Problems with cap over or overclad fascias and soffit boards can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters. As you can see from this article we use lots of sketches and photos in our reports as the feedback we have from our clients is that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports.

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Painted timber fascias and soffit boards

Traditionally, fascia and soffits boards were painted timber. These are the boards that sit at the very bottom of the roof, or the perimeter of the roof and are sometimes used as the fixing board for the guttering. Then they are usually forgotten about! Painted timber fascias and soffits
Painted timber fascias and soffits

Paint flaking to fascias and soffits boards

Surveyors generally note where the paint is flaking on a fascia and soffit board, as this means there are problems with the guttering. It normally means the fascias and soffits boards have rotted away as well, as they tend to be made from cheaper soft wood in the more modern properties (by modern we mean in this case after the war years).


No more maintenance with plastic fascias and soffit boards!

Often marketed as no more maintenance required, plastic fascias and soffits boards seem to be the answer to the need to re-paint the awkwardly positioned (usually two storeys up) fascias and soffits boards, which in reality very rarely get painted, due to people's fear of heights, or just lack of looking up.

It can sometimes be carried out on its own, more often it is carried out as an afterthought when gutters and downpipes are replaced, or the new windows are put in the property, or even when a conservatory is added.


It looks the same but overcladding or capping is very different to having it done properly

Overcladding is basically where thin plastic is put over the top of the existing timber. It doesn't resolve the problem at all, what it does is merely hide the problem. In fact, it can be argued that it makes the problem worse as it traps in any moisture, which can cause the timber to rot much quicker.


How can you tell it's overcladding?


Drill into the fascia or soffit board to see if there is timber beneathThe answer is it really is very difficult from the ground and you have to literally get a ladder up to it and have a close look. You can unscrew a fixing and see whether there is timber beneath, or even move a little bit, as it is often glued in place. Alternatively, you can drill into it to see if there is timber beneath. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer. It has been said that you can push it and it doesn't give as much as fascias and soffit boards.



The real plastic fascias and soffit boards

Unfortunately, often this is not used as it is quite a bit more expensive than the overcladding or capping of fascias and soffit boards. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the product is thicker and double layered and has integral strength and secondly, whoever is doing the work has to take off the old timber fascia board, as well as the guttering that is normally attached to it, and then fix it to the bottom of the rafter feet. These are the common rafters, the ones that form the pitch of the roof.

So, you can see it is a far bigger job and is far more labour intensive, which in turn means it is a lot more expensive, and means lots of people just don't have it done.


Problems we have seen with overcladding

We have recently come across a problem that is quite unusual, with a noise problem within a property that had been going on for a few years, which kept the owner's child awake. Upon further investigation it appeared to be coming from an area of overcladding where the timber beneath it has rotted away and when the wind blows at the right strength, in the right direction, it allows the relatively thin plastic to vibrate. This in turn causes the noise that keeps the child awake.



A request for help from surveyors with regard to problems with overcladding

If any surveyors are reading this and have literally come across problems themselves then please contact us, as we will add your comments to the end of this article.


Please see our other article about fascias and soffits:


Problems with Fascia and Soffit Boards


Expert opinion

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, dampness issues, dilapidations, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site .

We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).

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