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Cons of not having Facia and soffit

  • 08-02-2022 4:31pm
    Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭

    Hi everyone, a friend who self built a few years ago advised this forum is a good resource for advise and discussion on all things build related so I might be a frequent presence around here over the coming while. We are about to start a self-build in the coming weeks so mostly concentrating on foundations and ground works at the moment, pricing things up etc.

    Jumping ahead a bit - one thing we would like to get some information on in advance is around facia and soffit or the lack thereof. We are both quite fond of the modern look of many new houses that have no facia and soffit where the wall is flush with the roof with just the gutter overhang really. We haven't discussed with our engineer as yet but one or two family friends who would be in the building trade (if a bit long in the tooth) are very against the idea citing lack of protection for walls from wind and rain etc. However since it does appear to be how a lot of houses are build nowadays we feel it can't be that bad or is it? Another person I was talking to suggested that its better for BER and heat loss to not have the facia and soffit though that's neither here nor there on if it could lead to issues down the line.

    Just interested in hearing some opinions on it and any experience others may have.


  • Subscribers Posts: 40,881 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    nothing at all to do with BER or heat loss, its purely an aesthetic feature, and one that requires the trades to be much more detailed and precise.

    There are proprietary gable slate trims which make it easy for the roofer and plasterer, so no soffit isn't really a big deal. You need to make sure you design your roof ventilation properly though, whether through a fascia or through vent slates.

    no fascia is a bit more awkward though. you need a "ground" to fix the guttering to, and usually that is a fascia of some description (as the gutter will be laid to fall)

    so what id suggest is to get the detail sorted out before the house even goes to site.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,245 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    The style of house will dictate really.

    If it's designed not to have either, well go that way.

    It's a fact that the 1980 detail with fascia and soffit is easier to construct and easier to weather specially if in exposed location.

    Planning permission may already specific what is required or at least max overhang will be specified.

  • Registered Users Posts: 695 ✭✭✭JimmyMW

    Yeah i would suggest the planning will dictate here, both are substantially different looks. That aside thou, both details are equally good if designed properly in terms of water tightness, however the detail without the fascia and soffit is substantially more difficult to get right on site and if not perfect is a much more vulnerable junction as there is no overhang to protect it. As your build will progress you will see the quality of workmanship your dealing with, however I can safely say after building 2 houses that I would avoid purely due to the lack of labour site skill alone. Also the only design issue with it that I see as a negative is possible staining from water where the gutter bracket joins the render, however no more than the down pipe brackets.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,569 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern

    Just do some reason that it doesn't increase the risk for algae water marks. A lot of modern houses are more prone to this ugly effect. I think it is veyr location dependent

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Firstly, thanks for the quick responses to my question - certainly they have given us something to think about already. I will try to quickly respond to some of the comments.

    @sydthebeat Thanks for the overview, I hadn't considered that it might be a much more difficult look to achieve. We are also planning on having MHRV so I am not sure how much impact that might have on vent placement etc.

    @mickdw I suppose the assumption is that it would have facia and soffit, it hasn't been discussed as to be honest it is only very recently we realised that the no facia and soffit look actually meant not having it rather than having a very sleek low overhang version. From an actual construction plan point of view we are building by direct labour so we are only getting the construction drawings in stages - currently we only have the foundation and site layout drawings so it is still something that can be discussed with our engineer though as mentioned I think his assumption is it will be included so not sure how he will react to the suggestion of leaving it out.

    I checked our planning again and the only reference to facia and soffit in the C3 is that it must be dark in colour.

    @JimmyMW On the workmanship side, as we are doing direct labour the workmanship of each trade is not linked (as I assume you are thinking of a contracted builder who you would assume a similar level of skill for all the trades men working under him). Therefore this will not really help. I think its just something I will need to discuss with our engineer and then with potential tradesmen for the roofing.

    Overall reading the replies it does seem like something that needs to be carefully considered and might just not be worth the additional complication or risk of it not going right particularly with direct labour. If having a very very slight facia and soffit was feasible then I would be happy with that, what I really don't want is a big ugly (in my eyes) over hang as I think it will make the house look more old fashioned and generally I just don't like that look.

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  • Subscribers Posts: 40,881 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    hi sodium

    roof ventilation has nothing to do with MHRV or ventilation within your home.

    Building a home in 2022 is very involved and nuanced, with thermal bridging, air tightness, holistic energy efficient measures, off site productions, mechanical installations etc to be honest, from what youve posted so far you are in no way ready to take on a self build.

    you need professional help, and you need the construction of your dwelling fully detailed out before you turn a sod.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,245 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    There are a number of looks you can go for.

    Given you like the look of no fascia and soffit, you should certainly not go with gable fascia, instead just slate trim to be seen.

    You then have the option of using a fascia at eaves but with little to no overhang. This can look ok. You can use over fascia ventilators if you need to vent you roof structure.

    Mhrv will not be exiting around fascia so is not a concern.

  • Registered Users Posts: 341 ✭✭munsterfan2

    We also have issues where there is a natural stone cladding and the builder didnt seal / finished the edging very poorly. It was fine where the render was flush with the roof, but not where there was stone cladding

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Thanks syd, overall I have quite a good understanding of the requirements and steps for the build - there would just be some nuances around some of the more recent techniques and systems that I wouldn't fully understand but I have a very competent engineer who will be supporting me throughout and will be ensuring all building regs and other items you listed have been planned - much of the items you listed we have discussed. My comment on the MHRV was simply I wasn't sure if this also replaced/reduces the need for roof ventilation as it removes wall ventilation.

    As for having things detailed out from the start, while I only have the construction drawings for the foundation, the key areas of construction have been considered and discussed (this facia and soffit question is someting that only came to light recently and would be assumed on part of the engineer as going ahead as normal). The rest of the drawings will follow soon once some outstanding decisions are decided on.

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,881 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    get your engineer to detail up how to construct what you want the final product to look like. They will then have to design in how the detail complies with regulations

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  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Thanks mickdw, this sounds like a possible way to go.

    I will discuss the options with my engineer, but it has been very helpful to get some informations and opinions in advance so I have some initial insight. I look forward to discussing some other parts of the build as questions arise 😃

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,842 ✭✭✭Chris_5339762

    Personally, I think having facia and soffit looks much better. IMO we need to go back to the situation of having them in houses, and also having gaps deliberately in place for birds to nest in. But thats controversial and I know it!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,794 ✭✭✭✭muffler

    Making provision for birds to nest? You'll regret that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 543 ✭✭✭Squeaksoutloud

    Interesting question as not something I gave great thought to when building ours. We don't have fascia and soffit and from a practical point of view it makes little difference as far as I am concerned. I think it has a huge aesthetic benefit not having them as it makes a house look much more clean cut and modern looking. I doubt many architects would be including for them these days as it wouldn't be in keeping with the various rural house design guides and achieving a vernacular look. I always recommend to my friends to insist on not having them as otherwise the house looks too bulky and not contemporary. McKevitt King architects have a good blog post on them and link to the Meath Rural House design Guide.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,133 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    "but one or two family friends who would be in the building trade (if a bit long in the tooth) are very against the idea citing lack of protection for walls from wind and rain etc."

    Experience can't be beaten, these people are giving you the benefit of what they see and come across. As for modern, I look at some of the housing being built now and you'd wonder how they'll have fared in 50 years time. In some countries, there seems to be an acceptance that buildings will be replaced on a cyclical basis. But in Ireland, we prefer the idea that we are building something that will last & endure. Substance before style would be my advice!

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,881 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat

    you cant have experience in something you havent experienced. No doubt many of those long-in-the-tooth tradesmen were training in the age of "mortar up everything" under the black tar felt, a time when roof ventilation and condensation was not an issue as insulation was something for wires.

    If i had a euro for the amount of times ive heard "shure thats the way ive always done it" on a building site, i could retire tomorrow.

    also, building regulations require our buildings to "endure and last" so its not a preference but a requirement. We dont do trailer park timber housing in ireland thankfully.

  • Registered Users Posts: 38,970 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    What sort of engineer do you have?

    I'd be very wary of doing any sort of bespoke detailing with somebody with no training or experience in the area. Engineers got away with planning and construction when all house were the same and you could build from the homebond book. Maybe some have become competent designers with on the job experience. But most will not have imo.

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Hi Mellor, not sure what you mean by "what sort of engineer"? He is would be a well respected Architect and Engineer in the South East region I am from. The house is bespoke design by him and his team (to our requirements) and he is now overseeing the project as engineer also - fully qualified and attached to the relevant professional body. I have seen his work on other houses in the area and I would have no concerns whatsoever.

    I appreciate the feedback however as I do understand there are some people out there who may not know their stuff so it is good to highlight this so everyone keeps this in mind when looking for these services.

  • Registered Users Posts: 38,970 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    What sort of engineer as in what discipline of engineering is he qualified. You mention he’s an architect? Is he a registered/qualified architect?

    I wasn’t referring to detailing the house to your requirements. But to the technical requirements of modern construction. Such as detailing a house without a fascia, or to eliminate cold bridges.

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    The owner of the firm is a qualified and registered architect - there are some others working in the firm that are engineers but not sure of their exact areas of qualification though presumably relevant to the work they do. We have mostly dealt directly with the boss so far and even if he hasn't actually done drawings etc himself he has certainly overseen the work and delegated exactly as we had discussed things.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 38,970 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    In the the first post you said he was your engineer. It’s if turns out he’s actually a registered architect. It’s a very different story.

    He may have dual qualifications, in which case he’s a outlier. The vast majority of “residential engineers” have no design or architectural qualifications

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Thanks Mellor, yes a registered architect. I have gotten into the habit of using the term engineer as from the bank to the trades people I speak to they all refer to "your engineer' or "the engineer" in conversations or on forms to be filled etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,245 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    I'd imagine your architect will have the fascia detail well under control.

    As far as I'm concerned, this is a very clean detail.

  • Registered Users Posts: 38,970 ✭✭✭✭Mellor

    You'll have no issues then.

    I understand how it could become habit to go along with "Your engineer" speak form the banks and the like. That to me illustrates how many engineers where taking the piss and cashing in during the glory days of the Celtic Tiger.


    It's a nice modern detail. Just needs accurate worksman ship and a good detail.

    The point of overhanging eaves was to cope with gutters that leak, or no gutter at all. Neither of which is acceptable to me in this day and age.

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Hi All, apologies for dragging up my own thread from over a year ago but I remembered the mention of roof ventilation in this discussion so thought it was a good place to ask a question.

    We did opt for having a facia and soffit in the end albeit we went for about half the standard overhang. My question was that I remember roof ventilation being mentioned above so was just looking for some input. The attic will be a cold space, we have Tyvex supro breathable felt and 6 slate vents will be included. My question is it still required to have ventilation at the soffit? I have the list from my roofer for getting all the materials for doing the facia, soffit and gutters and I see it's just solid soffit/facia boards same as the garage which he did a while back. I think there is 1 vent on the list - does this sound ok or should I be having more vents/a continuous ventilation track around the soffit? I know Tyvex claim its not needed but manufactures like to say how great their products are.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,988 ✭✭✭Stone Deaf 4evr

    This is from Part F of the building regs - in summary, you need a vent equivalent to a 10mm continuous strip. This can be done with an over fascia vent, strip or alternatively, soffit vents to the amount that the area in mm2 matches up to. Its important that the attic insulation doesnt extend out into the soffit boxes also, as it'll hinder airflow.

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    Thanks, I have discussed this and agreed to install a vent strip every metre around the soffit (except on gables). Not sure if this is exactly equivalent to the 10mm continuous but along with slate vents and breathable felt to me its sounds like it will be fine. According to him lots of houses he has done recently have put no soffit ventilation at all, especially those with no facia and soffit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 PatCar1

    @SodiumCooled We had the exact same debate for our new build. We went of a 7 inch fascia in the end - against the slim line look of the plans. For the walls it still looks good.

    For the gables it's not as slim as we originally planned but as we are in Co.Kerry (hammered by the Wild Atlantic 365 days) I had to side with the roof and builder and come to a compromise.

    Do you have any photos of your gables?

  • Registered Users Posts: 319 ✭✭SodiumCooled

    We went for about 6 inches (when plastered). Gables approximately the same but very slight variations to work out with slates. I dont have a pic of the gable since facia and soffit went on but it looks pretty much identical to the overhang at other locations. I will try to post a picture when I get a chance.

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