Vinyl Soffit Cost & Materials Guide
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Soffits function as an essential component of the home's roofing system. Soffits also help stave off mold and mildew growth that can damage the home's structure and cause health problems for you and your family.
Continue reading to see all the costs, advantages and disadvantages of vinyl soffits.
Maximum Cost: $20 per section
Minimum Cost: $4 per section
Average Cost: $12 per section
What to Look for in Vinyl Soffits
In addition to cost, size, thickness, style and color are four of the chief characteristics homeowners should consider when selecting vinyl soffits. Generally, soffits are between 0.35- and 0.55-inches thick and come in 12-foot-long sections that range from 6- to 16-inches wide. Installers then cut the pieces they need to the required lengths to fit under the eaves. Secondary characteristics include vents that are either visible or hidden, and installers must consider whether or not the soffits have beaded structure.
Some vinyl soffits mimic wood patterns while others look like brushed metal or are just plain. Many also have a beaded structure and, being designed for harsher climates, are sturdier. Most vinyl soffits are outfitted with tabs that fit into specially shaped grooves carved in the accompanying fascia; these keep the vinyl soffits in place. Some designs are supposed to be nailed to the fascia instead. It's a good idea to check one's fascia before buying vinyl soffits to ensure getting the proper type.
All soffits must be vented as their chief purpose is to allow moist air to escape from under the eaves and roof. This keeps the wood and other materials from developing unpleasant odors, rot or other structural damages. On some soffits, one can see the vent holes while the vents are hidden on others. Usually, the latter type is the thicker of the two, which allows the air to flow out between the structure of the home and the edge of the soffit instead of through holes in the soffit itself.
Aside from the vinyl soffits themselves, one must acquire drip edge that works with the gutters to control water runoff, fascia, which is usually wood but can be of any desired material, and a large supply of 1.5-inch trim nails.
If you plan to make this a DIY job, you will need the following:
Tape measure, preferably 25 feet or longer
Screwdriver with four interchangeable heads
Combination square, framing square
Circular saw, jigsaw and saw horse
Miter box and accompanying saw
Sturdy ladder long enough to reach the roof
Drip edge can be obtained for between $.40 and $.60 per foot. For an easy and durable fascia solution, pressure-treated, 8-foot-long boards range from $3 to $5 each. Trim nails cost about $6 per pound. The other required tools vary greatly in price, depending on brand and quality, but aside from the two power saws, they would cost roughly $250. Circular saws and jigsaws cost anywhere from $40 and up. Single circular saw blades and packs of 12 jigsaw blades cost about the same, which is $8 to $15.
Vinyl soffits cost between $4 and $20 in 12-foot lengths, which means the average cost of vinyl soffits for a job totaling 1,200 square feet is $1,200 to $1,500. For a roof whose perimeter is 160 feet, the boards for the fascia would total about $100; the drip edge would come to $96. In this example, the cost of materials and tools together would be roughly $2,000.
If a homeowner were to hire a professional contractor to complete the work, the person would not have to pay for tools, only for the materials and the contractor's labor. That labor would cost much more than the tools' $250 because most contractors charge $50 per hour and up, and a normal, well-done soffit job takes a few 8-hour days to complete.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Vinyl Soffits
Vinyl soffits have several advantages. They are a less expensive option than other kinds of soffits and they're also more durable over the long haul than others. In addition to coming in more colors and styles, vinyl soffits are also highly energy efficient.
They have a few disadvantages, too, however. They are flammable and will either burn or melt in the event of a fire. Additionally, they're adversely affected by heat such as that created by a barbecue. Because they are usually porous, they are susceptible to mold. Alos, some people think they look "cheap."
If it has been a while since the soffits, fascia or both have been replaced, it's a wise idea to inspect the eaves, roof and supporting joists before beginning a soffit and fascia project. It does absolutely no good to install new, gleaming vinyl soffits if the underlying materials are liable to fall off the side of the house. One must check for all sorts of possible damage, including problems caused by water, insects, animals and weather. If there is any damage, it must be repaired before beginning installation of vinyl soffits.
Lastly, it's not a general problem nor is it one of which people would think; however, if a homeowner belongs to an association, he or she must consider any rules on style and color. Some associations have strict guidelines on taste and require their members to conform. Others exist in name only and exert very little control. It pays for a homeowner to ask about renovations at an association meeting to find out what, if any, restrictions exist; that way, they won't find themselves needing to redo a perfectly good soffit-replacement job and throwing good money after bad.
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Last updated on Sep 10, 2014