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What are House Eaves? (A Complete Guide)

If you are interested in finding out more about house eaves and how to protect your house while giving it a classic look, this is the right article for you.

Have you ever looked at the roof of a house and loved the way it looks but were not sure why? Most likely, it was the roof eaves. They are a characteristic of a classic architectural style giving the roof style while also serving a function. 

As a general rule, a house eave is an edge on the roof that hangs over the siding of the house. An eave contains a soffit and fascia. The eave protects the home from extreme weather elements, flooding, and foundational issues. 

If you are interested in finding out more about house eaves and how to protect your house while giving it a classic look, this is the right article for you. We will discuss everything you need to know about house eaves. 

Where are House Eaves Located?

A house eave is located at the edge of the roof. It hangs over a small portion of the siding on your house. The length of the eave depends on the style and personal preference. 

Craftsman style and ranch houses typically have a low pitched roof that has wide eaves that are open and exposes the supporting rafters. These are referred to as deep eaves. A Victorian-style home also has a wide eave, but if they are not open to expose the roof rafters. Dutch Colonial houses have gambrel roofs with curved eaves along the entire length of the house.

In addition to providing protection for your home, eaves are also decorative. Some eaves have an Italian influence and are found on roofs with a slight roof pitch. They do not overhang more than two feet. You may see them with brackets to complete the decorative look. 

An overhanging eave is often found on a Prairie style house originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Other houses have multiple eaves. These houses have a unique style that is modeled after Asian pagodas. 

You will often see one of three main types of eaves for a roof. These include a closed eave, an overhang containing a soffit to close and finish the area underneath the eave. An open eave has an underside that is exposed along with visible rafters. These are also called exposed eaves. Boxed in eaves have an overhang closed with a soffit. The rafters are not visible because of the addition of ornamental molding. 

What are House Eaves Made Of?

A house eave is part of the roof on your house that hangs over the siding. Eaves protect your home but also provide a decorative look. The basic types of eaves are made with soffits and fascia. The fascia is the part that runs under the eave. The fascia board goes around the house horizontally. It covers the rafters of the roof.

The soffit is the part under the eave that looks like paneling. It fills in the space between the rafter and protects the house from weather conditions, like rain. These parts of the eave are important to venting for the roof and house. They can be made of various materials, including wood, vinyl, aluminum, or recycled materials. 

No matter which material is selected, building an eave requires multiple steps. A wood eave requires filling in holes, caulking, priming, and paint. This means there must be staging, ladders, and a high amount of going up and down the ladders. 

Aluminum and vinyl are more affordable, lower maintenance, and have less construction effort to install. Wood eaves require maintenance and care, but aluminum and vinyl do not. In addition, wood is a more classic material used for years. Aluminum and vinyl are newer but may be able to mimic the look of wood. 

How are House Eaves Constructed?

Eaves are a critical part of your roof as they help the water run off the side of the house instead of down the exterior walls. When the water runs straight down the exterior wall, it can seep into the house and cause other water leakage problems. 

A leak can occur between the space where the roof and the walls join. When the water is moved away from the walls, it also prevents water from pooling at the bottom of the house. Water that sits around the footers of the house can cause decay and foundational concerns. 

It must be built to the right size when constructing a roof eave because eaves provide shade for the windows. This helps maintain the temperature inside the house and keeps it comfortable. Windows allow a good amount of heat or cold in and out of the house. When an eave is properly placed, it will enable sunlight in the winter and shade in the summer. 

When constructing eaves, it is important to remember that the width of the eave should be built in relation to the pitch of the roof. If the roof has a steep pitch, then the eaves are narrow. If there is not a steep pitch, then the eaves should be wide. 

If the windows face the north should be approximately 45% of the height distance from the top of the eave to the bottom of the window. This provides the maximum amount of sun in the winter and shade in the summer. 

The central part of the eave is the rafter tail. This is the part of the rafter that extends beyond the house wall. The rafter tail can be cut to shorten the eave or left alone to be a wider eave. The end of the eave is created by two cuts to create the right angle. When the rafter is added to the roof, the bottom creates a level cut where the soffit is installed. Once the soffit is added, it creates a horizontal area where the fascia is nailed. The entire assembly is now vertical. 

House Eaves Lighting Ideas

House eave lighting is also referred to as overhang lights or lighting soffited eaves. Overhang lighting is coming back in style. An overhand light is just what it sounds like, lights installed in an overhang. You see this type of lighting on the exterior of a house, a deck, or a front porch. 

Lighting in your house eaves is a great way to maintain the outside of your home. They can help with ventilation, extend the life of the gutter system, keep away unwanted pests, and light up your house in the evening. There are many eave lighting options for you to consider when thinking about how to add lighting to your home.

Your style is a major contributor to the type and location of lighting you add to your house. For example, lighting for the front door is a crucial consideration. This is the main entryway, making it an important area for lighting. It adds style and class to your home, as well as provides security to your home. You can add mounted lights, hanging lights, or both. 

Hanging lights can include pendants and lanterns, which are perfect for tall porches or entryways. The space can look empty if there is not a hanging fixture. 

Garage lighting is another place to consider eave lighting. Floodlights are great for the garage area. You can place them in the highest point of the garage. These lights can be sensor-driven and motion-activated. Recessed or pot lighting provides a new look to the garage area.

When thinking about outdoor lighting for eaves, there are three main types for consideration. One of the options is recessed lighting. This lighting is recessed inside the ceiling, wall, or other surfaces. It contains a housing where the fixture sits so that it cannot be seen below the surface where it is mounted. 

Another option is flush mount lights which are completely flush against the house, but the light fixture drops down below the mounting or house. A variation of a flush mount light is the semi-flush mount light. This light attaches directly to the ceiling or surface, but a part of it hangs down from the ceiling. 

Any of these choices are great options for installing lights in the upper portion of the eave on your roof. 

How to Clean House Eaves

Another common term for house eaves is a gutter. While they are not exactly the same thing all the time, when it comes to cleaning the eaves and gutters, the process is basically the same. Therefore, it is imperative that gutters and eaves are cleaned on a regular basis. 

If they are not cleaned properly, it can cause significant damage to your eaves, roof, and foundation. The eaves collect water and melting snow to direct it away from the house and foundation. When the eaves are sagging or clogged, they allow water to seep into the roof, which can cause rot and mold. 

When water freezes in and around the eaves, ice dams may be created that can destroy and warp the gutters. Icicles can also form, which can become a safety hazard. Therefore, it is a good idea to clean the eaves twice a year. However, if you have a large number of trees around your house or have a lot of severe weather, you should consider cleaning them four times a year. 

A good rule of thumb is to clean the eaves in the fall after all the leaves are off the trees. Leaves tend to cause the biggest problem for eaves. When cleaning the eaves, a critical step is to flush all downspouts. Downspouts are important to direct water away from your house, and it is essential that they work properly. 

You can clean out your eaves yourself, but you may want to consider hiring a professional to do it for you. You will need a ladder that is tall enough to reach the eaves to clean them, and that can be dangerous for some. However, if you feel comfortable up on a tall ladder, cleaning your eaves is simple. 

You need a trowel, gloves, and a hose. The hose should have a nozzle that you can adjust to stream and spray. Some might suggest using a power washer, but this is not ideal. Using a power washer from above a ladder is dangerous. You can also cause damage to your eave and house if not handled properly. 

First, spray water down the drainpipe to ensure there are no obstructions. You can also ensure that there is nothing in the way at the bottom of the pipe to prevent the water from coming out of it. You want to start at the drainpipe and work your way back. 

Using the trowel, scrape and scoop all debris you find in the eaves. You want to work slowly and carefully. Do not stretch too far. Be sure to move the ladder as you need to. While it might seem easier to stretch a little further, it is not safe. You want to alternate between scooping and spraying water. You always want to ensure that water is flowing in the area where you just worked. 

How to Paint House Eaves

There are two ways that you can paint the eaves of your roof. The two ways are using a roller or brush or using a sprayer. For those that enjoy painting, it may be a simple and enjoyable task to paint the eaves. However, for everyone else, it may seem like a painstaking task because you are on a ladder and painting over your head.

Both options, a brush and sprayer have negatives and positives. Using a brush or a roller may be difficult for your neck and shoulders. With a roller, you have the option of an extension pole, so you do not have to stand on a high ladder. If you use a sprayer to paint, it is much faster; however, it requires a lot of taping and masking. 

If you opt for a paintbrush or roller, it is best to pour the paint into a bucket instead of using the paint can. You will need a 2.5 inch or 3 inch brush to cut in the corners, angles, and grooves. After you cut in all the corners, you can use a roller to paint the rest. 

It is best to use a 9 inch roller with a 1/2 inch lambswool cover. While this costs a little more than a synthetic cover, it gets into the grooves and corners better. However, when it comes to painting the trim, you want to use a 6 inch roller. 

If you prefer to you a sprayer, you need to use paper and masking tape. It would be best if you considered a hand masker to apply precise masking. You want to apply two bands of 9 inch masking paper. It should be taped along the bottom edge of the eaves.

Spray the eaves and then allow them to dry for 1 to 3 hours before you remove the masking tape and paper. 

Who Fixes House Eaves?

In some cases, you may be able to do your own eave and soffit repair. However, if you do not think you have the skills or the idea makes you nervous, you can hire someone to do the work for you. 

There are a large number of professionals that can repair soffits and eaves. These professionals include carpenters, roofers, companies specializing in gutters, general contractors, and maintenance people. 

To hire the correct person for the job, you should be aware of all the damage with measurements, if possible. In addition, you should consider taking pictures of the affected area. This can help you ask questions to determine if a particular person is the right one for the job. 

It would help if you asked about cost, materials, and experience when on the hunt for a qualified person. Once you ensure the person has all the proper qualifications, knowledge, and experience, the price they are charging is an essential piece of information. 

Once a contract is drafted and signed, you want to ensure that the schedule and agreed-upon work are adhered to. In addition, there are some signs to which you should pay attention. These include a high down payment, a requirement for cash payment, or if they will not provide proof of qualifications. 

How to Repair House Eaves Yourself

If you feel comfortable enough, it is possible to fix your eaves yourself. You can even do it without having to climb on the roof. Unfortunately, while eaves are beneficial to your home, they also fall victim to water damage. Once water seeps in, it does not take long for rot to occur and spread. In addition, the wood tends to stay wet because it is a dark space. 

Water is not the only culprit when it comes to damaging eaves. Birds and squirrels like to nest in eaves, which causes problems. They can chew or peak through an eave, even one that has no prior damage. 

Depending on what caused the damage, you may want to call a professional to remove the birds, animals, or other pests before repairing the eave. 

The first step is to use a flat bar to remove the narrow shingle mold from the fascia. You can use it later if it comes off without splitting. Next, you are able to remove the section of the fascia that has rotted. Again, you must be careful not to cause any damage to the flashing or shingles. 

Then, you can pull off the old soffit to give you access to the rafter. You may have to cut out the rotted part of the rafter using a reciprocating saw. You can use pressure-treated wood for a replacement piece. It would be best if you considered adding a cleat to provide support to the new overhang. Now, screw the new rafter to the cleat and a backing board. 

Before attaching the new soffit, you want to seal it to protect it from water penetration. Now, you can attach the soffit to the underside of the eave. You can then replace the molding, fascia, and shingle mold (in that order).