Understanding eaves on a house

by | May 30, 2024 | Uncategorized

If you’ve ever wondered what eaves on a house are, you’re on the right page. It’s a term you’ll come across at some point during your building journey (perhaps you’re sneakily looking at this page on your phone right now while nodding while someone else is talking about eaves). Let’s explore why eaves are an important addition to your home.

What are eaves on a house?

Eaves overhang the edges of roofs and extend over the exterior walls. They’re usually made from wood, PVC or aluminium (depending on your home design).

What’s the difference between an eave and a soffit?

Though these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference between an eave and a soffit. While both relate to your roof, each has its own unique characteristics.

An eave is the roof overhanging edge of your roof, whereas the soffit is the underside of the eaves.

A soffit can be vented to allow air to circulate throughout your attic or roof space.

What is the purpose of eaves on a house?

Like many features of a house, eaves serve more than one purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the multiple reasons house eaves exist and what they’ll bring to your home.

Protection from the elements

Eaves help direct rainwater away from your house and help cut down on water running down your walls. This minimises the chances of moisture buildup which can lead to serious issues such as mould, moisture damage, wood rot and even structural damage to your home. Not only are these issues eyesores, but they can also affect the safety of your house.

Shading and cooling

Eaves provide extra shading for your home which can be especially helpful for parts of your home in direct line with the sun. An eave can help reduce the sunlight directly entering your home. This could have a noticeable affect on your energy bill, as you won’t need to rely on air-con and heating as often.


Eaves are a noticeable part of any roofline and therefore play an important role in your home’s curb appeal.

Helping to regulate temperature and reduce moisture buildup

Eaves help minimise direct sunlight from the summer sun but allow the winter sun to warm up your home during the cooler months.

What are the different types of eaves?

The two main types of roof eaves are boxed eaves and open eaves and while they serve a similar purpose, in a way they’re the opposite of each other in some key features.

Boxed eaves

A boxed-eave features an enclosed soffit, providing your home with a neater, finished look. A popular choice for newer homes looking to emphasize a sleek appearance while still having a functionally capable eave.

Open Eaves

Open eaves are the opposite of a boxed eave, as it will feature an exposed underside as part of its design. The exposed rafters will give your home a more rustic look, making it an ideal option for traditional or country home designs.

Closed Eaves

A closed eave is a blend of an open eave and a boxed eave, Though still noticeable, a boxed eave will be closer to the house than a closed eave, providing minimal space between the roofline and wall.

Design considerations for matching eaves with the overall style of the house

What type of house design do you have: House styles vary a lot, and what works with a modern home design won’t necessarily suit a traditional house layout. Talk to your builder about what will look best with your overall home design.

Weather conditions in your area: It’s important to remember an eave isn’t there to serve a purely stylistic purpose. The environment you’re building in will help determine how much rain and sunlight your eaves will need to contend with.

Maintenance Needs: The more complex your design, the more upkeep it’ll need.

Costs: More complicated designs are trickier to install and therefore cost more.

What are the key benefits of eaves?

Most builders typically favour having eaves as opposed to no eaves. This is because they’re a useful home feature that has some key benefits.

Protects your home: Eaves help provide extra protection from the elements such as water, rainfall, winds and debris. This provides moisture and leakage protection which can save you thousands in repair and upkeep costs.

Helps to regulate temperature: The design of your home plays an essential role in temperature regulation, and your eaves can contribute to keeping your house at a comfortable temperature more often. The shade provided by eaves can reduce the amount of sunlight entering your home directly, which in turn reduces how much your home will warm up.

Contributes to the overall design value of your home: Eaves don’t just serve a purely functional purpose. Well-crafted eaves can be a valuable stylistic addition to your home and provide a more complete look to your house’s exterior.

How much maintenance and care do eaves require?

Like any part of your home, regular upkeep and some TLC will help your eaves stay in top condition and increase their lifespan. Here are the steps to looking after your eaves. Different types of roof eaves will require different levels of upkeep, depending on the complexity of their design.

Regular inspections: Catching issues early is always best, as it’ll usually allow you to repair things at a lower cost. Look for any signs of rot, wear and tear, or damage.

Clean and maintain eaves: Cleaning your gutters of leaves, twigs, dirt and other debris will help your eaves function properly and avoid issues that come with blockage. Clean your gutters with warm water and mild, eco-friendly detergent to keep them looking great. Pressure cleaners may cause structural damage so we don’t recommend using them on your eaves.

Keep an eye out for pests: Be on the lookout for any signs of nesting, droppings, or similar indications animals may be nesting around your homes. Remember, if you see one rat or cockroach, it means there are loads more you aren’t seeing.

Seal any cracks as soon as they appear: Small cracks will soon become bigger if left unfixed. It’s always best to address these types of issues sooner rather than later, whether that’s by fixing it yourself or hiring someone else.

Buildi is here to help with your home design!

Deciding on eaves is just one of the many things you’ll need to consider when building your new home. We can provide advice on everything from permits you’ll need to what to consider when choosing house designs and home builders.


Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration

Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration