What is a Fascia Board?
The fascia board is the vertical board that is directly behind the gutter on your house. It is the board the gutter system mounts to. It is in a horizontal location near the eave where the water runs off. Sometimes the fascia board can be confused with the rake board which runs in a gable.
Is a Fascia Board the Same as a Soffit?
The fascia board is not the same as the soffit. The soffit mounted horizontally underneath the eave or the overhang. It closes off the bottom of the rafter tails whereas the fascia board covers the end of the rafter tail.
What is a Fascia Board Made Out Of?
a Fascia board is usually made out of wood. However, in some commercial applications it can be made out of steel or aluminum. In a residential setting, it is made out of wood and cladded with aluminum and vinyl siding application. Sometimes there will be a concrete plank that is applied.
Composite fascia boards are generally uncommon. Most of the time, they are going to be made out of wood. Vinyl fascia boards are a common misconception. Usually when someone refers to a vinyl fascia boards they are referring to vinyl siding. They are all usually made out of wood and the other materials are placed over top.
What Causes a Fascia Board to Rot?
Roof Installation and Architecture Problems
Fascia boards begin to rot primarily because the roof was installed incorrectly. It may also be because the roof is old, or because it has been damaged. If mold, mildew, or algae grows on your roof, it can attract sunlight and cause the overall temperature of your home and roof to increase. Over time, this destroys your shingles which can allow water inside your home and around your fascia boards depending on where the shingles were damaged. If this occurs, we recommend calling a professional who is equipped to eliminate organic material from your roof. We recommend Apex Exterior Washing in Charlotte, NC. We always partner with them on these types of projects and they are good about getting rid of the organic material that is destroying your roof or siding.
Poorly designed architectural design or damaged or misplaced shingles can allow water to flow against walls and run down causing damage.
Gutters mounted on the fascia board wrong can cause water damage for a few reasons. Gutter seams, corner miters, and end caps can allow water to pass through. If the gutter is clogged, water can overflow. If a gutter can’t contain the amount of water coming from a high volume area, water won’t be contained.
Gutters are designed so that when water overflows it goes off the front side. This is because the gutter is lower on the front. Even so, some water still ends up running down the front of the end of the gutter onto the fascia board.
Clogged Downspout or Underground Drain
Clogged downspouts will also cause the gutter to overflow resulting in water damage to the fascia board. Usually, the downspout is clogged with leaves and debris. Sticks and larger objects get stuck in the downspout which can cause smaller items to get clogged. Unexpected items such as tennis balls, golf balls, and other objects can get stuck in the gutter causing it to back up instantly.
Underground drains can also clog, especially if they were installed in a more level fashion not allowing the water to flow.
Does a Rotten Fascia Board Have to Be Replaced?
Rotten fascia boards have to be replaced. This is your first defense in making sure water doesn’t get to your overhangs and walls. It needs to be addressed so the water doesn’t get to the main foundation of your home.
Not Hard to Fix
The fascia board is a rather simple board to replace on a house. It is one of the last pieces of wood to go on the exterior of the house. The only thing you really have to move first is the gutter itself.
Someone with moderate education or minor construction experience could replace it on their own. Tools they would need would include a tape measure, pencil, skill saw, and a square. Fascia boards are usually made with 1X6 or 1X8 dimensional lumber. Sometimes it may actually be made using a 2X6 or 2X8 but that is uncommon.
How Long It Would Take to Replace
A skilled professional can do 8-10 feet of fascia board in 20-30 minutes. An untrained person could take 3-4 hours to replace 8-10 feet. After being replaced it would need to be caulked and painted or the vinyl siding would need to go back up.
The average cost of repair would be around $450. The cost includes the cost of the materials and tools.
How to Prevent Your Fascia Board From Rotting
A good seamless gutter system combined with proper roof installation will help prevent your fascia board from rotting. Using the right types of nails and fasteners when installing gutters will also help.
One big problem is when the gutters start to pull away because the wrong nails or fasteners were used. When this happens, the water runs off behind the gutter and ricochets onto the fascia board. This is one of the most common reasons for rotting due to water. Using a zinc screw that prevents rust is recommended.
Treated Wood or Sealant
Make sure the wood is treated with sealer or painted. The fascia board is going to get wet from time to time so it needs to be protected. Sealing the wood can act as a barrier until you are able to inspect your gutters to make sure they are functioning properly.
Proper Gutter Installation
Making sure the gutter system is properly installed is key to preventing water from damaging your fascia board. Gutters should have a small amount of fall toward the downspout or be level at the very least. There needs to be proper roof extension over the gutter so the water does not run off behind it.
Check Your Fascia Board While Cleaning Your Gutters
You should periodically check your gutter system throughout the year to ensure it isn’t getting damaged. It is recommended that you clean your gutters 2-3 times per year. When you are cleaning your gutters you can inspect your fascia board and the gutters to ensure the seams and corners are healthy and functional.