The overhang on your home, where the gutters attach and you see the little vents aiming down is technically called Cornice. Cornice is comprised of the fascia, soffit and bed moulding. The fascia board is the vertical board that the gutters are fastened to. The soffit is the horizontal surface, usually plywood, that runs from the fascia to the wall of the house. Bed moulding is the most common trim fastened where the plywood soffit and either brick or siding meet. Over time these areas will develop leaks and water damage occurs. There are several different ways to prevent this damage from occurring.
The fascia board, which is most commonly 1×6 or 1×8, used for the past 30-40 years has been wood. Only the last 5-6 years maybe has cement fiber fascia been used by builders. Wood fascia is notorious for rotting. If not primed correctly it will often rot behind the gutter. It also tends to rot on the corners underneath or behind gutters. Older gutters were fastened with spikes, which eventually work their way loose in wood fascia. Leaving a gutter sagging or practically falling off the house. The installation of new cement fiber fascia, coupled with new 6’’ aluminum seamless gutter fastened with hidden screw clamps is the ultimate fix here. Six inch gutter handles considerably more rain run-off than the old 5’’ gutter and lessens the possibilities of water run-off issues down below; erosion, leaks in basement, etc.
Soffit , often referred to as overhang or eave is usually 3/8’’ plywood and is also notorious for rotting. Rotted soffit is often a result of rotted fascia which allows water to enter the soffit box and sit on top of the plywood, eventually rotting it. Broken shingles down at the gutter is another common way that water enters the soffit area. One more common reason for rotted soffit is toe-board nail holes; roofers nail 2×4’s down on top of the shingles to stand on. They pull the boards off when done and leave the nail holes wide open. I have seen and repaired it many times. The ultimate fix for soffit is to remove plywood and install cement fiber perforated soffit material. This soffit is continuously vented which not only lets your roof system breath better but allows any water that might get in to drain out. Typical bed moulding is installed once this new system is installed and from the ground you will hardly notice a difference. The new material will of course need to be painted prior to installation of new gutters.
If you want to install a system that is water proof and much more suited for the long haul, this is the way to go. It’s a very sound investment and good measure of preventative maintenance for the future of your home.