Most property’s Fascias and Barge Boards are made from softwood. Softwood is used because it is easy to work with and cheap to obtain. In many cases, unseasoned wood is used. However, in order to be weather proof it needs to be primed and painted and this protective paint layer needs to be regularly renewed.
Then factor in, wet winters, awkward access to reach gable ends on the side of property’s, missing a maintenance decorating cycle and it’s likely that you will have one or more of the following challenges:
- Exposes softwood timber to the elements and makes your property look shabby
- Allows water ingress that damages your roof support timbers and ceilings
- Creates mini-waterfalls all around your home during heavy rainstorms
Leaky or Rusty Guttering
- Leaves unsightly stains and damages your brickwork. Repointing or replacing brickwork is costly
Sorting out problems like these is really quite simple, using one of three solutions:
Roofline Maintenance Solutions
Solution 1: DIY – Roofline and Fascia Replacement
If you are comfortable working at heights, have a sturdy ladder, the time you need, the necessary carpentry skills and enjoy getting your hands dirty you could carry out the work yourself.
- take down the gutters and downpipes,
- remove any rotten woodwork and carry out barge board, soffit and fascia replacement work,
- remove any pests, nests or vermin that have taken up residence in your eaves,
- sand down, prime and paint (twice) the fascia boards and bargeboards,
- replace rotting roofing felt,
- re-attach the gutters and downpipes.
Time needed? Larger rooflines can take quite a few days (or weekends) to get it all done, assuming you have easy access to the whole of your roofline, you don’t discover vermin problems – like wasp nests, you know what you are doing and the weather is kind to you! (it rarely is in the winter months)
Solution 2: Hire Contractors
For the average-sized three-bedroom house you can expect to pay at least £500 for your roofline and fascia replacement. Plus, because of Health & Safety Legislation, you may have additional scaffolding costs—anything from £320 to £800.
Total outlay: £820 to £1,300 excluding additional materials like timber for fascia replacement or new guttering. Over a 20 year period—with inflation at the current rate—your potential outlay can be up to £5,200 or even more!
Solution 3: Decide on fascia replacement; replace soffits, fascia boards, bargeboards, guttering & downpipes… all with high quality uPVC fittings
My company, Anglia Roofline, is based in Taverham and specialises in uPVC fascia replacement as well as soffits, barge boards and guttering. Because we do not supply and fit any other products, such as double-glazing, and have two decades of experience our knowledge of rooflines is second-to-none. And it shows – check the 170+ customer reviews we have on the feedback website www.referenceline.com – giving us an average of 9.5 out of 10! (Hey, nobody’s perfect!!) Here’s just one of the reviews you can read on there:
“Thank you for completing an excellent job for us. We all knew it wouldn’t be straightforward but your hardworking, polite and cheerful fitters James & Justyn overcame all the installation problems as they cropped up.
They were not fazed with the discovery of neither numerous wasp nests nor the difficult rear accessibility for the installation of the fascia board, guttering and downpipes at the back of the house due to the kitchen extension and conservatory.
All problems and obstacles were safely overcome. We are well pleased and would not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone else. Thank you”. Mike & Jean Hunter, Taverham, Norwich
The Four-Year Maintenance Cycle
Most professionals in our industry sector agree that the maintenance cycle for softwood boards is around four years. In other words, your wooden fascias, soffits and bargeboards need to be properly repainted every four years if they are to remain in good condition.
If you miss out a maintenance cycle for any reason, or just delay it for a couple of years, there will be much more work to do the next time – some carpentry, for example, to replace rotten wood, or replacement gutters. If you have bargeboards that have been left unpainted, water tends to build up at the base of the ‘gable ladder’, eventually leading to wood rot. You may find that you actually have to consider fascia replacement if the timber is too far gone. Basically, the longer you leave your maintenance, the more time and cost will be required just to get back to an adequate state of repair.
The True Cost of Repair Vs. Fascia Replacement
Let’s say you keep on top of your four-year cycle, regularly repainting your softwood to keep it in tip-top condition. Surely that’s cheaper than fascia replacement, or replacing the entire roofline with uPVC? Well, the figures may surprise you. If your roofline was well constructed in the first place, you might be lucky enough to get as much as 40 years’ use out of it. However, a more realistic estimate is probably a lifetime of around 20 years – which is also the projected lifetime of uPVC roofline elements.
In the table below, we’ve compared the project costs of maintaining a softwood roofline with the cost of replacing it in its entirety. We’ve assumed that you pay a contractor to maintain your roofline, rather than doing it yourself. We’ve also assumed that the cost of maintenance rises by around 15% every four years, taking into account factors such as:
- Inflation: currently running at around 3% (January 2013)
- Increased materials cost: bearing in mind that our own materials have increased in cost by around 16% every year for the last three years, mainly due to rising oil prices
- Increased regulatory and insurance burden: contractors will probably have to comply with more Health and safety legislation in future, increasing the time and labour of every job.
When you take all these into account, it’s clear that our estimated increase of 15% over four years is actually pretty conservative! For an average-sized three-bedroom house, the cost to replace the whole roofline with uPVC is likely to be around £2,500. The cost for repairing and repainting an existing softwood roofline on the same property would be around £500.
So let’s put those figures into a table and see how the money works out over the whole lifetime of roofline – what it would cost to maintain a softwood roofline as opposed to its uPVC counterpart, taking future price increases into account.
|Now||4 Years||8 Years||12 Years||16 Years||Total|
Now you can see why replacing your roofline, rather than just re-decorating, is probably a better solution and choosing the right company is important.