Siding & Soffit Installation: What Goes First? (Quick Guide)

You know that finished and aesthetically pleasing look most homes have? Well, it can only be achieved with siding and/or soffit. These products are pretty much architectural finishes.

Siding and soffit come as a package and are to be installed in a specific order. You may have read online that the order in which you install these materials doesn’t matter but this isn’t true.

While there are no severe consequences for installing siding and soffit in the wrong order, it’s best you do things the right way.

Keep reading to find out how exactly siding, soffit, and other related building materials should be installed and several helpful tips for a successful installation.

What is Soffit?

Soffit is an architectural add-on or finish that is typically installed on the underside of overhanging eaves, balconies, or arches.  It can be made out of uPVC, fiber cement, wood, aluminum, and steel.

Siding and soffit look pretty similar as they are usually installed in the same color and design, but they perform entirely different functions.

As the name implies, siding is a wall covering or cladding to be attached to the outer side of the walls of a house. While soffit is a material to be installed on the underside of the interior or exterior of a building.

The purposes of soffit are as follows;

  • Safeguarding the interiors of your home from pest intrusions from the roofline.
  • Providing an effective ventilation system or vent unit to your attic.
  • Preventing or reducing mold and mildew buildup in your roofing structure.
  • Aiding in the overall insulation of your home or resident.
  • Adding character and color to the design or appearance of your home.

Should You Install Soffit or Siding First?

Contrary to popular opinion, soffit and siding have an order in which they are to be installed; soffit is to be installed first followed by siding.

Before you install your soffit, you must identify what type of eaves your home has. Here are the three types of eaves,

  • Narrow Eaves: If your overhang is considerably small, then your house has narrow eaves. Houses with narrow eaves require continuous or non-vented soffits.
  • Open Eaves: This type of eave is commonly found on older homes and new homes with roofs that are insulated. Homes with open eaves do not require soffit.
  • Wide Eaves: A home with a large overhang or wide eaves needs vented soffit panels.

Siding is relatively easy to install but you might have a hard time deciding what type of siding is best for your home because there are so many options on the market.

When shopping for house siding have in mind the timeframe in which you’d want the project executed, the durability of the siding, and if you’d be able to afford later repairs.

Most homeowners go with vinyl siding because it’s the most affordable out of all the options, it’s very easy to get, install and maintain, and it doesn’t need to be painted over.

Why Soffit Should Be Installed Before Siding?

Soffit runs past or goes behind siding, this is why it should be installed first. If you install siding before soffit, your roofing structure wouldn’t have full coverage, making it slightly vulnerable to external conditions.

As I mentioned earlier, the consequences of installing soffit and siding in the wrong order aren’t too severe, so no need to fret if you installed these materials in the inverse order.

To get the job done faster, start off by installing siding at the bottom of your house, when you get close to the top, stop installing the siding and begin to install your soffit.

Once you’re done installing the soffit, resume installing the remaining siding at the upper part of your house, then you’re all done.

If you’re pretty forgetful, you might want to install your soffit first then put up your siding afterward.

Do You Install Trim or Siding First?

Trim should always be installed before siding, here’s why, it would be easier for you to cut your siding to the right size this way, also your job would be a lot neater.

Kindly note that the trim should always be thicker than the house siding, this would make your siding and trim more cohesive.

Ensure you trim not just your doors and windows but along your roof. The best type of materials for exterior trims are cedar and redwood. They’re highly durable and moisture resistant.

After you install your trim, you’d need to put up starter strips to provide an overlap for your siding, a J channel can be used if you don’t have any starter strip.

 You can proceed to install your siding once you’ve created an overlap for it. Siding contracts and expands so do not use the actual length of siding you measured.

Reduce the length of your siding by a few inches, so that it’d be able to expand and contract with ease.

What Goes on First Soffit or Fascia?

If you’re working with sub-fascia, fascia, and soffit, then your sub-fascia should be installed first, then the soffit, and finally, fascia. If there’s no sub-fascia, simply install your soffit and then fascia.

According to most building codes, sub-fascia isn’t necessary for all homes, this doesn’t make it any less important.

Sub-fascia or true fascia has many functions like, covering unaligned rafters and providing support to the roof gutters.

Soffit and fascia must be installed before you place shingles or tiles on the roof. The reason for this is as follows; these materials help hold the bottom row of roofing tiles or shingles in place.

Here’s another piece of information you might find interesting, if you prefer to ventilate your soffit, your ventilation can sit atop the fascia board but this is an uncommon practice.

When installing your fascia, ensure that it is made of quality materials and has considerable strength for, as I mentioned previously, it’s the structure that’d support your gutters and roof edge.

Additionally, the top or upper edge of your fascia can be secured in place with an under sill trim.

Final Thoughts

Putting together a roofing structure and the exterior finishes on a home is a lot of work, if I were to give it a complexity rating I’d give it a 6 out of 10.

It’s important that you give extra thought to everything from the materials you use to your installation method or approach.

The roofing and exterior finish of your home is not something you want to mess up. So, if you feel you can’t handle the workload, get a professional to do the job.

We hope you found this article super helpful. We have a lot of informative content related to roofing and exterior finishes in case your interest is piqued.