The Importance of High Performing Fascias, Soffits and Gutters

Grant Findley of Findley Roofing & Building

Grant Findley of Findley Roofing and Building explores three reasons why your clients should consider upgrading old timber FSG to UPVC.

DON’T YOU just always encounter a confused face whenever the words “fascias and soffits” are mentioned? It’s like you’ve just created a new language – even though they serve an integral purpose and every home needs them! Fair enough, it’s usually the fascias and soffits that cause the most distress (gutters is a more universal term!). However, when combined we of course more commonly, and collectively, refer to this holy trinity of roofing as FSG.

And although FSG have been around for a long time, many homeowners don’t realise that older, pre 1980’s homes were constructed using un-treated timber fascias and soffits – many of which have, do and will require replacing at some stage. However, thanks to innovation in the field, advances in technology have of course seen FSG manufacturers replace timber with new UPVC. Since then, the life expectancy and performance of FSG have of course both risen dramatically – and here’s what your customers need to know to make the switch.

So why change to UPVC?

1 – Low maintenance:
As with anything it depends on the quality of the product, but in general UPVC fascias demand very little maintenance (which homeowners will be delighted with!). They don’t ask to be painted every few years, nor do they require any treatment. They also come in a range of different colours, from the more common all-white, to rosewood dark-brown, in order to match up with any fancy windows customers may have already had installed. Like all gutters, they will hold debris, muck and leaves – and you can also explain to them how a leaf guard will reduce the amount of time and money they spend cleaning them out. The life expectancy of over 25 years will be another strong sale point, and it’s normal to throw in around a ten year guarantee with every installation.

2 – Ventilation:
This is certainly one that homeowners don’t always consider, but one of the best features of new plastic soffits is that they can create immense ventilation – allowing airflow to pass safely through the loft space. Unlike their timber predecessors, new gutter systems come with vent strips on the underside, which help to moderate the rising heat from the home. This significantly reduces the chance of condensation (a word which will strike fear into any of your customers), and prolongs the longevity of the roof itself. Condensation, when left unresolved, can cause the deterioration of structural timbers, felt, lath nails and even speed up the failure of the FSG themselves. If low maintenance and aesthetics aren’t good enough reasons alone for them to consider a replacement, then I’m sure allowing the roof to vent will change their mind!

3 – Damp issues/ Rot:
It doesn’t need a scientist to explain that UPVC’s water resistant properties surpass anything that wood is able to achieve. After all, after years of weathering, the untreated timber will inevitably begin to become porous, and once rot has set in it is extremely difficult to reverse. No matter how much money they spend trying to repair or treat timber, replacement is often the most sensible course of action – so be sure they are aware of this. When left, damp timbers will spread to the rafter feet, cause the eaves’ felt to perish, and make the project expenses become more extravagant. As we know, when it comes to guttering systems on a property, prevention is certainly preferable to a more expensive cure – so don’t let them leave it until it’s too late and more damage is done.

What is the best practice when replacing old for new?
Ultimately, it’s not hard to see that UPVC is the right choice when a homeowner is considering an upgrade. However, there are certain ways the job should be installed for them to get a positive return on their money. As with every trade, there are unfortunately firms within our industry that choose to cut corners and costs, by changing the correct procedure to a more affordable one for their client (essentially in order to capture business for themselves).

In the FSG trade the most common corner cutting tactic is a process called ‘over capping’, which has been tarnishing the name of the industry for some time. Companies, in an attempt to keep the cost and labour down, fix new UPVC materials without actually removing the old fascias and soffits, resulting inevitably in problems down the line.

The correct procedure when installing new FSG is:

  • Erect scaffolding – whether the property is a bungalow, garage or three-storey town house, scaffolding is required. This is not only for the safety of the workers and clients living at the property, but also to guarantee the highest quality standard of work, which is simply unachievable when working from a ladder!
  • Remove the end tiles of the roof to expose the eaves’ felt.
  • Remove all old fascias, soffits and gutters and inspect the rafter feet as well as the roof felt. Repair everything where needed.
  • Install new eaves protector trays, fascias, soffits and gutters.
  • Re-tile existing roof covering, clean down and remove scaffolding.

Findley Roofing & Building believe that every client should be able to benefit from working openly and honestly with a professional, insured firm. You can help clients to understand what exactly FSG means, why it is essential, and give them extra peace of mind.

Whenever Findley Roofing & Building employees are installing a new roof, FSG, or performing any roof repairs in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Gateshead or beyond – they like to explain exactly what they’re doing, when and where they’re doing it.

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