Have you ever heard the word eaves and wondered what exactly they are? This article will explore what eaves on the house are, why they exist, and why they’re helpful. Eaves are at the junction where a sloping roof meets the wall. They serve to hang the roof over the wall and provide a few purposes. Here is everything you need to know about eaves on a house.
Table of Contents
What are the eaves of a house?
Eaves refer to the overhanging part of the roof rafters that protect its windows and walls below during rainstorms. The word “eave” originates from the Old English word “efes,” meaning “overlapping.” You can often find eaves on older homes with pitched roofs because they often diverted water away from the foundation.
What are eaves made of?
Eaves of a house are made of rafters, soffits, and fascia. The soffits protect the under part of the eaves, and the fascia runs along the edge of the building horizontally, covering the roof’s edge.
Depending on the roof slope, gutters can be attached to the fascia at the end of the eaves to help move water from the roof down to the ground and away from the foundation. In addition, there are openings in the overhang of this roof space to ventilate and allow for airflow.
Without the gutters doing this, there would be water in the basement. So they are an essential part of a roof. Likewise, people use gables and eaves on homes to prevent rainwater and melting snow from coming into contact with the sides of a house.
What is a gable?
A gable end is an area on an exterior wall where the roof and a horizontal section intersects. Gable roofs are one of the most common and ancient architectural elements. You’ll see them in many older churches, barns, and cottages worldwide.
Gables on homes perform two functions. First, they look good and keep water from above windows or doors.
What are the different types of eaves?
There are three basic types of roof eaves, and they have a variety of benefits. The main ones are closed, exposed, and boxed.
Exposed eaves are when no soffits are covering the overhang underneath, and you can see the exposed supporting rafters of the roof. While this gives a nice look, it does make the home more prone to insects getting in (like wasps and bees) to the attic and nesting.
Closed or Soffited eave
These form a closed eave with soffits that seal the gap running along the length of the home. This gives the eaves a cleaner look and better protection against pests entering your attic. In addition, the soffit panels protect the underside of the eaves from animals and insects and help with airflow in the attic, which can help prevent ice damming during the winter.
Boxed Eaves are another form of closed eaves, and the overhangs are enclosed with panels with some type of ventilated system. They are most commonly seen in carports and garages.
Disadvantages of eaves of a house
Roof eaves serve the purpose of collecting and draining rainfall at the junction where a sloping roof meets the wall. People may make them from many materials, including wood or metal. The visually interesting design of eaves, usually peaked in shape, has caught falling rainwater for centuries.
However, eaves can also pose problems, especially if not properly installed or maintained.
The following are some disadvantages of roof eaves:
- They may be prone to leaking because water builds up along the top ridge of the roof where it meets exterior walls.
- If gutter systems have not been installed, which direct rainwater away from the structure, it can cause damage to the foundation.
- If not properly maintained, eaves may provide an easy entry for predators such as rodents and insects.
Advantages of eaves on a house
Roof eaves serve your home by protecting it from damage from water pooling on the roof, whether there’s a heavy rainstorm or melting snow. They also extend the life of a roof by protecting it from other elements such as hail and sun rays.
An overhanging portion of the roof covers eaves, usually sloping downward in a direction away from the exterior walls. This protects the windows and walls below. Most homes have eaves because they are aesthetically pleasing and architecturally interesting. They may also be shaped into an arch or curve to add visual interest and architectural style to a house.
Eaves provide shade to the house, providing the walls with some relief from the elements and keeping the home comfortable.
What are eavestroughs?
You can find eavestroughs, also commonly known as gutters, on the roof overhang of homes and buildings. They are structures covering the edge of a roof, which collects water from the roof into a downspout or gutter system.
Eavestroughs can be made out of different materials, including metal, aluminum, wood, and plastic.
What is a fascia?
A fascia is a general term meaning any thin strip of material. Generally, it refers to the flat board running along the roof’s edge that covers its edges and eaves. Learn more about them in our “What is fascia on a house” post.
What are soffits?
Soffits are like eaves, but instead of descending from the roof edge, they go on the underside of the overhanging portion of a roof at a right angle to the wall. They protect walls and windows underneath and also provide a nice decorative look. Learn more about them in our “What are soffits” post.
Bottom Line: Why You Need Roof Eaves on a House
Roof eaves are the overhanging part of a roof that protects windows and siding walls from water damage or other weather elements. This building overhang protects the foundation and siding of a home. People use eaves because aesthetically, they look good, and functionally they serve an essential purpose.
As homeowners, it’s good to understand these roofing terms and their function better and all parts of a house. That way, when you are getting a new roof or repairing roof tiles, you will know what they are talking about and be more confident in your choices.