Roof maintenance tip: Inspect the fascia board

Roofing experts say to repair fascia damage before replacing the roof itself.

Roofing experts say to repair fascia damage before replacing the roof itself.

The fascia is a board that runs along the roof line and acts as a finishing edge or trim that connects to the ends of the rafters and trusses.

It’s visible from the exterior of the home and is often where gutters are attached. Most fascia boards are wooden, but they can also be made from vinyl, aluminum and plastic.

The primary function of the fascia board is to protect the roof and the interior of the home from moisture by blocking its entrance. It also plays an aesthetic role, because it creates a smooth, even appearance along the edge of the roof.

The fascia board typically suffers damage from water exposure. Clogged gutters are one of the main causes. It can also suffer damage if water gets behind the gutters due to a lack of overhang by the shingles or from winter ice dams.

One way to protect the fascia is to install a drip edge, which is an L-shaped piece of metal that is nailed into the roof’s decking. It sits below the first layer of shingles and deflects water away from the fascia board.

“It goes around the fascia board and protects the area from rot and from water going up and under your shingles,” says Gary Pinina of highly rated Southwestern Roofing in Houston. “We highly recommend installing it.”

The Houston roofer says a metal drip edge should be a part of all roof installs, but warns that some roofing contractors will not install them as a way to cut costs.

Homeowners can examine their roofs for fascia damage by looking for cracks, splinters or discoloration. Heavy water exposure will cause rotten fascia boards to detach from the house. Damaged boards should be replaced to prevent further damage to the shingles and soffit.

Next tip: Get an inspection

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