soffit-ventsQ: We recently purchased an older home and the home inspector pointed out that we need to add vents to our soffit. Can you help me understand why this is important?

We often get questions from homeowners about soffit vents and why they’re important. Soffit is a French word and literally translates to something fixed underneath. Soffit is most commonly found around the underside perimeter of a home’s roof, but can also be found on the underside of porches, columns, arches, and other places with a visible ceiling.

Soffit serves both an aesthetic and functional purpose. It serves as a cover for your eaves to hide exposed beams. In addition, soffit is available in an array of colors and styles to coordinate or contrast with your home’s current exterior siding. It’s a subtle upgrade that can make a big difference in your home’s curb appeal.

Aside from complementing the exterior of your home, however, soffit is critical for a variety of reasons and we will review those below.

Benefits of Soffit Installation

Helping your home breath: As we mentioned before, it’s critically important to keep your home and roofing system properly ventilated. With frequent showers here in New England, it’s important that moisture is expelled from your home. Soffit helps your home achieve the right amount of airflow circulation without allowing moisture to accumulate around the beams and interior elements of your home. This ventilation is achieved through mini-holes or vents in the soffit. These vents make your home breathable and provide air circulation to your attic. For optimal ventilation, soffit vents are paired with either ridge or gable vents.

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Preventing ice dams: As a New England homeowner, you’re well aware of the havoc freezing temperatures, snow, and ice can cause to a home. Soffit is an important piece of the puzzle in preventing ice dams. Soffit helps to increase ventilation for your roof and attic, which ultimately helps prevent ice dams. In addition to proper ventilation, however, adequate insulation is also needed to prevent warm air from making it’s way into the attic which in turn heats up your roof and starts the melting and freezing process associated with ice dams.

Prevents water from blowing into your home: If you live near the coast, rain and wind can push water under the eaves. Without proper protection of soffit, rain and moisture can make its way into your home. Water can easily collect in this area if it’s not maintained, but soffit can help keep rainwater at bay.

How to Maintain Your Soffit for Maximum Protection

If you choose to install vinyl soffit, there won’t be much maintenance involved at all. Occasionally check for mold and mildew and remove with a soft brush and cleaning solution. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for bee and wasp nests, and remember to keep your gutters clean.

We hope you found our post on soffits helpful. If you have questions about soffit vents or want to make sure your roof and attic are properly ventilated, contact Stephanie today at