house with soffit

The Homeowner’s Guide to Soffit

Derek Perzylo

September 1, 2022


  • Roof care involves tree trimming, inspection, and potential shingle or entire roof replacement, if necessary.
  • Regularly cleaning and inspecting eavestroughs and downspouts can prevent water damage and structural issues.
  • Checking and repairing home siding can prevent further deterioration. Consider replacing it with hardie board for greater durability.
  • Inspecting the home’s foundation for signs of water damage, cracks, or floor warping can prevent costly future repairs.
  • Additional tips include checking seals around windows and doors, preparing the furnace for colder weather, and maintaining outdoor faucets and HVAC system vents.

When thinking about home maintenance, we’re sure that soffit isn’t at the top of your list, but using soffit to protect your roof is a great way to keep your home in tip-top shape. Soffit plays a role in keeping your attic and home safe from outdoor threats, such as debris, pests, or birds, and provides continuous ventilation. Continuous ventilation prevents moisture which is important because moisture build-up can lead to mold. Additionally, the soffit’s continuous ventilation promotes good air quality throughout one’s home and can help save on heating and cooling costs.

In this post, we will go over what exactly soffit is, the types of soffit that are used, the benefits of soffit, and the importance of maintaining it.

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What is Soffit?

When looking at a home or building from the outside, you may have noticed the underside of the roof that hangs over the home or building – this is referred to as soffit. Soffit installation is used for various reasons that stem from aesthetic purposes to protection from debris, pests, and moisture.

Although wood, plastic, and steel are commonly used materials for soffit, at Big 5 Exteriors we prefer to install perforated aluminum soffit due to its enhanced durability, appearance, and trouble-free maintenance.

What Soffit Does For Your Home

Air Circulation and Preventing Moisture Buildup

Calgary does not have a humid climate, but moisture is no stranger to those with poor air circulation. Proper air circulation and the prevention of moisture buildup go hand-in-hand to make sure mold does not accumulate in your home. Perforated soffit assists in this process by providing a constant flow of air circulation throughout your home and keeps it dry.

Pest Control

One of the key roles of soffit is to close the gap between your roof and the outside elements. Pests such as bugs and birds may look for a home inside your own if your soffit needs replacing or has gaps. Soffit maintenance helps to prevent critters from settling in your home.


Attic ventilation is commonly overlooked when considering home improvements, but proper soffit installation and maintenance can easily help reduce heating and cooling costs for the extreme climates of Calgary.

In summer months, proper attic ventilation pulls in the cooler air from outside and releases hotter air, providing a cooler environment. In winter months, proper attic ventilation keeps the roof at a colder temperature, preventing the snow from melting on your roof and causing moisture issues.

Worker installing soffit on house

What Soffit Material is Best For You and Where You Live?

Let’s look at the most commonly used types and the differences between them.

Wood Soffits

Wood soffit is commonly used for its natural aesthetic and is an eco-friendly option to use for soffit installation. However, wooden soffits are susceptible to moisture, and usually come at higher cost due to the need for maintenance more often than other materials.

Due to the susceptibility of moisture buildup, wooden soffits are not recommended for climates that have a lot of rain or snow as the wood can rot and cause leaks in your attic or home.

Plastic Soffits

Although plastic soffits are resistant to moisture, are a cheap option that does not require much maintenance, plastic soffits are vulnerable to temperature changes and may expand and contract, resulting in gaps between the panels. Plastic soffits may also change in colour due to UV radiation.

Critically, plastic soffits are brittle and can easily break when installed in areas with extreme cold weather, which Calgarians know too well.

Steel Soffits

Steel soffits are extremely resistant to changes in weather and are relatively low in cost, but steel soffit materials have a longer wait time from manufacturers and are vulnerable to corrosion if its protective coating is damaged in any way. This means that areas that experience hail storms, or other intense weather, may need to spend more time and money on regular maintenance of their soffits.

Why We Choose Perforated Aluminum For Soffit Installation

As any Calgarian knows, we can experience all four seasons of weather in a 24-hour period. This means that our homes are more likely to be the victim of severe hail storms, intense rain or snow, and extreme heat in the summer – or all in the same day. Perforated aluminum is the perfect choice for fighting these harsh conditions. Here’s why:

  • Aluminum soffits are extremely durable and have a protective layer on them to prevent corrosion
  • Aluminum soffits last an exceptionally long time and do not need regular maintenance
  • The unique vents on perforated aluminum soffits provide better air circulation, prevent moisture buildup, and reduce costs when it comes to heating and cooling your home
  • Perforated aluminum soffits have special vents in them which gives this type of soffit the edge and right choice for our Calgary locals
Damaged soffit on Calgary home
Via BobVilla.

How to Know If Your Soffit Needs Replacing

Cracks or Gaps

A common sign of needing your soffit replaced is visible damage to the panels. If the soffit has any cracks in the material, or gaps from the panels warping due to changes in temperatures then it is likely time to replace your soffit.

Poor Ventilation

Does your home feel stuffy? Do you have cold-like symptoms in certain areas of your home like the laundry room or kitchen? Look for signs of dust, mold, or mildew throughout your home as these could be signs of poor ventilation. The soffit plays a crucial role in keeping your home properly ventilated.

Bugs, Birds, & Pesky Pests

If you find that pests are invading your home this could be a sign that your soffit needs to be replaced. Pests are great at spotting entrances into your home that you may overlook. Keeping your soffit in good condition will help prevent these rascals from getting free room and board.

Suspicion of Asbestos

Asbestos is dangerous to the human body and breathing in these fibres can increase the chances of asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer. Some older homes used asbestos in their soffit and if it becomes damaged, the asbestos fibres can spread throughout your home.

If you or anyone in your household are experiencing any of the common symptoms of asbestos, we recommend having an expert remove these materials from your home to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

What Happens If You Leave Damaged Soffit Untreated?

We recommend acting quickly once damaged soffit is noticed. Damaged soffit can lead to moisture buildup and rot. Being proactive in replacing damaged soffit will not only save you costly repairs further down the road, but will ensure you are living in a healthy environment.

Call the Experts

Don’t let things get worse. Big 5 Exteriors is a family owned and operated company that takes pride in open and honest communication.

With over 30 years of experience, we will be able to provide you with the right solutions that fit your needs. For an expert opinion, contact us for a free quote and we’ll be happy to help with any of your soffit, eavestrough, or roofing repairs!

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