Important Considerations Concerning Soffit Panels

Newly constructed houses often do not have closed eaves.  The installation of soffit panels is usually done during the remodeling stage, by the owners themselves in many cases.  There are several important considerations to take note of both before and while doing so.

Building Codes

These are not limited to state, county, or city building codes.  Various communities have their own ordinances which must be followed.  This is only natural because weather and environmental conditions vary from place to place.  These variations may be small but they could be significant enough to merit such codes, especially in areas where wind speeds vary.  Codes which pertain to the installation of soffits are found under ventilation requirements.


Places subject to large variations in weather conditions such as the Eastern New England area need to consider both warm and cold weather extremes.  This means that the soffits need to allow air circulation during hot weather to help the inside of the house stay cool.  The electricity bill can also be eased by such a system.

It should also be able to help distribute heat throughout the roof to prevent the formation of ice dams.  These dams are the result of ice melting from the hotter portion at the top then solidifying back into ice when they get close to the cooler area above eaves.  Such formations force water back into the ceiling or walls of the house.  These can be prevented by having a good venting system that incorporates soffit vents.

Type of Material

There are several materials that may be used to manufacture soffit panels and the various accessories needed to install them.  The material used to construct the house’s eaves is often used as basis when choosing the type of soffit to use.  For instance, vinyl construction means vinyl soffits.  This is not a hard and fast rule, however, but has more to do with aesthetics.  There are two main types of soffits – solid and perforated.  The width of a soffit panel is between 16 inches and 24 inches.

Some of the more common materials used in soffit manufacture are wood, vinyl, metal, and fiber cement.  Wood may need painting or treating every year or so.  It is also susceptible to rot and certain pests.  On the other hand, vinyl, metal and fiber cement do not need to be repainted so maintenance is lower than that of wood.  They are impervious to pests and do not rot.


When repairing soffits, it is important to remove damaged ones before installing the new soffits.  This also means that any part of the house’s eaves that it is attached should also be in good condition.  Damaged portions need to be fixed first.  Otherwise, the new soffit panels will not last as long as the ones they are replacing.

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