
- We don’t skip steps. We’ll use all the right tools, remove excess caulk, replace what needs replacing, and, if necessary, use a paint scraper to clear exterior walls and surfaces manually.
- We’ll protect bare wood by using the proper clear acrylic bonding primer.
- We’ll use drop cloths to protect your home and other decorative elements, shrubs, cars, etc., around your house. We know how hard it is to get spilled paint off concrete driveways, even with a commercial pressure washer.
- We won’t accidentally paint soffits with the wrong applicator or exterior paints or cover up pieces that need replaced before they eventually rot.
- You’ll get two coats of paint on designed to work in the unique environment under your eaves, gutters, and roof line.
- We’re insured and bonded to protect ourselves, you, and your property.
Get your paint job scheduled to repair trim, damaged eaves, soffits, and fascia boards
Whether it’s a whole-house exterior paint job or just painting exterior trim, we’re ready to help. We can paint soffits, repair and restore bare wood, replace fascia boards, and give it all fresh paint to liven up the look of your home.
Before you start or consider painting soffits and eaves, consider getting a quote first just to see how much effort and time you’re saving yourself. Once you see how much prep work we do that most people won’t or don’t know how to do, you’ll agree it was worth your time for a call. Plus, your safety is a huge benefit.
Contact Woodiwiss Painting for a free quote here in the East Bay area, including Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Danville, Orinda, and Alamo, California.