A fascia board is a long, straight board that runs along the lower edge of a roof, usually where the roof meets the exterior walls of a home. Your roof’s fascia is vital, providing weather protection for the interior framing and supporting exterior accessories like gutters, downspouts, and soffits.
In this article, we’ll describe what a fascia is, the difference between a fascia and a soffit, and how to replace a fascia board on your own.
What is fascia on a house?
Fascia is located directly below the roofline. It protects the roof rafters from moisture, helps support roof tiles or shingles, and is the attachment point for gutters, downspouts, and soffits.
Fascia also acts as the finishing edge of the roofline, so it is one of the most visible exterior components of the house. Because of this, the style and color of the fascia you choose can boost your home’s curb appeal — or detract from your home’s appearance if you don’t keep up with regular fascia maintenance and touch-ups.
Fascia vs. soffit
Fascia and soffits are both essential components of your home's roof system and although they are connected, they serve different purposes. The fascia is located directly below the roofline and is oriented vertically.
Soffits are installed horizontally underneath your roof’s overhangs and are connected to the fascia. Soffits are mainly helpful for ventilation but also protect from the elements.
Trim vs. fascia
A home’s fascia and trim may look the same, as they’re typically made of similar materials (wood, vinyl, aluminum, and composite) and often have the same look and color. But there’s a distinct difference between the two.
Fascia serves multiple functions, as mentioned above, and is only used on the roof. Trim is primarily used for decorative purposes and is added around windows, doors, and other home elements.
What is the fascia board used for? Is it necessary for a house?
Fascia, or “face-board,” as it’s often called, serves many essential functions to the exterior of your house. These include:
- Protecting against the elements, preventing moisture from getting into your rafters and interior spaces
- Giving shape to the roof trusses
- Providing support to the overhanging edges of the roof covering (shingles, tiles, metal, etc.)
- Enhancing the home’s exterior appearance
- Serving as the support for the attachment of many common roof accessories, such as gutters, downspouts, and soffits
So, yes, it is necessary for the construction of a house.
What is a fascia board made of?
Fascia board can be made from several materials. The most common types of fascia materials are as follows:
- Wood fascia: Wood is commonly used for fascia because it is durable, affordable, and easy to maintain. The other advantage is that its appearance can be easily altered with paint or stain to match any exterior style changes you make around the house. In weather-heavy regions, you may have to apply waterproofing sealers to extend the service life and prevent wood decay. These sealers are typically inexpensive and easy to apply.
- Aluminum fascia: Aluminum fascia is durable and requires minimal maintenance. It has a long lifespan and is resistant to rust, corrosion, and rotting. It also provides a smooth finish that gives homes a lovely appearance. Aluminum is more expensive than some other materials and typically requires professional installation.
- Fiber cement fascia: Fiber cement fascia is extremely popular in new home construction because of its strength, durability, and availability in many architectural styles and colors. It also performs well in all elements. Like aluminum, the material can be expensive, and we recommend professional installation.
- Vinyl fascia and PVC fascia: Vinyl and PVC fascia board materials offer similar advantages, being durable, moisture-resistant, and available in various colors. Vinyl and PVC require little maintenance, like the painting and staining that is necessary with some of the other materials. The downside is that these materials can degrade in certain weather conditions — vinyl is prone to brittleness in freezing temperatures, and PVC is prone to cracking in sweltering temperatures.
So, which one is right for your home? Base your decision on a few key factors:
- You should always consider the materials' durability, mainly if you are in a region that experiences frequent or severe inclement weather.
- The material’s appearance should be a primary factor, as fascia truly is the “face” of your house.
- If you are replacing the existing fascia on your house, the material should match other exterior materials (trim, columns, siding, etc.) in type and appearance.
- If you plan to complete the fascia as a DIY project, consider the ease of application of the material.
How much does it cost to replace the fascia board on a house?
On average, replacing fascia boards costs between $6 and $16 per linear foot. This cost can increase depending on several factors, including the materials used and the size of your roof.
Can you replace the fascia board on your own?
Fascia is highly visible from the curb. However, you may not notice the boards when they are pristine. If your fascia boards are neglected and need repair or replacement, they can significantly hurt the appearance of your house. Once they show advanced stages of decay, they are hard to overlook.
If you’re a handy homeowner in this situation, you may wonder: Can I complete a proper fascia replacement on my own, or do I need to contact a professional?
It might seem complex, but if you break it down into simple steps, replacing the fascia board on your house can be done yourself. Even DIY newbies can replace the fascia board if they take the time to perform each step correctly — and safely.
Before starting the project, contact a professional roofer or your local building material supplier to determine the materials and tools you’ll need. Be sure to note all the safety precautions you must follow when climbing a ladder to reach your fascia.
There are five simple steps to replacing your fascia board:
1. Inspect the existing fascia board
Before tearing anything off, examine the fascia to identify the problem areas. You will look for areas where the fascia shows deterioration, such as openings, cracks, unattached areas, wood chips, and peeling paint. Once you examine the entire roof, you can determine how expansive your project will be.
2. Uninstall the gutter system and drip edges
Remove existing gutters, gutter brackets, and drip edges by removing the attached fasteners. Carefully remove the components for reuse if they are in good condition.
3. Remove the old fascia
Fascia is sealed with caulking at its seams. You’ll need to cut away this caulking with a utility knife to disconnect the board from adjacent components. Remove all of the existing nails and screws from the fascia board. Then, using a pry bar, peel back the fascia board to remove it from the sub-fascia.
Once the fascia board has been removed, examine the sub-fascia and rafters for damaged framing. The time to repair these components is now, when the gutters, trim, and fascia have already been removed. Make all necessary sub-fascia and rafter repairs as required.
4. Prepare the new fascia boards for installation
Determine the length of the new fascia by measuring your old board or the gap in your fascia. Once you know the correct length, mark it on your new fascia board material so you know where to cut. Keep in mind the old carpenter’s adage, “measure twice and cut once.”
After your second measurement, set up your sawhorse, secure the material with clamps, power up your circular saw, throw on your safety gear, and start cutting to the proper measurement.
We recommend using a speed square to guide the saw for a perfect cut. If the board ends require a 45-degree angle cut, use a mitering or circular saw that allows you to adjust the cutting angle to make miter cuts. (Most lumber yards or building supply stores provide cutting services. It may be worth the minimal investment to have the fascia board professionally cut to the proper lengths and angles.)
5. Install your new fascia
Hold the board up to make sure it sits neatly atop the sub-fascia. If you have long stretches of board, this step is much easier as a two-person operation. An assistant positioned at the other end of the board will help you keep the board straight.
Pay attention to where the fascia meets existing boards, and ensure a small gap between materials. Although fitting boards snugly seems ideal, it provides little room for caulk to seal the gap. On the other hand, allowing too much space leaves more of a gap than the caulk can fill.
If the board does not fit perfectly, make the necessary adjustments with your saw.
If the board fits well, drive in two nails — one high, one low — every few feet to secure it to the sub-fascia. Again, have your assistant stand at the opposite end of the board to ensure it is perfectly straight when you begin the attachment process.
Nail both ends of the board to prevent it from curling.
Once the new fascia board is properly aligned and attached, apply caulk around the new board and over the tops of the nails/screws. To ensure the caulk fills the seams, smooth the caulk beads with a tool. Ensure the caulk fully seals the fascia board.
If the board is not the same color as the rest of the fascia or the house, apply a primer coat and two coats of matching-color paint. This would also be the time to apply any necessary waterproof sealers.
If you removed the gutter, gutter brackets, or trim, reinstall them.
Then, clean up your tools and stand at the curb to admire your home’s facelift, courtesy of your hard work.
If you want to skip right to the “admiring the finished look” part of this process, you can hire a roofing contractor to make fascia repairs or replacements. Get started by entering your ZIP code below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the dimensions of a fascia board?
Fascia boards are available in a variety of sizes and widths. The most common types are single-width boards ranging from 5 to 12 inches. The most common single-width size is 8 inches.
Fascia boards are also available in double-width sizes that are 12 inches or 18 inches in width. The height of the boards is typically 12 inches.
Make certain that you use the proper width for your project.
What is a fascia board used for?
Fascia serves as the transition between the walls and the roof. It protects against the elements, gives shape to the roof trusses, and impacts your home’s exterior appearance. Fascia also supports overhangs of your roof covering and supports attaching many common exterior elements, such as gutters, downspouts, and roof soffits.
How many nails are used in a fascia board?
Fascia boards should be attached directly to the sub-fascia or structural roof rafters with two nails or screws (depending on fascia material), fastened one high and one low every few feet. The nails or screws should be placed at both ends of the fascia board to prevent curling.
What can I use instead of the fascia board?
If your fascia is damaged and you do not want to remove it, a cladding material or trim can be applied over the existing fascia to cover it.