How Much Does it Cost to Repair Soffits?
Good ventilation and solid home design are critical features when installing exterior trimwork. A soffit provides the final design element to a home for adding ventilation and preventing rainwater from going up under the eaves of the home. Soffits provide ventilation through the rafters and attic area to prevent buildup of humidity and increase the lifespan of roofing material. Replacing soffits should be considered if the material is rotting or causing damage to the substrate below it.
Minimum Cost: $18 per linear foot
Maximum Cost: $30 per linear foot
Additional costs associated with soffit replacement is the cost of teardown. This may require the cost of renting a dumpster. This ranges from $250 to $500. Labor costs are approximately $15 to $40/hour depending on the material and style of soffit installation. Some soffit installations require additional labor due to insulation and bracing material against a ridge vent.
Vinyl soffits come in several sizes that are standard for the home. New construction will usually opt for vinyl soffit choices due to the variety of colors and dimensions available. Vinyl soffits come in a variety of profiles to match the home and gutter system. A non-ventilated panel can be used as an accent to create the look of a continuous soffit system.
Most vinyl systems also come in a variety of venting styles. Traditional homes or historical property may opt for a hidden vent system to create a low profile and match architecture such as a beadboard ceiling on a porch. A beaded soffit pattern can be installed to patch pitches and angles of stoops or eaves from a gable end of a home. Vinyl patterns can be matched to new gable end attic vents for a custom look on the home.
Although wood components are rarer, they are becoming more common in the composite form for their timeless look. Wood soffits are found extensively in historical homes and use a variety of stain and sealing products to make them long-lasting and durable. The material itself is used in high wind or high-snow load situations such as a Cape Cod-style house in the Northeast.
Wood soffits are used when the fascia board requires a similar wood pattern to match. Individual soffit panels made of wood can be stained and painted separately for a dramatic or classic appearance. Another common style of wood soffit installation is to stain the wood and install a vent that is a contrasting color such as white or black. Wood soffits can also create a continuous look and use roof or porch beams for an effect. Various species of wood are also used. Cedar and redwood are highly durable against insects and rotting due to the natural oils in the wood. A heavy coating of polyurethane and deck sealant can prevent further water infiltration when used as regular maintenance.
Aluminum soffit is a common choice for tight corners and more obscure roof styles. Aluminum is also a common material to use in homes that require a more airtight seal along an attic or gable end. They are also used in sunnier environments where vinyl might fade over time. Installation differs from vinyl in terms of sizing. There is no traditional length of aluminum for specific roof styles. Instead, long channels of aluminum are cut to size due to their soft and pliable nature. Pieces are linked together to create grooves for a custom look.
Aluminum soffit panels come pre-painted in standard styles. They require the use of a metal drip edge to match the style as well as provide a point of shedding water away from the siding of the house. A metal drip edge may already be on the home, but installation should account for the perimeter of the roof plus 5 percent. The extra cutting material is required due to the additional labor of installing flashing and connecting joints with metal.
There are several styles of soffit vents available on the market. The most common vent used in single-story and ranch homes is the continuous soffit vent. These vents run along a channel the length of the roof. They are narrow and designed with PVC components for durability. Individual soffit vents are common due to their all-purpose use and easy installation. These vents can be cut into various sizes and are available in a variety of materials to blend in with soffit system.
Custom-shaped vents are very popular with roofs that have steep angles or a constant change in the shape such as a turret or bay connected to a second story. Custom shapes range from 5 to 8 inches and can be circular or square in shape.
Advantages of Replacing Soffits
Replacing a soffit can have an immediate impact on home ventilation and reducing the collection of water underneath the surface of the siding. Aluminum and wood soffits can age over time. Soffit replacement can also impact the value of a home and make it easier to sell later. Each material used in soffit installation has unique pros and cons. Vinyl is very durable, but it can detract from the overall look of the home aesthetically. Exposure to UV radiation and sunlight can cause the vinyl to warp and possibly develop mold if it is not installed to allow for expansion.
Disadvantages of Replacing Soffits
One drawback of replacing soffits that are wooden or aluminum is the risk of improper installation. These materials require extra maintenance to keep moisture from infiltrating the home. However, aluminum soffits can enhance the nature of the roof fascia and hide any imperfections in the trim. Aluminum is easier to work with and actually acts as a fire retardant along the roof. However, aluminum can be more costly than vinyl or wood. You may also need to check your insurance policy. Rates can go up due to potential damage from storms or winds. Wood soffit is usually a composite material and has the same limitations and benefits as vinyl. It is slightly more expensive than vinyl.
Last updated on May 12, 2016
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