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What Is A Soffit? (And What Does It Do?)

What Is A Soffit? (And What Does It Do?)

Are you doing upgrades to your home, or handling a few household projects on your own? Well, if you are, then you might want to think about adding a soffit to your home, but what is it? 

A soffit is an architectural feature that’s typically added to the exterior of the house between the eaves and the house, but it can be in the interior for concealing ducts or pipes. A soffit’s main use is to protect the rafters from weather conditions that could potentially damage it. 

Are you thinking that you would like to know more about a soffit to decide whether you should install one in your home? Well, we are going to discuss what it is and what it does in-depth to help you make your decision.

A Deeper Explanation of Soffits

Although the most common use of the word tends to be the exterior soffit that is used to protect the rafters, the interior soffit use is also pretty popular.

An interior soffit is typically used to hide the inner workings of the home’s plumbing or cooling systems so they are not in view of your guests. 

However, interior soffits can also be seen in bathrooms and kitchens to help hide the wiring of lighting fixtures on the ceiling. Interior soffits are not seen as much in higher levels of buildings but are common in lower levels where the bulk of the plumbing pipes and ducts are situated. 

The exterior soffits are popular in homes because of the protection that they give the rafters, which are an important part of the home to protect. They are situated under the extended edge of the roof to keep moisture and wetness from getting to the rafters of the home. 

When talking about soffits, you can specify whether you are talking about the interior or exterior of the house, but the most common term has to do with the exterior of the home because they are extremely popular. 

What’s the Purpose of a Soffit? 

The purpose of a soffit depends on whether you are talking about the interior of the house or the exterior.

Let’s examine both below.

Exterior Soffit

When thinking about the main purpose of the soffit that will be a part of the outside of the house, it is mainly to keep the moisture and humidity from affecting the rafters that keep the roof strong.

If you don’t have a soffit, especially for homes in moist and humid areas, the rafters can begin to grow mold and start breaking down sooner than they need to.

So, the exterior soffits can help keep the condition of your home better overall by sustaining the rafters to ensure that your roof and ceiling are in the best condition possible. This can also act as extra support for the home.

Interior Soffit

The soffit that is made for the interior of the house is a part that is lower than the rest of the ceiling and is typically made to help conceal air ducts for HVAC systems – heating and cooling systems – and pipes.

This tends to have a nice aesthetic appeal and may also be done to enhance the style of the room. 

However, though this type of soffit is typically found in the main parts of the house, like the living room, there may also be soffits in the kitchen, basement, and bathroom. In this case, the soffit is used around a lighting fixture to help conceal the wiring and electrical connections.

Do You Need Soffits?

When it comes to your home, you want to keep it in the best shape possible so that it will stay durable without having any issues in the future. The last thing you want to deal with is a major issue with your home. 

With mold being an issue for many homeowners who don’t take the proper care to ensure that their home is free of moisture, most people opt for adding a soffit to help prevent costly fixes in the future.

Especially when thinking of installing an exterior soffit to protect the rafters, you will see a major difference in the moisture levels, but you might find that the air quality is better too. 

This can make a difference with the exterior of the home as well as the interior because it will help the air that flows into the home cleaner and free of any mold particles that could be pumped in when mold is present. 

However, those are not the only benefits of having a soffit. There is also the fact that soffits help pull heat away from the home, which can keep your home a few degrees cooler.

This might be a small difference, but over time, this will allow you to pay less on your cooling bills and can save you money in the long run. So, although you could do with it, you are leaving your home open and susceptible to damage. 

If you want to keep your home in the best shape for the entire time that you live in it, then you will need a soffit to protect the rafters and keep mold from forming and spreading into other areas of the home. 

What is the Difference Between Fascia and Soffit?

If you have been looking into soffits, then you have probably also heard the term fascia. They might seem like the same thing to many people, but they are actually very different. 

So, what is the major difference between these two items? 

The exterior soffit is fitted underneath the eave of the house and closes off that space and is made from wood. However, a fascia is usually made of aluminum and vinyl and is mainly used to make a barrier between the roof and the outside of the home. 

A fascia is often positioned behind the gutters and attached to the top of the walls. This is a barrier to the weather for the roof and protects it from weather damage.

Fascias are made of different fabrics than soffits, most of the time anyway, which makes them a great barrier against wet conditions. This is because the wood build of the soffits is still susceptible to many issues. 

However, with aluminum or vinyl, you have a material that holds up better against water and won’t be damaged easily.

With these types of materials, you can also get them in many different colors so that you can add a pop of color to your home or get a matching tone that blends in. 

Should You Install a Soffit for Your Home? 

If you wondering if this is something that will be a good option for your home, you want to look at a few things before making your decision. First, you need to consider the pricing for adding this addition to your home. 

It might not be the most expensive upgrade, but you don’t want to get yourself in debt just to get a soffit. So, save up and do it when you are ready to pay for it. 

Also, you want to make sure that your rafters do not already have mold or moisture issues already. Though having a soffit could help stop the spreading of the mold, it won’t make it go away. 

This is a health issue that you don’t want to allow to worsen, so you will want to get that taken care of before you start adding anything else to your home. 

After that is taken care of, then you can decide whether you want to add a soffit onto your home. But you should remember that if you have had issues with mold in the past, then getting a soffit might be just the thing to help keep mold from coming back. 

Final Thoughts 

For those of you who didn’t know exactly what a soffit is, you now have the info about these installations to decide whether you should add one onto your home. If you were on the fence before, you will be able to know if you need one for your home or not. 

Having more protection is always a good thing when it comes to your home. Keeping your house in great shape will allow you to spend less money in the long run on expensive issues.

Needing a soffit is something that is common and should be a consideration when you are deciding to upgrade or build a new home. Any money spent on protecting your home is money well spent. 

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.