Fascia is an unusual word. You may have come across it before in a zoological context, as it can refer to connective tissues that bind or otherwise support internal organs and body parts of a living creature.
If you’ve ever skinned an animal before, for instance, you’ll be well acquainted with this word.
But how does this term fit into a home and construction context?
Well, surprisingly, there’s a definite overlap in meanings to consider, but, as you’d expect, there are a lot of differences from context to context too.
In this article, I’ll be explaining in detail what a fascia on a house is exactly, and why they’re worth installing. Let’s dive right in!
The Meaning Of Fascia
Fascia in a housing context simply refers to boards (often called fascia boards) that are installed around the perimeter of a roof structure.
To glean what they are exactly, it can be helpful to visualize a very basic roof shape…
Picture a classic upside down V in your head. This is your general roof shape.
Now, remember when you’d vandalize your school books with bubble writing back in third grade?
Well, give this simple upside down V the same bubble makeover.
Instead of a singular line, our shape now has volume. On a house, this central volume of the V is the fascia.
It is installed at the point where the trusses and rafters of the roof terminate.
In a loose way, it relates to the zoology term in that it acts as the connective section at the edge of a roof.
It connects the top side of the roof to the soffit.
An oft-used method of remembering what fascia means is to consider the word’s similarity to the word “face”, as it is, by and large, the face of a roof.
One more thing to note is that fascia board isn’t installed on the front of a roof exclusively, it’s also often used to board up the sides of a roof that has no frontal fascia at all.
Why Do We Install Fascia Board On Our Houses?
Fascia boards serve two primary purposes. One is practical, and the other is pure aesthetics.
Let’s get the latter out the way first.
Fascia And Aesthetics
The fact that fascia looks good on a house is indisputable.
It gives a roof a more complete look and makes your property look sleek and expensive.
Granted, it’s a small detail, one that you wouldn’t normally think about, which is probably why you’re only just learning what fascia is, but if you stripped the fascia from a house, you’d see clear as day the visual impact it can have on a homestead.
They also allow you to personalize your house to a further degree, as they can be highly decorative and customizable.
Now onto the really important stuff.
The Practicalities Of Fascia
The fascia of a roof may look great, but it’s by no means just a cosmetic finishing touch.
Fascia boards help to support the shingle on the top of the roof, cap rafters, and provide a secure base on which guttering can be mounted.
In light of this, not only do fascia boards support the accompanying structural elements of the roof, they also provide the foundation for your entire water transit system, so, while they may be considered the face of the roof, their presence is utterly spinal!
To be fair, you don’t strictly need fascia boards to install guttering, as gutters can also be fitted using roof straps, but they don’t look all that pretty, and they’re not quite as secure as their fascia-mounted counterparts.
Even so, capable of linking the trusses, rafters, and gutter in a seamless manner, fascia should absolutely be considered the glue that holds a modern roof structure together, and it makes it look good, too!
In connecting all the major components of your roof, fascia also seals it off, protecting the vulnerable insides from the elements, staving off wood rot and ensuring your roof will remain over your head, as opposed to on your head, for years to come.
What Are Fascia Boards Made Out Of?
Wood is the most popular choice for fascia boards, as it looks amazing, and it will often suit the aesthetic of your home to a tee, especially if you pair it with some wooden siding.
The best fascia board woods are those that are strong in the face of moisture and rot, woods like redwood and cedar; however, as long as a piece of wood has been suitably treated, it will work just fine up there battling the elements.
PVC is another popular choice. This plastic material is of course very resistant to rot and is often much cheaper than wood.
It can be made to look quite good too, but, where wood fascia has plastic fascia beat is its rigidity.
Over time, plastic fascia will shift and expand, way more so than wood. UV may also cause dislocation.
Composite fascia boards shouldn’t be overlooked either.
These are crafted by mixing woodchips with sawdust that are then fused together using resin.
They’re more resilient than both wood and PVC boards, but they’re expensive, and, as they can’t be painted, they’re not as customizable, which can put people off.
Vinyl is a more affordable, yet highly durable fascia material. It’s very similar to PVC, but PVC has a slight edge in terms of longevity.
And last but not least, we have aluminum fascia, which is quite expensive, but extremely durable.
Although, aluminum doesn’t exactly give off a homely vibe.
Fascia Board Maintenance
I’ve been singing fascia board’s praises thus far, but there is a price to pay for all the qualities it brings to the table… maintenance.
If you want your fascia to last, you have to give it some TLC once in a while.
Luckily, the best thing you can do for your fascia boards is something you should already have penned in your diary whether you have them or not.
Simply cleaning your gutter and preventing clogs is the most effective way of keeping your fascia board in tip-top condition, as this prevents excess water from stagnating, speeding up the deterioration process.
You can also look after your fascia by coating it in a corrosion resistant metal, checking they’re secured properly, and by having drip edges installed on your roof to keep moisture as far away from the boards as possible.
That just about covers all the basics, I believe — Fascia on a house is essentially the skirting paneling of a rooftop.
It both augments the visual impact of a building and provides numerous practical benefits.