Why is my soffit/eave lining stained?

Do you suffer from blotchy soffits? Do you avoid having visitors because they might get a glimpse of your unsightly eave discolouration?

Well, fear not! Help is at hand.

Seriously though: what is eave lining? What is a soffit anyway?

An eave is the cavity between the overhanging roof and the external wall. A soffit, or eave lining is the the material that encloses the underside of the eaves between a building's gutters or fascia and the wall.

Its purpose is to prevent draughts and pests from entering the roof space. It also serves an aesthetic function by hiding the rafter and underside of the otherwise exposed roof.

Eave lining is usually made from cement sheeting, or, in older houses, asbestos. As a general guide, if the building was built before the 1980's it is probably asbestos. Unless you are licensed to handle asbestos, don't disturb it.

Not all buildings have lined eaves. Perth houses built before the widespread use of air conditioning often have unlined, exposed eaves in order to mitigate the effect of our long hot summers. When used in conduction with paddling pools and ice-cream, it can be quite effective.


If your soffit has black patches, discolouration or paint which is bubbly, flaky or peeling, it is probably caused by water damage.

Although your first impulse may be to repaint these, it is important to locate and fix the source of the water damage first. Otherwise your wonderful new paint job will be ruined the next time it rains.


Sometimes the water damage can be caused by a roof leak from a broken tile or leaky roof sheet, missing screw etc.

In the vast majority of cases though, water ingress in to the eaves comes from the gutters and/or downpipes.

This is because gutters are designed with the front higher than the back. This hides the ends of the roof sheets or roof tiles from view and also from wind-driven rain.

Unfortunately it also means that when gutters get too full they back-flow in to the eaves, causing the problems described above.

Another common source of leaks is around the downpipes. It has been fashionable for many years in Perth to run the tops of downpipes in to the back of the gutter behind the eave lining.

This has traditionally been the practise on tiled roofs and is now even being frequently done on metal deck roofs. While this provides an elegant appearance it also presents a potential failure point in the join between the gutter and the downpipe and also around any downpipe bends. This is why you won't find it done much in Melbourne or Sydney, for example.


The most common causes of eave or soffit lining discolouration are:

1. Leaking or overflowing gutters (blocked or corroded, join failure or insufficient downpipes) - 45% of the time

2. Leaking downpipes (join failure or corrosion) - 40%

3. Roof leaks - 10%

4. Other more unusual problems - <5%

The Solutions Include:

1. Repair or replace gutters

2. Repair or replace downpipes

3. Install gutters with overflow slots

4. Install gutter guard

5. Gutter clean

6. Install larger or extra downpipes

In any case, our expert roofers are standing by with batteries charged, tin snips sharpened and trigger fingers hovering on their drills, ready to race around to your house right now and whip up a fresh batch of hot shiny gutters and downpipes.

So why not book a free quote here, use the contact form below or call us on 0404 440 683.

#gutters #downpipes #eave #soffit #roofplumbing #perth

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