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Soffits are outdoor ceilings that require design and durability

The term soffit refers to an architectural feature on the underside of roof overhangs or projecting upper stories. They’re used on covered balconies, verandahs and porticos.

Functionally, they’re an outdoor ceiling. Their job is to cover structural roof rafters and upper storey floor joists and protect them from moisture. They also hold recessed exterior downlights.

Cemintel’s Soffitline® is purpose-made for this application. It’s a large 3600 x 1200 x 6mm fibre cement sheet with recessed edges. This allows sheets to have flush joints for a seamless appearance.

Architects and designers can turn soffits into beautiful features by using cladding panels instead.

Barestone™ cladding, which is available in 4 colours, can be used to gives soffits a beautiful industrial mottled concrete look. The square edged panels use express joints which add geometric lines.

Surround™ prefinished express joint cladding, which is available in 5 neutral colours, and a range of textures, plus 16 other bold secondary colours can be used with dramatic effect for soffit designs.

Edge™ cladding, which is available in 5 styles, adds a vertical joint timber detail and craftsmanship-like aesthetic to achieve designer soffits.

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Frequently asked questions

  • What is a soffit and a soffit lining and how are they used in construction?

    It’s a fibre cement sheet, aluminium panel or series of timber boards that create an outdoor ceiling. Builders install them horizontally on the underside of building roof overhangs and balconies.

  • What is the difference between eaves and soffit linings?

    Eaves and soffits linings are similar. They’re both used on roof overhangs that protect walls. They differ in size mainly.

    Eaves linings are available in three standard widths: 450mm, 600mm and 750mm. They’re commonly used on detached houses with hip roofs. The roofs and eaves overhang almost all the exterior walls.

    On residential houses, soffit linings are only used on overhangs which are larger than eaves. These are typically balconies and undercover outdoor entertaining areas.

  • What material is used for soffits?

    Fibre cement is the perfect material for soffits. The presence of moisture makes internal lining ceiling materials like plasterboard unsuitable for exterior use.

    Cemintel Soffitline panels incorporate Ceminseal® water block technology which assists in repelling initial water absorption and while supporting paint application.

    Alternatively, they can also be made from more expensive materials such as natural timber or aluminium soffit panels.

  • What are the advantages of using a soffit lining?

    Soffits assist in protecting the underside of roof spaces. This protects the rafters from moisture. They also help seal buildings and prevent moisture infiltrating building interiors.

    They can include vents that promote air movement in roof spaces to help regulate temperature and moisture levels.

    They can enhance raised facades. If the street view looks up at a building with a balcony, the soffit becomes prominent and deserving of design focus.

    Balcony soffits can enhance outdoor living areas with light. Large glass skylights make balconies light and bright in the daytime. At night, a series of warm, dimmable downlights add ambiance for alfresco dining.

  • How are soffits used in large commercial buildings?

    Retail buildings, universities and schools have facades which feature generous protective roof overhangs. These can be triangular shapes on multiple planes to achieve architectural interest. The consequence of these designs is overly large and highly visible soffits.

    Designers go to considerable effort to plan express joint panel layouts. They use square edge panels like Barestone if they want a natural finish, or Ceminseal Wallboard if they want a painted finish. They lay out the panels in brick patterns, grid patterns or custom asymmetrical patterns which delight those who visit the building.


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