The fascia board is the long wooden board behind the gutters on a house. It connects to the roof rafters, closes off the attic and serves as the mount for gutters. Clogged gutters, animal infestation in an attic area and other roof problems might leave you with a damaged fascia board. A damaged fascia can be the starting point for other roof problems and potentially lead to damage to an attic and home. So, if you have damaged fascia, it is important to have it replaced.
This guide will discuss how a fascia board gets damaged and how you can replace it. We will walk you through which materials you’ll need, how the fascia should be installed and how to prevent the damage from reoccurring.
The fascia is a long wooden board that runs horizontally on the edge of the roof. Usually, a fascia is either 2×8 or 2×6. This board connects the gutters to the roof truss. If you cannot see any wood in this spot, that’s likely because your fascia boards are covered with a vinyl or aluminum cap to match your gutter system. Homes that do not have fascia boards at all are rare. A lack of a fascia board is typically against building codes and should be corrected in order to protect your home.
Roofers use the fascia to provide a stable mount for the gutters, but it serves other important functions as well. Without the fascia, the roof would have a gap leading straight into your attic. So, the fascia seals off your attic from the weather and animals. It is also aesthetically pleasing, especially when covered with a cap that matches the gutters.
What material should you choose for your new fascia board? A fascia board is most commonly a long, thin piece of wood. Many types of wood, from spruce to cedar, fit the bill. You may also use composite wood products. Composite woods may resist water and moisture better than solid wood products.
However, you can also find suitable fascia boards made of various types of plastic, including UPVC and PVC. These materials are even less vulnerable to water and temperature changes. As they resist swelling and shrinking when temperature changes, they are unlikely to bend or warp over time. From the ground, these plastic boards will look very similar to wood, and most can be painted to match your aluminum or vinyl gutters.
When you choose a material for your fascia board, your specific climate, roof and budget are the most important factors. So, it’s best to get the opinion of a professional roofer who is familiar with your needs before you make your selection.
Many different types of wood are suitable for fascia boards. Spruce, pine and fir are all popular and relatively inexpensive options. However, some roofers prefer to use cedar, cypress or redwood for fascia boards. While they are more expensive, these woods better resist moisture, even when left unsealed. If you choose another type of wood for your fascia board, you may need to seal it, or add a cap or trim to protect it from moisture. Sealed and painted wood may also need to be repainted every few years, while cedar and PVC may require less maintenance.
Fascia trim (also called fascia cover, fascia cap or fascia board flashing) is a thin sheet of material added to the outside of the board to protect it from the elements. Fascia trim is made from various materials, including vinyl, aluminum and copper. Generally, you want to choose whichever material will match your gutter system.
When does a fascia board need to be repaired? It’s up to you! You may want to get your fascia board replaced if it detracts from the look of your home due to staining, bowing or chipping. You should trust your roofer’s advice as to when your fascia board is too damaged or weak to continue doing its job.
Types of damage that may merit replacing your fascia board include:
Sometimes you can repair a section of your fascia instead of replacing the entire board. For example, if only a few feet of the board have been exposed to water, your roofers may be able to cut out just that section of fascia, so long as it spans two rafters and can be safely resecured. If the board has two contact points with the rafters, it should be strong enough to mount your gutters too.
However, a fascia board that shows signs of old age, such as bowing and cracking, should be replaced entirely, even if some of it appears to be salvageable, as it may give out soon.
Homeowners should not attempt to replace fascia boards on their own. Most homeowners will be unprepared for the safety issues involved in this work. Further, the incorrect installation of a new fascia board can interfere with the gutter’s slope and proper flow of water off the roof.
Even though replacing fascia boards is a job for professional roofers, you may be curious about how your roofers will complete the job. Here’s how to properly replace damaged fascia board:
Step One: Inspect the Existing Fascia
A professional roofer will start by inspecting the fascia board to discover how much of it needs to be replaced. They will also look at the old board’s size so they can choose the correct replacement board.
If your roofers are replacing your fascia board as part of a full roof replacement, then they will install the new shingles before they address the fascia.
Step Two: Remove Gutters and Drip Edge
There is no way to replace the fascia board without removing the gutters, as the gutters are mounted to the board. So, your roofers will carefully remove the gutters. Typically, the same gutters can be re-installed on the new fascia board, if they are in good condition. Also, your roofers may need to remove the drip edge. If so, the drip edge may also be reused if it is in good condition, unless that violates the terms of your manufacturer’s limited warranty.
Step Three: Remove Existing Fascia Board
With the claw of a hammer, a prybar or another tool, your roofers will carefully remove the nails from the fascia board and take it down.
Step Four: Measure and Cut
Next, your roofers will measure and cut the new fascia board to fit. They may cut the fascia into more manageable sections. If so, the section must span at least two rafters so that both ends can be nailed into place. In order to make nailing easier, the roofers may mark where the rafters are on the board before placing it so that they are sure to drive the nails into the rafters.
Your roofers will also need to connect the corners of the fascia board. To do so, they’ll cut the board on 45-degree angles to form a joint.
Step Five: Cover the Seams
The seams between each piece of wood should be sealed against water. Your roofers may use a silicone caulking or another type of sealant.
Step Six: Seal the Wood
Now, the wood itself needs to be sealed. Any exterior wood sealant will work, and you may want your roofers to follow it up with a coat of paint to match your gutters.
There’s no reason to paint the wood if you use fascia trim. The trim will cover the wood, so it won’t be visible. Instead of painting, your roofers will install the trim by measuring and cutting the trim to fit and then nailing it to the fascia board.
Some very high-quality pieces of wood, such as cedar, may be left without sealant, in certain circumstances.
Step Seven: Install Drip Edges and Gutters
Now that the fascia is in place, your roofers will reattach your drip edge and gutters.
Depending on what damaged your fascia board, simply replacing it may not be enough. It is important to ask your roofers to find and fix the underlying problem that caused the fascia damage if there is one. For example, clogged gutters may overflow and expose your fascia to moisture. The new fascia will quickly be damaged unless your roofer also fixes the gutters. Other underlying problems that you and your roofers may need to address include damage from animal infestations, roof leaks, algae on the shingles and more. Of course, you may also need to reach out to pest control for the animal infestation.
Once you get your new fascia boards installed, you may need to do a bit of upkeep to maintain their condition. Sealed and painted fascia should get a new coat occasionally.
The fascia board is a critical part of the roof that is easy to overlook. As a result, it is often neglected and left in bad condition. If you’re not sure about the condition of your fascia, or if you need to get it replaced, reach out to a professional roofer through IKO’s Contractor Locator.
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