A fascia and a soffit are two completely different things but often referred to together so easily become confused.
After a builder installs a roof, there’s always an open gap between the rafters and the masonry walls. Generally, this gap doesn’t look very nice. And, it also allows rain and wind to enter the roof space along with any birds, wasps and other creatures that might want a dry nesting place. A fascia board tucks under the overhanging roof tiles and reaches down to the bottom of the rafter’s end profile. The board travels along the entire length of the roofline.
The soffit covers the underside opening between the fascia and the wall. Additionally, rainwater guttering needs somewhere to fix to and fascias are an ideal place for this.
So, in a nutshell, they close the gap between roof and walls, this protects the inside of the roof from water ingress, high winds and wildlife infestation. Oh, and they look prettier too.
You can make fascias and soffits from uPVC, or wood. Although, these days uPVC is much more common.
By the way, there’s one more related piece of roof that we almost forgot. Bargeboards fix to a gable wall, tuck under the overhanging roof tiles and run from gutter line to ridge. We don’t need to talk any more about these as they’re effectively diagonal fascias that follow the roof pitch.
Replacement Costs: Including Labour & Materials
So, how much does it cost to replace fascias and soffits?
On average, if you have a typical home, you should expect to pay about £100 per metre to fit new fascias, soffits and guttering. This calculates to about £1200 to £1500 for a semi-detached house and would take two professionals around 2 days to complete.
However, this doesn’t include removing the existing boards first. You’ll also need scaffolding to work from and this will cost from about £200 to £1000 depending on the amount you need. Generally, uPVC is cheaper to buy than wood and is easier to install. For a high–end building or renovation of listed buildings, it’s usual to use wooden boards to match the original. Also, we find that replacements in and around London cost about 20% more than work done elsewhere.
Soffit and Fascia Cost Estimations (with examples)
Roofers don’t only lay roof tiles, there are many jobs that a skilled roofer or a carpenter can do. These include replacing fascias, soffits and guttering.
Because roofers prefer uPVC more than wood, the table below contains uPVC fascia and soffit installation prices. If you want to use wooden boards you should get a custom estimate. Timber types vary and the prices are correspondingly higher to purchase and to install. Remember you’ll also have to regularly paint or varnish wooden boards after fitting them. Therefore, it’s well worth considering using uPVC wherever you can.
|Type of Property||Estimated Roofing Cost||Typical Duration|
|Terraced house||£100/metre||4 man-days|
|Semi-detached (front & back)||£1,200 to £1,500||4 man-days|
|Semi-detached (3 sides)||£1,800 to £2,000||5 man-days|
|Detached||£2,600 to £3,000+||7 man-days+|
|Cladding existing boards with uPVC||£50/metre||50% reduction|
What About Repair Costs?
Generally, uPVC fascia and soffits need no maintenance except for an occasional wash down after the winter. Wooden boards, however, need regular painting. And, if rot get’s a hold, you’ll have to get someone to cut out and replace the soft patches of wood not only in the fascia but probably in the rafters too. Rafters are a structural part of any roof, so it’s very important to cut out rot as soon as it appears and replace with sound wood.
Costs to repair problems of this sort will vary depending on how extensive the rot has become, and how much the roof has to be stripped back. So, most carpenters or roofers won’t give a quotation but will charge an hourly or daily rate for work like this. This is because they won’t know the full extent of the job until they remove fascias and tiles. Qualified professional carpenters cost between £20 and £25 per hour plus any materials and access platforms they need.
How can you spot damage?
Fascias aren’t usually close to the ground where you can check them every day. So, the first hint you’ll have is when you see paint flaking or cracking. If you ignore this, you’ll then notice chunks of fascia breaking off or you’ll see the boards start to warp. This is more obvious in fascias compared to soffits because fascias tend to be solid wood while soffits will often be plywood. You might experience wildlife visitors in your loft where they’ve managed to break in through holes and cracks. If you see any of these, you need a professional as soon as possible. In the meantime, try to prevent as much water from getting through as you can, by filling holes and painting temporarily.
Finishes: Colours & materials
To be honest, if you think about almost any colour for uPVC fascia and soffit boards, you can probably get it. However, a manufacturer will only produce the colours and textures that are in demand. So, in practice, there are about 8 different colours. Moreover, all the wood colours will have a grain texture while white and grey are smooth.
White is the most common colour closely followed by Golden Oak. The other colours are a matter of taste so it’s very difficult to specify which of them is more popular than any other. So, in no particular order, the other most common colours include:
- Irish Oak.
- White Ash.
- Black Ash.
Usually, choosing a non-white uPVC board will be difficult to match up with your existing doors and windows. Unless you’re building a new house, you’ll probably buy the uPVC doors, windows and fascias from different suppliers. Meaning that each brand’s colours will be unique to them. For example, Company X’s Irish Oak will probably be a different shade to Company Y’s Irish Oak. So it’s probably better if you choose something safe like ‘White’.
Apart from colour matching, uPVC has standard dimensions so brands are interchangeable. They are all easy to cut and install, and all use the same stainless steel fixing nails and screws.
Of course, if you don’t want to use uPVC you can always choose real wood or manufactured wood board. In which case, they’ll need regular repainting using the colour of your choice and eventually will need repairing when the wood rots.
UK Roofing Regulations & Planning Permissions
You don’t normally need Planning Permission when replacing or painting fascia and soffits. However, things are different if you live in a listed building or a designated area (conservation area, area of outstanding natural beauty or national park). You must then consult the local authority to see if there are any restrictions you should follow.
You don’t have to follow Building Regulations when repairing fascias either. But, if you replace the boards, you must allow for any ventilation to the roof space. Without vents, the roofspace will experience damp rot caused by condensation on the roofing timbers. If the existing roof already has ventilation, then make sure you maintain or exceed the amount of ventilation, by fitting new vents.
If you’re building a new extension don’t let the new fascia boards overhang the boundary to your neighbour’s property. Similarly, consider the Party Wall Act 1996 if your fascia joins onto your neighbour’s.
If you aren’t sure of the Building Regulations, Party Wall Act or Planning Permission, get in touch with your local council, who will advise you.
Fascias and Soffits Cost FAQ
Can you put new soffits over old?
Yes, you can. You can either cover existing soffits with wooden ones or with uPVC. However, you must always make sure you aren’t covering rotten wood and that the fixings go into sound timber.
When should I replace my soffits and fascias?
Look out for some tell-tale signs in your existing house fascias and soffits.
- Soft, spongey patches in the existing wood suggest that you have rotten wood.
- Flaking and cracked paint indicates that the boards are getting old and you aren’t keeping them maintained.
- See if there’s evidence of rodents, birds or insects making a home in your loft. They can get through the smallest of holes.
- If you have existing asbestos soffits, they will crack with age. You must hire a specialist contractor to remove them before you install new ones.
- If you see water or damp patches in the roof space, you know that something is leaking and needs attention. Check the fascias first.
- Check you have adequate ventilation to the roof space.
How thick should soffits be?
Whereas fascia boards are traditionally about 17mm to 25mm thick, soffits are about 12mm thick. They used to be made from plywood, solid timber or asbestos cement board. Nowadays, they are usually made from plywood or uPVC.
What causes soffit damage?
Usually, most damage occurs through exposure to sun and rain. These factors eventually crack the paint and allow the elements to damage the wood beneath. This causes wet or dry rot. Insects and rodents also cause damage by gnawing and burrowing which accelerates existing damage. Even uPVC soffits can become damaged by the continual expansion and contraction of warm and cold weather. However, uPVC won’t rot or deteriorate like timber.
How long do wooden fascias last?
That depends on the condition and type of timber used in the original installation and also how well you’ve looked after them over the years. Well installed and maintained wooden fascia can last for up to 20 or 30 years, before they start deteriorating. Although some might need replacing within 5 to 10 years.
Why do fascia boards rot?
Fascia boards are one of the most likely areas on a house to rot. This is because their location just at the roofline means they are continually being exposed to all kinds of weather. Eventually, cracked paint allows water into the underlying timber. This allows insects and rodents access to gnaw away at their natural food store. Once the cycle starts, it’s very difficult to stop and eventually you’ll end up replacing the deteriorating fascia boards
Find fascia and soffit installers near me
You’ll eventually find that you need replacement boards fitted on the roofline. If you need to find a team of fascia and soffit installers, complete the form at the top of this page. Very soon, you’ll receive 3 or 4 estimates from local installers who will be happy to work for you.